Konoe Fumimaro and the Failure of Peace in Japan, 1937–1941

A Critical Appraisal of the Three-Time Prime Minister


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About the Book

The blame for a country’s mistakes often falls on its leaders. In some cases, however, a leader’s greatest mistake is to promote the mistaken goals of his people. Was this the case in World War II Japan? This book considers that question in the story of Konoe Fumimaro, who served as Japan’s prime minister during one of the most difficult periods of the country’s history. This historical biography is a balanced account of Konoe and his service as prime minister before and during World War II. Governing from 1937 to 1941, Konoe played a key role in the struggle to develop Japanese foreign policy. Beginning with Konoe’s education and political training, the author then explores the general mood of 1930s Japan and traces Konoe’s rise through the political ranks, including his first term as prime minister, his decision to step down, and his eventual comeback. Especially emphasized is how the man himself affected this period of Japanese history. In his relentless work regarding Japanese-American diplomacy, he attempted to change the destructive course on which Japan was bent. Defeated in essence by his own military and its growing autonomy, Konoe nevertheless took the Japanese defeat to heart. The final chapter examines Konoe’s war experience and its aftermath, which culminated in his suicide.

About the Author(s)

Kazuo Yagami is an assistant professor at Savannah State University. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Kazuo Yagami

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 198
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2242-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      5

1. Konoe’s Background and Upbringing      13
2. Konoe and Turbulence of the 1930s      23
3. Konoe’s First Cabinet      41
4. From New Order and Tripartite Pact to Konoe’s Second Cabinet      74
5. Konoe’s Last Endeavor: U.S.-Japanese Negotiations      104
6. War and Its Aftermath      134

Conclusion      161
Notes      167
Bibliography      177
Index      187