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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This happened even as a record number of women held positions in parliament. From part three on, we begin to see an increasingly dominant occupation force working with and through many of the Japanese right-wing elites purged at the very start. Women on the Verge: Nov 30, John rated it it was amazing.

Millions had died; millions were disabled, sick and starving; millions were stranded overseas facing reprisals; millions were missing including countless children; and millions were homeless, without family, without jobs, without anything.

After that, the book bogs down in detailing the high-political ironies of a “revolution imposed from above.

As it turns out the focus is even more narrow than I imagined, perhaps to the det With a trip to Japan on my horizon, I’ve wanted to bite off a few works of Japanese history first to get an appreciation for how the country came to be where it is. 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 forth.


Yoshida was from an old samurai family; had American contacts before the war, and after the defeat, was installed by the Allied Command as ‘rehabilitated’ and anti-Communist. The Japanese could not travel internationally. The contingencies of history‚Ķ. This led to the well-coordinated economic trajectory that took a decimated country to one that would dominate world markets with products from Toyota cars to Sony electronics.

Embracing Defeat

A very few foreigners were granted entry visa. The emperor had gone from god to mortal, from leader of a holy war to a symbol of doweg.

He shows how the post-war constitution was not simply a top down imposition of the ideals of United States constitutionalism onto Japan, but rather a process that allowed for suggestions and proposals from various groups of Japanese.

In dowre to authoring many books and articles about Japan and the United States in war and peace, he is a founder and codirector of the online defeeat Cultures” project established at MIT in and dedicated to the presentation of image-driven scholarship on East Asia in the modern world.

References to this book Women on the Verge: Similarly, I had a hard time bringing together the patriotism and sense of sacrifice of Japanese prostitutes with the playboy atmosphere that was embracing American cinema and pop music.

The book was a natural choice for the nonfiction Pulitzer in But it may also help to explain the rather uncritical embrace of fairly wooden sorts of Marxism in certain sectors of university life which emerged from this time. Back to 2 J.

This was an exercise in justice that some of the non-U. American-Pacific political and economic relations? The author provides a great deal of anecdotes that paint a sensational picture of what was happening, but unfortunately he provides no clue as to why it was happening.

In some ways I wonder if it is wrong to credit Dower for the success of this book.

Mar 31, J rated it did not like ebracing Shelves: Back to 1 H. This book is joun in scope and detail I’ve seldom used as many tags to describe a book: Yes, millions of rural folk participated in the war effort, but during the war, and afterward, relatively few came back The Japanese post-war recovery is all the more remarkable for knowing that the economy had to restart itself from almost nothing, and the American overlords were not much interested in rebuilding the country except to the extent that they could keep Communism at bay.


Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order. Dec 31, Refeat rated it it was amazing.

Embracing Defeat. Japan in the Wake of World War Two | Reviews in History

And the primary problem for most Japanese was food. The state in everyday life Princeton UP, The emperor symbolically leads the country; Japan stays completely demilitarized; peerage is abandoned and a parliamentary democratic system is established.

Open Preview See a Problem? The new Japanese leadership concurred in this strategy. 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.

Firstly, he investigates the ‘subcultures of defeat’. It was seen as a ‘breakwater’ against lust, disorder and disease.

Embracing Defeat

The shock, devastation, exhaustion and despair are unremittingly chronicled. With the rise of post-colonial studies, it also helps to shore up the victim mentality that drives much of eembracing recent rise in nationalist rhetoric. Sheldon Garon, Molding Japanese Minds.

Apr 04, Nooilforpacifists rated it it was amazing Shelves: But the irony takes a backseat to even-handed analysis, balanced reporting and a well-built foundation of impressively researched sources. In some senses it was. And a new urban demimonde channeled nihilism and hardship into lifestyles of deliberate decadence and a flourishing milieu of pulp literatures which posed forceful challenges to traditional social and sexual roles. To alleviate this deprivation, Mac Arthur and the US administrators did little; rather they focused on demilitarization, prosecuting war criminals and democratization.

But, Dower draws a more complex picture.