In terms of books dedicated to Axis forces during WWII, Germany consumes more than the lion’s share of literature. Alas, there is little devoted to the fascinating subject of the Japanese soldier during this global conflict. With the release of “Warriors of Imperial Japan in World War II”, Concord Publications is doing its bit to help redress this imbalance. As the title implies, this new volume by Claudio Antonucci is dedicated to the topic of the Japanese fighting man. The Japanese soldier made spectacular conquests early in the war before he was finally overwhelmed by the greater resources and might of the Allied war machine.
The book is made up of a fine blend of color plates, highly informative text and contemporary WWII photographs. Perhaps the thing that will strike readers first and foremost is the photographs, especially because many of these pictures are reproduced in original color. The use of color photos marks an important departure for this series of books, and it is one that readers will greatly appreciate. The collection of photos shows Japanese soldiers from all periods of the war, from the rapid conquests of 1941 through to the bitter last-ditch defensive battles of 1945. Pictures are sourced from both Allied and Japanese collections to produce a comprehensive study. They are explained by usefully detailed captions that offer comment on uniforms, personal equipment and weapons. Since there are few books that delve into this topic, readers are certain to greatly advance their knowledge base on the topic. These captions also include in English notation the original Japanese names of equipment items, which will aid in identification.
This book contains ten color plates created by the author. These plates don’t contain just one picture, but multiple illustrations of various aspects of Japanese uniform and equipment. They are supported by extensive accompanying text that is a veritable treasure chest of information. This book is a welcome addition to Concord’s series on fighting men. Covering in great depth the subject of the Japanese soldier (“hei” in Japanese), this book will remain a vital reference source for years to come.