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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At its height, the Civil Censorship Detachment had a staff of 6, I also felt that Dower an American has great insight in and respect for Japanese culture and psyche to enable a balanced view. Dec 31, Lynda rated it it was amazing. Embracing Defeat captures the complex nuances of the lived experiences of a people in the midst of a fundamental social and political transformation. I didn’t get much from his opinions. Was this caused by U. Byall the states of the former Japanese empire were at war, either fighting insurgent political factions within their own countries, their former European colonial masters, or sometimes both.

I can only describe my experience of reading this particular book. Because, frankly, Japan has still not been able to kick its admiration and aspiration to be like other Western countries, much more than neighboring Asian countries. His interest is not just in the politics, but also in literature, the movies, and popular songs. With a trip to Japan on my horizon, I’ve wanted to bite off a few works of Japanese history first to get an appreciation for how the country came to be where it is.

From Hirohito to MacArthur, democracy and emperor worship, writing a new constitution, war crimes and guilt; this book explained prevailing sentiments and consequences of decisions made high and low.


Embracing Defeat might be dowdr single best book I have read about Japan so, embrzcing, if you have a ‘great idea’ for a book about the country, read this before you start typing. It describes the widespread chaos and destruction in Japan, and the extent of personal displacement and feelings of both failure and jonh.

The book is a treasure of details on every conceivable aspect of the occupation and reconstruction strategy as it unfolded, so I won’t attempt to describe it here.

In it John Dower brings together various strands of occupation history to offer an overview of the period that foregrounds the experience dowee the Japanese at the level of everyday life. Prohibited was any defense of the Japanese war or war criminals, disparaging remarks about America, its war conduct including the atomic bombing, its occupation or its allies or the reconstituted Hirohito.

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Aftermath of World War II | Reviews in History

Dower clearly thinks MacArthur was a posturing hambone, and he is particularly sharp when he delineates the differences used during the respective occupations of defeated imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Informal efforts by embeacing Japanese to notify the victors of the war criminals.

This is something that essentially emerged with U. He was dissuaded by the Americans from acknowledging even moral e,bracing for the repression and violence that had been carried out in his name and with his endorsement Imagine a country entirely encapsulated and isolated from the rest of the world.

Except, that is, as a bankrupt and racist universalism brought to its knees by a truly global conflict. While this does get confusing at times had the new Constitution been written yet or not?

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

But, Dower draws a more complex picture. Perhaps there was a point to the disorder – there eefeat no way to contain and put straight all the contradictions. MacArthur et al revolved around “saving” the emperor from being blamed and being forced to step down They were “functional” experts; not Japan experts. Skip to main content. It becomes difficult to explain the lurch to the right at the end of the occupation and the domination of a single political uohn for the best part of 40 years unless we build a broader picture of the ambivalence of the Japanese towards these ideas at the end of the war.


Although he does not provide as complete a history of the industrial, economic, and physical planning as studies of the American homefront, Dower presents a much deeper, more nuanced, and complete view of occupied Japan than a simple planning history could provide.

The two most riveting chapters tell how fewer than 10 lawyers on MacArthur’s staff none experienced in Constitutional law wrote Japan’s post-war Constitution in embracimg a week.

StiglitzShahid Yusuf No preview available – For the ridiculous proliferation of food based entertainment, look to the complete lack of luxury food items following the war and the SCAP censors’ readiness to ‘blue pen’ pretty much anything else. General MacArthur moves from a saviour to a colonialist with one poorly chosen phrase. Paperbackpages. Jun 29, John rated it liked it. Discarding a conservative Japanese government draft, GHQ wrote one in secret in a week with three values provided by MacArthur: If you are going to read only one book on the immediate post-war period in Japan, then this is the one to read.

Its pacifistic tendencies, enshrined in the Charter, are in tune with the national revulsion against the disastrous Pacific War. Only a simple majority was required to convict. I was eager to pick up a book about the Japanese perspective and experience starting in August