Article Image
IPFS News Link • WAR: About that War

Pearl Harbor: setting history straight

• Stephen Mansfield via
It is extraordinary the lengths to which some people will go to reorganize history to suit their own ends. There are still voices, for example, claiming that Emperor Hirohito knew nothing about Pearl Harbor, the aerial attack that launched Japan's holy war.

As historian John Dower has noted, the emperor "was well briefed on the Pearl Harbor strategy, right down to the reason for choosing Sunday ('a day of rest') for the surprise attack . . . signing the declaration of war with full knowledge of the military's intentions."

In writer Takeo Iguchi, we have that rarest of things in Japan: an empirical historian bent on setting the record straight. Rather than blindly defending his country's actions, the author attempts to defend the truth. He is singularly well suited to do this, as a grainy photograph at the beginning of this book testifies. Dated Dec. 29, 1941, the image shows two small children walking toward a bus in the wake of their father, then counselor at the Japanese Embassy in Washington. The taller boy is Takeo Iguchi.