Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact

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Sailor Diplomat: Nomura Kichisaburo and the Japanese – American War

By Peter Mauch

Seven decades after the attack on Pearl Harbor, interest in the events leading up to the outbreak of war between Japan and the United States remains high, as does fascination with the negotiations which failed to bring about a lasting peace. While the roles of those in the United States-from the president and the secretary of state to lower-ranked officials in the State Department-have been extensively examined, the same cannot be said for the other side, with fewer works in English devoted to examining the part played by Japanese in those pre-war talks. Peter Mauch has produced the first biography in English highlighting the role of Nomura Kichisaburo, Japan’s ambassador to Washington in 1941. Mauch draws together various strands of Nomura’s life: his decorated naval career; his practical training in key postings throughout Europe, Asia, and North America; and his apprenticeship of sorts under prominent Japanese internationalists who advocated cooperation with other nations. The author develops the central argument that these factors, in particular his naval background, come together to inform his role as ambassador, and the book is a welcome addition to the literature.