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Japan's Pacific War (Hardback)

Personal Accounts of the Emperor's Warriors

WWII Japan & the Pacific Front Military

By Dr Peter Williams
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 80 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526796127
Published: 15th April 2021

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£25.00


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Article: A new book reveals the personal accounts of the Emperor's warriors in WW2 as featured by Forces Net

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‘I had no qualms fighting the Australians, just as I have killed without remorse any of the Emperor’s enemies: the British, the Americans and the Dutch’, so admits Takahiro Sato in this ground-breaking oral history of Japan’s Pacific War.

Thanks to years of research and over 100 interviews with veterans, the Author has compiled a fascinating collection of personal accounts by former Japanese soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Their candid views are often provocative and shocking. There are admissions of brutality, the killing of prisoners and cannibalism. Stark descriptions of appalling conditions and bitter fighting blend with descriptions of family life. Their views on the prowess of the enemy differ with some like air ace Kazuo Tsunoda who believed the Australians ‘worthy’. Some remain unrepentant while others such as Hideo Abe are ashamed of his part in Japan’s war of aggression.

The result is a revealing insight into the minds of a ruthless and formidable enemy which provides the reader with a fresh perspective on the Second World War.

Wow, what a really good book to read. I know this is a book about Japanese war experiences from the Japanese viewpoint, and we’ve had other books like this from the German angle. But this was really good and enlightening seeing things from the viewpoint of different Japanese soldiers. What comes across is their steeliness and determination in that whatever they did was a good and brave thing. From reading the book it did come across that the Japanese soldiers felt more righteous, whereas from reading similar books about British, American and German troops it seemed like they were wanting to fight to win the war, but that wasn’t everyone and not everyone enjoyed fighting. Credit must go to the writer who has had to collate a lot of evidence and has written the book very well indeed. I would definitely recommend this book to others, and I have really enjoyed reading it.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

Japan’s Pacific War provides revealing insights into the mind of a formidable adversary and is highly recommended to military historians as well as those interested in the cultural differences between the Eastern and Western attitude to war.

Marcus Fielding, RUSI

About Dr Peter Williams

Dr Peter Williams was born in Hobart, Tasmania, where he was educated at St Virgil’s College. After ten years living in Europe, North America and Japan he became a history teacher at Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory. There he also worked for the Darwin Military Museum and published his first book, The Battle of Anzac Ridge, on the Gallipoli landing. His PhD topic was the 1942 Kokoda Campaign in New Guinea.


Peter now lives in Canberra, where he worked for the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs. Now retired, he writes books about the Second World War in the Pacific.

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