Japan at War

An Oral History

A timely fifteenth anniversary reissue of a “deeply moving book” (Studs Terkel) that portrays the Japanese experience during World War II in all its complexity

“Powerful, hideous and remarkably candid recollections by Japanese veterans [that] confirm the worst allegations of American wartime propaganda.” —The New York Times Book Review

Following the release of Clint Eastwood’s epic film Letters from Iwo Jima, which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, there has been a renewed fascination and interest in the Japanese perspective on World War II. This pathbreaking work of oral history is the first book ever to capture—in either Japanese or English—the experience of ordinary Japanese people during the war.

In a sweeping panorama, Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook take us from the Japanese attacks on China in the 1930s to the Japanese home front during the inhuman raids on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, offering the first glimpses of how the twentieth century’s most deadly conflict affected the lives of the Japanese population. The book “seeks out the true feelings of the wartime generation [and] illuminates the contradictions between the official views of the war and living testimony” (Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan).

Japan at War is a book to which Americans and Japanese will continue to turn for decades to come. With more than 30,000 copies sold to date, this edition features an updated cover designed to appeal to a new generation of readers.

Praise

“One of the essential books about World War II.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Hereafter no one will be able to think, write, or teach about the Pacific War without reference to [the Cooks’] work.”
—Marius B. Jansen, Princeton University
“Informed, nuanced, manysided, vivid—an impressive achievement.”
—Ezra F. Vogel, Harvard University
“The stories recorded in Japan at War provide insight into the confounding complexity of extreme human behavior during the war.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Oral history of a compellingly high order.”
Kirkus Reviews