The Nobility of Failure
Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan
by Ivan MORRIS
Preface by Juliet Winters Carpenter
Alexander, Robin Hood, Wellington, George Washington... The Western literatures are packed with the stories—real and otherwise—of diverse heroes, but most of them share the common element of victory. Many of them died heroically to achieve their goals.
In Japan, however, many of the most revered heroes lost their lives without achieving their goals, and in many cases fought their battles in full realization that they would end in abject defeat and death.
This cultural background remains a bedrock underlying the modern Japanese psyche, and continues to shape the Japanese as individuals and a society even today, unconsciously, in the same way the West is still affected by the myths and legends passed down from Greece and Rome.
Yamato is a tense alternative-history thriller set in 1953 during the American occupation of Japan. Lieutenant Harvey Brice, an army intelligence officer, is found in his apartment with a bullet in his head. But was it suicide or homicide? World-weary CIA agent Ralph Carnaby, together with his Japanese-American sidekick, Dan Morita, are unwittingly drawn into a conspiracy which is unfolding in the very heart of the occupation headquarters in Tokyo—a conspiracy which ultimately threatens to change the course of Japan's postwar history. With a style reminiscent of Robert Harris' Fatherland, Clare weaves a web of intrigue and espionage which sees Carnaby and his fellow agents pitted against internal rivalries, yakuza gangsters, and a far more menacing and invisible force, in a nail-biting race against time.
Published in Japanese in 1949, Citadel in Spring is, at its heart, an autobiographical novel of the author's life from university through induction into the Imperial Japan Navy , assignment to intelligence service in China, and Japan's final defeat. In addition to details of actual code-breaking activities, it also paints grimly honest pictures of some of the fiercest naval battles of the war, and the horrors of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. As a witness to World War II and its effects on the people and culture of Japan, this document—although cast as fiction—is a crucial reminder of the real costs of war to a generation who have never experienced it.