An American friend once described the conflict between his desire to leave Japan and his inability to rouse himself to do so by saying that living here was akin to soaking in a warm bath. For many people, soaking in the nostalgia of the Showa Era is a little like that.

Writer and businessman Hans Brinckmann arrived in Japan in 1950 when the cinder of war still covered much of the country, but hope was beginning to stir. Brinckmann, who spent many rewarding, formative years here, readily admits to nostalgic yearnings for the period, to share many of the emotions of that generation of Japanese. Fortunately for us, Brinckmann keeps a cool head and a firm hand, producing a work of eminently readable journalism, but also of scholarly scope, an engaging mix of analysis and memoir.

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