The author of The Pacific War is Saburo Ienaga, is a leading Japanese scholar and political activist. Within the Note, located at the beginning of the book, is a brief overview of Ienaga’s career written by Frank Baldwin. The Pacific War was originally written in Japanese and Ienaga wanted to show young Japanese students the dangers of a conformist society. In the Preface, Ienaga discusses how the goal for his work is to show the Japanese people the ugly truth about the Pacific War. Ienaga feared the potential of having freedoms and rights stripped away from the Japanese people once more since younger generations knew less and less about the war.
The first half of the book goes over in great detail Japan’s relation to the rest of the Asian continent. Traditionally, Japan and China were on friendly terms and Japan even paid tribute to China . The hostility Japan had towards China did not come about until the twentieth century, which was completely different from the general respect both countries shared . Korea on the other hand, was a different story. Even though it was a well-developed country with an advanced culture, it was not given the courtesy given to China . Korea was seen as a country that could be easil...
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...xamples of this by looking at the control of the media, public schools, and military. Ienage also does an amazing job at providing an analytical viewpoint of Japanese brutality.
He listed grievances that occurred within the countries and territories Japan occupied and declared war against before and during World War II. Even though Ienage provided a plethora of primary sources, the sources are mainly from Japan, China, and Korea. It would have been nice to see sources from places such as Taiwan and The Philippines who also faced cruelty from the Japanese. Not only does Ienage look at the government and military roles in Japan, he also considered the civilian role. Women and children were part of the war effort in Japan and played a part in supporting Japanese imperialism. Overall, this book was enjoyable to read and provided a great overview of the fifteen year war.
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