|Hope of Israel Ministries (Church of God)|
further wish to add that there is no Japanese subject who could go against
the will of His Majesty, more particularly among high officials
of the Japanese government or of Japan "
Hideki Tojo, Tokyo Trial, Dec. 31, 1947,
Prime Minister, July 1941-July 1944.
HIROHITO, MASTERMIND OF
JAPANESE INVOLVEMENT IN WWII!
|Just as involved in the Pacific War as Hitler was in Europe,
Hirohito worked behind the chrysanthemum curtain, and . . .
survived! The West, blinded by his brilliance, was unable to
see the murky shadow left behind by this erstwhile marine
biologist. Like a god, he showed only the ivory side of his
personality for the mortals to see. David Bergamini's Japan's
Imperial Conspiracy is a classic, unraveling a World War II
riddle and trailing Hirohito's footprints step by step, inch by
inch behind the curtain, leading you to encounter -- Japan's
Tucked away in your local library is a book gathering dust. The author went "through 140,000 pages of collateral reading in English, French, and German, 50,000 pages of testimony presented at the postwar Tokyo war crimes trials, and another 30,000 pages of captured Japanese documents and U.S. Intelligence reports" -- and more. It is condensed into a sizable volume with over 1,200 pages, and took the author seven years of research drawn on his own experiences in Japan, China and the Philippines. Born in Tokyo and fluent in Japanese, he tells in great detail how Emperor Hirohito planned step by step to force Japan into war with China and ultimately with the West. He went through confidential documents and dairies never before translated, and held interviews with top officials in Japan. That book is Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, authored by David Bergamini, published by Heinemann in 1971, London (or by William Morrow, New York)
At the end of the war 28 men were charged with war crimes, and among them seven were hanged by the Allies after a two-year trial. The seven were: Hideki Tojo, Seishiro Itagaki, Kenji Doihara, Koki Hirota, Heitaro Kimura, Akira Muto, Iwane Matsui. The Australian, New Zealand, Dutch and Chinese officials had all agreed that Emperor Hirohito was the mastermind of Japanese involvement in the war, and should head any list of Japanese criminals responsible for the war. They later bowed to a decision by General MacArthur to use Hirohito for the rehabilitation of Japan, rather than try him as a criminal under international law.
Therefore, it was not surprising that when the Tokyo Trial started,
Hirohito and his imperial family were off-limits and immune to war crime
It was the official line that the Emperor was a virtual prisoner of the militarists. They,
from 1931, effectively seized power and led Japan on its expansionist march toward Pearl
Harbor. The Emperor was a passive, they said, a withdrawn monarch and a marine biologist, who was kept inadequately informed of his government's decisions and was, in any case, unable to control the military. The military, while invoking the imperial will, were in fact imposing their own.
In due time, the official line concerning Hirohito's responsibilities in the events leading up to the war was accepted not only by the overwhelming majority of Japanese themselves but by most of the academic experts -- especially in the United States. They said he "was the focus and symbol of Japanese patriotism, but did not exercise any power of his own, merely ratifying the decisions of his ministers" and "his mistake, if any, was omission not commission".
In the course of doing his massive research, David Bergamini says,
"In the anecdotes told to me, I perceived that Hirohito, at the
very least, was not
the passive dupe of history that he had been made out to be. From the mouths of
his chamberlains he emerged as a powerful autocratic protagonist. He was said
to have extraordinary intelligence. Until 1945 he was said to have kept up with
every detail of government, to have consulted constantly with officials of all
sorts, and to have maintained always an over-all view of world affairs. His
powers -- civil, military, and religious -- were acknowledged to have been
absolute, but he was said to have exercised them only ceremonially and to have
rubber-stamped the recommendations of his state ministers. Yet in anecdote
after anecdote he was shown keeping abreast of his minister's deliberations and
putting in a word now and then to steer them toward recommendations which
would be acceptable to him. It was even admitted that he had occasionally
decided between opposing viewpoints, accepted a minority viewpoint, or disregarded a recommendation altogether" (Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, p.xxv).
When Allied forces entered Japan, the only papers of any consequence
which fell into
American hands were given voluntarily by the Japanese themselves. The minutes of meetings of Imperial Headquarters presided over by Emperor Hirohito in his palace from 1937-1945 had all, it was said, been incinerated. So were most of the files of the Army General Staff, the Navy General Staff, and the secret police.
The first handwritten document available is now known as the Sugiyama Memoranda, named after the wartime Army Chief of Staff, General Hajime Suiyama, who recorded his daily events between 1940 and 1944. Suiyama himself committed suicide in 1945 and the Sugiyama Memoranda was published in January 1967, in two volumes.
The second dairy available to the West -- written by a man of the highest policy-making level -- was the Kido Dairy, kept between 1930 and 1945. He was Marquis Koichi Kido, who had been Lord Privy Seal and chief civilian advisor to Hirohito in the years between 1940 and 1945. Less than a tenth was translated either by the prosecution or the defense and placed in evidence at the International Military Tribunal -- while the rest was not released until 1966, with the most crucial elements tampered with.
The third journal available was the "Saionji-Harada Memoirs".
These were the notes of Japan's most eminent liberal statesman, Prince
Kinmochi Saionji, who had the duty until November 1940 of recommending
to the Emperor the name of the man to be appointed as prime minister. The
memoirs were actually composed by Saionji's political secretary, Baron
Harada, who was planted by Hirohito as a spy in Saionji's staff.
