Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

This program will be available for sale to the general public starting on October 7, 2022.

Want to purchase your tickets before then? Become a member today, or if you are already a member, log in to purchase your tickets.

An American Ambassador in Prewar Japan: The Countdown to Pearl Harbor

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, December 5, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0492
Select Your Tickets
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
Powered by Zoom

Japanese troops in Chinchow, 1932

In 1932, Japan was in crisis. Naval officers had assassinated the prime minister, and the army had invaded Manchuria without permission from the Japanese government. As the military’s stranglehold on the government tightened, conspiracies flourished and propaganda campaigns swept the country, urging citizens to report spies and schoolchildren to collect money for planes and tanks. Japan’s relationship with the United States and other Western nations was rapidly deteriorating.

Into this maelstrom stepped Joseph C. Grew, America’s most experienced and talented diplomat. He spent the next decade attempting to warn American leaders about the risks of Japan’s raging nationalism and ambitious militarism, while also trying to stabilize Tokyo’s increasingly erratic and belligerent foreign policy. His dispatches and counsel from the darkening heart of the Japanese empire were prescient—but often disregarded in Washington.

Drawing on his new book Our Man in Tokyo, Steve Kemper examines Grew’s tenure in Japan, offering a backstage glimpse at these explosive years from vantage points including the Imperial Palace and the Japanese cabinet. Join him as he shares Grew’s story and his view from the American embassy in Tokyo, and also provides a look at prewar Japan’s turbulent politics, society, and culture.

Copies of Our Man in Tokyo: An American Ambassador and the Countdown to Pearl Harbor (Mariner Books), are available for purchase.

Book Sale Information

  • Purchase your copy of Our Man in Tokyo by Steve Kemper here.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Politics and Prose is offering a 10% discount to Smithsonian Associates ticket-holders. To claim your discount, enter the code SPECIAL10 (no space between letters and numbers) in the “Coupon discount” section on Politics and Prose's check-out page.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for online programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our online programs presented on Zoom.
This online program is presented on Zoom.