Donald Keene, the foremost scholar of Japanese literature, mines the wartime diaries kept by some of the most prominent writers and intellectuals of the day in a book brimming with insights. Readers discover a gold mine of personal observations that deepen our understanding of what life was like when the militarists were running the show.
The author’s deft commentary provides a context that illuminates and enhances the importance of the diaries. He notes that after Japan’s surrender in 1945, some writers had the difficult task of reinventing themselves and coming to terms with their wartime collaboration and enthusiastic cheerleading. For anyone interested in Japan’s wartime patriotism and how leading intellectuals responded, this superb book is essential reading.