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The story goes that fanatical Japanese militarists pressured the unwilling Emperor Hirohito into World War II, with a suicidal zeal that it took two atom bombs to destroy; and that American democracy reluctantly conceded the peace-loving monarch a non-political role in postwar Japan, in deference to his devoted subjects. Herbert Bix’s magisterial new biography—the first anglophone work to draw on the full array of court sources now available—proves every one of these propositions false.
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