The “Harp of Burma” by Michio Takeya is a novel that focuses on the experiences of Japanese soldiers during the Second World War. The soldiers established a company and trained themselves on how to sing based on their experience during the Second World War (Takeyama, 36).
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The act of singing about the soldiers’ experiences during the time of war in Burma made them very famous among the Japanese.
Also, the soldiers trained themselves on how make music instruments and use them to make their music increasingly fascinating (Takeyama, Michio and Richard, 66).
On the contrary, “In the realm of dying emperor” is an insightful book written by a Japanese scholar who reveals the tribulations that the Japanese people were undergoing during the reign of Emperor Hirohito.
The book focuses on the past Japanese relationship during the time of Emperor Hirohito who died in 1989. This book tends to reveal the hidden tribulations that were experienced during the Hirohito regime.
For example, the book reveals how the owner of a supermarket set the national flag on fire. The book further reveals how the mayor of Nagasaki risked his dear life by revealing how Emperor Hirohito contributed to the emergence of the Second World War (Field, 68).
The book reveals the dissatisfactions of the citizens during the reign of Emperor Hirohito. The novel further reveals about a newspaper that published misleading information to the members of the public on how effective Emperor Hirohito ruled.
The misleading information in the newspaper was aimed at preventing the exposure of Japan to the acts of terrorist attacks (Field, 68). Therefore, this comparative book review focuses on the comparison between the “Harp of Burma” and “In the realm of dying emperor”.
Comparison between Harp of Burma verses in the realm of dying emperor
The two books mainly talk of the Second World War and the impact of this war on Japan. The books explain the mode of leadership in Japan during the Second World War.
The book “In the realm of dying emperor” tries to put forth the significance of the death of Emperor Hirohito who died of cancer. The book is written by Norma Field who is a professor of East Asian languages and civilization at the University of Chicago.
The author shows the importance of the death of Emperor Hirohito to Japanese history, as well as the importance of his presence prior and after the Second World War (Field, 68).
The book is meant for individuals who harbor the interest of knowing the state or condition of Japan in the Second World War period.
The book further provides significant bases for students who want to know the history of Japan in the time of the Second World War period. The book “In the Realm of dying emperor” discusses the tension that was being experienced in Japan during the Second World War.
In this book, Norma Field uses some case examples to substantiate his arguments on the strictness of the Emperor leadership (Field, 110).
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The author depicts the case of a supermarket owner called Chibana Shoichi who set the Japanese national flag on fire. Norma Field used this case to show the dissatisfactions and frustrations of the Japanese citizens regarding the Emperor’s leadership.
In addition, Norma Field used the case of a Nakaya Yasuko who was against her husband’s recruitment into the Japanese self defense force. It was believed that when a soldier dies, he became a defense sprit that defended the empire.
Field used this case to demonstrate how the Japanese leadership violated personal wishes, as well as the constitution by failing to separate religious and state rules (Field, 122).
In his book, Norma Field used the case of the mayor of Nagasaki called Motorhome Hitoshi. The mayor tried to tell the public how Emperor Hirohito contributed to the Second World War.
Motorhome was highly condemned and almost killed by the Japanese officials for mentioning that Emperor Hirohito was involved in the emergence of the Second World War.
Norma Field used this book to demonstrate how citizens were denied freedom of expression (Field, 271).
On the contrary, “the Harp of Burma” by Machio Takeyama tries to show the state or condition of Japan during the Second World War. The book tries to show that, Japanese soldiers were people like any other, and they had feelings.
The book tries to show how that the Japanese soldiers valued peace to the extent of starting to make music instruments. They used those instruments when singing their songs to communicate their experiences during the Second World War (Takeyama, 126).
The book explains how corporal Mizushima tried to persuade the Japanese unit to surrender to the British forces during the war. This happens after corporal Mizushima realized that one of his soldiers whom they considered as a symbol for good luck was missing.
The missing of this solder gave corporal Mizushima’s soldiers a great understanding of the meaning of faithfulness during the time of war. The books explain how the Japanese soldiers perished under the British soldiers (Takeyama and Richard, 112).
The book further explores a sequence of scenes on the experience of Japanese solders during the war. The book expresses how the Japanese solders composed the songs to boast about their morale.
The book employs a number of well organized and distinguished characters. These characters try to bring forth how people behave when their country is experiencing the tension of being destroyed.
The book continues to explore and ask questions on whether human beings can terminate the lives of their fellow human beings once their humanity has being disclosed. Additionally, the book asks questions on whether the war is inherent to materialistic nation (Takeyama and Richard, 97).
Initially, for the Japanese scholar who wrote this book in Germany literature, his intended audience was children.
The book further explains the remorseful feeling of the scholar who sent students to the battlefield in Burma and China. During the Second World War, the students were reported to have perished after being invaded (Takeyama, 112).
