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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Sep 03, Emmanuel Gustin rated it really liked it Shelves: And mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was less successful than the previous takeovers—at the outset Japan thought it would conquer China in three months, but the war was still going on in Mar 21, Amanda rated it liked it Shelves: Since that was the U. The United States was a stumbling block on their plans. Honestly facing defeat and assessing its causes are difficult for any country. We all know the results of that attack, but there is some disagreement over whether the war needed to happen.

For this reason, Japanese leaders would rarely challenge superiors. Japan relied heavily on imports of strategic materials. If they agreed to meet with Konoe without any conditions, everything would go their way.

Book review: ‘Japan Countdown to Infamy,’ by Eri Hotta | Books | Dallas News

Even Tojo Hideki saw a war with the United States would be painful — yet did little to stop it. They say he manipulated things to force Japan to start a war with the U. Tensions with the U. But he didn’t, and so came the famous order “Climb Mount Niitaka” – meaning, attack.

You can’t help but get the feeling that these men simply had no tangible cluntdown, but felt an incredible urge to do something. Writing style left much to be desired for me. Apr 22, Rich Saskal rated it really liked it. The Japanese government did not deliver a declaration of war to Washington on Dec. The structurally flawed political and military institutions are laid bare as government, military and the navy failed to communicate and jzpan a course for war despite Japan’s limited capabilities.


The book puts into perspective Japanese culture and politics in the years and months leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Even though there were some infa,y circumstances that led Japan to this decision, there were also numerous circumstances that can be found in some current nations and that lend credence to the saying “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” George Santayana.

I started reading this inamy in February and had to leave it behind during a trip to Asia. The rest is history.

Arrogance and rationalization was prominent in the U. What this book does is to show that such a momentous decision was not arrived in a clinical and logical fashion, rather readers of this book would not help noticing how illo Those who are interested in understanding of the events that led to Japan’s fateful decision to attack Pearl Harbor will find this book an important one to read.

However, once a consensus was reached, no matter how convoluted the decision making process and delusionary some of the ideas of policy makers were it was almost impossible to alter or change the course toward war.

Roles are recast and blame reexamined as Hotta analyzes the actions and motivations of the hawks and skeptics among Japan’s elite. Emperor Hirohito and General Hideki Tojo are newly appraised as we discover how the two men fumbled for a way to avoid war before finally acceding to it.

One of her main points is that the war was a disaster for Japan, mostly its citizens. This was ignored in internal discussions. World opinion was increasingly hostile. The nation had been wracked by civil conflict. Hotta peels back seventy years of historical mythologizing–both Japanese and Western–to expose all-too-human Japanese leaders torn by doubt in the months preceding the attack, more concerned with saving face than saving lives, finally drawn into war as much by incompetence and lack of political will as by bellicosity.

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

This book is, oddly enough, is a strong argument for well-formulated constitutional law. The details of this book are fascinating if you have any interest in the mistakes that people and countries make. Of course there were other options. Even as Japanese diplomats continued to negotiate with the Roosevelt administration, Matsuoka Yosuke, the egomaniacal foreign minister who relished paying court to both Stalin and Hitler, and his facile supporters cemented Japan’s place in the fascist alliance with Germany and Italy–unaware or unconcerned that in so doing they destroyed the nation’s bona fides with the West.


It is a very well-written and researched book.

Don’t miss a story. Jan 09, Jake rated it it was amazing. He saw no contradiction in signing the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy and yet trying to convince the U. Japan continued its attempts to dominate China in by precipitating an attack that justified an invasion. Even though there were several leaders who felt strongly that war with the U.

It is hard to say. Hotta dismisses that argument, laying the fault in the laps of Japanese civilian governmental leaders who failed to confront the militarists when they insisted on a deadline to go to war. But the document did start a round of negotiations about negotiating that ended with the Pearl Harbor attack.

Hotta depicts all of this masterfully. She details the ti clamor for war from the middle and lower echelons of Japanese leadership. In jpan end The west has long been obsessed with Nazi Germany and its lessons.

Japan Countdown Infamy, Dec 5 | Video |

View all 11 comments. Jul 17, Richard rated it it was amazing Shelves: Those who are interested in understanding of the events that led to Japan’s fateful decision to attack Pearl Harbor will find this book an important one to read. In the end, pride, scarce resources, blunders, and resentment with the west slowly drove Japan to war.