Nakano explains the significance of the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia as a learning experience for the occupiers, whether soldiers on the frontlines or civilians on the home front. He uses a synthesis, overlay and juxtaposition of a selection of these narratives, to reassemble the narrative as a whole. This brings into focus the outlook of those Japanese who set out for Southeast Asia with the purpose to urge the region’s occupied people to collaborate with Japan to transform the region into an integral part of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Many would eventually discover that what required change was Japan and its whole approach to colonial rule, as was realized so quickly in the postwar era.
The original Japanese version was published as Tonan Ajia senryo to Nihonjin: Teikoku Nihon no kaitai [The occupation of Southeast Asia and the Japanese: The dismantling of the Japanese empire]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2012. ISBN: 430922542X.