I school in Tokyo was forced to announce its

I chose this book in order to come to a better understanding of what really happened between Japan and the United States during World War II. More importantly, I wanted to know what really motivated Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, and what their reasoning was behind it. As a Japanese-American myself, I get to see the actions and consequences of Pearl Harbor from both ends of the spectrum. My very own grandparents were alive when this happened, however I am not quite sure how they reacted to these events. Just knowing that I had family members who heard of the attacks as they happened amazes me. Then on the other hand, I am an American born citizen, so automatically I view the Pearl Harbor attacks as a terrible act, even without knowing the real back story. Since the author Eri Hotta is of Japanese background, I knew I would be able to hear from someone with a first-hand perspective, which is something that I will never be able to have. Tensions were already growing between the Japanese and the Americans, especially when the Americans set up their military base in Pearl Harbor. This sent a message to the Japanese, in which they understood that the United States were ready to attack if necessary. Forming an alliance with Germany seemed like a bad decision for many, especially the Navy Minister Yoshida Zengo, and I would agree with this statement. Even though the “Nazi preponderance in Europe was giving Japanese expansionism more fuel” (Hotta 23), creating a bond with Nazi Germany would only cause more trouble. Many countries including America began to look upon Japan as an ally of a dangerous enemy. Due to this, many things such as “an American school in Tokyo was forced to announce its closure” and a major Japanese publisher “released a book predicting and analyzing a Japanese-American war” (Hotta 26). This all leads me to believe that war between the countries were inevitable, and it was bound to happen even if Japan did not form its alliance with Germany. Many countries other than the United States and Britain did not like what Japan was doing, and refused to join in its alliance. I feel this was a smart move for countries like Poland, because it would have dragged them into a dangerous situation which was completely avoidable. With all this information, I still disagree with the decision to create ties with the Germans, however it would still not change the fact that America and Japan were to eventually go to war. I found this interesting, because I had never known why Japan attacked the United States in the first place, but now I am able to see that there were already growing tensions between the two countries. What still confuses me is why Japan went into war with the United States, even though they knew they did not have a legitimate chance at winning. Japan was already in war with China and fighting with Russia over borders, so the war just did not make any sense. I feel it was not a smart move done by the Japanese because it ended up causing many deaths and ruined ties between them and other countries. According to Hotta, Japan’s leaders all had very different ideas on what was best for the country, which is probably one of the main reasons they felt that attacking the United States was logical. Another reason in which Japan decided to attack Pearl Harbor was due to the discrimination they were receiving from the rest of the world. Japan was not looked upon as one of the top superpowers, and they were actually viewed as being inferior. In order to assert themselves, they joined powers with Germany and Italy. Instead of taking this approach to “scare” the United States, it would have been smarter for the Japanese to stay out of contact with the Axis powers. Even though the author argues that the war was preventable, I disagree with her based on the fact that terms between the Japanese and the Americans were not good. Things were already turning for the worst, and many people were already predicting it. However, if Japan had not decided to attack Pearl Harbor, who knows if the Americans would have ever completely entered the war. The entire outcome of World War II is almost based off whether or not America joins the Allies, so if they had not who would’ve known what could’ve happened. This is what I find most interesting about the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor because even though it was a devastating act, it is still a very important piece of both American and Japanese history. If Japan had not done this, Germany could have caused even more trouble than they already had. Also, Japan may not have been attacked by the United States, and many more people would have lived instead of having their lives taken away prematurely. What also surprises me is the fact that Japan is the one initiated the war, not the United States. Many people thought that it was really the US initiated it, however I now know that it was Japan who wanted war in the first place. This does shock me since it was quite evident that Japan was not properly trained to enter another war, and that they would lose. After reading Japan: 1941, I feel better seeing what the war was like from a Japanese citizen as opposed to always seeing it from the American standpoint. I also understand all of Japan’s intentions for entering the war, even though I did not agree with many of the decisions they made. I felt the whole situation could have been handled better, especially by the leaders. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who wants to learn more about the Japanese perspective on the war, or for someone who wants more insight on the Pearl Harbor attack.