A representative cross-section of works by international scholars in Japanese history have been chosen here for their interpretative thrust and narrative clarity. The articles in this set present a rich variety of perspectives on this vital and controversial period in twentieth-century Japanese history. With a major new introduction by Stephen S. Large, the set provides a comprehensive guide for teachers and students of Showa Japan.
The Showa Period covers the reign of Emperor Hirohito (1926-1989), encompassing war and the destruction of the Japanese empire, the Occupation, recovery from the ruins of war and Japan's emergence as an economic superpower. Whereas historians have traditionally approached this question by splitting 'prewar' and 'postwar' Showa, with 1945 marking the beginning of a new era, the emphasis in this anthology is on long-term continuities which were decisive in shaping modern Japan. The readings address such crucial issues as:
* the nature of the imperial state
* why Japan embarked upon war early in the period
* the impact of the Occupation
* the dilemmas of Japanese democracy
* the social costs and international repercussions of exceptionalism
* Japan's evolving world role