John W. Dower. Embracing Defeat. Japan in the Wake of World War II. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. 676 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-393-04686-1.
Reviewed by Mark Selden (Departments of History and Sociology, SUNY-Binghamton.)
Published on H-Asia (October, 1999)
Embracing Defeat, John Dower's magisterial chronicle of Japan under U.S. occupation, is the summa of his four important studies of twentieth-century Japan and the U.S.-Japan relationship. Its sweep is ambitious, ranging from political and diplomatic history to innovative attempts to locate the Japanese people in the flow of change, including the first efforts to chart cultural and social dimensions of the era. Central to the work, and to the continuing debate about the occupation, are three intertwined political issues whose resolution would profoundly affect Japan's postwar course: the emperor, the constitution and democratization, and the war crimes tribunals. In taking discussion of these and other issues far beyond the official record, Dower offers fresh social and cultural perspectives on Japan and the U.S.-Japan relationship, perspectives that cut through dominant images and stereotypes on both sides of the Pacific, and from Washington and Tokyo to broad strata of each society.
The early occupation emerges in these pages as the boldest, yet in many ways the most Quixotic, attempt at social engineering ever attempted to refashion another society as a democratic nation. "Initially," Dower tells us with characteristic incisiveness and irony, "the Americans imposed a root-and-branch agenda of 'demilitarization and democratization' that was in every sense a remarkable display of arrogant idealism-both self-righteous and genuinely visionary." (p. 23) Drawing on a wealth of archival, documentary and published sources to illuminate kaleidoscopic Japanese and American perspectives, he highlights MacArthur's arrogance and peccadilloes while positively assessing American contributions to an enduring democratic political transformation. "Never," he concludes, "had a genuinely democratic revolution been associated with military dictatorship, to say nothing of a neocolonial military dictatorship . . ." (pp. 80-81).
The work is at its very best, however, in showing the hybrid and contested character of the occupation. For if MacArthur ruled with the absolute authority of a military dictator who brooked no criticism, it is Dower's achievement to reveal how the Japanese people, from the highest levels of imperial and state power to the grassroots, speaking not in a single voice but expressing great diversity, shaped many of the outcomes. They did so at times by reinforcing, at others by subtly subverting, the vision and plans of their American military rulers through the skilled, even brilliant, use of gaiatsu tactics that were facilitated by the American decision to rule indirectly through the Japanese government.
"Much that lies at the heart of contemporary Japanese society-the nature of its democracy, the intensity of popular feelings about pacifism and remilitarization, the manner in which the war is remembered (and forgotten) derives," he observes, "from the complexity of the interplay between the victors and the vanquished." (p. 28) Half a century later, both achievements and a host of unresolved problems of the occupation continue to shape Japan, the U.S.-Japan relationship, and the political economy and strategic configurations of the Pacific.
Why did MacArthur, that democratic Caesar, personally assure not only the preservation of the monarchy, but also the continued reign of Hirohito, who bore ultimate responsibility for Japan's brutal war with Asia, and subsequently with the United States and its allies? Dower shows that "respectful appraisal of the emperor's benign potential and virtually totalitarian 'spiritual' control over the Japanese psyche would become the bedrock of postwar [American] policy" (p. 283). While U.S. policymakers believed that Hirohito was indispensable to preserving stability and easing the task of the occupying forces, Embracing Defeat reveals the existence of broad Japanese popular, and even substantial official, sentiment in favor of deposing Hirohito, and in some cases, of abolishing the monarchy. Indeed, at three critical points SCAP stepped in to suppress mounting pressures for the emperor to accept responsibility for the war and retire: at the start of the occupation in 1945, at the close of the war crimes tribunals in 1948, and at the end of the occupation in 1951-52.
