The book Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering examines the perceptions of the critical events and moments of the Second World War. It covers the shared history between the Japanese and the Americans after the war. The events of the war would determine future relations between the U.S. and Japan.
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In chapter 9 of the book, John Dower discuses various ways that the people of Japan responded to defeat in the war. The author begins by explaining to the reader that the painful legacy of the war is widely discussed in Japan than anywhere else in the world.
In other societies and nations, people have always held debates and discussions about the Japanese and their defeat in the war but not as in the country1. The Japanese have also held various debates, views and opinions about the defeat in war.
The Second World War ended after the Japanese were defeated using atomic bombs. Following the attack, the Japanese surrendered thereby ending the atrocity. The first observation from Dower’s book is that the Japanese considered the defeat as a turning point in the country’s history.
The people of Japan considered some of the past events and wartime crimes committed by the Japanese over the past years as unpleasant and criminal2. For instance, majority of Japanese scholars and historians have constantly unearthed the dullest aspects of the past.
As a result, most of the bookstores in the country have books and publications dealing with most of the atrocities and criminal activities committed by their fathers. This has fueled the debate even further.
Following the defeat, the Japanese considered the event as a critical historic moment for the country. The country had positioned itself as a global superpower. The only way the Japanese could be defeated was through atomic bombs. The Japanese believed that they were strong and the reason it was time to end the war.
According to many people, the war would have continued for many years if the Americans did not use the atomic weapons3. Japan came out of the war as a superior nation. The author explains why the Americans have misused the defeat as a sign of superiority and power.
However, the Japanese refute the idea that the defeat weakened their society. The author describes the country as one of the politically monolithic societies in the world. Many people in the country have held different views and opinions about the war.
The defeat, according to the book, marked a new beginning for the Japanese to stop their atrocities and crimes against other societies. This has led to what can be termed as ‘postwar satire.’
This is characterized by humorous responses to the occupation and wartime failures. The leaders of Japan remained vaunted for years with the hope for a liberated Japanese society.
Just like the other people, the Japanese have held various decisions and ideas about the war and subsequent defeat. Some have considered the defeat as necessary because it led to new ideas and opinions towards economic development.
For very many years, the Japanese had committed several crimes and atrocities across the world. Many people considered the defeat as a form of punishment for the crimes and atrocities committed by the Japanese during the time. The defeat would mark a new beginning for the world and the country.
The Japanese have also considered the defeat as an event that affected the entire continent and not the country alone. The attack led to the deaths of many people including the Koreans and the Chinese.
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The author of the book has also highlighted that different historians and individuals have presented various opinions and ideas about the war. This has affected the presentation of the historical event to various groups across the world.
However, the author also indicates that some Japanese believed that it was the time for them to pay for their crimes4. The defeat was a form of punishment for the atrocities and crimes committed.
The people have also showed remorse and sympathy to the victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The people considered the war and its outcomes as the greatest punishment against the Japanese. Many people including forced laborers and foreigners died in massive numbers alongside the people of Japanese.
The attack would affect the future of the country. The survivors of the attack recorded various health complications and problems. Many people in the country argued that the postwar period characterized the fall of the Japanese empire.
In the book, Dower has emphasized the unique role of the Americans in reshaping future political decisions and relations with different countries across the world. This explains why some Japanese indicate that the defeat meant that Japan was no longer a powerful nation5.
This means that there was the need to have new policies and political structures if the country was to survive the postwar period.
The author has clearly explained the views and opinions of the Japanese people following the defeat. Just like the other people across the world, the Japanese have held various views about the war and use of atomic weapons.
Dower, John. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern. New York: New Press, 2012.
1 John Dower. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern. (New York: New Press, 2012), 234.
2 John Dower. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern., 236.
3 John Dower. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern. (New York: New Press, 2012), 235.
4 John Dower. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern. (New York: New Press, 2012), 234.
5 John Dower. Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern., 237.