The cowardly execution of Sgt.Leonard Siffleet.

Siffleet

The Japanese Imperial  Armed forces did claim they were honorable and conducted themselves in the way of the Bushido. In reality there was very little honour in how they conducted themselves, especially when it came to treating prisoners of war.

The Bushido code consists of a set of 8 virtues, one of them being Benevolence or Mercy this was virtue 3. It goes on to say:3.

“A human invested with the power to command and the power to kill was expected to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy: Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the human soul. Both Confucius and Mencius often said the highest requirement of a ruler of men is Benevolence.”

The last virtue indicates Character and Self-Control.8

“Bushido teaches that men should behave according to an absolute moral standard, one that transcends logic. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. The difference between good and bad and between right and wrong are givens, not arguments subject to discussion or justification, and a man should know the difference.Finally, it is a man’s obligation to teach his children moral standards through the model of his own behavior: ”

Len Siffleet, was an Australian  special operations soldier,born on 14 January 1916 in Gunnedah, New South Wales. In the late 1930’s he moved to Sydney trying to join the Police. Unfortunately due to his eyesight he didn’t qualify to become a Police officer. In 1940 however he served with a searchlight unit at Richmond Air Force Base but was released after three months and returned to civilian life. In 1941 returned to his family to help look after his young brothers following the death of his Mother.

After completing a  radio communications course at Melbourne Technical College, he volunteered for special operations in September 1942 and was posted to the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) of the Allied Intelligence Bureau in Melbourne.

He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to M Special Unit in May 1943. Siffleet joined a party led by Sergeant H. N. Staverman of the Royal Netherlands Navy, which included two Ambonese privates, in New Guinea.

The reconnaissance group commenced its mission in north-east New Guinea in July, trekking across New Guinea’s mountainous terrain.

new guinea

In mid-September the mission, along with members of another special operations team travelling with them to Aitape, were discovered by New Guinean natives. During a short scuffle Siffleet managed to shoot  and wound one of their attackers,and  he managed to get away.However he was soon  caught again  and, along with his companions, was handed over to the Japanese.

The men were confined for several weeks before they were  taken down to Aitape Beach on the afternoon of 24 October 1943. Bound and blindfolded, surrounded by Japanese and native onlookers, they were forced to the ground.

3 men

 

On the orders of Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada of the Imperial Japanese Navy the men were beheaded. The officer who executed Siffleet, Yasuno Chikao, ordered a private to photograph him in the act.

There was absolutely no valid reason for the executions. The men were prisoners of war and should have been treated as such. Even according to their own Bushido code they should have shown compassion. But instead the executed unarmed men who were bound and blindfolded.

The photograph of Siffleet’s execution was  later discovered on the body of a dead Japanese major near Hollandia by American troops in April 1944.

beheading

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The Pig Basket atrocity

basket

We all know about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime and they are truly awful, mostly even hard to fathom, but we should never forget the crimes committed by the Japanese regime, very often they were just as evil if not worse..

One only had to look at the rape of Nanking or at the actions of Unit 731.

731

After the Allies capitulated to the Imperial Japanese army  in East Java,Indonesia, in 1942, approximately  200 allied troops  took to the hills around Malang. to fight as a guerrilla resistance force. Unfortunately they were eventually captured and tortured  by the Kempeitai,the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army.
Kempeitai

The captured soldiers were forcibly squeezed into 91-95 cm long bamboo baskets and transported in open trucks,the bamboo baskets were usually used to transport pigs, in temperatures reaching 38 degrees Centigrade . The prisoners of war , already suffering from severe dehydration due to the extreme heat, were then placed on waiting boats, which sailed off the coast of Surabaya, the baskets  were then thrown into the ocean. The prisoners were drowned or eaten alive by sharks.

Dutch girl Elizabeth Van Kampen, who was 15 at the time was one of the witnesses, below is her testimony

“At the beginning of October 1942 when my father and I walked over the main road near the coffee and rubber plantation Sumber Sewu, laying on the ridge of the Mount Semeru, when we heard trucks from a distance coming our way. We quickly hid behind the coffee bushes laying higher up than the road, (alas) we could see everything quite well.
We saw 5 open trucks, they were loaded with bamboo baskets with therein laying white men. We heard the men screaming and crying for water and for help in English and Dutch. The baskets were piled up on the open trucks, they were driving direction Banyuwangi.

I was 15 years old and so I could fully understand what was happening there in front of my eyes, but what touched me so much deeper were the voices of the desperate men begging for help and water.
I was hiding behind my father and I heard him softly saying; “Oh my God”.

We slowly walked home but over another road, neither of us said a word. There were no words for what we both had seen and heard…

After the war, I often wanted to talk with my father about that drama we had seen together. Had the Indonesians from Sumber Sewu seen those trucks? I shall never know.”

