Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering by John W. Dower
Japan in the Modern World

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Synopsis

Remembering and reconstructing the past inevitably involves forgetting—and nowhere more so than in the complex relationship between the United States and Japan since the end of World War II. In this provocative and probing series of essays, John W. Dower—one of our leading historians of postwar Japan and author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Embracing Defeat—explores the uses and abuses to which this history has been subjected and, with deliberation and insight, affirms the urgent need for scholars to ask the questions that are not being asked.

Taking as a starting point the work of E.H. Norman, the unjustly neglected historian of prewar Japan, Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering sets out both to challenge historiographical orthodoxy and reveal the configurations of power inherent in scholarly and popular discourse in Japan and America. Dower’s fascination with capturing popular experience leads to sources as far ranging as textiles adorned with wartime propaganda and the satirical cartoon panels that decorate traditional karuta playing cards. Dower, who is rightly known as one of the most perceptive critics of American foreign policy, also offers a blistering critique of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the misuse of postwar Japan as an example of success.

Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering is a profound look at American and Japanese perceptions—past and present—of key moments in their shared history. An incisive investigation of the problems of public history and its role in a modern democracy, these essays are essential reading for anyone interested in postwar U.S.-Japan relations, as well as the broader discipline of history.

 

About John W. Dower

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John W. Dower is the author of Embracing Defeat, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; War without Mercy, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Cultures of War. He is professor emeritus of history at MIT. In addition to authoring many books and articles about Japan and the United States in war and peace, he is a founder and codirector of the online "Visualizing Cultures" project established at MIT in 2002 and dedicated to the presentation of image-driven scholarship on East Asia in the modern world. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
 
Published July 31, 2012 by The New Press. 336 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering

Washington Independent Review of Books

In fact, Dower finds those two wars comparable: “It is not unreasonable to see [the Vietnam] war, in its ferocity and futility, as a rough American counterpart to Japan’s own atrocious lost war of several decades earlier.” U.S. planners in the 1960s, Dower points out, even went so far as to study...

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Macleans

In a seven-year occupation, there was not one instance of Japanese terror against Allied soldiers: “Does anyone really imagine this would be the case in an occupied Iraq?” U.S. officials might also have profited from Dower’s 1995 article discussing the now-forgotten orgy of looting in Japan durin...

Aug 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Ways of Forgetting, Ways of R...

The New York Review of Books

But in the minds of Oe and other Japanese leftists, protest against Japanese nuclear policy is more than a matter of ecology.

Nov 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Ways of Forgetting, Ways of R...

The New York Review of Books

But in the minds of Oe and other Japanese leftists, protest against Japanese nuclear policy is more than a matter of ecology.

Nov 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Ways of Forgetting, Ways of R...

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