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Horror In The East: Japan And The Atrocities Of World War - II

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  323 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The question is as searing as it is fundamental to the continuing debate over Japanese culpability in World War II and the period leading up to it: "How could Japanese soldiers have committed such acts of violence against Allied prisoners of war and Chinese civilians?" During the First World War, the Japanese fought on the side of the Allies and treated German POWs with re ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published September 19th 2002 by Da Capo Press (first published October 11th 2001)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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Jen
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Do you have an inscrutable fascination with human depravity? Boy have I got a book for you! Have you ever, while experiencing the worst acid trip of your life, found within you, the sinister kernel which would allow you to subordinate yourself to a mob and commit unspeakable acts of coalitionary violence? Here’s some confirmation.

Very briefly, I think the take home of this book is: If you want to elevate human cruelty to an art form, indoctrination and dehumanization are the most vivid colors on
...more
Pranky reads
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first book on Japan's involvement in the world war 2, their fighting spirit, the motivation behind. The emperor Hirohito being a god and people were ready to do anything for the country. Their atrocities on Chinese people and the POW is unimaginable. But that did come to an end, and rather a very sad end. The army was committing suicide, some resorted to cannibalism and their was mass suicides by people as they did not want to surrender to their enemies.
Well, the emperor still sat on the thr
...more
kagami
This book does an excellent job of not only presenting the reader with rare first-hand accounts of the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War, but, more importantly, explaining the background that made these atrocities possible. To me it was an invaluable help in understanding why Japan has, to this day, not apologised for the horrors inflicted on the world in the name of its emperor. The book, however, is far from defending the Japanese. On the contrary, ...more
khordofon
Ainda bem que acabou. Ufa.

Um pouco denso, escrito de forma não muito apaixonante ou apaixonada. Vale muito pelas descrições individuais de situações e menos pela política na época, e também pelo epílogo que discute a ética situacional.

Fora isso, achei que o autor conseguiu transformar algo muito interessante como os crimes de guerra no oriente em algo maçante, mecânico (exceto pelas entrevistas e falas).
Jo
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Clear, concise, and incredibly engaging writing. Absolutely horrific stories of what happened under Japanese brutality, and it was fascinating to hear different voices from different people: the Chinese victims, the comfort women, the European and American victims, and what I found the most fascinating and esoteric, the Japanese veterans themselves and how they were raised to believe what they believed when they were fighting during the war.
Nicole
May 16, 2007 rated it liked it
This was a great book, although full of graphic detail and heartbreaking stories of the innocent Japanese, Chinese and American civilians who survived the war in the Pacific. This book however does give insight into why the Japanese fought the way they did and gives reasoning behind their thinking. Japanese survivors tell their story as to why their commrades committed suicide and why it was so important to never surrender.
Claire Wright
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't go into as much depth on the experiences of POWs as I had hoped (I bought this book for more information after reading the Narrow Road to the Deep North) but it does set the context for the atrocities that were perpetrated by both sides during this conflict.
Seshu
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Doesnt give as much detail as I hope

More of a shirt history of japan then any in depth study of the madness. The author spends tge last chapter on how such monstrosity occured and his argument backed by data made a convincing read. Over all the book was fine and performed its goal, only I would have preferred more data presenting his argument as I did not feel fully convinced by it. And much of it before the last chapter felt like a history lesson that didnt always tie up to the argument he was
...more
Ivan
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short, yet riveting book. Its language is simple (which is good) and it probably isn't a serious historical study. But neither am I a serious history person.

It tells the story of World War II, specifically, events around Japan and Asia, and also features brief fragments of interviews of actual people who fought, and why did they do the (horrible, as title suggests) things they did. The most horrible thing shown is probably how ideology and conditioning can make a regular person do normally unt
...more
Keith CARTER
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very brutal example of the futility of war. It is an emotional rollercoaster as you read first-hand accounts of the brutality and cruelty meted out ( on all sides ) to women children and prisoners of war. We in the west for the past 65 years or so have lived with the impression of the atrocities handed out by the Japanese during WW2, howeverMr Rees has put together an eye-opening seminal study of the war in the east. In parts, I found it very hard to read due to the horror of the ...more
Sarah De Beer
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but short

After reading a few novels about Korea during WW2 I have been interested to read about Japanese atrocities that were perpetrated.

