Sunday, May 7, 2017

In the Realm of a Dying Emperor by Norma Field

Written in the early 1990s, In the Realm of a Dying Emperor: Japan at Century's End offers a glimpse of Japan at a unique time - the passing of the Showa Emperor in the midst of Japan’s economic boom.

This is the story of the courage of a few people who challenged the standard line that the dying Emperor should be seen as free or any guilt for what happened in the Second World War. 

Field tells this story through three unique personalities - a grocery store owner from Okinawa, a widow, and the mayor of Nagasaki. Each of these stories captures the challenges and benefits of squarely facing off against the past — and the pressure to see it only one way.

I read this just after finishing Hirohito And The Making Of Modern Japan, an historical look at the Showa Emperor's reign and the efforts after the war to sanitize his record. In the Realm is the human side of the story.

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