I believe the drawing at the start of the blog was drawn by Elizabeth

It is important to note that Indonesia was and still is predominantly a Muslim country, pigs are considered ‘dirty animals’ and any contact with pigs is seen as unholy. It is therefor not hard to believe that the allied troops were put in ‘pig baskets’ deliberately to ensure that local people would or could not help them, But even if they would have attempted to help they more then likely would have been executed anyway

Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura, commander in chief of the Japanese forces in Java, was acquitted on war crimes charges by a Netherlands court due to lack of evidence but was later charged by an Australian military court and sentenced to 10 years in prison, which he served from 1946–54 in Sugamo, Japan.

Hitoshi

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Japanese attack on Fort Stevens-Oregon.

i 25

After the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7 1941, there was a fear that Japan had plans to invade the US. This never happened, although there had been a few attacks on American soil by Japan, these did very little damage.

The only military base ever to be attacked by Japan was Forts Stevens on the Oregon side of the mouth of the Columbia River.

The attack  occurred on June 21, 1942. After trailing American fishing vessels to bypass minefields, the Japanese submarine I-25 made its way to the mouth of the Columbia River. It surfaced near Fort Stevens.

Fort

The Japanese submarine I-25, commanded by Tagami Meiji, had been assigned to sink enemy shipping and attack the enemy on land with their 14 cm deck gun. Transporting a Yokosuka E14Y seaplane, it had a crew of 97.

i 25 plane

Just before midnight, the submarine used its 140-millimeter deck gun and fired 17 shells at the fort. Thinking that the return fires of the fort’s guns would only serve to more clearly reveal their position, the commander of Fort Stevens ordered his men not to return fire.  Instead a compete black out was ordered. The plan worked, and the bombardment was almost totally unsuccessful—a nearby baseball field bore the brunt of the damage.

Damage

The only significant damage was caused when one shell severed several large telephone cables.

American Army Air Corps planes on a training mission had seen the  the I-25 and called in her location,requesting  an A-29 Hudson bomber to attack. The bomber spotted the I-25, but she successfully escaped the falling bombs and submerged undamaged and got away.

Bomber

Although there were no injuries and very little damage, the Japanese attack on Fort Stevens did increase the fear of a Japanese invasion.

The Fort Stevens shelling was the only time that a continental United States military installation was attacked by the Axis Powers during World War II.

News Papaer

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Discerning History

Your job in Germany and Our Job in Japan.

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Cat in the hat;How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and It’s a Wonderful Life are not stories you would associate with WWII or propaganda, and yet they have a distinct ,albeit indirect link to WWII propaganda movies.

The name Theodor Seuss Geisel will mean little to many people,although there is a hint in his name which gives away the name he is known by to most. He is better known as Dr. Seuss.

Seuss

In 1943, he joined the Army as a Captain and was commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. Where he got to work with Frank Capra, the director of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

Initially they worked together on a series of black-and-white American instructional,  cartoons, of a character created by Capra called ‘Private Snafu’,that were produced between 1943 and 1945

Private_SNAFU

The cartoons were humorous very much like the Looney toons. The short movies were directed by famous  directors like Chuck Jones and Fritz Freleng.

In one episode of the series ‘Three Brothers’ released on December 4, 1944 a certain Bugs Bunny made an appearance.

Frank Capra and Dr Seuss worked on 2 hard hitting propaganda films ,shortly after WWII in 1945.

Your Job in Germany

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The film would probably be called racist and non political correct nowadays but in the context of the time it was accepted and also understandable.This training film was made for U.S. Army occupation forces in Germany following World War II.

It  tells how Germany has always been evil and when given a the chance again they would start another war with another leader like Hitler.

In the films the troops are urged not to become friends with the Germans, for the Nazi mentality is still prevalent in the German psyche, and probably always will be.

intro

Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers,  secured the rights to ‘Your Job in Germany’ and turned it into a short documentary entitled Hitler Lives?, directed by Don Siegel. It was released commercially on December 29, 1945 and won the 1946 Academy Award  for Documentary Short Subject.

Our Job in Japan

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Our Job in Japan was a United States military training film made in 1945. Equally to ‘Your Job in Germany’ this movie would now be perceived as racist and totally not political correct.But similarly in the context of the aftermath of WWII and the brutality the Japanese army had displayed during the war it was understandable and probably warranted to portray the Japanese people in the way they did.

The film was aimed at American troops heading to Japan to occupy the country in 1945  It presented the problem of turning the militarist state into a peaceful democracy.

It starts off showing Japan surrendering  , followed by the depiction of bad things that they did during the war, and also how the Japanese always followed a backward quasi religious philosophy. The  narrator explains that although the war is over the Japanese brains still need to adapt to a more modern society based on common sense and not by worshiping the old ways.