The book was written to cover events of the Second World War in Japan. The intended audiences were high school students who were to be given the hope of reconstructing the destroyed Japanese empire under the leadership of emperor Mizushima.
The book can be essential while studying some courses in the university and colleges. The book further explains how the Japanese soldiers had a great desire of going back to their homes to meet their people (Takeyama and Richard, 114).
Therefore, it can be noted that the two books focused on the Second World War period.
Contrast between Harp of Burma and in the realm of dying emperor
Despite the two books having a correlation, they may be contrasted based on their content, authors, and their prices in the market among other aspects. The “Harp of Burma” is a book written by Michio Tekeyama, and was published by Tuttle publishers in 1993.
The book focuses on the state of affairs in Japan prior to and after the Second World War (Takeyama and Richard, 6). The book focuses on the plight of solders and how they were brutally killed by the British in Burma.
On the contrary, “In the realm of dying emperor”, is a book written by Norma Field and was published by Vintage press, and later translated in 2001 by Howard Hibbert. The book focuses on the state or conditions prior and after the Second World War (Field, 22).
The book explains the tension that the Japanese people were going through under the leadership of Emperor Hirohito. During the war, soldiers were recruited into military even without their consent.
The book further reveals the plight of citizens in Japan, and how they were mistreated by the government officials when they tried to air their grievances (Field, 110). There are cases where people were subjected to harassment and torture like the case of the mayor.
The content of the two books provides a significant contrast between them. The “Harp of Burma” also differs from “In the realm of dying emperor” in the sense that, the book serves two purposes.
The purpose of dialogue is expounded when the Japanese military leader, captain Mizushuima, tried to convince his solders not to continue with the war and go back to home.
The soldier responded by arguing that if they went back, it would be regarded as betrayal to other soldiers who had died in the war. In the dialogue, the soldiers strongly assert that they better perish in Burma like heroes rather than surrender to the British soldiers.
However, through this dialogue, captain Mizushuima was able to convince the soldiers to surrender (Field, 121). The books also serve the purpose of monologue whereby Mizushuima is talking to himself.
Mizushuima says that he cannot conceptualize the meaning of suffering. He took the bodies of the dead soldiers and buried them, and later he was converted to become a Buddhists priest (Field, 124).
On the contrary, the book “In the Realm of dying emperor” serves the purpose of explaining how important the death of Hirohito was to the people of Japan.
This is because people were not happy with his leadership since they were forcefully recruited into the military. The people were also subjected to harassment by his government officials. His death signifies a positive transformation of the ruined economy (Takeyama, 114).
It was anticipated that people will enjoy freedom under the new leadership, and this was the case. Additionally, the two books differ in terms of their market prices.
It can be observed that the book “Harp of Burma” is currently costing, eleven dollars and forty seven cents. On the other hand, the book “In the realm of dying emperor” is costing twelve dollars and forty eight cents.
This indicates that the book “In the realm of dying emperor” is more expensive than the “Harp of Burma”. The books also differ in terms of volume. The book “In the realm of dying emperor” contains 372 pages and is divided into various sections.
The sections discuss the tribulations that the citizens of Japan went through under the leadership of Emperor Hirohito and his administration (Field, 112).
On the other hand, the “Harp of Burma” contains 132 pages and is divided into sections that provide readers with vital information for understanding the brutality that the Japanese solders experienced under the British soldiers.
Towards the end of the Second World War, corporal Mizushima is trying to convince his soldiers to surrender to the British soldiers. Though the soldiers were unwilling to accept, they finally heeded to their leader’s counsel (Takeyama, 128).
The comparative book review of the two books provides a sufficient background for understanding the condition in Japan prior to and immediately after the Second World War. Through the entire review, it can be observe that there is a significant correlation between the contents of the two books.
On the basis of the review, the tribulations that the Japanese soldiers were undergoing during the Second World War have been exposed. Japanese solders were brutally murdered by the British soldiers in Burma and China during the Second World War.
Even after being murdered, the soldiers continued with the war. They even composed some war songs that boosted their morale.
In his book “In the realm of dying emperor”, Norma Field provided some solid evidence to substantiate his assertions on the dissatisfactions and frustrations the Japanese citizens were undergoing during Emperor Hirohito’s regime.
On the contrary, Machio Tekeya in the book “Harp of Burma” tries to express how the Japanese soldiers turned to be peace loving people after the war in Burma.
The book further shows how the remnant soldiers longed to return home and meet their loved ones. Therefore, the two books remain important to the Japanese history even today.
Field, Norma. In the Realm of a Dying Emperor. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. Print.
Takeyama, Michio. Harp of Burma. Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1996, Print.
Takeyama, Michio and R.H. Minear. The Scars of War: Tokyo During World War II: Writings of Takeyama Michio. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Print.