THE VICTIM AS HERO: Ideologies of Peace and National Identity in Postwar Japan, by James J. Orr. University of Hawaii Press, 2001, 271 pp., $22.95 (paperback).

Putting an entire nation on the couch is always a hazardous enterprise. Nonetheless, Orr makes a powerful argument. Postwar history seems to bear out his claim that Japan honors its victims as much as it honors its heroes. Indeed, during the last half-century groups have competed to be labeled victims to ensure special political status. For Japan, the victim is a hero.

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