Journal Entry #40

NORFOLK, CONN., JANUARY 16—A couple of good pieces of news come this way on an otherwise gray, bleak winter’s day. I thought I might share them with Cú Chulainn’s readers.

Last autumn I published one of my long Q&A exchanges, this one with John Dower, the noted Japan scholar. Per usual with these things, it was long and warranted two parts, which The Nation graciously accommodated. While I have done a lot of these over the past however many years, this one was special to me in a private way.

John was an essential influence during my years as Tokyo correspondent for the International Herald Tribune and latterly also The New Yorker during Bob Gottlieb’s tenure as the magazine’s editor. I had never met him but had interviewed him a few times by telephone from his summer house on Cape Cod. I had also been turned down on some occasions, when he was working furiously to finish Embracing Defeat, his masterwork on Japan’s Occupation years. John’s command of whatever might be his topic elevated him in my mind over the years. As I wrote when reviewing Embracing Defeat in The Nation, this is a writer who simply does not let inferior work off his desk.

There are not too many of those around. Adding to my delight when I met John in Boston was the presence of another writer of this kind, Herb Bix, an old friend and like John a Pulitzer-winner—Herb for his biography of Hirohito, which at last laid to rest any argument as to the emperor’s guilt and responsibility during the Pacific War.

This week the Dower interview is reproduced, with a new Introduction, in the Asia–Pacific Journal, a periodical diligently edited by Mark Selden. The link is here.

It is a pleasure to see my exchange with John and Herb begin a second life.

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CONSORTIUM NEWS, as some of Cú Chulainn’s readers may already know, just completed a hugely successful fund-raising campaign—excellent news in itself. It also published, concurrently, a list of its Top 10 pieces for 2018. And I am pleased to advise those who follow Cú Chulainn that one of mine led the list. The head—a good one, whoever wrote it—is “The Battle for Our Minds,” and it is a long look at the corruptions so sadly evident in our corporate-owned media. The link to the list his here.

The above link provides links onward to all the top stories. And N. this B.: My old friend and colleague, Gareth Porter, took two of the top 10 bylines. Gareth’s diligence, dedication, and all-around devotedness to the craft warrant this much recognition and more.

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