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MacArthur in Asia

The General and His Staff in the Philippines, Japan, and Korea

Translated by: Reiko Yamamoto

General Douglas MacArthur's storied career is inextricably linked to Asia. His father, Arthur, served as Military Governor of the Philippines while Douglas was a student at West Point, and the younger MacArthur would serve several tours of duty in that country over the next four decades, becoming friends with several influential Filipinos, including the country's future president, Emanuel L. Quezon. In 1935, he became Quezon's military advisor, a post he held after retiring from the U.S. Army and at the time of Japan’s invasion of 1941. As Supreme Commander for the Southwest Pacific, MacArthur led American forces throughout the Pacific War. He officially accepted Japan's surrender in 1945 and would later oversee the Allied occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. He then led the UN Command in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951, until he was dismissed from his post by President Truman.

In MacArthur in Asia, the distinguished Japanese historian Hiroshi Masuda offers a new perspective on the American icon, focusing on his experiences in the Philippines, Japan, and Korea and highlighting the importance of the general’s staff—the famous "Bataan Boys" who served alongside MacArthur throughout the Asian arc of his career—to both MacArthur’s and the region’s history. First published to wide acclaim in Japanese in 2009 and translated into English for the first time, this book uses a wide range of sources—American and Japanese, official records and oral histories—to present a complex view of MacArthur, one that illuminates his military decisions during the Pacific campaign and his administration of the Japanese Occupation.

Author Information


Hiroshi Masuda is Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Professor of Japan's Diplomatic History at Toyo Eiwa University.YamamotoReiko:

Reiko Yamamoto is a diplomatic historian and lives in Yokohama.


"This book offers an integrated view that links wartime and postwar Japan through the figure of one person, Douglas MacArthur. The Occupation appears as an extension of the war, and we are left with the historical awareness that, in East Asia, war continued even after 1945."

Marc Gallicchio:

"Although Masuda ?nds much to admire, citing MacArthur's bravery, strong convictions, and intelligence, he also notes that the general could be arbitrary and vain. Masuda’s observations create a picture of a ?awed but admirable individual."

"Hiroshi Masuda reinterprets MacArthur by going back to his years in the Philippines. In particular, this book focuses on the 'Bataan Boys,' the group of subordinates who accompanied MacArthur in his 1942 evacuation from the Philippines, and their views of MacArthur. MacArthur in Asia offers valuable insights into not only MacArthur’s public persona but also his personal and human characteristics, demonstrating the strengths of the biographical approach to historical scholarship."

"Masuda offers a fresh, scholarly, Japanese perspective on the full range of the general's career. In what is more a collective biography of MacArthur and the important staff officers around him (the 'Bataan Boys' who escaped the Philippines with him in the spring of 1942), Masuda succeeds in demonstrating how these 15 loyal subordinates were essential to MacArthur's command and eventual success, both in wartime and in the occupation of Japan.... The book's unique perspective and thorough research make it an invaluable contribution to the body of scholarship on General MacArthur and, in particular, his service in Asia. Highly recommended."

Audience: General/trade;