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Our Job in Japan was also used as a  basis for a longer, commercially released film, with the title ‘Design for Death’  in 1947 directed by Richard Fleischer. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal

IMTFE_judges

When we think of the WWII war crime tribunal we usually think about the Nuremberg Trials, however there were several trials for the Nazis weren’t the only ones who had committed war crimes. The Japanese Imperial Army were also guilty of atrocities, and some of them were more brutal and evil then the crimes committed by the Nazis.

The Tokyo trials or The International Military Tribunal for the Far East began on May 3, 1946 and lasted two and a half years. Three broad categories of war crimes were established. Class A charges, alleging “crimes against peace”, were brought against Japan’s top leaders who had planned and directed the war. Class B and C charges, which were leveled at Japanese of any rank, covered “conventional war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”. Former U.S. assistant attorney general, Joseph Keenan, served as the chief prosecutor. He was a Roosevelt New Dealer and had once personally prosecuted such infamous American gangsters as “Machine Gun Kelley”

 

IMTFE_court_chamber

Sir William Webb of Australia served as the tribunal’s president. Eleven judges representing various countries presided. On November 4, 1948 Webb announced that all defendants had been found guilty. Seven were sentenced to death (including the most infamous, former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo); sixteen received life terms (though many of these were paroled in the 1950’s), and two were given lesser terms. Two had died during the trials and one was found insane. Hundreds of subsequent war crimes trials were held in other countries in Asia into the 1950’s. These Tokyo trials, while important, have often remained in the shadow of the more publicized Nuremberg war crimes trials in Europe.2017-3039-01

General Douglas MacArthur was pleased with the Tokyo trials and stated, “No human decision is infallible but I can conceive of no judicial process where greater safeguard was made to evolve justice.…no mortal agency in the present imperfect evolution of civilized society seems more entitled to confidence in the integrity of its solemn pronouncements. If we cannot trust such processes and such men we can trust nothing.”

imtfe

The U.S. and its allies established an International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMFTE) to prosecute Japanese military and government leaders. Twenty-eight high-ranking Japanese political and military leaders, often referred to as the “Big Fish”, along with others were indicted on 55 counts in the most publicized Tokyo trial. The accused group included former prime ministers, foreign ministers, economic and financial leaders, ambassadors, war ministers, navy ministers, and senior military officers. General Douglas MacArthur decided, with President Truman’s concurrence, not to place Emporer Hirohito or any member of the royal family on trial. He was seen by the victors as a much needed leader and symbol for the new, peaceful and democratic Japan to arise from the ashes of WW II. The U.S. was entering a new Cold War era and needed a militarily purged, newly reborn Japan as any ally with Hirohito as its unifying symbol.

1280px-Showa-family1941_12_7

As many as 50 suspects, such as Nobusuke Kishi, who later became Prime Minister, and Yoshisuke Aikawa, head of Nissan, were charged but released in 1947 and 1948. Shiro Ishii received immunity in exchange for data gathered from his experiments on live prisoners. The lone dissenting judge arguing to exonerate all arrested suspects was Indian jurist Radhabinod Pal.Radhabinod_Pal

Following the model used at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany, the Allies established three broad categories. “Class A” charges, alleging crimes against peace, were to be brought against Japan’s top leaders who had planned and directed the war. Class B and C charges, which could be leveled at Japanese of any rank, covered conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity, respectively. Unlike the Nuremberg Trials, the charge of crimes against peace was a prerequisite to prosecution—only those individuals whose crimes included crimes against peace could be prosecuted by the Tribunal.

The indictment accused the defendants of promoting a scheme of conquest that “contemplated and carried out…murdering, maiming and ill-treating prisoners of war (and) civilian internees…forcing them to labor under inhumane conditions…plundering public and private property, wantonly destroying cities, towns and villages beyond any justification of military necessity; (perpetrating) mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the over-run countries.

Indictment 1

Indictment 2

The prosecution began opening statements on May 3, 1946, and took 192 days to present its case, finishing on January 24, 1947. It submitted its evidence in fifteen phases.

The Charter provided that evidence against the accused could include any document “without proof of its issuance or signature” as well as diaries, letters, press reports, and sworn or unsworn out-of-court statements relating to the charges.[6] Article 13 of the Charter read, in part: “The tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence…and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value”.

