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Includes a bibliography for further reading
Includes a table of contents
The American occupation of Japan holds a singular and problematic place in the histories both of Japan and of American foreign policy. For the Japanese, the occupation marked the transition from war to peace, from authoritarianism to democracy, and from privation to plenty, making it a passage from one of the darkest chapters in Japanese history to one of the brightest. Nevertheless, the significance of that passage was fraught with ambiguities; after all, Japan did not win its new democracy through revolution from below in the form of a popular indigenous movement pressing for increased rights and a more open, inclusive politics. Instead, Japanese democracy came as a revolution from above, a system imposed wholesale and virtually without consultation by an occupying army whose Supreme Allied Commander General Douglas MacArthur wielded power as absolute and unchecked as any emperor.
Many critics at the time and since have worried that the political system established by the occupation was thus somehow hollow, a thin veneer of participatory democracy resting uncomfortably atop a deeply conservative and hierarchical culture, symbolized above all by the continuing presence of an emperor. Others have argued that the contradictions of a radical democratic revolution from above are real but irrelevant. Presented for the first time with open space for genuine political speech and action, ordinary Japanese seized the opportunity to exercise agency over the course of their own lives, pulling Japan in directions that neither the old Japanese political elite nor the new American occupation authorities had foreseen.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By I-Lin on 05-04-16
What did you love best about The Postwar Occupation of Japan?
The book had its own perspective of the war and the details it explained.
What did you like best about this story?
I liked the details in the story and how they described certain things making it easy to understand especially for someone who is learning English as a second language.
What about Tim Welch’s performance did you like?
I liked how Tim Welch adding emotion in the reading making it easier to feel what the situation was like.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
The war in our perspective.
Any additional comments?
This was a great learning experience for me. The audio allowed me to understand it easier and it was easy to follow along.