Japanese Reflections on World War II and the American Occupation

by Edgar A. Porter, Ran Ying Porter and Edgar A. Porter
Asian History
Amsterdam University Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-90-485-3263-6, Paper: 978-94-6298-973-3, Cloth: 978-94-6298-259-8

This book presents an unforgettably honest account of the effects of World War II and the ensuing American occupation in Japan’s Oita prefecture, from the perspective of the Japanese citizens who experienced it. Through harrowing firsthand accounts from more than forty Japanese men and women who lived in the region, we get a strikingly detailed picture of the dreadful experiences of wartime life in Japan. The interviewees are wide-ranging and include students, housewives, nurses, teachers, journalists, soldiers, sailors, Kamikaze pilots, and munitions factory workers. And their collective stories range from early, spirited support for the war on to more reflective later views in the wake of the devastating losses of friends and family members to air raids, and finally into periods of hunger and fear of the American occupiers. Detailed archival materials buttress the personal accounts, and the result is an unprecedented picture of the war as felt in a single region of Japan.

Edgar A. Porter is professor emeritus in the College of Asian Pacific Studies at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu, Japan. Ran Ying Porter is a writer, and her most recent novel is Black Dragon River.

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