Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man

Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man

Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man

Hirohito: The Emperor and the Man


"Hoyt's biography, taking advantage of recent posthumous revelations of a Japanese foreign service diplomat, portrays Hirohito as a man of peace held captive by his role in Japanese society and government . . ." Library Journal "A successful new book from a topnotch writer . . ." Booklist" . . . provocative . . ." Kirkus Reviews


The wall of secrecy that surrounds the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is so dense that it makes the regulations of M15 look like the covenants of an open marriage contract.

It is November 1988 in Tokyo. Emperor Hirohito is dying and all the world knows it. Yet the Imperial Household Agency, which controls all the information about anything and everything that happens inside the palace moat, refuses to accept any telephone calls from outside or to respond to any letters. Since the Emperor's illness became acute two months ago, the agency has gone into a state of shock and is inaccessible to the outside world. Neither Japanese nor foreign journalists have been able to break through the wall of silence, which is opened daily only long enough for a household spokesman to give a vague report to the media describing the imperial body functions and virtually nothing else.

By mid-November the journalists were reduced to any sort of speculation, including one that the Emperor was dead and that this fact was being withheld from the public because the agency did not know what to do next. In the mystic atmosphere that surrounded the Imperial Palace, even this ridiculous impertinence was given due consideration by the reporters.

What was known to be true, and had been true since September, was that the Emperor was bleeding to death. His weight had reportedly dropped to 25 kilograms. His body was so punctured by holes from blood transfusions that the doctors had been forced to fix a permanent transfusion path into a blood vessel in his neck. The Emperor was dying from lacerations caused by his internal cancer, and there was nothing to be done about it but use all the appurtenances of modern medicine to keep him alive until his body finally rejected everything.

More than a year earlier, it had been known that Emperor Hirohito . . .

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