MacArthur was critical not only to the survival of the imperial institution and the Showa emperor's continued reign until his death in 1989, but to the creation of a contradictory imperial democracy-one of many intriguing oxymorons that run through this study. "[T]he occupation authorities," Dower astutely observes, "chose not merely to detach the emperor from his holy war, but to resituate him as the center of their new democracy." (p. 278)
MacArthur emerges from these pages alternately bigger than life, as in the iconic photograph of the proconsul towering over a subservient Hirohito, and ludicrously nave and out of touch with Japanese thought and society. In the end, however, it is the elusive figure of the emperor that attracts the author's interest. Together with Herbert Bix's innovative research on the wartime role of the emperor, and his forthcoming biography of Hirohito, Embracing Defeat brings the emperor out of the shadows and into the spotlight as a supremely shrewd and powerful actor. "The more one studies twentieth century Japan," Dower observes in a recent article in the journal Sekai, "the more the Showa emperor emerges as the nation's most interesting and influential political actor. He was, without question, a cautious and conservative man. He was also intelligent, well educated in military as well as civilian matters, opinionated, and obsessed with detail. He used people and knowingly allowed himself to be used by them. He was extremely well informed about what was going on at the top levels of policy making." Among those he used so effectively were MacArthur and the occupation leadership. In particular, the Americans were quick to accept the contrived and self-serving image of the emperor presented to them by Japanese officials, and by the emperor himself, as both peacemaker and democrat.
Dower's most trenchant political criticism of the emperor and the Japanese political system is highlighted in his Sekai article. There he underlines the lasting significance of the emperor's failure, whether by apology or by stepping down from the throne, "to take even moral responsibility for the 'Great East Asia War' that devastated Asia and his own subjects . . ." The result was simultaneously to preserve the imperial mystique and to prevent apology, still less responsible criticism, of Japanese colonialism or the death of twenty million Asians and three million Japanese as a result of Japan's fifteen year war. To do so would imply the unthinkable: criticism of Hirohito, who bore ultimate authority for these acts. The issues continue to haunt Japan more than half a century after the end of the Pacific War. The issues are best approached comparatively. Whereas German apologies and reparations have enabled that nation to overcome historical hostilities and to provide leadership in the European Union, Japan's inability to lay to rest wartime issues continues as a source of tension in contemporary Asian politics.
In an interview with the reviewer, Dower points to Hirohito's pivotal initiative in sacrificing Okinawa and the Okinawan people to American strategic designs by offering the U.S. virtually unrestricted military use of the island and continuing U.S. colonial rule long after the main islands were returned to Japan. It was a shrewd ploy for reducing U.S. demands for bases in the home islands and encouraging the U.S. to expedite the end of the occupation. It was also thoroughly consistent with the Japanese military's sacrifice of the Okinawan people, one-fourth of whom perished in the final great battle of the war.
In buying into and perpetuating the myth of the peace emperor, and in protecting him from prosecution, the U.S. made a mockery of any claims to even handedness in the Tokyo Tribunals. It thus placed the exclusive onus for war crimes on Hirohito's subordinates while shielding the Emperor not only from prosecution but even from offering testimony.
Breaking sharply with the image long cultivated both by Japanese and American officials of Hirohito as a passive figure (the sole exception being self-serving claims of his dramatic initiative to end the war), Dower offers one particularly telling example of imperial activism in the early occupation. This was Hirohito's intervention to recast the imperial rescript of New Year's Day 1946. While many have taken the document as a "sweeping 'renunciation of divinity,'" Embracing Defeat shows that "Through the use of esoteric language, Emperor Hirohito adroitly managed to descend only partway from heaven. . . [T]he rescript seized the initiative for the throne by identifying it with a 'democracy' rooted neither in the reformist policies of the actors nor in popular initiatives from below, but in governmental pronouncements dating back to the beginning of the reign of Hirohito's grandfather, the Meiji emperor." (p. 308) Again, in 1951, in affirming his intention to remain on the throne at the conclusion of the occupation, Hirohito scotched the language of an earlier draft stating "I deeply apologize to the nation for my responsibility for the defeat." (p. 330) "For the defeat," but not, of course, for the lives lost, whether Japanese, Asians, or others, and certainly not for the atrocities committed in the name of the emperor. But even that phrase was too much. There would be no imperial apology.
