A partisan viewpoint – Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War

Kawamura attempts in this 2015 book to exonerate Hirohito from any form of culpability for the war waged by the Japanese government against China, the British in Burma, Malaya and Singapore, Philippines and the United States.

It is a valiant attempt but the evidence presented is far from convincing. Relying on high principle like ” Emperor Hirohito emerges as a conflicted man who struggled throughout the war to deal with the undefined powers bestowed upon him as a monarch, often juggling the contradictory positions and irrevocable differences advocated by his subordinates” Kawamura argues that Hirohito could not stop Japan from going to war.

But such theoretical reasoning ignores the elephant in the room. Why is there no written record of Hirohito opposing clearly the war on the several countries mentioned above? Why from the Mukden Incident in 1931 to 1945 for such a long period there is no record of Hirohito opposing war? Why from the end of the war to his death in 1989 he remained publicly silent about his responsibility for Japan ‘s war? (p 13). One finishes this book with these unanswered doubts.

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