The Pacific War (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
Ienaga Sabur is a distinguished liberal historian and Professor Emeritus of the Tokyo University of Education. His long list of publications in Japanese intellectual history includes studies of Ueki Emori, a key figure in the People’s Rights Movement of the 1880’s, and Minobe Tatsukichi, the leading prewar authority on constitutional law at Tokyo Imperial University. Minobe was attacked in 1935 for his liberal but influential interpretation of the role of the emperor in the state. Frank Baldwin’s lucid translation of Ienaga’s 1968 work, Taiheiy sens, provides the English reader with an important critical account of the Pacific war told from the standpoint of Japanese liberalism. It is much more than a military history; Ienaga paints with a broad brush, placing militarism in the context of political, intellectual, and social history.
Ienaga divides his work into two parts. In Part One he deals with the historical roots of authoritarian thought and militarism in Japan. He argues that the failure to develop critical thinking and a spirit of democracy led to unquestioning acceptance of aggressive imperalism in Korea, Manchuria, and China. In Part Two he looks at Japanese aggression from 1931 to Hiroshima. Most Japanese studies of the war begin with the China campaign of July, 1937, and Western accounts often take Pearl Harbor as the beginning of World War II, but Ienaga sees the Manchurian Incident of 1931 as the first stage of an unbroken...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
Book World. September 17, 1978, p. E4.
Christian Science Monitor. LXX, September 18, 1978, p. B11.
History: Reviews of New Books. VI, September, 1978, p. 190.
Newsweek. XCII, August 7, 1978, p. 78.
West Coast Review of Books. IV, November, 1978, p. 46.
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