JOURNEY TO THE Missouri (282 pp.]Toshikazu KaseYale University ($4).
Japan took the big decision in an imperial conference on Sept. 6, 1941: war against the U.S. unless the U.S. backed down on China by early October. The proposal of the supreme command was blunt and final; Hirohito's civilian ministers accepted it. Apparently only Hirohito himself felt called upon to make any further observations. He pulled out a poem that had been written by his grandfather, the Emperor Meiji, and read it aloud:
When I regard all the world
As my own brothers,
Why is it that its tranquillity
Should be so thoughtlessly disturbed?
"All the participants were...