In This Review

In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army
In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army
By Edward J. Drea
University of Nebraska Press, 1998, 299 pp

Part of the enduring fascination of World War II lies in the diversity of the armies that fought it. Drea, one of the leading students of the Pacific War, has assembled a series of essays showing just how different the Japanese army was from European militaries. Essays on everything from basic training to strategy make it clear that Japan adopted Western forms of military organization but did not absorb Western concepts of discipline and motivation. He goes to great length to debunk or at least drastically modify the common picture of the Japanese soldier as a peasant fanatic, but Drea leaves his reader aware of the profound importance of military culture. As a result, he provides important lessons for comparative analysis of modern militaries.