Werner Gruhl is former chief of NASA’s Cost and Economic Analysis Branch with a lifetime interest in the study of the First and Second World Wars.
Kiyosawa was an American-educated commentator on politics and foreign affairs who became increasingly isolated in Japan as militant nationalists rose to power. He began the diary as notes for a history of the war, but it soon became an "inadvertent autobiography" and a refuge for the bitter criticism of Japanese authoritarianism that he had to repress publicly. It chronicles growing bureaucratic control over everything from the press to people's clothing. Kiyosawa pours scorn on such leaders as Premiers Tojo and Koiso. He laments the rise of hysterical propaganda and relates his own and his friends' struggles to avoid arrest. He writes in gripping detail about increasing poverty, crime, and disorder. He records the sentiments of the local barber as faithfully as those of senior politicians. And all the while he traces the gradual disintegration of Japan's war effort and the looming certainty of defeat.
A Diary of Darkness is a perceptive and courageous account of wartime Japan and a revealing record of the devastation wrought by total war.