The long road to Tokyo: Japanese aggression in China, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific, with special attention to books about the Rape of Nanking, Japanese fighter planes and pilots, the Burma campaign, and the Hiroshima bomb

Flying Tigers
revised and updated

WARBIRD HOME > JAPAN

JAPAN AT WAR, 1931-1945

Japan's Pacific War: Personal Accounts of the Emperor's Warriors is by far the best of war-memory collections I have read from the Japanese side. It also has a significant flaw. Both derive, I think, from the interviews that Peter Williams conducted over the years: because the interviews were all done by the same man, they have a verve and a common logic that's missing from memoirs previously published in the veterans' own language -- but because Mr Williams is an Australian, they treat a very skewed sample of the men who fought on the losing side. You'd never know from this book that American, British, and Chinese soldiers, sailors, and airmen contributed anything significant to the Pacific War. Japanese are famously polite, and they obviously play to Mr Williams' sensibilities, dismissing the Americans they met as cowards compared to the brave Australians, whose only fault appears to be they were so well equipped, fed, and armed compared to the Japanese. I've posted an excerpt on the Annals of the Brewster Buffalo.

What's really scary about this book is how cold-blooded the vets are, when they speak of killing prisoners, expecting their wounded to make a graceful exit with a grenade, and eating one another to survive. One even assures Mr Williams that, if a prisoner did survive, he would be well cared for at notorious hellholes like Rabaul, where Allied soldiers and civilians were routinely murdered, beaten, and starved. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Japan's long war:

Nomonhan (Japan v. Russia, 1939)
Russian aircraft losses at Nomonhan
Elusive target: Bombing Japan from China (Richard Dunn)
Did U.S. leaders know that war was coming?
A guest of the Japanese in the Dutch Indies (Arie Biemond)
"New Guinea was my introduction to war" (anonymous)
Ketsu-go (waiting for the Americans, summer 1945)
Olympic vs. Ketsu-go (the invasion that didn't happen)
Japan's Longest Day: how Japan surrendered
The U.S. Navy arrives in Tokyo Bay, August 1945
Did Japanese soldiers fight for the Vietminh?

The Hiroshima files:

Why Truman dropped the bomb (Richard Frank)
Little Boy vs Operation Olympic (an internet debate)
How many died at Hiroshima?--counting the uncountable
What was the yield of the Hiroshima bomb?
Was there a third bomb? What was its target?
Been down that lonely road: NASM confronts Enola Gay
Hiroshima and the end of the war--a reading list

Rising Sun Over Burma

The Japanese Army Air Force files:

Notes on the Japanese Army Air Force
The decision to move south (Japan v. the West, 1941)
Mr. Suzuki recalls the Flying Tigers (December 1941)
Lucky Sevens? life and death of the 77th Sentai (Richard Dunn)
JAAF deployments against Rangoon, December-March (maps)
Japanese army aircraft met by the AVG
Joe Baugher's Hayabusa files
Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa ("Oscar") armament (Richard Dunn)
About those Nakajima Ki-43 machineguns
Japanese army aces and their victory claims
JAAF fighter pilots lost in China-Burma area, 1941-42
Ki-45 Toryu (Dragon Slayer, aka Nick)

Why's a Zero?

Why's a Zero? and a primer on the Japanese calendar
Japanese warplane names and designations (Osamu Tagaya)
Allied code-names in perspective (Richard Dunn)
Sussing out the 'Chengdu Zero'
Zeros over China, 1941-1942 (Ben Schapiro)
Unraveling the Zero's performance data (Richard Dunn)
'Never dog fight the Zero' (the San Diego evaluations)
A conversation with Saburo Sakai and a scrap of his scarf
'Winged Samurai': rethinking the Sakai myths
An interview with another Zero pilot

Kamikaze, cannibals, & other mysteries:

Bushido: the Japanese Field Service Code, 1941
'Be as one already dead' (Ruth Benedict)
The soldier who cut up living prisoners (London Times)
The butchered bodies of New Guinea (graphic photos)
The Rape of Nanking: Japan in denial
Meet Colonel Tsuji, genius and cannibal
Outram Road Prison, Singapore
Done to death: the unlucky prisoners of Rabaul
The man who didn't shoot down Pappy Boyington
The Kamikaze files: Why did they volunteer? (Yasuho Izawa)
The Kamikaze files: An army pilot trains to die
The Kamikaze files: 'Crashing bodily into a target is not easy'
The Kamikaze files: 'I will be waiting for you at Yasukuni Shrine'
The Kamikaze files: The horror of the human bomb-delivery system
The Kamikaze files: Cherry blossoms and nationalisms
'Annihilate them all' (the order to murder PWs)

Books & stuff:

The webmaster's picks: 10 books worth reading
Books about Japanese aircraft and aces
Downfall: End of the Japanese Empire (Frank)
Hiroshima's Shadow: Denial and the Smithsonian (Bird etc)
Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 (Hastings)
Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of WWII (John Dower)
Magnificent Fight: The Battle for Wake Island (Robert Cressman)
Building the B-29 (Jacob Vander Meulen)
Blankets of Fire: U.S. Bombers over Japan (Kenneth Werrell)
Breaking the Emperor's Codes (Michael Smith)
Flyboys: a flawed account of an atrocity (James Bradley)

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Cowboy: interpreter, warlord, one more casualty

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Posted February 2021. Websites ©1997-2021 Daniel Ford. All rights reserved.