Numerous eye-witness accounts of the Nanking Massacre were provided by Chinese civilian survivors and western nationals living in Nanking at the time. The accounts included gruesome details of the Nanking Massacre. Thousands of innocent civilians were buried alive, used as targets for bayonet practice, shot in large groups and thrown into the Yangtze River. Rampant rapes (and gang rapes) of women ranging from age seven to over seventy were reported. The international community estimated that within the six weeks of the Massacre, 20,000 women were raped, many of them subsequently murdered or mutilated; and over 300,000 people were killed, often with the most inhumane brutality.
Dr. Robert Wilson, a surgeon who was born and raised in Nanking and educated at Princeton and Harvard Medical School, testified that beginning with December 13, “the hospital filled up and was kept full to overflowing” during the next six weeks. The patients usually bore bayonet or bullet wounds; many of the women patients had been sexually molested.

The international community had filed many protests to the Japanese Embassy. Bates, an American professor of history at the University of Nanking during the Japanese occupation, provided evidence that the protests were forwarded to Tokyo and were discussed in great detail between Japanese officials and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo.

Brackman (reporter at the trial and author of the book “The Other Nuremberg”) commented: “The Rape of Nanking was not the kind of isolated incident common to all wars. It was deliberate. It was policy. It was known in Tokyo.” Yet it was allowed to continue for over six weeks.Nanking

The defendants were represented by over a hundred attorneys, three-quarters of them Japanese and one-quarter American, plus a support staff. The defense opened its case on January 27, 1947, and finished its presentation 225 days later on September 9, 1947.

The defense argued that the trial could never be free from substantial doubt as to its “legality, fairness and impartiality”.

The defense challenged the indictment, arguing that crimes against peace, and more specifically, the undefined concepts of conspiracy and aggressive war, had yet to be established as crimes in international law; in effect, the IMTFE was contradicting accepted legal procedure by trying the defendants retroactively for violating laws which had not existed when the alleged crimes had been committed. The defense insisted that there was no basis in international law for holding individuals responsible for acts of state, as the Tokyo Trial proposed to do. The defense attacked the notion of negative criminality, by which the defendants were to be tried for failing to prevent breaches of law and war crimes by others, as likewise having no basis in international law.

The defense argued that Allied Powers’ violations of international law should be examined.

Former Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō maintained that Japan had had no choice but to enter the war for self-defense purposes. He asserted that “[because of the Hull Note] we felt at the time that Japan was being driven either to war or suicide”.

Shigenori_Togo

One defendant, Shūmei Ōkawa, was found mentally unfit for trial and the charges were dropped.

Two defendants, Matsuoka Yosuke and Nagano Osami, died of natural causes during the trial.

Six defendants were sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace (Class A, Class B and Class C):

General Kenji Doihara, chief of the intelligence services in Manchukuo
Kōki Hirota, prime minister (later foreign minister)
General Seishirō Itagaki, war minister
General Heitarō Kimura, commander, Burma Area Army
Lieutenant General Akira Mutō, chief of staff, 14th Area Army
General Hideki Tōjō, commander, Kwantung Army (later prime minister)
One defendant was sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity (Class B and Class C):

General Iwane Matsui, commander, Shanghai Expeditionary Force and Central China Area Army
They were executed at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro on December 23, 1948. MacArthur, afraid of embarrassing and antagonizing the Japanese people, defied the wishes of President Truman and barred photography of any kind, instead bringing in four members of the Allied Council to act as official witnesses.

Sixteen defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment. Three (Koiso, Shiratori, and Umezu) died in prison, while the other thirteen were paroled between 1954 and 1956:

General Sadao Araki, war minister
Colonel Kingorō Hashimoto, major instigator of the second Sino-Japanese War
Field Marshal Shunroku Hata, war minister
Baron Kiichirō Hiranuma, prime minister
Naoki Hoshino, Chief Cabinet Secretary
Okinori Kaya, finance minister
Marquis Kōichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
General Kuniaki Koiso, governor of Korea, later prime minister
General Jirō Minami, commander, Kwantung Army
Admiral Takazumi Oka, naval minister
Lieutenant General Hiroshi Ōshima, Ambassador to Germany
General Kenryō Satō, chief of the Military Affairs Bureau
Admiral Shigetarō Shimada, naval minister
Toshio Shiratori, Ambassador to Italy
Lieutenant General Teiichi Suzuki, president of the Cabinet Planning Board
General Yoshijirō Umezu, war minister
Foreign minister Shigenori Tōgō was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and died in prison in 1949. Foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu was sentenced to 7 years.

The verdict and sentences of the tribunal were confirmed by MacArthur on November 24, 1948, two days after a perfunctory meeting with members of the Allied Control Commission for Japan, who acted as the local representatives of the nations of the Far Eastern Commission. Six of those representatives made no recommendations for clemency. Australia, Canada, India, and the Netherlands were willing to see the general make some reductions in sentences. He chose not to do so. The issue of clemency was thereafter to disturb Japanese relations with the Allied powers until the late 1950s, when a majority of the Allied powers agreed to release the last of the convicted major war criminals from captivity.

