SDHF Newsletter No.44: “Sailor Diplomat: Nomura Kichisaburo and the

SDHF Newsletter No.44: “Sailor Diplomat: Nomura Kichisaburo and the
Japanese-American War,” by Peter Mauch (Harvard 2011) -Reviewed by Norman Hu

July 10, 2012

I would like to present a book review on “Sailor Diplomat: Nomura Kichisaburo
and the Japanese-American War” (written by Peter Mauch, Lecturer of History in
the School of Humanity and Languagees at the University of Western Sydney)
written by Norman Hu.

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 pre-war 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 lowerranking officials in the State Department, have been extensively
examined, the same cannot be said for the other side, with few works in English
devoted to examining the parts played by the 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.

Mr. 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.

Note:*Norman Hu is a freelance translator who received his M.A. from The George
Washington University, specializing in East Asian politics and history. He has
translated works by Seishiro Sugihara including “Between Incompetence and Culpability:
Assessing the Diplomacy of Japan’s Foreign Ministry from Pearl Harbor to Potsdam”
(UPA, 1997) and “Chiune Sugihara and Japan’s Foreign Ministry: Between Incompetence
and Culpability Part 2” (UPA 2001).

*Full Text:

MOTEKI Hiromichi, Secretary General
for KASE Hideaki, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact