Reddit Reddit reviews Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

We found 21 Reddit comments about Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Asian History
Japanese History
Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II
W W Norton Company
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21 Reddit comments about Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II:

u/nikovich · 17 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

> Do you have a source where I can read more about this?

Embracing Defeat is a great book about Japan's rapid transition to democracy and constitutional pacifism in the post-war period. I recommend it.

u/werewolfchow · 13 pointsr/AskHistorians

Ok two disclaimers: I'm working off of my course work from my degree in Japanese history and on my phone so I can't look up sources, but here goes:

Imperial Japan had developed a virtual cult of the emperor. That's why nobody surrendered until Hirohito's radio broadcast. Because of this worship and his agreement to acquiesce to terms set by the US, it was decided that leaving him as a figurehead would go further toward stabilizing and westernizing Japan, especially with the dangerous military leadership eliminated and US occupation a going concern.

edit: Ok, so I'm home now and I can get you a source. The book Embracing Defeat points out that during the meeting with MacArthur following the surrender, Hirohito expected to be deposed, but MacArthur and the provisional government decided that Japan would be easier to govern if they kept their emperor, who was also a religious leader as much as a dictator. In the end, Prime Minister Tojo and General Matsui took the blame for the emperor and killed themselves, and MacArthur left Hirohito in power, more or less.

u/Pennsylvasia · 13 pointsr/worldnews

Hmm, well my point is that Western outlets definitely play up the Weird Asia angle when covering it. That extends throughout the region. My local paper has a piece at the moment about Taiwan running out of toilet paper, for example, and reporters were obsessed with North Korean cheerleaders, Kim Jong-un's sister, and "garlic girls" this month in Korea. Treatment of Japan has been the worst, it's true; most people who study Japanese do so because of anime, and you can't have a Japan-related thread here without hearing about tentacles, people refusing to have children, body pillows, or World War II. But as someone currently living in the West who pays close attention to Asia and how it's covered, coverage of the whole region definitely favors the weird.

A big part of that is insecurity and ethnocentrism, a fear of admitting one's own weaknesses, and John Dower's book Embracing Defeat (about Japan immediately after WWII) spends some time talking about the transformation, in the American mind, from Japanese men being depicted as animals and savages during the war to being imagined as soft and effeminate. I suspect that still plays a role in how the region is imagined.

u/SublethalDose · 9 pointsr/japan

Embracing Defeat is about social, cultural, and political change in Japan in the aftermath of World War II. It may be too narrow in its focus if you're trying to quickly get an overview of all of Japanese history, but it's a fascinating read.

u/Sixteenbit · 9 pointsr/history

John Dower's Embracing Defeat anwers these quesitons in a good amount of detail with an understanding of Japanese culture and perspective. It's a great read.

u/t-o-k-u-m-e-i · 8 pointsr/japan

Well, what era are you interested in?

Hands down, the best English overview of the modern era available is A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present by Andrew Gordon. If you want WWII and after, John Dower's War Without Mercy and Embracing Defeat are good places to start. Chalmers Johnson's MITI and the Japanese Miracle isn't fun reading but does a good job of explaining the post war economic boom.

I don't know of any single volume works that are good overviews of specifically the Edo/Tokugawa period. As far as more focused, intelectual histories go, I'm fond of Ooms' Tokugawa Ideology and Najita's Visions of Virtue in Tokugawa Japan

I have no recommendations for the Muromachi, Kamakura, Heian, Nara or Asuka periods. I don't study them and only know them in passing from survey courses.

Faris's Sacred Texts and Burried Treasures does a good job of teaching the controversy about ancient Japanese history, and the origins of the peoples on the islands.

I'm coming at this as someone who is working on a PhD in modern Japanese history right now, so some of these (Najita, Ooms, Faris, Johnson) might be heavier reading than you're looking for.

u/[deleted] · 7 pointsr/japan

Hmm, I wonder why it's not showing up in the thread... was it reported as spam or something? I'll repost it here then.

I'm going to assume that you're pretty serious about learning more about Japanese history/culture... these are pretty hefty books. I'm also listing them in (roughly) chronological order.

The Tale of the Heike -- It's required reading for all students in Japan and will give you a nice look at Japan's past (12th century). It should be required reading for all Japanese literature students, too. It's basically historical fiction gathered from a number of sources close to that time. There's a lot of history and a lot of embellishment.

Giving Up the Gun: Japan's Relationship to the Sword -- This book covers the creation and fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, but it focuses especially on (surprise, surprise!) the relationship Japan has with the sword (as opposed to the gun). The katana is almost a legendary weapon for a number of reasons, and this book is a good read because it looks at why Japan never really had the same epiphany Europe did with respect to warfare -- or at least, not in the same way.

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present -- I read this a few times and it's not a bad summary of how Japan changed over the years, though I'm not a huge fan of this book. The Tokugawa Shogunate lasted long enough that I feel that it deserves its own (series of) books, followed by one on the Meiji Restoration and another on the post-war period. Since it's all rolled up in one, this ends up being a dense Cliff Notes version of Japanese history. That having been said, though, this is not a bad book at all for what it is.

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II -- I'd probably consider this the definitive post-war Japan book. If you read only one book out of all of these, you should read this one.

Shift: Inside Nissan's Historic Revival -- I consider this a very important modern Japan book, even if you don't give a shit about cars. Japan has always been a very, very closed society and the corporations are no different. So when Carlos Ghosn came in and took over Nissan -- and turned it around -- it was a huge, huge thing. It still is, in many ways. If you want to read something about modern Japan being internationalized, this is one of the books to read.

Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan -- This is a pretty famous book for a lot of reasons. Jake Adelstein studied Japanese and became a reporter for the crime section of Yomiuri Shinbun, which is one of the largest newspapers in Japan. He wrote this book; it's filled with dramatization, self-aggrandization, and one-sided reporting, but it's still worth reading. Japan isn't the seamy mess of crime and slavery he makes it out to be, but it's not the technology and beautiful girl paradise a lot of other people want it to be either.

On the "fictional" side of things...

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword -- This was one of the seminal works on Japan, back during World War II. The problem is that there are so many bad assumptions and things that we now know are incorrect... but it was a seminal work for so long that it has really, really affected Western stereotypes of Japan. It's worth it just for that; not as a commentary on Japan itself, but as a critical reading of how the West did (and continues) to see Japan. Use it to focus your critical lens, so to speak.

u/maineblackbear · 5 pointsr/worldnews

John Dower has an excellent account of American patronage of Japanese comfort women (with full knowledge and approval of both US top brass as well as Japanese civilian authority). The reason? The comfort women's souls were already ruined, so lets keep using them instead of Americans wading into the general population with all its attendant consequences. Both American military and Japanese civilian authorities agreed with this exact line of reasoning.

u/laofmoonster · 5 pointsr/new_right

Excuse my ignorance, but what does this have to do with the subreddit? Not that it isn't interesting; I just finished Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II and recommend it.

u/Smoke_Me_When_i_Die · 3 pointsr/ShitLiberalsSay

John W. Dower explained this in-depth in Embracing Defeat. I didn't know about Douglas MacArthur's role in Japan after the war until I read this.

Also, the Wikipedia article even calls it the Occupation of Japan.

MacArthur was literally the Supreme Commander.

u/muzukashidesuyo · 3 pointsr/worldnews

I recommend reading "Embracing Defeat." It's really well done and goes into a lot of detail about what happened in Japan after the war.

u/When_Ducks_Attack · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

There's probably no better book on the occupation of Japan than Embracing Defeat by John Dower. Excellent, excellent book.

u/fotoford · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

John Dower's Embracing Defeat is about Japan and the US occupation in the years immediately following WW2.

u/fc3s · 2 pointsr/history

The Shame of the Cities by Lincoln Steffens. A muckraking book about urban corruption in the gilded age.

Embracing Defeat by John W. Dower. Insights into the American occupation of Post WWII Japan.

Homeward Bound by Elaine Tyler May. A close examination of American life during the Cold War era.

In Pharaoh's Army by Tobias Wolff. Absolutely fantastic first person account of the Vietnam War. Better even, than "The Things They Carried."

u/Ohtoko · 1 pointr/ColorizedHistory

That's true, but they've also embraced peace (even though it was imposed upon them). The book Embracing Defeat by John Dower is a very good read on this subject; especially the beginning of the book, which talks about the reversal in attitudes toward war and peace, since both the US and Japan needed to scapegoat the military regime as the culprits of aggression.

u/smokesteam · 1 pointr/Cyberpunk

> Looking at China's history, specifically it's occupation by the British Empire, and subsequently Hong Kong, I see their culture as fairly pliable.

By the time the British started doing British things in Asia, China was well on the way to becoming the failed state that lead to the conditions which made it easy for Imperial Japan to setup colonial operations. The more Chinese history I study and by this I mean reading their own and outside perspectives, the less pliable I see them in the long term.

>Now that's not fair, because I didn't say that ;)

Wasnt trying to put words in your mouth, just running with the idea and stating what I think is an important point. We cant be tricked into viewing all of humanity as a mirror of ourselves.

>If China can move through this stage, they'll come out ahead.

Since there has never in history been any movement in that culture away from what amounts to central governance by an all powerful state, and since historically this limits innovation, my money is not on them "moving through" but rather extending empire without cultural change. Their real challenge is a fight against internal collapse.

>If they can find or generate an issue to unify their citizenry under, they'll at least catch up to the western world, if not overtaking it.

So far all they got is jingoistic rhetoric & whipping up anger over past perceived injustice.

>The more history I take in, the more "full" the world feels. I get a sense of where things are coming from, and understand a context to events and places that I used to take for granted.

Thats the whole thing about people who dont understand the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

>If you don't mind my asking

American living here for almost 17 years. I have permanent resident status here but I wont ever go for citizenship. Came here on what was supposed to be a 3 month work assignment fully expecting to go back to NYC at the end. There's an old Yiddish saying: "Man plans and God laughs". Story of my life.

Just about all what you see in the Western media regarding Japan is exaggerated and at least a little if not a lot disingenuous. Life is hard for foreigners here because the local culture just never developed a real model of integrating immigrants. The entire social system is so different that if you didnt grow up in it you can never be fully part of it in many ways. It is so different that many Westerners just cant adjust themselves or their mental model of life vs the realities of life just cant align. I can explain how its hard for many to live here or tell you that things are different but honestly its not something you can understand without personal experience.

I guess politics here is like anywhere, especially anywhere with a parliamentary system, that is to say, a mess. When God was handing out stupid to the nations of Man, He certainly was equally generous to all and extra generous to the politicians. If you are curious or just want to read some true history that will surprise you, check Embracing Defeat about post war Japanese history.

u/NonsensicalRambling · 1 pointr/history

Hi, "Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II" deals with this very subject and talks about the five years immediately following the surrender. It is a fascinating book and won the Pulitzer. I read it in conjunction with "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945" that deals a bit more expansively with the same subject in Europe and also won the Pulitzer. I cannot recommend either enough.

u/TheRiddler78 · 1 pointr/samharris

B = "certain death" all things change, evolution is change over time. the universe is evolution, fighting to preserve a certain way of life is a doomed project. embrace change or succumb

the question is the wrong one.

A= fight to keep things as they are/where an ultimately fail

B= embrace a new way of life

u/ExOttoyuhr · 1 pointr/worldnews

If you haven't read Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of WWII yet, you might find it interesting -- an in-depth picture of how things changed after the war.

The most important take-aways, I thought, were that the elites failed the people badly; that the US occupation administration (SCAP) basically installed itself as a shogunate; and that the Japanese populace was horrified when it discovered all the atrocities that the authorities had covered up during the war. I'm sure you could name plenty of countries that don't feel any guilt at all about their past crimes; this sense of guilt is very much to the Japanese people's credit, and I think their timidity today probably has to do with fear of committing similar horrors again.