It’s often said, “history is written by the victors,” and this only half true. While the narrative of World War II is definitely constructed from the Allied lens, this does not mean that the vanquished were unable to tell their stories. German officers and soldiers pumped out volumes of memoirs during the postwar years, many of which were consumed voraciously by readers in America and Britain. Japanese memoirs were more sparse, at least regarding translations that made it to the West. One notable exception was Masanobu Tsuji’s memoir Japan’s Greatest Victory, Britain’s Worst Defeat.
Japanese Destroyer Captain is the postwar memoir of Tameichi Hara, a Japanese Navy officer who earned the nickname the “Miracle Captain.” He is one of the only Japanese captains to have survived the entire Pacific War from its beginning in 1941 to its end in 1945. Of the 175 destroyers the Imperial Navy possessed during World War II, 129 were sunk.
The years of 1931-32 were a turning point in Japanese history, typified by military coups, invasions, and political assassinations. Although this era only gets a few sentences in English language history books, the specific details of three events – the October Incident, the Blood Brotherhood Incident, and the 5-15 Incident – are fascinating in their own right and read like a thriller novel. I’ve taken information from various sources to create a thoroughly researched and detailed account of these events that changed the course of Japan.
I am often asked if the musical references and songs that I include in the Reiko Watanabe/Inspector Aizawa series are real. Well, the answer is ‘yes’ and I have the reciepts to prove it. [Read more…] about Japanese Songs from the 1930s – Music of the Reiko/Aizawa Series
China Dawn by Robert L. Duncan is a historical epic novel from 1988, spanning the years of 1931 to 1981, moving through various locations, from Tokyo to Shanghai, to Manchukuo, to Singapore, to Paris.
Japanese cinema has never gained widespread acceptance in the West, save for Godzilla and Kurosawa films. But those are only a tiny pinprick of Japanese films, which cover all genres, including war. Aside from Tora Tora Tora and Letter From Iwo Jima, there haven’t been many movies that show war from a Japanese perspective that have gained traction in the West. I’d like to change that with 5 Japanese war movie recommendations.
1931 was an important year in Japanese history. Casual research of this era will have a brief overview of the invasion of Manchuria in September, and vague references to a coup d’état which put the Army in charge. In truth, there was no armed coup d’état in 1931, at least none that were successful. However, the March Incident (Sangatsu Jiken 三月事件) came close.