JAPAN AT WAR, 1931-1945
The run-up to Pearl HarborAn excellent book! I haven't finished it, so perhaps I'll find some flaws that I don't yet see, but altogether it is an impressive piece of work. Eri Hotta was born and raised in Tokyo but educated at Princeton and Oxford, so she has mastered both languages and uses them well. How often have you picked up a book whose author can say offhand that all the translations are hers?
To be sure, the title is somewhat deceptive: Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy. Don't imagine that you are getting one of those "year" books (1491 being just the most recent example) that purports to squeeze a whole civilization into the events of a single year. Hotta often delves into the recent past, and sometimes even to events at the turn of the century and earlier, notably the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1905.
The book has the usual difficulty that Japanese names, to an American reader, are both unfamiliar and difficult. I have read my share of books and documents about the run-up to the Pacific War, and I freely confess my occasional bewilderment at the revolving-door politicians and generals who guided (or misguided!) Japan in 1940 and 1941. Familiar figures like Kido, Konoe, Yamamoto, and Hirohito himself gain depth from the author's easy knowledge of their careers, but too many other names go by in a blur. This is, I suppose, inevitable. To leave them out would have been even worse.
Hotta has been criticized for letting Japan off too easily, and for stressing American responsibility for the run-up to war. I haven't noticed that myself; if I do so, I'll amend this review. For now, I can only advise: read it.
The Wind RisesThe Wind Rises is an animated feature of the life of Horikoshi Jiro, designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero of the Second World War. Says the publicity for the American release: "Not only will [director Hayao] Miyazaki's love of flight be the center of a film for the first time since Porco Rosso, but his extraordinary ability to find the human stories within larger dramas will, we're sure, make this an animation event."
Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Japan's long war:
- Nomonhan (Japan v. Russia, 1939)
- Russian aircraft losses at Nomonhan
- Elusive target: Bombing Japan from China (Richard Dunn)
- Did U.S. leaders know that war was coming?
- A guest of the Japanese in the Dutch Indies (Arie Biemond)
- "New Guinea was my introduction to war" (anonymous)
- Ketsu-go (waiting for the Americans, summer 1945)
- Olympic vs. Ketsu-go (the invasion that didn't happen)
- Japan's Longest Day: how Japan surrendered
- The U.S. Navy arrives in Tokyo Bay, August 1945
- Did Japanese soldiers fight for the Vietminh?
The Hiroshima files:
- Why Truman dropped the bomb (Richard Frank)
- Why Truman dropped the bomb II (Wilson Miscamble)
- Little Boy vs Operation Olympic (an internet debate)
- How many died at Hiroshima?--counting the uncountable
- What was the yield of the Hiroshima bomb?
- Was there a third bomb? What was its target?
- Been down that lonely road: NASM confronts Enola Gay
- Hiroshima and the end of the war--a reading list
The Japanese Army Air Force files:
- Notes on the Japanese Army Air Force
- The decision to move south (Japan v. the West, 1941)
- Mr. Suzuki recalls the Flying Tigers (December 1941)
- Lucky Sevens? life and death of the 77th Sentai (Richard Dunn)
- JAAF deployments against Rangoon, December-March (maps)
- Japanese army aircraft met by the AVG
- Joe Baugher's Hayabusa files
- Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa ("Oscar") armament (Richard Dunn)
- About those Nakajima Ki-43 machineguns
- Regimental song of the 64th Sentai (video)
- Japanese army aces and their victory claims
- JAAF fighter pilots lost in China-Burma area, 1941-42
- Ki-45 Toryu (Dragon Slayer, aka Nick)
Why's a Zero?
- Why's a Zero? and a primer on the Japanese calendar
- Japanese warplane names and designations (Osamu Tagaya)
- Allied code-names in perspective (Richard Dunn)
- Sussing out the 'Chengdu Zero'
- Zeros over China, 1941-1942 (Ben Schapiro)
- Unraveling the Zero's performance data (Richard Dunn)
- 'Never dog fight the Zero' (the San Diego evaluations)
- A conversation with Saburo Sakai and a scrap of his scarf
- 'Winged Samurai': rethinking the Sakai myths
- An interview with another Zero pilot
Kamikaze, cannibals, & other mysteries:
- Bushido: the Japanese Field Service Code, 1941
- 'Be as one already dead' (Ruth Benedict)
- The soldier who cut up living prisoners (London Times)
- The butchered bodies of New Guinea (graphic photos)
- The Rape of Nanking: Japan in denial
- Meet Colonel Tsuji, genius and cannibal
- Outram Road Prison, Singapore
- Done to death: the prisoners of Rabaul
- The man who didn't shoot down Pappy Boyington
- Why the kamikaze volunteered (Yasuho Izawa)
- A Japanese army pilot trains to die
- 'Crashing bodily into a target is not easy' (the how-to manual)
- 'I will be waiting for you at Yasukuni Shrine'
- 'Annihilate them all' (the order to murder PWs)