Among the most significant contributions of Embracing Defeat is the attempt to overcome obstacles to the writing of a social history of the occupation era, that is, one attentive to the experiences, thoughts, and contributions of the Japanese people. What's the problem? In his Sekai essay Dower spells out what he calls "collusive Orientalism." This was the condescending notion that the Japanese people were an "obedient herd", incapable of independent thought and democratic action. The Americans were not forced to rely on their own feverish imaginations. They could easily point to official Japanese slogans such as the one hundred million acting as one (ichi oku isshin) to reinforce their own orientalist images and deny the Japanese people the capability of self-government. The New Deal reformers who constituted the heart of the occupation leadership, nevertheless pressed forward with their "revolution from above" which presumed that, given the opportunity, the Japanese people would embrace fundamental democratizing changes. At the same time, however, Dower points to an "oxymoronic democracy" created under the occupation, referring both to the SCAP military dictatorship and to the immense power that SCAP invested in the Japanese bureaucracy.
In shielding Hirohito from prosecution, absolving him of responsibility for Japan's aggression, and burnishing the image of the peacemaker who acted decisively and selflessly to end the war and save the nation, the U.S. played a pivotal role in establishing imperial democracy. In an act of extraordinary hubris, Japan's democratic constitution was drafted secretly in a one-week "Constitutional Convention" by the occupation's Government Section with no input from, or even consultation with, Japanese authorities. Its basis, Dower explains, was three principles advanced orally by MacArthur: the Emperor is the head of the state; war as a sovereign right of the nation is abolished; and the feudal system of Japan will cease. Interestingly, not one of MacArthur's three principles specified either the democratic principles that, together with the no-war clause, were the finest achievements of the Constitution.
In one of the supreme ironies that are sprinkled liberally through Embracing Defeat, the U.S. created the world's only unequivocal peace constitution only to reverse course almost immediately with the victory of the Chinese revolution and the outbreak of war in Korea. At the heart of the reverse course was the decision to rearm and reindustrialize Japan as a subordinate Cold War partner. Nevertheless, the Japanese people, in response to their own suffering during the Pacific War, particularly American saturation bombing and the atomic bombing that left the nation in ruins, and the loss of three million Japanese lives in the war by and large embraced, and continue to embrace, the pacifist principles enshrined in the Constitution in the face of repeated attacks on Article 9 by the Japanese government and Japanese rightists. If Dower is on familiar ground in following the reverse course interpretation, his work reinforces and adds rich detail to that interpretation. Above all, it illustrates his point about a people whose ideas and commitments may place constraints on the actions of those who rule in their name, and about the diversity of views among Japanese.
Even in drafting the constitution, an ostensibly American affair, collusive actions were critical. While excluded from drafting the initial English language document, in creating the Japanese text that became the constitution, Japanese officials successfully undermined key democratic precepts of the English language original. In place of a polity that derived its ultimate strength and legitimacy from the people (jinmin), for example, they substituted language that strengthened the authority of the emperor and the state (kokumin). Summing up the ironic results, Dower concludes that "No modern nation ever has rested on a more alien constitution-or a more unique wedding of monarchism, democratic idealism, and pacifism; and few, if any, alien documents have ever been as thoroughly internalized and vigorously defended as this national charter would come to be." (p. 347) In this as in so many ways the ambiguous legacy of the occupation, particularly its crafting of a 'symbol emperor', continues to cast its shadow over the national identity.
Embracing Defeat highlights the surprisingly democratic and progressive character of the U.S.-drafted Constitution and numerous early occupation policies, from zaibatsu dissolution to the enfranchisement of women, even as it exposes the irony and the limits of the gift of imperial democracy from on high.
