• William R. Nester


When the Japanese buried Emperor Hirohito on 24 February 1989, they buried a man important not so much for what he did, as for what he represented. Although he reigned for 62 years as the 124th emperor in a line stretching back over 1500 years, for Japanese Hirohito represents much more than a colorful and mysterious past. The Emperor’s long reign straddled Japan’s schizophrenic twentieth century: the promising steps toward democratization and internationalization of the 1920s, the mad, rapid descent into the fascism and militarism of the 1930s, the horror of defeat and shame of Occupation during the 1940s, and the steady growth into an economic superpower since. With Hirohito’s death and the ascension of a new, young emperor, Akihito, to the throne, Japan has become psychologically whole again, confidently reinterpreting its past as passionately as it continues to expand its global economic power.


World Economy Current Account Surplus Eastern Economic Review International Herald Tribune Japanese Corporation 
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    Merril Lynch, Japan Economic Commentary, 25 October 1988, p. 8, FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW, December 15, 1988.Google Scholar
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    William Nester, Japan’s Growing Power Over East Asia and the World Economy: Ends and Mean. (London: Macmillan, 1990)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William R. Nester 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Nester
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonUK

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