‘Hiroko Sherwin makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Japan’s wartime experience and its aftermath. Using the testimony of war veterans and people whose lives were shaped by the war, she gives voice to those who bear witness to one of the dark chapters of history. For anyone concerned with the nature and future of human conflict, this gripping and challenging book will be essential reading’
John Gray, London School of Economics
Hiroko Sherwin was eight when Japan finally surrendered shortly after the dropping of the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. She herself narrowly avoided death when her town was bombarded by American B-29 bombers in the course of Japan’s epic fifteen-year wars, resulting in her country’s devastation.
Much, much later she returned to her homeland to interview an assortment of survivors, to hear their memories of the conflicts and the aftermath. All are harrowing and often painful. More importantly, perhaps, she faces the legacy of post-war Japan’s carefully staged recreation of its militaristic past, the consequences of recovery and the possibility of present generation Japanese politicians keen to play a more aggressive role in the modern world.
It is one thing to reflect on the dark side of history by myself and quite another to translate the soldiers’ words into English and expose an ugly part of my country’s history to the wider world…