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Kamikaze

Mitsubishi_Ki15-Kamikaze

I know what you are thinking “Yet another blog about Japanese suicide bombers” but you’d be wrong.

This Japanese kamikaze did not attack anywhere in the pacific but it flew to London instead.

The Ki-15 aircraft air_ki15_1was originally designed to meet a 1935 Army Air Force requirement. The prototype first took flight in May 1936, and was quickly accepted as the Japanese Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1. Production for the first order of 437 aircraft began in May 1937. They were single-engine monoplanes with fixed tail wheelundercarriages.

Kamikaze ( Kamikaze-gō) was a Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane aircraft, sponsored by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Asahi_Shimbun_first_issue

It became famous on April 9, 1937, as the first Japanese-built aircraft to fly from Japan to Europe. The flight from Tokyo to London took 51 hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds and was piloted by Masaaki Iinuma (1912–1941), with Kenji Tsukagoshi (1900–1943) serving as navigator.

Pilot and Navigator

 

 

The Kamikaze-go took off from Tachikawa Airfield in Tokyo at 2:12:04 pm on April 6, 1937, with much fanfare. The aircraft flew from Tokyo via Taipei to Hanoi and Vientiane in French Indochina, then via Calcutta and Karachi in British India and Basra and Baghdad in Iraq, and then Athens, Rome and Paris in Europe.

The aircraft landed at London’s Croydon airport to a cheering crowd of spectators at 3:30 pm on April 9. The total elapsed time since departure was 94 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds, with actual flight time for the whole distance of 15,357 km of was 51 hours, 19 minutes and 23 seconds (average speed: 162,8 km/h or 101 MPH). The flight was the first Fédération Aéronautique Internationale aviation record to have been won by the Japanese.

This flight to Europe made the pilot, Masaaki Iinuma (then 26 years old), a national hero, and he was acclaimed as the “Japanese Lindbergh”. Both the pilot and navigator Kenji Tsukagoshi were awarded the Légion d’honneur by the French government.

On April 12, only a few days after the record-breaking flight, the Kamikaze-go carried Prince and Princess Chichibu, who were visiting England for the coronation, on a joy ride.

prince

A month later, on May 12, it was used to film the coronation ceremonies from the air. The Kamikaze-go was then flown back to Japan, duplicating its original route in the opposite direction, departing London May 14 and arriving in Osaka on May 20, and Haneda airport in Tokyo on May 21.

Kamikaze ‘s pilot, Masaaki Iinuma, later served as chief test pilot for the Kayaba Ka-1 autogyro from May 1941. He was later killed in action in the Pacific War in December 1941 near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He was 29 years old. In 1943, Kamikaze ‘s former navigator, Tsukagoshi, set off from Singapore for Germany in the prototype Tachikawa Ki-77, but disappeared over the Indian Ocean.

After its return to Japan, the Kamikaze-go continued to work actively in a variety of capacities for the Asahi Shimbun. However, on a flight back from the south of China it encountered bad weather and had to be ditched in southern Taiwan. It was later recovered and put on display at a “Kamikaze Memorial Center” on Ikoma, Nara Prefecture. The facilities were destroyed in World War II.

To commemorate the 1937 flight of the aircraft, Asahi Shimbun produced sake bottles and cups which were made available with the image of this aircraft on it.

kamikaze.

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A spy in Hawaii-Takeo Yoshikawa

800px-Yoshikawa

The one thing this is for certain in history, it always repeats itself. With all the talk about spies nowadays it is a good time to look at one of WWII spies.Takeo Yoshikawa.

Because of his expertise on the U.S. Navy, Yoshikawa was sent to Hawaii under the cover of being a vice-consul named Tadashi Morimura.

On March 27, 1941, the following appeared in the Nippu Jiji, an English-and-Japanese-language newspaper in Honolulu: “Tadashi Morimura, newly appointed secretary of the local Japanese consulate general, arrived here this morning on the Nitta Maru from Japan.

Nitta-maru_1940

His appointment was made to expedite the work on expatriation applications and other matters.” The announcement should have drawn the attention of American intelligence agents, as there was no Tadashi Morimura listed in the Japanese foreign registry.

He rented a second story apartment that overlooked Pearl Harbor and would often wander around the island of Oahu, taking notes on Fleet movements and security measures.He rented small planes at John Rodgers Airport and flew around, observing U.S. installations as well as diving under the harbor using a hollow reed as a breathing device. He also gathered information by taking the Navy’s own harbor tugboat and listening to local gossip. He worked closely with German Abwehr agent Bernard Kuehn.

0000004141Kuehn—a member of the Nazi party—had arrived in Hawaii in 1935. By 1939, the Bureau was suspicious of him. He had questionable contacts with the Germans and Japanese.

Yoshikawa also worked with Kokichi Seki , an untrained spy who served as the consulate’s treasurer.

