A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community
Published by: Cornell University Press
384 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 22 b&w halftones, 5 b&w line drawings
- ISBN: 9781501741586
- Published: October 2019
The prewar history of the Japanese intelligence community demonstrates how having power over much, but insight into little can have devastating consequences. Its postwar history—one of limited Japanese power despite growing insight—has also been problematic for national security.
In Special Duty Richard J. Samuels dissects the fascinating history of the intelligence community in Japan. Looking at the impact of shifts in the strategic environment, technological change, and past failures, he probes the reasons why Japan has endured such a roller-coaster ride when it comes to intelligence gathering and analysis, and concludes that the ups and downs of the past century—combined with growing uncertainties in the regional security environment—have convinced Japanese leaders of the critical importance of striking balance between power and insight. Using examples of excessive hubris and debilitating bureaucratic competition before the Asia-Pacific War, the unavoidable dependence on US assets and popular sensitivity to security issues after World War II, and the tardy adoption of image-processing and cyber technologies, Samuels' bold book highlights the century-long history of Japan's struggles to develop a fully functioning and effective intelligence capability, and makes clear that Japanese leaders have begun to reinvent their nation's intelligence community.
List of Abbreviations
1. Driving Intelligence
2. Expanding Special Duties (1895-1945)
3. Accommodating Defeat (1945-1991)
4. Tinkering with Failure (1991-2001)
5. Reimagining Possibilities (2001-2013)
6. Reengineering the Intelligence Community (2013-)
7. The Past and Future of Japanese Intelligence
"Samuels has presented an ambitious study of Japanese intelligence. It is a history of expansion, accommodation, tinkering, reimaging, and reengineering. It is the story of the poor political leadership and lack of vision. The result is one of turmoil and change with minimal progress until very recently. Samuels' book is a study of the political process of creating a viable intelligence community – and the price of lacking political leadership. This is an important book that captures an important story of the eventual attempt to develop a Japanese intelligence community."~Intelligence and National Security
"Samuels takes on on the bumpy and at times wacky of journey of Japanese intelligence. [It} provides an excellent, exhaustive insight into that which has gone before, and poses some unsettling questions as to the way forward. It is, indeed, a timely book of great value to policy makers, scholars, and students."~Journal of Military History
"Richard Samuels, a professor at MIT and renowned Japanese expert, has written the definitive history of Japan's intelligence community —- or lack thereof."~Global Asia
"Richard Samuels has produced an informative book about the evolution and current state of the Japanese intelligence community."~Survival: Global politics and strategy
"Special Duty is an excellent study, meticulously researched and well written. It fills a vital gap in current scholarship, as there is a dearth of reliable historical accounts of Japanese intelligence, especially of the postwar period. The work is essential reading for historians of modern Japan, scholars of intelligence, and any reader interested in the Japanese intelligence community."~Monumenta Nipponica
"Focusing on intelligence gathering by the modern Japanese state from 1895, the author's insights into pre-war "hubris and debilitating bureaucratic competition" and postwar reliance on the U.S. will attract fans of both geopolitical and military history."~Japan Times
"This engrossing history of Japanese intelligence demonstrates how such changes have made Japan a better security partner for the United States while preparing the country to stand on its own if the U.S. security guarantee loses its credibility."~Foreign Affairs
"A thorough, and thoroughly alarming, treatment of the subject matter, this book is a valuable contribution to the study of intelligence."~Choice
- Foreign Affairs "Outstanding New Book"