Hirohito Reviewing Troops

To Western eyes, the war against Japan began with the attack on Pearl Harbor. From the Asian perspective, it started ten years earlier when Japan invaded Manchuria in Northern China.

This series explores the Japanese experience of war. The first episode tells the story of the early years of Hirohito’s reign, the economic and political conditions, and the invasion of Manchuria. Episode two describes the military’s tightening control over Japanese society, including the disbanding of labour unions, propaganda campaigns, rationing, and air drills – before the strike on Pearl Harbor.

In the second half of the series, we discover how the war affected the Japanese at home – and most devastatingly, the American bombing offensive. Occupied Japan faced war crime trials, starvation, and destruction, and from this, the Japanese economic miracle arose.

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