Soldiers of the Sun: the Imperial Japanese Army

The Imperial Japanese Army was a legend in its own time. To the defenders of Singapore and Bataan, its soldiers were demonic supermen. The willingness of Japan consistently to fight to the last man remains a benchmark of courage today. Yet these heroes of Saipan and Iwo Jima were also capable of unparalleled bestiality - the rape of Nanking, the use of slave labour on the Burma-Siam Railway, gross neglect and brutalization of prisoners-of-war, and a ruthless counter-insurgency against Mao's communists.

 

In attempting to resolve that paradox, the authors have traced the origins of the Imperial Japanese Army back to its samurai roots in nineteenth-century Japan to tell the story of the rise and fall of this extraordinary military force. They describe the command structure, the strategies, weaponry and training, the brutality that pervaded the daily lives of the men, and the slow deterioration of the officer corps.

 

Drawing on Japanese, English, French and American sources, the authors penetrate the lingering haze of wartime enmity and propaganda to lay bare the true character of the Imperial Japanese Army as it evolved.

© 2015 Susie Harries