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Fire Across the Sea

Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War and Japan l965-l975

Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 340
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  • Book Info
    Fire Across the Sea
    Book Description:

    Professor Havens analyzes the efforts of Japanese antiwar organizations to portray the war as much more than a fire across the sea" and to create new forms of activism in a country where individuals have traditionally left public issues to the authorities. This path-breaking study examines not only the methods of the protesters but the tightrope dance performed by Japanese officials forced to balance outspoken antiwar sentiment with treaty obligations to the U.S.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5843-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Japan, the United States, and Vietnam
    (pp. 3-23)

    Sprinting and jumping with amazing ease, blue-shirted athletes from the U.S.A. dominated theater screens for two hours of physical superiority and competitive heroics in one of the top Japanese movies of 1965,Tokyo Olympiadby Ichikawa Kon. A montage of highlights from the flawlessly staged games of October 1964, the film and its musical soundtrack evoked with shrewdly selective memory the images the Japanese wanted to recall. In those Olympics such clean-cut exemplars as the selfless basketball player Bill Bradley, the versatile swimmer Don Schollander, and the persevering vaulter Fred Hansen suggested some of the best qualities of America, the...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The War Comes to Japan
    (pp. 24-53)

    Satō Eisaku served so long as prime minister that the pundits called his leadership “the politics of waiting.” As a party sultan he outlasted his top rivals Ikeda, Kōno Ichirō, and Ōno Banboku, whose deaths one after another in 1964-1965 left Satō in full command of the Liberal Democrats precisely when the socialists in parliament were split into two parties and the Left as a whole was stunned by political upheaval in revolutionary China. Satō, who was the younger brother of former Prime Minister Kishi, graduated from the elite law faculty of Tokyo University and became a career bureaucrat in...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Protests Thicken
    (pp. 54-83)

    The American-Japanese relationship suffered a bad attack of the jitters during the second half of 1965. Like nations everywhere, Japan grew suspicious when President Johnson sent 3,500 United States marines from Okinawa to South Vietnam on March 8, unleashing them “for offensive action” the following month. The public turned apprehensive when he announced on July 28 that an additional 50,000 troops would be sent. By the end of the year the figure had leaped to more than 184,000. By then American B-52s were flying about 300 sorties a month over North and South Vietnam (first from Guam, later Thailand), with...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Silent Partner
    (pp. 84-106)

    “Japan has neither the capacity nor intention to undertake military intervention,”¹ Foreign Minister Miki Takeo reassured the Diet in a debate about Vietnam on December 21, 1967. The government insisted again and again that Article IX of the constitution outlawed the use of Japanese troops abroad. During America’s eight-year war in Indochina, Japan was a reluctant diplomatically but also a tacit economic and military partner of the United States. The Satō government backed Washington’s policies toward China and Vietnam, but always with diffidence rather than relish; yet within the limits of Article IX it furnished a great deal of military...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Steady State
    (pp. 107-129)

    The fighting in Vietnam settled into a routine of escalation in early 1966, especially after the United States renewed its bombings at the beginning of February (Satō sent Johnson his regrets).¹ For the next year and a half Japan, too, fell into a pattern of incremental engagement with the war. Sales to American forces and normal exports both ballooned; the GI’s in the streets seemed younger, more vacant, and more numerous than a year or two before. The government launched another futile round of peace missions but also dug in a bit more staunchly in defense of the thunderous American...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Choppy Waters
    (pp. 130-163)

    The fall, winter, and spring of 1967-1968 decided the fate of the Johnson presidency, raised stubborn questions about the American strategy in Vietnam, and brought a near-freeze on escalations, a partial halt to the bombings, and the first attempt at peace talks in Paris during May 1968. These same months were the stormiest of the war thus far for Japanese-American relations, bringing ferocious pressures on Prime Minister Satō to change course or perhaps even step down. He made two controversial trips to Southeast Asia in the early fall of 1967 and then flew to Washington for a summit with Johnson...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Waves of Dissent
    (pp. 164-191)

    Japan was swept by the flood of antiwar and antiestablishment sentiments that engulfed nearly all the advanced industrial countries during 1968 and 1969. A good deal of the youthful ferment around the globe was culturally innovative but politically irrelevant, at least in the short run. The new views of self, community, and authority proclaimed in speech and song in the late sixties stirred a whole generation to question the corporate and bureaucratic leviathans that dominated society and impinged on individual freedoms. Yet when the revolt of the sixties receded, it was far from clear how much it had changed the...

  11. CHAPTER 7 The Protests Peak
    (pp. 192-212)

    Satō Eisaku faced the decisive passage of his long prime ministership during the same seven months that Richard Nixon confronted his first big crisis over the Vietnam War. Nixon chose November 3, 1969 for a polemical televised speech on how he planned to end the war, hoping to draw the sting from a huge nationwide demonstration planned for the middle of the month. A few days later came the news that a company of American soldiers had massacred hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in March 1968 at the village of My Lai. The shocking report and revolting photographs of the slaughter...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Preparing for the Post-Vietnam Era
    (pp. 213-236)

    “The antiwar movement tapered off just about the same time in Japan as in the United States, give or take a few months,”¹ according to Oda Makoto, but not entirely for the same reasons. The acme of the American campaign against the war came in May 1970 after the invasion of Cambodia; Japan reached the pinnacle of dissent a month later in the mammoth nationwide demonstrations of June 23. Then war weariness and public ennui began to spread in each country, dissipating the vitality of the broad antiwar movement and clearing the track for a handful of radicals to commit...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Adjusting to Peacetime
    (pp. 237-258)

    When Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese armies on April 30, 1975, the reaction in Japan showed how polarized attitudes still were after ten years of bickering over the Vietnam War. Miyazawa Kiichi, the new foreign minister, told a press conference that day that the government “didn’t believe America’s motives were wicked” in Vietnam, so “from this standpoint Japan cooperated with America’s war goals.”¹ The next morningAsahi,the most trenchant critic of Japan’s official stance toward the war, expressed its “heartfelt rejoicing” that the fighting was over. “From first to last,” the newspaper said editorially, “it was a war...

  14. CHAPTER 10 Fire Across the Sea
    (pp. 259-264)

    Japan emerged from the stormy Vietnam era more prosperous than ever, but the country was also very much sobered by the war. From start to finish the public opinion polls reflected a belief that the United States was bullying the Vietnamese, and nearly everyone in Japan was appalled by the American bombing campaigns that went on for almost eight years and dropped many more explosives on Indochina than had fallen everywhere in World War II. But the war was far away, almost no Japanese blood was being shed, and times were good for nearly all workers in the late sixties...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 265-300)
    (pp. 301-318)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 319-329)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 330-330)