FBI agents were paying attention to all of Yoshikawa’s comings and goings. In fact, U.S. military intelligence suspected him of spying. One officer even commented that “Morimura” was able to go unhindered “all over the _ _ place.”

Working diligently, the FBI’s chief investigator in Honolulu was tracking the 27-year-old Japanese spy, but there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest him.

At the time, Hawaii was not-yet an American state. Officials in Washington did not want to risk antagonizing the loyalty of Hawaii’s population by arresting a “diplomat” without hard evidence of spy activities. (About 160,000 people of Japanese ancestry lived in Hawaii in 1941.) Suspicions were not enough to stop Yoshikawa from going about his business.

So … because no one did stop him … Yoshikawa’s spy charts would provide perfect routes of travel for all the comings and goings of Japanese pilots on the 7th of December, 1941.

Although he had no knowledge of a planned attack on Pearl Harbor, Yoshikawa assumed that the intelligence would help prepare for such an eventuality and worked tirelessly to that end. His reports were transmitted by the Japanese Consulate in PURPLE code to the Foreign Ministry, which passed them on to the Navy.

1200px-Type_97_cypher_machine

Although the code had been broken by American code breakers and messages to and from Tokyo were intercepted and de-crypted, communications between Tokyo and the consulate were considered low-priority because they contained so many messages that were entirely commercial in nature.

On the morning of December 7, Yoshikawa was listening to a short-wave radio broadcast from Tokyo. During the weather forecast, he heard a reporter very slowly say these words:

East wind, rain.

East wind, rain.

Yoshikawa knew what those code words meant. Japan had decided to start a war against America.

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The weatherman’s words did not contain any other codes. That meant Japan was not declaring war on Britain or Russia.

Yoshikawa and Japan’s counsel in Hawaii knew what they had to do. Federal agents would soon search their offices, so they had to destroy every piece of incriminating evidence, including their code books.

By the time U.S. agents showed-up, every shred of spying evidence against Yoshikawa no-longer existed. No evidence against him ever surfaced, while he was in American custody. In 1942, he returned to Japan. During the rest of the war, he held his rank of ensign in Japanese intelligence.

After the war, when the U.S. occupied Japan for several years, the Pearl-Harbor spy worried that he’d be caught … and hanged. He left his wife, whom he had married after returning to Japan, and went into hiding as a Buddhist monk.

Yoshikawa never received official recognition of his services during the war. In 1955, he opened a candy business but it failed as word spread of his role in the war. The locals blamed Yoshikawa for the war. “They even blamed me for the atomic bomb,” he declared in one interview.Penniless and jobless, he was supported by his wife for the rest of his life via her position selling insurance. “My wife alone shows me great respect,” said the old spy. “Every day she bows to me. She knows I am a man of history.”He died in a nursing home.

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Imperial Japanese Navy

The Nanking Massacre-The Rape of Nanking

+++++ Contains Graphic Images++++++

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Officially World War II started on September 3 1939,but in all earnestly it had really already started in 1937 with Japan attacking China.

We often hear about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, however the Japanese were as brutal if not more brutal and evil.

The Nanking Massacre was an episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The massacre is also known as the Rape of Nanking.

The massacre occurred over a period of six weeks starting on December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanjing. During this period, soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants who numbered an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000,[7][8] and perpetrated widespread rape and looting.

Some of the pictured below are graphic but it shows the brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army.

A 16-year-old girl who had been gang-raped and infected with venereal disease by Japanese soldiers during the Nanking Massacre.

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A young Chinese civilian kneels down, his hands tied behind his back, awaiting execution by beheading at the hands of a Japanese soldier.

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Dead bodies lay next to Qinhuai River.

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Chinese victims being forcibly buried alive during the Rape of Nanking.

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Chinese prisoners being used as live target practice for Japanese soldiers trying out their bayonets.practice

A grinning Japanese soldier holds the severed head of a victim in his hand.

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Young Chinese men with their hands bound together are piled into a truck. After this photo was taken, the group was driven out to the outskirts of Nanking and killed.

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Although these pictures are graphic in nature John Gillespie Magee  an American Episcopal priest, shot pictures and a film is much more graphic then the pictures in this blog. One photograph  showed the body of a woman with a stick or some other sharp object inserted in her private parts.

I deliberately not include that picture because I will probably have a sleepless night after seeing it and I don’t want to cause that distress to anyone else.

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The Case of the Treasonous Dolls

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The facts of the case are odd.

Five letters were written in early 1942 and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at a Buenos Aires, Argentina, address.

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In early 1942, five letters were written and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Even more strangely, all of them bounced “Return to Sender”—and the “senders” on the return address (women in Oregon, Ohio, Colorado, and Washington state) knew nothing about the letters and had not sent them.