In short, Dower's nuanced appreciation of the achievements of the occupation in creating lasting bases for a democratic, peaceful and capitalist Japan, goes hand in hand with a withering critique of the chauvinism and misunderstandings of elites on both sides. Of the bold action ordering the secret drafting by SCAP's government section of the Japanese Constitution, he concludes, "The line between Supreme Commander and Supreme Being was always a fine one in MacArthur's mind. In these momentous days of early February 1947 he came close to obliterating the distinction entirely." (p. 361) Similarly, Dower lays bare the self-serving actions of the Emperor, court officials, and much of the military and business elite: in disguising the Emperor's responsibility for the actions of empire and war committed in his name, in attempting to sabotage the democratic provisions of the Constitution, and in plundering the national treasury for private profit in the immediate aftermath of the surrender. The Japan that emerged politically and socially transformed from the ashes of defeat was, then, far from an American creation. Rather, it was the product of a complex and often contradictory synergy of Americans and Japanese. Building on an American vision, both its achievements and its flaws also rested on the complementary roles played by Japanese people and elites, including both prewar economic and institutional foundations and the democratic aspirations of the Japanese people.
In War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, Dower provided a memorable image that anticipated the sea change about to take place in American perceptions of Japan and the U.S.-Japan relationship in the aftermath of the battle of Okinawa, the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan's surrender. The cover of Leatherneck's September 1945 issue displayed a battered and vexed but loveable monkey cradled in the arms of a large smiling GI pleased with his new pet. It was that childlike image of the Japanese people that MacArthur cherished throughout his Japan years, a period in which he maintained a splendid isolation from Japanese society in ways that invite comparison with the cloistered lives of Japanese emperors. MacArthur's perspective drew on American clichs of the simple, even childlike character of the Japanese as incapable of independent thought, even as it reversed the wartime vision of a people capable of fiendish cruelty while eliding all notions of the complexity of Japanese society. As Dower suggests, such a perspective was reinforced by mechanisms of "collusive Orientalism." In the coming decades, "MacArthur's children" would prove themselves to be supremely apt pupils in seizing the economic opportunities opened by the occupation, to challenge American economic supremacy in ways unimaginable to occupation leaders.
Perhaps the greatest contribution of Embracing Defeat lies in the alternative view it offers of a complex postwar Japanese society and the Japanese people. While recognizing the continued strengths of the reactionary elites that earlier led Japanese ruling groups to embark on the savage conquest of Asia and the subjugation of their own people as well, and that allowed these past masters of sophistication to deftly undermine some of the goals of their American masters, what emerges most forcefully here is the author's admiration for the democratic and pacifist spirit and common sense among the Japanese people.
As in War Without Mercy, Dower is at his best in transcending American chauvinism by highlighting the sometimes jarring conjunctures of Japanese and American perspectives . . . there to expose the racist roots on both sides (but most devastatingly on the U.S. side) that help to explain the ferocity of the Pacific War, here to highlight the multiple ironies of the occupation within an overall framework of positive assessment that nevertheless remains attentive to unresolved legacies that continue to haunt contemporary Japan. Dower's great achievement is to shine a light into many of the myriad dimensions of postwar Japanese society to illuminate a patchwork of hope and despair, poverty and corruption, fatalism and dynamism, including its powerful aspirations for democratic, labor, and women's rights, its rich and complex culture, and above all the persistent efforts of a people so devastated by war and ostensibly powerless in the thrall of their conquerors to build a society on new foundations.
Embracing Defeat is a judicious and probing summation of the voluminous documentation and scholarship on the postwar decade in Japan and the United States. Like no earlier study, it brings to the fore the ironies and contradictions of the era and critically reassess the great issues of Japan's postwar constitution, U.S.-Japan relations, democratization, and the role of Japan in the making of the U.S. hegemonic order in Asia and globally.
