About the Program
In this Encore Booknotes from 2001, historian Herbert Bix discusses his biography, “Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan." Professor Bix portrays Hirohito as a leader whose 63-year reign (1926-1989) ushered Japan into the modern world. Professor Bix also tries to debunk the image of Hirohito as a pawn in the hands of the military by documenting the emperor's involvement in every stage of the Pacific War, from the China War in 1937 to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He explains how Hirohito, after agreeing to an unconditional surrender, avoided punishment for his nation's defeat and how American and Japanese leaders moved to justify the retention of Hirohito as emperor by whitewashing his wartime role.