The Lost War

Masuo Kato
AMERICAN-EDUCATED Masuo Kato, a Japanese foreign correspondent for twenty-two years, has written in The Lost War the first inside story of Japan’s defeat. He begins with a defense of former Ambassador Nomura from charges of complicity in the Pear! Harbor attack, and goes on to cover the war as he saw it on his return to Japan from America, from mid-1942 to the surrender on the Missouri.
The Lost War is an interesting account, for the most part not previously available to the American public, of why the war was lost. It contains some excellent reporting, particularly the analysis of the collapse of Japan’s suicide attack spirit, and the description of the Tokyo air raids.
There are a few inaccuracies and omissions in his story. Kurusu’s aviator son, for example, was not killed in combat with the Americans, but was shot — presumably accidentally — by the Japanese. The discussion of American psychological warfare, correctly described as amateurish until the end of the war, does not mention the Japanese broadcasts of Caplain Zacharias, USN, just before the surrender. The description of the Japanese top command’s falsification of production figures and casualties casts doubt on some of the figures provided by Mr. Kato himself.
The author is bitterly critical of the Army and traces the origin of the war to its invasion of China. There is, however. little criticism of the imperialism which was accepted by the Navy and the industrialists, as well as by the Army, and lie does not emphasize the fart t hat the real disagreement in Japan was not whether East Asia should be ruled by the Japanese, but what methods should be used to attain this end. In spite of Mr. Kato’s disclaimers, we are left with the impression that Japan’s greatest mistake was not starting the war, but losing it.