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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Herbert Bix to Speak at KSC

KEENE, N.H. 3/28/03 - In his most recent book, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, author Herbert Bix contends that Emperor Hirohito was personally and actively involved in Japan’s aggressive war policies during World War II.

Bix, who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction for Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, will speak at the 14th annual Mason Library Lecture at Keene State College on Thursday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m., in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center.

Bix will present “Emperor Hirohito in 20th Century History: The Debate Rekindles.” In his address, Bix will discuss how the decision by both American and Japanese policymakers to ignore Hirohito’s role in Japan’s aggression continues to have an effect today. According to Bix, the decision to grant impunity to Hirohito created more problems than it solved.

Bix is a professor of history and sociology at Binghamton University. He is widely known for his research and writing about modern and contemporary Japanese history. Publishers Weekly called Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan “a stunning portrait of the controversial Japanese emperor.Bix gives a meticulous account of his subject, delivers measured judgments about his accomplishments and failures, and reveals the subtlety of the emperor’s character.” The New Yorker reviewer said, “The author’s virtuoso scholarship and accessible narrative invite us into Hirohito’s world and change the way we think of recent history; his portrayal of a monarch rationalizing evil is superb.”

Bix has also written Peasant Protest in Japan, 1590-1884 (1986) and has published many papers on the political, military, and social history of Japan. His current research centers on Asia and the Pacific in the War and its aftermath, Western images of Hirohito, and Japanese constitutional thought. Dr. Bix served with the U.S. Naval Reserve in Japan and later lived and taught in the country for nearly 15 years. Among his accomplishments are a 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award and a Fulbright Research Grant to conduct research in Japan.

For more information, contact Irene Herold, Mason Library Director, at 603-358-2736.

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