Sunday, May 23, 2010

Books on Japan and World War II

Here are five interesting books on Japan and World War II, addressing various perspectives:
  • Legacies Of World War II In South And East Asia edited by David Koh Wee Hock. These 13 specialist papers were given at the 2005 Iseas conference "Legacies of World War Two in South and Southeast Asia". They explore multidimensional memories of events which were very different to the many ethnic, political, social and economic groups in Asia, some of whom had been since 1931 experiencing the Great Asian War of which World War II was of course a major component. Overview papers by Professors Wang Gungwu and Tim Harper introduce separately referenced papers on World War II legacies in Indochina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The final four contributions are on China and on India, with a Japanese contribution and a discussion of reconciliation between Japan and South Korea. Indexed.
  • Japan's Holy War: The Ideology of Radical Shinto Ultranationalism by Walter Skya. Japan's Holy War reveals how a radical religious ideology - a fervent nationalism within State Shinto - drove the Japanese to imperial expansion and war in Asia and the Pacific. In the early twentieth century, a fervent nationalism developed within State Shinto. Skya documents this transformation in the ideology of State Shinto as support for the theory of constitutional monarchy gave way first to the theory of absolute monarchy, and then to the ideology of emperor-centred totalitarianism. Skya suggests that the creeping democracy and secularisation of Japan's early-twentieth-century political order were the principal causes of the terrorism of the 1930s, which ultimately led to a holy war against Western civilisation. With notes, bibliography and index.
  • Japanese-Trained Armies In Southeast Asia by Joyce Lebra. This is the first study by a Western scholar of a significant facet of the history of World War II - Japanese-trained independence and volunteer armies as agents of revolution and moderation. At the time, the Japanese did not see that their military imprinting would affect a whole generation of political/military leadership of nations post-World War II Southeast Asia. Leaders like Suharto, Ne Win and Park are all products of Japanese military training.
  • Japanese Intelligence In World War II by Ken Kotani. This study of Japanese intelligence work in WWII is by a strategy analyst with study experience in the US, UK, and Japan. It casts light on an area of WWII history till now largely obscured in the West. Among the areas discussed are: the historical background of Japanese intelligence; intelligence-gathering and usage in the army and in the navy; evaluation patterns and blockages; Japanese assessments of enemy forces both before and during WWII; and the use of intelligence in Japan's war planning. With black-and-white photographs, bibliography and index.
  • World War II Japanese Tank Tactics by Gordon Rottman and Akira Takizawa. In this book, expert author and tactician Gordon L Rottman provides the first English-language study of Japanese Army and Navy tank units, their tactics and how they were deployed in action. The Japanese army made extensive use of its tanks in the campaigns in China in the 1930s, and it was in these early successes that the Japanese began to develop their own unique style of tank tactics. From the steam-rolling success of the Japanese as they invaded Manchuria until the eventual Japanese defeat, Rottman provides a battle history of the Japanese tank units as they faced the Chinese, the Russians, the British and the Americans.

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