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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Magnificently researched, incredible book.

Power and pageantry in modern Japan Berkeley, University of California Press, February Due to outstanding work commitments the author has not yet been able to respond to this review. The American occupation that lasted from to forever changed the course of history in shaping Japan’s future and consequently its role in the region and the world.

Against this background of economic and social misery, however, Dower is also concerned to locate the transformative effects of defeat. On the political side: On the one hand there were continuities with the past: But I’ve also read enough on Japan to know that other historians haven’t told thi Composition: While I have historically not been a fan of his work I found the footnotes in “War Without Mercy” so illegible as to throw his entire thesis–though undoubtedly true–unconvincingI really enjoyed “Embracing Defeat.

Although somewhat dense, the book examines the many varieties of how the Japanese coped with the loss of the war and with their new status as a subject people. On the other han Simply among the most spell-binding books ever.

They were “functional” experts; not Japan experts. There is truth in this; many Embracinng revered the Emperor as a deity. defeeat

So my perceptions of the program were very much affected by Embracing Defeat, because to me the JET program was a clear extension of the Japanese government’s efforts to present a positive front to the youth of its Western allies and trade partners, to demonstrate good faith in “opening” the country to foreign youth, and also to expose Japanese students to Westerners.

While I believe this book was meant for a general readership it tends to read more like a textbook and contains such detailed information that I found my mind wandering at times. A meaty book that sometimes bogs down in detail — such as the postwar girlie pulps, which were pretty interesting, but the long discussions of authors who were akin to our postwar Beats — not so much.


Returning soldiers were looked on as failures and brutes as their atrocities became known. Post-war intellectuals, whilst taking their inspiration from the personal and intellectual influence of the West, quickly realised the need to situate those ideas within the everyday lives of the Japanese people.

Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary vower, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate.

War against China in Manchuria that started ina vicious racist war in China proper that started inand the war in the Pacific and Southeast Asia Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia I have long found it frustrating that writing about Japan usually starts from an assumption that the country To anyone thinking of writing a book about modern Japan, especially if your central argument is deceat on Japan’s ‘unique-ness’, doder of some kind of ‘Edo vacuum’, whether you are arguing that Japan is uniquely ‘good’ or uniquely ‘bad’, I strongly urge you to read Embracing Defeat first.

Embracing Defeat – Wikipedia

Unusually for writers discussing Japan, he has no axe to grind. As such it is deeply suggestive, but much uncharted territory remains to be explored.

jihn At its height, the Civil Censorship Detachment had a staff of 6, Part four of Dower’s book focuses on the place of Emperor Hirohito in Japan postwar. Dower tells the truth from a perspective of respect and sympathy for the Japanese. Booklets explained the law to the populace who generally accepted it. Part 3 focuses on changes in societal conscious rather than on changes in day-to-day life.

Furthermore, though it is a dense pages, it is a highly readable and strikingly approachable text. Dower powerfully captures the early period of MacArthur’s regime. Ordinary Japanese looked on MacArthur as a father figure who had freed them from oppression and brought freedom. There were many outside Japan that put him in the same category as Hitler and Tojo and there were some who thought that way in Japan too.


I listened to the audio, pausing at the end of the chapters to peruse the pictures. But the enormity of the task of returning 5. Sep 25, Ollie rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the best history I have read about the post-war period in Japan defwat American occupation forces.

Embracing Defeat

This really does cover it all, from the effects of the atomic bomb initially wrote that as fallout, nope, then impact, also nopethen the MacArthur years, the rise of the left, the rise of the right, the rise of the Emperor-cult, the disavowing of Tojo and the militarists, the almost comic level of misinformation among the Americans, the blatantly colonial attitudes, the sense of defeat and humiliation, the attempts to smile and carry forward among the Japanese in impossible circumstances, including by immediately disavowing their previous ideologies, censorship by the conquering army at the same time it tried to instill “democratic thinking,” starvation, poverty, mass prostitution, and so defsat.

On the social side: What I found most refreshing, though, was Dower’s clear-eyed, balanced tone. In short, read it. People sold whatever they had including their bodies just for food.

Embracing Defeat

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. Dower uses Hirohito as the prime example of the gap between the concerns of the ruling class and the bulk of the population. Dec 24, S. The first is a dense socio-cultural history, focused on the first dfeeat years of the Occupation. It becomes difficult to explain dowfr lurch to the right at the end of the occupation and the domination of a single political party 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.