Path of Infinite Sorrow: The Japanese on the Kokoda Track

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Allen & Unwin, 2009 - Electronic books - 348 pages
The story of the bloody Kokoda campaign, told for the first time through the personal experiences of the Japanese soldiers. "'We were all skin and bone, as if our stomachs were stuck to the inside wall of our back.' Two armies, Japanese and Australian, each in turn pushing the other back along a muddy, precipitous track over the mountainous spine of New Guinea. Few prisoners were taken, most were shot. War conventions were routinely flouted, by both sides. Troops were reduced to a primal level, such were the inhuman conditions in which battles were waged. This was the Kokoda campaign of 1942. The Australian experience of Kokoda has been told often and told well. The Japanese, however, remain the shadowy enemy lurking in the dense undergrowth, better known for atrocities than their participation in battle. 'The Path of Infinite Sorrow' tells for the first time the story of the campaign from the Japanese point of view. Based on personal accounts and the recollections of six Japanese soldiers, captured diaries and unit, this powerful re-examination of Kokoda brings a new perspective to one of the most brutal conflicts in Australian war history. Craig Collie has been a television producer for over 35 years. Hajime Marutani is a translator-interpreter and was a researcher for the Australian War Memorial's Australia-Japan Research Project. They met when working on the production team of Beyond Kokoda, the award-winning documentary series screened on The History Channel in Australia. Craig and Hajime live with their families in Sydney and Tokyo respectively.
 

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There are a lot of details of small individual battles in the book and sometimes can be confusing to readers in particular as to the timeline and geography of events.
The book appears to be
-littling the Australia army at the defence stage of the campaign. That leads to an unclear explanation why the Japanese foot soldiers were ordered to retreat so close to their target. Although the book describe the suffer of the soldier along the way but still have a lot to go on, so why retreat? The book does not describe the resistance put up by Australian soldier at various stage of retreat leading to Japanese casualties.
The second last chapter of the book is a white-washing the Japanese military. The implication that using the atomic bombs is a war crime is appalling. This is equating a tactical act of war during the conflict between 2 parties to the atrocity of Japanese soldiers done to civilians and prisoners of war before and during the declaration of the WWII. A typical state of denial of crime mentality adopted by the Japanese up to date.
In all the book is readable in particular after disregarding the last couple of chapters
 

Contents

1 On Ioribaiwa Ridge
1
2 Empire and emperor
5
3 The road to total war
16
4 From the mountains to the sea
29
5 Forward base Rabaul
39
6 The taking of Kokoda
59
7 The fateful delay
78
8 Milne Bay
97
15 On the track to Sanananda
225
16 Buna falls
238
17 Evacuation
253
18 The long journey home
273
19 Out of the ashes
279
20 The path of infinite sorrow
288
Japanese soldiers appearing in this book
292
The Japanese military hierarchy
294

9 To the end of the line
115
10 Change the marching direction
139
11 Buying time
155
12 General Horiis last stand
172
13 Dug in on swampland
192
14 Madness and desperation
207
Notes
296
Bibliography
310
Acknowledgements
315
Index
316
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