When did the Second World War begin? Most accounts give 1939 as the date, but for the vast populations of China and Japan, the conflict started almost a decade previously – in 1931/32, and continued without pause until Japan’s surrender in 1945. This volume is a rarity indeed, being an English-language account of the opening stages of the conflict written by a Japanese author from an unashamedly pro-Japanese viewpoint. Most historians today support the view that the Sino-Japanese conflict was but the first stages in Japan’s efforts to conquer south-east Asia, involving atrocious acts such as the infamous Nanking massacre of civilians that followed . In this book, Zumoto claims that Japan occupied Shanghai merely to protect Japanese citizens; and set up the puppet state of Manchuko in Manchuria to further economic progress. An interesting insight into Japan’s pre-war thinking and the way that it presented its propaganda to the outside world.