The FBI learned about all this when wartime censors intercepted one letter postmarked in Portland, Oregon, puzzled over its strange contents, and referred it to cryptographers at the FBI Laboratory. These experts concluded that the three “Old English dolls” left at “a wonderful doll hospital” for repairs might well mean three warships being repaired at a west coast naval shipyard; that “fish nets” meant submarine nets; and that “balloons” referred to defense installations.

One of the letters, supposedly sent by a Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio, did indicate her home address – 1808 E High Street – but had been postmarked in New York, a place she had never been. The letter, primarily discussing dolls, contained references to a “Mr. Shaw, who had been ill but would be back to work soon.” The letter corresponded to information that the destroyer USS Shaw, which had been damaged in the Pearl Harbor attack, completed repairs on the West Coast and was soon to rejoin the Pacific Fleet.

Another letter, given to the FBI in August of that year and said to have been written by a woman in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was postmarked from Oakland, California. That letter, written in February, made reference to seven small dolls which the writer stated would be altered to look as though they were “seven real Chinese dolls”, designed to mimic a family of parents, grandparents and three children. The FBI determined that the letter was written shortly after a convoy of ships had arrived at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. The letter contained certain details about the ships, that if made public, would have been detrimental to the war effort.

 

The FBI immediately opened an investigation.

It was May 20, 1942, when a woman in Seattle turned over the crucial second letter. It said, “The wife of an important business associate gave her an old German bisque Doll dressed in a Hulu Grass skirt…I broke this awful doll…I walked all over Seattle to get someone to repair it….”

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In short order, the FBI turned up the other letters. It determined that all five were using “doll code” to describe vital information about U.S. naval matters. All had forged signatures that had been made from authentic original signatures. All had typing characteristics that showed they were typed by the same person on different typewriters. How to put these clues together?

It was the woman in Colorado who provided the big break. She, like the other purported letter senders, was a doll collector, and she believed that a Madison Avenue doll shop owner, Mrs. Velvalee Dickinson, was responsible. She said Ms. Dickinson was angry with her because she’d been late paying for some dolls she’d ordered. That name was a match: the other women were also her customers.

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Who was Velvalee Malvena Dickinson? Basically, a mystery. She was born in California and lived there until she moved with her husband to New York City in 1937. She opened a doll shop on Madison Avenue that same year, catering to wealthy doll collectors and hobbyists, but she struggled to keep it afloat. It also turned out that she had a long and close association with the Japanese diplomatic mission in the U.S.—and she had $13,000 in her safe deposit box traceable to Japanese sources.

Following her guilty plea on July 28, 1944, Ms. Dickinson detailed how she’d gathered intelligence at U.S. shipyards and how she’d used the code provided by Japanese Naval Attaché Ichiro Yokoyama to craft the letters. What we’ll never know is why the letters had been, thankfully, incorrectly addressed.

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FBI Laboratory examination of all five letters confirmed that the signatures on the letters were not genuine, but were forgeries which the experts decided were prepared from original signatures in the possession of the forger. The examination also showed that the typewriter used in the preparation of the letters was different in each case, but that the typing characteristics indicated that the letters were prepared by the same person.

The conclusion reached by the FBI cryptographers was that an open code was used in the letters, which attempted to convey information on the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly the ships of the U.S. Navy, their location, condition, and repair, with special emphasis on the damage of such vessels at Pearl Harbo

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On February 11, 1944, Velvalee Malvena Dickinson was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for violation of the censorship statutes, conviction of which could result in a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

She pleaded not guilty and was held in lieu of $25,000 bail. A continuing investigation by the FBI resulted in a second indictment on May 5, this time on charges of violating espionage statutes, the Trading with the Enemy Act, tradingwithenemy00natirichand the censorship statutes, conviction of which carried the death penalty. She pleaded not guilty and was released on the same bail.On July 28, 1944, a plea bargain was made between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Dickinson in which the espionage and Trade Act indictments were dismissed and she pleaded guilty to the censorship violation and agreed to furnish information in her possession concerning Japanese intelligence activities.

After pleading guilty, she admitted that she had typed the five forged letters addressed to Argentina, using correspondence with her customers to forge their signatures.

She claimed the information compiled in her letters was from asking innocent and unsuspecting citizens in Seattle and San Francisco near the location of the Navy yards there, as well as some details from personal observation. She stated that the letters transmitted information about ships damaged at Pearl Harbor and that the names of the dolls corresponded to a list that explained the type of ships involved. She furthermore stated that the code to be used in the letters, instructions for use of the code, and $25,000 in $100 bills had been passed to her husband by Yokoyama around November 26, 1941, in her doll store at 718 Madison Avenue for the purpose of supplying information to the Japanese. She repeated her claims that the money had been hidden in her husband’s bed until his death.

