Origins of the Pacific War and the Importance of 'Magic'  book cover
1st Edition

Origins of the Pacific War and the Importance of 'Magic'

ISBN 9780415489980
Published December 15, 2008 by Routledge
504 Pages

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Book Description

Argues that in the final phase of the eight months of US-Japan talks leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor, serious mistranslations in Magic (the US decoding system) were a significant factor in the cumulative effect of mutual misunderstandings which grew between the two sides.



Keiichiro Komatsu was born in Tokyo but spent his early years in Germany at the local kindergarten, before returning to Japan to enter primary school at which point he began learning Japanese and went on to complete his education. Subsequently he spent ten years working for a Japanese financial institution in Tokyo and then New York dealing with small and medium-sized enterprises. This was followed by research work at the University of Oxford where he was granted a D.Phil in International Relations. He has since returned to the business world specialising in the field of international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), currently based in London. He is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affiars, Chatham House, London.


'Komatsu provides the reader with a detailed analysis of both the original Japanese Foreign Ministry telegrams and the American 'Magic' material. an interesting and original interpretation raising important questions not only about the events of 1941 but also about the general role of translation in intelligence work. it is refreshing to see a study of intelligence that deals not with the ninutiae of secret service politics but rather concentrates on how intelligence shapes perception.' - Anthony Best, Asian Affairs