Trained since childhood to lead his nation as a living deity, Japan's Emperor Hirohito cultivated the image of a reluctant, detached monarch, a façade which masked a fierce cunning and powerful ambition. Historian Herbert P. Bix has unearthed hundreds of previously untapped documents, including the unpublished letters and dairies of members of Hirohito's royal court, tracing the key events of his 63-year reign (1926-1989), and shedding light on his uniquely active yet self-effacing stewardship. Debunking the common image of Hirohito as a pawn in the hands of the military, Bix exposes the emperor's personal involvement in every stage of the Pacific War. With rare insight, he shows how Hirohito avoided punishment of his nation's defeat and how the Japanese people have struggled to come to terms with this dark chapter in their history. Written in rich and vivid detail, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan brings new clarity to the impact this enigmatic figure has had on Japan and its place on the world stage.
A stunning portrait of the controversial Japanese emperor. . . . Bix gives a meticulous account of his subject, delivers measured judgments about his accomplishments and failures, and reveals the subtlety of the emperor's character. . . . This is political biography at its most compelling.