During the Second World War the Japanese were stereotyped in the European and American imagination as fanatical, cruel and almost inhuman. This view is unhistorical and simplistic. It fails to recognise that the Japanese were acting at a time of supreme national crisis and it fails to take account of their own historical tradition. The essays in Japanese Prisoners of War, by both Western and Japanese scholars, explore the question from a balanced viewpoint, looking at it in the light of longer-term influences, notably the Japanese attempt to establish themselves as an honorary white race. The book also addresses the other side of the question, looking at the treatment of Japanese prisoners in Allied captivity.
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Philip Towle is a former Director of the Centre for International Studies at the University of Cambridge.Review:
“Where the Japanese troops are facing hardships ... there is no need to pamper POWs.” ―General Hideki Tojo
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