Tales By Japanese Soldiers (CASSELL MILITARY TRADE BOOKS) Hardcover – 9 Nov 2000
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An absolutely unique book, this is the Second World War in Burma as seen through the eyes of ordinary Japanese soldiers
About the Author
Dr Kazuo Tamayama is secretary of the Japan-British Society, is actively involved in the reconciliation of the Japanese and British peoples, and was awarded an honorary MBE in 1998. John Nunneley fought the Japanese in Burma, and was wounded in 1944. He is chairman of the Burma Campaign Fellowship Group, which exists to promote British-Japanese friendship.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Japanese are famously reticent about the detail of their involvement in the Second World War. Now, for the first time, 62 personal accounts by private soldiers, non-commissioned officers and junior officers tell how they lived, fought, and died, in that merciless conflict from which only 118,352 of an army of 305,501 returned home.
Much of the material has been selected from recollections preserved in regimental histories, the closely-guarded, restricted records of the All-Burma Veterans Association of Japan, private papers, personal memoirs and interviews. No similar volume has ever before been published, either in Japanese or English.
Make no mistake. These are straightforward, unvarnished accounts, often stark and shocking, often intensely moving, by infantrymen, gunners, engineers, medics, navy men, pilots. They reveal, also, astonishing contrasts in human behaviour on the battlefield: of naked, adrenaline-fuelled savagery - and tears of compassion for the dying enemy soldier. Remarkably, there is ungrudging admiration for 'The Great British Empire' they were fighting to destroy.
They tell, almost casually, of that routine reckless bravery which soldiers of the Allied Forces witnessed again and again and could scarcely comprehend. Of unquestioned readiness to die a glorious death for their country - and deep melancholy at its imminent prospect. 'We cut our nails and hair, wrapped them in paper and sent them to the rear in case our bones were not recovered to be sent home for consecration at the Yasukuni Shrine.Read more ›
Japanese soldiers and officers who fought during that conflict were labelled by political propaganda as merciless, savage killers with a complete disregard for human life. The Japanese troops were made out to be monsters and that point of view is still held by many people today, largely because of the terrible way the Japanese treated Prisoners of War. No book has ever really tried to paint the Japanese during the war as ordinary soldiers and human beings with the same fear and vulnerabilities as everyone else
The book is very informative of Japanese tactics, movements and use of aircraft and mountain guns as support during combat and of the high regard the Japanese had of bayonet charges (a morbidly facinating fighting technique). The book also covers the fear and shame some soldiers felt at being wounded or pinned down by enemy fire and therefore unable to continue fighting. Also there genuinely seemed to be very little fear of dying, whether this was bravado or genuine courage is sometimes hard to tell but I think on the whole the soliders seemed to feel that if it was necessary for them to die for the betterment of Japan then they were ok with it. I was surprised to read that alot of Burmese people were pro-Japanese and supported the Japanese forces in Burma. It amused me in some strange way to read that the Japanese soldiers seemed more frightened of cholera than British soldiers!
I was however disappointed with a seeming lack of human emotion from the Japanese.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A truly gripping account of the brutal war in Burma, page after page of warfare at the sharp end.
Forget everything you have read about the Japanese being automaton... Read more
It is a present for my husband which he is currently enjoying so it was a good choice for himPublished on 11 Nov. 2013 by diane knight
it's a different aproach to history on a individual basis. the reports are compelling and not ambivalent. one has the perspective of a war.Published on 13 Feb. 2013 by maria joao canotilho
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- Books > History > Countries & Regions > Asia > East Asia > Japan
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- Books > History > World History > World War II 1939-1945 > Battles & Campaigns > Burma
- Books > History > World History > World War II 1939-1945 > Origins