The Japanese Monarchy: Ambassador Joseph Grew and the Making of the "Symbol Emperor System," 1931-1991

By Nakamura Masanorit; Herbert P. Bix et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction
THE MAKING OF TEN YEARS IN JAPAN

AN AMERICAN career diplomat and one of the most illustrious ambassadors ever posted to Tokyo, Joseph Clark Grew ( 1880-1965) spent nearly ten years in Japan between 1932 and 1942, leaving his mark on U.S.-Japanese relations in many ways. During his term of office, he was able to experience at first hand the events that led to irrevocable conflict between the two countries. He closely observed the rise of Japan's military after the Manchurian Incident ( 1931), Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations ( March 1933), the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (July 1937), Japan's entry into the Tripartite Alliance with Germany and Italy ( September 1940), the imposition of economic sanctions against Japan ( July 1941), and finally, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ( December 1941).

Grew main work, Ten Years in Japan ( New York: Simon and Schuster), is a memoir of his experiences that was widely read when it was published in May 1944. In Japan, too, Ishikawa Kinichi translation of the book, which appeared in 1958, attracted a considerable readership.

From March 1979 to December 1980 I was a visiting professor at the John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University, working on the subject of American perceptions of Japan in the 1930s and 1940s, which naturally led me to take a keen interest in Grew. Fortunately, Harvard possesses in the world-famous Houghton Library an outstanding collection of rare books and documents, many of which pertain to Grew. These include diaries, letters, speeches, and talks, as well as numerous telegrams, newspaper and magazine clippings, personal memos, and other miscellaneous items--the amount of first-rate material is remarkable. The most valuable records, however, are Grew's diaries and letters, which best

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