Japan's involvement in World War II and the Greater East Asia War provoked a range of reactions from its citizens. Pride, rage, sympathy, revengea single year of triumph and three of catastrophic loss forced the Japanese to question their country's presumption and its ability to shape history and the world. Falling to the will of the Allied powers further complicated Japan's postwar recovery, imprinting feelings of shame, resentment, doubt, and self-recrimination onto the national psyche.
No writers better captured these fluctuations than a group of well known authors who risked recording their thoughts amid the bombings and fear of invasion. Nagai Kafu, Takami Jun, Ito Sei, Hirabayashi Taiko, Yamada Futaro, and the scholar Watanabe Kazuo wrote absorbing narratives, passionate polemics, and crystalline poems. Donald Keene, a leading Japanese scholar, samples from their texts, some of which were written by individuals he knew well. His own relationship with this material adds a compelling layer to his work. The diary of Ito Sei, for example, with its fervent patriotism and racial claims, forms a stark contrast with the soft-spoken, kindly man Keene knew. Weaving archival materials together with personal reflections and the intimate accounts themselves, Keene produces an entirely original portrait of wartime attitudes and foreign domination in Japan. Whether detailed or fragmentary, these diary entries were written for future generations, making clear the danger of false victory and true defeat.
Keene shows the complicated and varied reactions to the war. -- Lorien Kaye The Age Keene has scoured the wartime diaries of numerous Japanese writers and judiciously woven excerpts into an elegant narrative that provides some acute insights into the mentality of the Japanese during the years of their greatest crisis. -- Anthony Head Times Literary Supplement [A] superb little book. -- Ian Buruma New York Review of Books
Introduction: Wartime Diaries1. The Day the War Began2. The Birth of "Greater East Asia"3. False Victories and Real Defeats4. A Dismal New Year5. On the Eve6. The Jade Voice7. The Days After8. The Revival of Literature9. Rejection of the War10. Under the OccupationNotesBibliographyIndex
Series: Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture
For Ages: 22+ years old
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 28th April 2010
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 14.0
Weight (kg): 0.39