Dower sheds important new light and authoritatively addresses political issues that have been thoroughly researched by American and Japanese scholars, providing what is likely to stand as the definitive interpretation of the occupation. Yet much of the freshest and most innovative material is in the cultural and social realm. For example, we learn that in the brief period between Japan's surrender and the landing of U.S. forces, the Japanese authorities created an indigenous "comfort woman" system to service the G.I.s Where the Japanese military had turned to Koreans, Filipinas, Taiwanese, Chinese and other colonized peoples to serve as comfort women for troops throughout the empire, the Home Ministry as early as August 18, 1945 began recruiting young Japanese women as prostitutes, praising them for "the great spirit of maintaining the national polity by protecting the pure blood of the hundred million," that is, serving the country as a "dike of chastity." Against this background the occupation's guarantees of women's electoral, labor and social rights, beginning with constitutional provisions that remain the envy of American women half a century later, would meet a positive reception among Japanese women. It is in the discussion of social and cultural issues that Embracing Defeat points the way to the next generation of occupation scholarship.
Dower's research in archival, published, and graphic sources is exhaustive and meticulous. Particularly in opening research in the area of popular culture and society an in attempting to listen to and convey the voices of diverse non-elite strata and individuals, he goes far beyond conventional archival and documentary sources to call attention to the realm of popular culture in its myriad forms. He has also made significant use of individual testimony, drawing for example on Alex Gibney's wide-ranging interviews with occupation authorities in preparation for his documentary "Pacific Century," and on citizen's letters to Asahi Shimbun. <6> I wondered why, however, the master of nuance and language subtlety had chosen not to undertake his own interviews with those Americans, Japanese, and others who lived through and shaped the era. I asked him whether this was primarily reification of the orthodoxy of the Harvard-trained historian who privileges documents, especially official documents, over "chatter", confident that this explanation would not suffice given his pioneering work in the creative use of such unconventional sources as comics, film, and popular novels to gain insight into popular culture. I had noted, moreover, his use of interview protocols, written reminiscences, and even interviews conducted by others. In responding, he made two important points: first, he wanted to listen to and convey the multiplicity of contemporary voices of the occupation, not sift memories and visions filtered through subsequent experiences and influenced by dominant ideologies; second, having mined valuable interviews and testimony prepared by other researchers and participants, both American and Japanese, he would turn his own energies to other types of sources. I suggest that this limiting decision leaves important ground for future historians to conduct interviews with those who lived through and shaped the occupation at all levels of society and with multiple perspectives. They will, however, have to work quickly while those with memories of the occupation remain alive.
Embracing Defeat draws not only on published sources but also interviews conducted by others including the historian Takemae Eiji, for many purposes. It records, for example, the fact that the 22-year old Beata Sirota, who played a critical role in inscribing women's rights into the Constitution, had requisitioned a jeep and made the rounds of Tokyo libraries to collect the constitutions of other nations to provide the American drafters with reference works. Milton Esman, another member of the drafting committee who arrived in Japan fresh from completing a Princeton Ph.D., is able to add his personal experience. He told me of visiting the home of his friend, the scholar Royama Masamichi, who offered additional constitutions and constitutional studies from his superb personal library. Esman adds, however, that these books sat on a table and were never consulted by the drafters of the constitution who were hard pressed to complete their task within a week. (At least never during his days as a participant as he was "furloughed" to Nikko for several days after raising uncomfortable questions about the drafting process.) Interviews at multiple social and political levels, with both Japanese and Americans, would have made it possible to open up further fascinating questions concerning the interaction of Americans with English speaking intellectuals and others in educating them about Japan and informing them of Japanese perspectives on critical questions, not to mention the broad range of social contacts. These issues take on particular salience given the isolation from the Japanese people of MacArthur and many of his top aides.
And what of the dynamics within the ranks of Government Section charged with drafting the constitution? Again, there are voluminous documents and memoirs, yet oral history can surely go further in capturing important sociopolitical and cultural dynamics, not as a substitute for, but as a supplement to, the documentary record. Such approaches should not be conceded to the anthropologist and sociologist but claimed as an integral part of the historians' repertory. Esman recalls an incident in which Richard Poole, disturbed by the provisions of Article 9, discussed the matter with Colonel Charles Kades, who headed the twenty-four member drafting team. "Isn't it," Poole asked, "a bit impractical to send Japan out into the world with a constitution that does not even allow it the right to maintain a military to defend itself from aggression?" Kades' response was simple and direct: "Do you know where the idea came from?" Poole: "MacArthur." Kades: "That's right." End of conversation.
Many important questions pertaining to such issues as the drafting of the constitution by Americans and the subsequent negotiations with the Japanese government, I suggest, can further be probed through interviews. What, for example, was the nature of MacArthur's personal involvement in the drafting process beyond his three point memorandum? Were not the drafters in Government Section in continuous contact with the general and his chief aides to resolve contentious issues throughout the week of drafting? If so, with what consequences?
Of course, not all of the possibilities for interviews center on the "great events" of the era. The anthropologist Robert Smith provided this vignette of the early occupation years. He and another American GI decided to take in a musical in Osaka (such entertainment spots were off-limits to G.I.s). Entering the hall after the show had begun, to Smith's embarrassment, the manager made two Japanese surrender their seats. But his embarrassment was far greater when the performers belted out a number whose refrain went: Pikadon, pikadon, pikadon . . . don . . . don. Those memorable words, the flash-bang used to describe the impact of the atomic bomb, and the audience's raucous laughter, remained inscribed in the young language officer's memory more than fifty years later.
Harlan Koch, who commanded a naval company in Southwestern Honshu and Kyushu, offers another perspective, rightly noting that Embracing Defeat is essentially the view of the occupation from Tokyo, or from the large cities. To be sure, such a view is critical in understanding key dimensions of the big picture. Koch, however, underlines the fact that occupation forces in the periphery lacked the cushy perks of their American counterparts in Tokyo. . . alluding specifically to the photograph of a Chief Petty Officer in Tokyo served by kimono-clad maids at home with his wife and children. Koch's comments focus primarily on the diversity of experiences of occupation forces, perhaps exaggerating the claim.<7> He is nevertheless correct in pointing to differential privileges of occupying forces in the periphery, even if his assessment doubtless understates the privileges enjoyed by his own unit. But the importance of the photo lies above all in the fact that it was U.S. navy propaganda displaying the good life of navy personnel and the appropriate position of Japanese servants to their American masters. Moreover, if Dower focuses on U.S. occupying forces in the capital, his portrait of Japanese society draws on letters, diaries, stories, photographs and much more to convey dimensions of broad strata and diverse regions of the occupied nation. There nevertheless remain numerous important perspectives to be researched on the outcomes of the occupation in peripheral, including rural, areas of Japan and on broad classes of Japanese people.
These random examples draw on conversations with, or e-records from, participants in the occupation. The point is simply to suggest that the treasure house of oral history, above all for a work that makes so important a beginning toward a social and cultural history, has only begun to be tapped. This is particularly true on the Japanese side. Given the magnitude and subtlety of Dower's research, the point is perhaps gratuitous, even self-serving, on the part of a reviewer who has relied heavily on oral history, together with official and documentary sources, to write about revolutionary transformations in village China.<8> Dower's suspicions concerning the uses of oral testimony are certainly apt. Yet all sources have their limitations, not least the official record. Checked against the range of official and unofficial, documentary, fiction, graphic, and other records that have been consulted for the present study, the oral record surely offers future historians unique perspectives on many critical issues.
