Focus Point - A Good ReadCommentary by Pete du Pont
October 18, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. I'm just now getting to a splendid piece of history and biography by Herbert Bix, "Hirohito and the Making Of Modern Japan."
The Japanese Emperor spent half a lifetime constructing a persona of the other-worldly man helplessly pulled along by events. In fact, as Bix's exhaustive research shows, Hirohito was intimately involved in the planning and execution of Japan's brutal invasion of China, and the attack on Pearl Harbor. He pointlessly prolonged the war by holding out for a strong presence in any post war government. I disagree with Bix when it comes to his criticism of Truman for dropping the atomic bomb; I think he gets it only half right in blaming Truman and Japanese leaders equally for the bombing.
Otherwise, it's a splendid book, notably in its depiction of the American use of Hirohito after the war which averted his trial as a war criminal and subtly reinforced the Japanese mindset that apologies for aggression weren't necessary. The book won the Pulitzer prize, and the selection was a no brainer.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, timely energy reform.