Showa Japan: The Post-War Golden Age and Its Troubled Legacy
A few weeks ago, I attended the FujiFilm Square photo exhibition in Tokyo called Showa Japan seen through Dutch eyes. The photographs, most in black and white, were both fascinating and interesting and I noticed a new book (not yet published in the US) titled Showa Japan: The Post-War Golden Age and Its Troubled Legacy by Hans Brinchmann, one of the photographers in the exhibition, and bought it.
Showa is the name of the reign of Japan’s previous emperor, Hirohito and began in 1926 with his accession to the throne until his death in 1989 (apparently, Hirohito is posthumously known as the Emperor Showa).
The book focuses on post-World War II Japan (the time the author lived there) and it is during this period, widely regarded as Japan’s Golden Age, that Japan literally rose from the ashes (WW2 defeat and atomic bombs) to become the world’s second largest economy. With the Japanese people and its workers (the term Salaryman was coined) having a single minded purpose, this was a period of economic advancement, wondrous change and great modernization.
It was also a time of wild spending and excesses in every field that would eventually come crashing to a halt with the bursting of Japan’s bubble economy, with the era ending along with Hirohito’s death in 1989.
A 15th national holiday was added in 2007 on April 29 called Showa Day.