This classic account (1952) of the makers of “New Japan” tells the life stories of a journalist, an ex-Navy vice-admiral, a steel worker, a farmer, and Emperor Hirohito. Frank Gibney was a wartime intelligence officer who became Time magazine correspondent during the American Occupation of Japan. He went on to be a major interpreter of Japan to Americans and America to Japanese, known as a knowledgeable, genial presence in the PBS series Pacific Century.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Japan was a poor, broken, and troubled society. Many in both Japan and the West assumed that it would always be so. But Gibney reported on Japan in such telling and readable detail that we can see in this book both the now forgotten atmosphere of that time and the basis for the “Japanese miracle” to follow. As the writer Timothy Garton Ash observes, “the scholar will not know, and therefore will find it more difficult to recreate, what it was really like at the time, how places looked and smelled, how people felt, and what they didn’t know. . . . There is nothing to compare with being there.”