If this study's most important contributions lie in engaging the politics and culture of the era, the realms of economic and institutional change are barely scratched. Land reform, for example, is scarcely mentioned, and economics and economic policy is essentially relegated to the final chapter where Dower shows, importantly, the ways in which Japanese planners early on anticipated much of Japan's subsequent high-tech surge while Americans continued to envisage an economy that would continue its prewar focus on textile production. Future studies of the occupation will perforce go further in exploring the foundations of Japan's subsequent economic surge or perhaps, for that matter, anticipating the economic and social doldrums that Japan has encountered in the 1990s. If economics has come to symbolize Japan and the "Japanese challenge" for many Americans, Europeans, and Asians, the economic and institutional history of the occupation await full-dress treatment.
The preceding queries and criticisms place heavy demands on an author who has produced a seven hundred page opus that sets the standard for postwar studies of Japanese politics and U.S.-Japan relations. With this work, Dower consolidates his position as the leading Western historian of modern Japan. Embracing Defeat is one of those rare books that deserve to be read and debated on both sides of the Pacific.
. The earlier works are Origins of the Modern Japanese State: Selected Writings of E. H. Norman, edited with an introduction by John Dower (New York: Pantheon, 1975); Empire and Aftermath: Yoshida Shigeru and the Japanese Experience (Cambridge, Mass: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1979); War Without Mercy: race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1986)l and Japan and War and Peace: Selected Essays (New York: Pantheon, 1993).
. Gaiatsu: outside pressure (editor's note).
. Herbert Bix, "Japan's Delayed Surrender: A Reinterpretation," in Michael Hogan, ed., Hiroshima in History and Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 80-115; "The Showa Emperor's 'Monologue' and the Problem of War Responsibility," Journal of Japanese Studies 18 (Summer 1992), pp. 295-363; Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York: Harper & Row, forthcoming).
. "Tennosei minshushugi no tanjo: 'Showa tenno no message' o yomitoku" (The birth of imperial democracy: Constuing the Showa Emperor's Message), Sekai (September 1999), pp. 221-232.
. Cf. Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds., History Censored: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States (Armonl, New York: M. E. Sharpe, forthcoming).
. Frank Gibney, ed., Senso: The Japanese Remember the Pacific War (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1998). A September 1999 visit to Weimar, and particularly Berlin, makes clear the myriad ways in which Naziism and the Holocaust remain imbricated both in the architecture and intellectual and cultural life of contemporary Germany. From numerous monuments to Holocaust victims to reminders of Auschwitz and Buchenwald to the Holocaust Museum under construction, to the Wannsee Conference exhibit preserving records of the decision to move forward in January 1942 to the Final Solution, to the outdoor exhibition at S.S. headquarters in downtown Berlin, Germans "daily, hourly" confront the Nazi past and issues of German responsibility. See particularly House of the Wannsee Conference, Permanent Exhibit: Guide and Reader (Berlin: Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz Memorial, n.d.). By contrast, Japanese historical memory, when turned to the war, has long focused on the great symbol of Japanese victimization in the memorial to the hibakusha at Hiroshima (only in the 1990s expanded to address the wider context of the war), or in the Yasukuni Shrine that honors the Japanese war dead. The great efforts by Japanese scholars and citizens to unearth and publicize Japanese crimes of colonialism and war must continue to face official efforts at denial and refusal to accept responsibility for everything from the comfort women to the nanjing Massacre. Cf. Associated Press report on October 2, 1999, announcing the Tokyo court rejection of a Korean woman's demand for $1.1 million compensation and official government apology for being forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in the years 1938-1945; Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds., Living With the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1997).
. See Koch's comments in the form of a personal review of Embracing Defeat at www.amazon.com.
. Edward Friedman, Paul Pickowicz, and Mark Selden, Chinese Village, Socialist State (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991); "Revolution, Resistance, and Reform in Village China," (forthcoming).
Copyright (c) 1999 by H-Net, all rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational use if proper credit is given to the author and the list. For other permission, please contact H-Net@h-net.msu.edu.
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the list discussion logs at: http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl.
Mark Selden. Review of Dower, John W., Embracing Defeat. Japan in the Wake of World War II.
H-Asia, H-Net Reviews.
Copyright © 1999 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews editorial staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.