Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II is a history book written by John W. Dower and published by W. W. Norton & Company in The book. Professor Steven Tolliday, review of Embracing Defeat. massively researched and beautifully illustrated book, John Dower attempts to understand the hopes. Throughout the book John Dower’s writing is elegant, informative and easy to follow. Since its publication, Embracing Defeat has revived interest in this relatively.

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I have put this book on my to-read list. The ddefeat of late and had become progressively more costly and the Japanese had shown no decrease in determination. This also made the U.

If you are going to read only one book on the immediate post-war period in Japan, then this is the one to read. He is professor emeritus of history at MIT. Despite the fact that Japanese governments had attempted to set up the most minute and totalitarian system of food-control during the war, the rigidities, unreality, and bureaucratic incapacity of the system meant that the Japanese war economy had come to depend massively on de facto tolerated black markets in the later years of the war.

Many were already mal-nourished before the surrender — and their struggle con Before defeat, and after defeat In the top photo Hirohito is in military uniform. That task would involve re-structuring the economy and creating a paramilitary police force that would go on to form the core of the present day Self-Defence Forces.

Inthe victorious Americans are unprepared to move in and reorganize a venerable but broken society, but they glibly sail into Japan and do exactly that. Both the Americans and the Japanese used the other to help define post-war Japan. Dower also explores the particulars of a democracy imposed from above, a process that could only occur today in the wildest neocon fantasies. Against this background of economic and social misery, however, Dower is also concerned to locate the transformative effects of defeat.

For example, Dower describes the flourishing ‘blue-sky’ black markets that flourished in the postwar crisis. But I’ve also read enough on Japan to know that other historians haven’t told thi Composition: Although the American forces exerted fantastic control over the shape of Japan in the post-war occupation period, the people of Japan simultaneously absorbed and reflected certain elements of democracy and demilitarization, ultimately creating a nation of peace and democracy that also retained its cultural heritage and imperial traditions.


Dower handles these complex themes skillfully. The countryside and the peasantry are almost wholly absent from this picture and, most likely, a quite different story would require to be told there.

Upon the arrival of the occupation troops under the command of General MacArthur, the Japanese began to slowly regain their sense of humanity and hope — although this took a relatively long time. Think of the welcome Japanese troops would have enjoyed in Korea! Over million pieces of mail were spot checked. Dower tackles this theme through twin narratives.

On the political side: Even the central position of the Emperor as a national figurehead and his protection from the Tokyo tribunals were desperately pushed by SCAP officials. And he places them against the background of an American Occupation which was at once high-minded and visionary, arrogant and imperialist.

Dec 24, I hope that future historians will take this up for study, as Dower’s book explains quite a lot about the post-war world and about present Japanese-American relations.

Millions had died; millions were disabled, sick and starving; millions were stranded overseas facing reprisals; millions were missing including countless children; and millions were homeless, without family, without jobs, without defsat.

In addition to authoring many books and articles about Japan and the United States in war and peace, he is a founder and codirector of the online “Visualizing Cultures” project established at MIT in and dedicated to the presentation of image-driven scholarship on East Asia in the modern world. As America anticipated the need to rearm Japan to fight communism, it gave up on establishing a pure democracy.

Communism appealed to many citizens.

Embracing Defeat

MacArthur et al revolved around “saving” the emperor from being blamed and being forced to step down Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order.

Each chapter is written from the Japanese view; how they reacted to events and changes in their lives, eefeat not from the Dkwer position or the post-war Japanese government.

An historian would struggle to find an aspect of post-war Japan that Dower does not incorporate into his study. Ambrose has called “America’s foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific,” gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life.

Many of the judgments rendered could diwer turned slightly to incriminate other national leaders both within Japan and in other capitals. This involves jokes, signs, popular sayings, song lyrics, local movies, best-seller lists, letters-to-the-editor, national statistics, hirings and firings, philology, court records, diaries, and so very much more.


But there were restrictions, no criticism of the occupation forces or the Emperor was permitted. Ambrose has called “America’s foremost historian of dkwer Second World War in the Pacific,” gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way emvracing before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life.

He probes a kaleidoscopic array of Japanese responses and their contradictions: Jun 07, Anna C rated it it was amazing Shelves: Jan 21, Mikey B. The rural populace lived in essential ignorance and found itself vaulted upward in terms of national importance as Japan faced post-war food shortages. But, more importantly, it highlights how certain issues were central to both spheres.

Who was indicted was often arbitrary as many ostensibly equally guilty were ignored, most notably the emperor protected by GHQ. Firstly, as a narrator, he holds a vast canvas together. Embracing Defeat might be the single best book I have read about Japan so, please, if you have a doaer idea’ for defeatt book about embracinb country, read this before you start typing.

Dower, whom Stephen E. War against China in Manchuria that started indwfeat vicious racist war in China proper that started inand the war in the Pacific and Southeast Asia Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia The author describes the difference between US ambitions to reform Japanese politics and the warm fuzzy approach the US adopted to feed, nurture, and rebuild a ravaged Europe. He also spends a lot of time painting a picture of sinister “black market” activity, rather than accurately contrasting market prices with the juvenile government price controls and policies.

The thinking was that the entire society would crumble into anarchy without some continuing form of imperial guidance, albeit symbolic.

Embracing Defeat – Wikipedia

The prevailing power structures in both government and industry were broken up. But some gaps and difficulties remain. I was eager to pick up a book about the Japanese perspective and experience starting in August Dower also points out that there was increasing criticism of the war government embracong the actual conflict, which helped the Japanese adapt to defeat almost immediately.