American Shogun: MacArthur, Hirohito and the American Duel with Japan.
American Shogun: MacArthur, Hirohito and the American Duel with
Japan. Robert Harvey. John Murray. [pounds sterling]25.00. 480 pages.
ISBN 0-7195-6484-0. This book is a 'dual biography' of Emperor
Hirohito and General Douglas MacArthur in which Mr Harvey uses the two
men's lives as vehicles for a history of Japanese-American
relations during the twentieth century. Although there is no statement
that the text was first published in the US, all spellings are American.
MacArthur's role as virtual ruler of a defeated Japan showed that
the United States could sometimes 'get it right' for the Japan
that emerged in the 1950s was, apparently, a transformed country with a
form of parliamentary government having replaced its militaristic ruling
class. Mr Harvey concentrates on the period of Japan's
reconstruction and on the battles between the egocentric MacArthur and
the untried war criminal, Hirohito. Mr Harvey argues that in reality it
was the Japanese who won the struggle, not MacArthur and the Americans:
this was seen in the 1990 coronation of Hirohito's son and in
Japan's recent attempts to become once again a player on the world
stage. Even so, MacArthur emerges, at least in the author's eyes,
as 'the last American hero'. (T.B.)