This book was really interesting but I feel it only scratched the surface. Pretty grim reading though.
Riki Urabe
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, ww2-general
A good read that covers the various atrocities done by the Japanese from the comfort women to the treatment of prisoners. Learned how some of the Dutch in Indonesia were treated and how the both sides were underestimating each other.
Raul
Apr 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Nice overview but I’m a bit disappointed. Was expecting more “meat”. It goes quite lightly on all the battles and issues in the pacific war.
Ayan Dutta
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brief introduction to Japanese culture and war atrocities committed by the imperial army during the sino-japanese war and WWII
Stuart Hill
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grim stuff indeed. Rees is best known as a producer of several documentary series for television about the Second World War, with this book being based on one about Japanese atrocities.

I haven't seen the related series but the book seemed to follow its format quite closely, being chiefly based around interviews with Japanese soldiers, their Allied opponents and various civilians. Throughout, Rees' intention was to seek an explanation for why the atrocities occurred. He did attempt to produce a b
...more
Theresia Pratiwi
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
(Note: I haven't read the documentary to which this book is a companion.)

So. The noble warrior of WW I turned to a monster in WW II, and every finger itched to point at something to blame. Was it the military, who might or might not propelled the Showa Emperor to the status of man-god? Was it the emperor himself? Was it the spite born out of the West's double standard in looking at and allowing (permitting? participating? making the cake and eating it, too?) imperialism/colonialism in Asia? Was
...more
Theresia
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, nf-english, war
(Note: I haven't watched the documentary to which this book is a companion.)

So. A noble warrior in WW I turned into a monster in WW II, and we begot a kaleidoscope (I really, really like the word, by the way. Thanks, DCFC.) of questions. Was it the military, who propelled Emperor Showa to the godhood status? Was it the emperor himself? Was it the bitter spite due to the West's double standards in practicing, justifying, and excusing the practice of colonialism/imperialism in Asia? Was it Japan's
...more
Diego González
Breve repaso a las atrocidades del ejército japonés en Asia durante la II Guerra Mundial, de Nankín al trato a los prisioneros de guerra, o el secuestro de mujeres occidentales y no occidentales para convertirlas en "mujeres de asueto", también conocidas como esclavas sexuales. El libro está basado en un documental de la BBC así que el tratamiento es necesariamente superficial y no aporta nada al que ya está ligeramente metido en el tema, pero abre puertas para seguir conociendo detalles (normal ...more
Jake Larson
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great historical book about a side of WWII that is usually not talked about. Interesting to hear the stories from both sides of what was going on. Should be for anyone who is interested in parts of history that aren't main stream.
Steven
Dec 20, 2010 added it
Good insight into the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese in the Pacific theater. Sometimes overlooked by WWII historians due to the sheer volume of war crimes committed in the European theater. IJA soldiers practicing cannibalism was particularly shocking.
Sylvene
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Should the United States have made the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan? This book offers detailed insights and interviews with both Allied and Japanese survivors. Thought-provoking.
Rose
Aug 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Tough read...Trying to understand the mindsets of those who committed the worst atrocities of WWII.
Nmorley14
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I personally found the human experimentation on the chinease, and american POW's was a horrible war crime.
Sea L
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it


The last chapter id the best. Wish a whole book was written on the topic of the last chapter. Overall, an important read on japanese atrocities during WWII!
Linda
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this down. I was gripped from the start and was shocked by the many accounts of what the Japanese did in WW2.
Ben Austin
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In addition to writing, Rees has also produced films about World War II for the BBC.

In New York in January 2009, Laurence was presented with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by ‘History Makers’, the worldwide congress of History and Current Affairs programme makers

In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (DUniv) by The Open University(UK).

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