With the twenty fifth anniversary of the death of Emperor Hirohito approaching, the Japanese government is preparing to unveil a 61-volume official biography of the Emperor, which a team of scholars has been labouring on since shortly after his death.
It is unlikely that this biography will answer the question, ‘Was Hirohito, who presided over the expansion of the Japanese empire and led his nation into an East Asian war that cost over 120 million lives, a psychopath?’
This blog, the first of two, seeks to address that question. This first post examines Hirohito’s actions in the period up until the outbreak of war with China in 1937, and seeks to determine whether or not he should rank alongside Mao, Hitler and Stalin as one the twentieth century’s greatest mass murderers. Continue reading