However, an investigation by the FBI refuted those claims, disclosing that while Dickinson had been a friend of Yokoyama, her husband had never met him. It was also learned that a physical examination done on him at the time indicated that his mental faculties were impaired at the time of the supposed payment. Both a nurse and a maid employed by the Dickinsons at the time emphatically stated that no money had ever been concealed there.

Velvalee Dickinson appeared in court for sentencing on August 14, 1944. Upon sentencing, the court commented:

It is hard to believe that some people do not realize that our country is engaged in a life and death struggle. Any help given to the enemy means the death of American boys who are fighting for our national security. You, as a natural-born citizen, having a University education, and selling out to the Japanese, were certainly engaged in espionage. I think that you have been given every consideration by the Government. The indictment to which you have pleaded guilty is a serious matter. It borders close to treason. I, therefore, sentence you to the maximum penalty provided by the law, which is ten years and $10,000 fine.

Still maintaining her innocence and claiming that her ,at that stage deceased. husband had been the Japanese spy, Dickinson was imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution for Women (now the Alderson Federal Prison Camp) in Alderson, West Virginia. She was released with conditions on April 23, 1951.

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USS Panay incident-Act of war before the war.

USS_Panay_sinking_after_Japanese_air_attack

A bright Sunday in December Japanese planes blazed out of the sky to strafe and bomb an American warship while it lay at anchor.

You’d be forgiven to think this was the Pearl Harbor attack, but you’d be wrong.

The sinking of the USS Panay is pretty much forgotten now. But it was one of the biggest news stories of 1937.

 

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In the 1930s, the United States had something that would be unthinkable today — a treaty with China allowing American gunboats to travel deep up the Yangtze River. It was a major trade route for U.S. commerce in China, and it was notorious for pirate attacks.

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The crews of these ships were small.  Panay for example carried four officers and forty-nine enlisted men, along with a Chinese crew of porters.  The vessel only drew about five feet of water, and resembled more of a Mississippi riverboat than a destroyer.  Yet it had a definite role to play, one summed up on a bronze plaque located in the wardroom: “Mission: For the protection of American life and property in the Yangtze River Valley and its tributaries, and the furtherance of American goodwill in China.”

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By 1937, the Yangtze faced a much bigger threat than pirates: The Japanese army had launched an invasion of China, and by December, the Japanese were fighting for the city of Nanking. The fight became known as the Rape of Nanking.

The USS Panay, with 55 men aboard, was sent to rescue any Americans left, including embassy staff and journalists — most notably War correspondent Norman Alley a newsreel photographer who recorded what was to come.

 

The Panay, with its civilians aboard, escorted the oil tankers 20 miles upstream to wait out the Battle for Nanking. They anchored in the middle of the river and waited. Then, on Dec. 12, a quiet Sunday afternoon, Japanese planes appeared suddenly and bombed the American vessel.

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After the Panay was sunk, the Japanese fighters machine-gunned lifeboats and survivors huddling on the shore of the Yangtze. Two U.S. sailors and a civilian passenger were killed and 11 personnel seriously wounded, setting off a major crisis in U.S.-Japanese relations.

Although the Panay‘s position had been reported to the Japanese as required, the neutral vessel was clearly marked, and the day was sunny and clear, the Japanese maintained that the attack was unintentional, and they agreed to pay $2 million in reparations. Two neutral British vessels were also attacked by the Japanese in the final days of the battle for Nanking.

 

The aftermath of the Panay sinking was a nervous time for the American ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew.

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Grew, whose experience in the foreign service spanned over 30 years, “remembered the Maine,” the US Navy ship that blew up in Havana Harbor in 1898. The sinking of Maine had propelled the US into the Spanish–American War, and Grew hoped the sinking of Panay would not be a similar catalyst for the severance of diplomatic ties and war with Japan.

The Japanese government took full responsibility for sinking Panay but continued to maintain that the attack had been unintentional. Chief of Staff of Japanese naval forces in northern China, Vice Admiral Rokuzo Sugiyama, was assigned to make an apology.

Rokuzo_Sugiyama

The formal apology reached Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve.

Although Japanese officials maintained that their pilots never saw any American flags on Panay, a US Navy court of inquiry determined that several US flags were clearly visible on the vessel during the attacks.At the meeting held at the American embassy in Tokyo on 23 December, Japanese officials maintained that one navy airplane had attacked a boat by machine gun for a short period of time and that Japanese army motor boats or launches attack the Chinese steamers escaping upstream on the opposite bank. However, the Japanese navy insisted that the attack had been unintentional. The Japanese government paid an indemnity of $2,214,007.36 to the US on 22 April 1938, officially settling the Panay incident.

USS-PAnay-4

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