A Japanese historian examines why Japan went to war. Alfred A. Knopf, , pages When Japan attacked the United States in Japan Countdown to Infamy. By Eri Hotta. pp. Alfred A. Knopf, $ Why did Japan start a war its top leaders knew it had. In Japan Countdown to Infamy, Japanese author Eri Hotta attempted to discuss this question via use of newly revealed information from.

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The author is very critical of the entire political structure and of the military.

The Japanese government did not deliver a declaration of war to Washington on Dec. This is a tale that is less tragic than it is stupefying.

Outside the most die-hard believers in nationalist ideology, nobody believed Japan would emerge victorious over the combined efforts of the Allies, nor did they believe Germany could effectively aid Japan in this effort.

Extremely hard and dry book to get through. We see a dysfunctional political system in which military leaders reported to both the civilian government and the emperor, creating a structure that facilitated intrigues and stoked a jingoistic rivalry between Japan’s army and navy.

Lists with This Book. The attempts to talk about Japanese society at the time are clumsy next to her detailed accounts of cabinet meetings. View all 11 comments.

Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

There are a few errors; for example the author seems to have relied too much on the debunked works of Mitsuo Fushida as a source. So, at the end of all the greed, fear, insecurity, obtuseness, and aggression we are left with japann of dead, destroyed cities, a terrible, new weapon, and a country that still refuses to accept full responsibility for its actions.

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Japanese Culture and Language Hotta argues that the Japanese culture and language was insufficient to the task of clear decision-making in situations of conflict. Buttressed by diligent research, keen analysis, and fine writing, Hotta drives home her succinctly stated central thesis: Yet, Japan could not pull out of China without being dishonored, nor accept the demands of America.


A groundbreaking history that considers the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective infam is certain to revolutionize how japann think of the war in the Pacific. It was seen by Japanese leaders as a provocation and a disgrace as they felt they were being bullied and humiliated. They were convinced that Germany would too the war in Europe and would neutralize the United States.

Book Review: Japan Countdown to Infamy , by Eri Hotta – Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Japan’s incapability to wage long term war against the US inspired Admiral Yamamoto’s tactically brilliant but somewhat poorly executed attack on Pear Harbor. K, gives the other side of the story.

The last point I wanted to mention was the drive to consensus. In addition, there was the very common sunk cost argument for continuing war: In January, he casually dismissed the prospect of a strong American response to a Japanese advance into Southern Indochina, and followed this in April by signing a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union.

I came away with a much greater understanding of why Japan decided to launch the sneak attack and go to war with the United States in Read the book to learn more — among other things I learned how bad a position Japan had put itself through the military quagmire it created for its This book is, oddly enough, is a strong argument for well-formulated constitutional law.

They were too aware of Japan’s limited resources and were convinced that the country would be annihilated in the end. Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto is known for his prophetic comments about victory being highly improbable: But because of delays in decoding and typing by the Japanese embassy, the message was actually delivered about an hour and 20 minutes after the attack began. Young Japanese military men especially believed that Japan was better than any other East Asian nation and that they had a divine right to exercise control over those nations.

I thought the book was a little hard to read because of the details on what appeared to be everyone who had anything to do with starting the war. Most importantly, the author, born in Tokyo and educated in Japan and the U.


One of the best history books I have read this year. Open Preview See a Problem? Decision involved preliminary bargaining interaction with a complex administrative structure.

Japan Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta

The author used the concept of Honne to Tatemae to throw some light on these behaviours. Japan’s motivation to go to war with the US was based on the trade sanctions that the US placed on Japan because of their continued escalation of their wars of aggression with China and French Indo-China; these sanctions the US cut off petroleum and steel exports to Japan were impacting both Japan’s economy and their war effort. The author’s constant jumping back and forth in time from the s to the s, made it more countdwn than it should have been to keep track of the players and events.

Then why, oh why, these rough winds and waves? Also, the need to keep face meant that the Japanese people were kept in the dark about their leaders’ failures for years during the war.

The book is a thorough, exhaustive analysis of Japan’s political, military, and social conditions leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. So how did they make the decision to go to war, a decision that every thinking person knew beforehand, not just with historical hindsight, would prove to be disastrous? Japan’s leaders were taking on the war quite irresponsibly, like gambling. But eventually the U.

Book review: ‘Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy,’ by Eri Hotta

In addition, an introductory chapter covering the structure and culture of the imperial Japanese government would be useful. They thought it would help them against the encroachment of Russia USSR on their mainland and island possessions.

It is hard to say.