The fourth journal was released in 1967. It was the dairy of General Shigeru Honjo, written during the years 1931-1936 when he led the conquest of Manchuria and when he served Hirohito as chief aide-de-camp and military advisor.
These four dairies were said to "contain more than half of all is known of the highest deliberations of Japanese leaders in the years 1930-1945".
During the research and interviews, David Bergamini related the desire of interviewees for their identity to be kept confidential as it is dangerous to speak out even in modern Japan. However, he related one particular Japanese aristocrat who said to him in English,
"Why, I believe you are leading me on. What do you wish me to say?
Hirohito as a boy. He was a romantic warlike idiot then and I suppose he still
is. But I have been out of things for several decades. I do not wish to be
disturbed in my old age. If you quote me by name I shall deny that I ever met
you" (ibid, p.xxxvi).
In April 1888, Emperor Meiji ordered the senior members of his oligarchy
and his advisory body to the Throne, the Privy Council, to thrash out a
text of the Constitution. Finally, after much discussion, on February 11,
1889, on the anniversary of Jimmu's ascension to the Throne, the Constitution
was promulgated as a gift of the Emperor to the people. It stated:
"The Empire of Japan shall be reigned over and governed by line
unbroken for ages eternal ... The Emperor is sacred and inviolable ... The
Emperor convokes the Imperial Diet, opens, closes and prorogues it, and
dissolves the House of Representatives ... The Emperor gives sanction to
laws, and orders them to be promulgated and executed ... The Emperor, in
consequence of urgent necessity . . . issues . .. when the Imperial Diet is not
sitting, Imperial Ordinances in the place of law ... The Emperor has the
supreme command of the Army and Navy ... The Emperor determines the
organization of peace standing of the Army and Navy . . . The Emperor
declares war, makes peace, and concludes treaties ... The Emperor confers
titles of nobility, rank, orders and other marks of honor ... The Emperor
orders amnesty, pardon, commutation of punishments and rehabilitation"
(Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, p.261).
The Constitution was said to be a model from Bismark's constitution
for Germany. It
explicitly conferred on the Emperor an unqualified, all-encompassing power in the Empire. It was in such an environment that young Hirohito inherited his immense power and influence from the Meiji Constitution that was to play Japan's leading role that ultimately led to the Pacific war with the West.
Hirohito official birthday was given as April 29, 1901. In his early
childhood he was
kept away from Court life and put into the care of Vice Admiral Sumiyoshi Kawamura's
household. Kawamura was from the Satsuma samurai clan, and the household had for thirty years been importing ten British officials to train the men of Japan's nascent navy.
Approaching the age of four, his naval foster father died and Hirohito was brought back to the palace. There he was cared for by titled servants. He was brought up by another samurai and a Court official, Takamasa Kido. This same Takamasa also adopted a teenage prince, Koichi Kido, to be Hirohito 'big brother' and who was later to become Hirohito's most trusted counselor during the war period.
Hirohito was then sent into Peers' School. This school was first started
in 1821 to educate the sons of royalty and nobility for their roles in
government. The school provided Hirohito's formal education between the
ages of eight and fourteen.
In 1908, its headmaster was General Maresuke Nogi, a hero, who three years earlier had sunk the Russian navy in a catastrophic defeat at Tsushima Strait between Japan and Korea, ushering in the first defeat of an European power by an Asiatic nation.
Entrusted with the planning of Hirohito's curriculum, Nogi took an intense interest in the young Emperor-to-be. Nogi was born in 1849 of a samurai and lived by the samurai code. He imparted his values to the young Hirohito. He would train Hirohito to be ashamed of torn clothes, but never of patched ones, and to live simply. From the age of ten onward, Hirohito was trained to become a competent athlete and was engaged in other exhausting physical training. Nogi would discipline him to withstand suffering, to endure standing-still while naked under a glacial waterfall, without shivering.
Under Nogi's tutelage, Hirohito tackled the written language, some English,
characters or kanji, and calligraphy. Mentally he was given long hours of lectures and plenty of homework.
Among Hirohito's other "big brothers" who attended school with him at Peers' School were: Prince Yasuhiko Asaka, who raped Nanking in 1937; his half-brother and near twin, Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni, who became prime minister in 1945; Prince Naruhisa Kitashirakawa, who died in the course of an intelligence mission in France in 1923; Kitashirakawa's half brother, Marquis Teruhisa Komatsu, who oversaw Naval Staff studies for the attack on Pearl Harbor; and Prince Fumimaro Konoye, who led Japan to war with China as prime minister in 1937.
When the Crown Prince Hirohito grew older, he was singled out from the Peers' School, put into the exclusive hands of private tutors and under the charge of popular war heroes, including two old Prussian-oriented generals, lecturers from Tokyo Imperial University or from Army or Navy headquarters. They taught him tactics, strategy and the samurai code. They kept him well informed about the battles of the First World War and its strategic implications for the Orient.
Under Hirotaro Hattori, he learned natural history and Darwinism, and became interested in worms and shellfish, which interest was to win him a reputation as a marine biologist. As years went by, and as the student-Emperor's knowledge of biology increased, Hattori was to be Hirohito's assistant.
Marriage into the Satsuma Clan
A proposed marriage alliance was made when Hirohito chose a girl from
clan to be his bride. The Satsuma clan was a samurai clan on the southern end of Kyushu
island. They were the traditional sea-warriors and provided a large proportion of officers for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The princess was Nagako, daughter of Prince Kuniyoshi Kuni and allied to the Satsuma clan lord, Hisamitsu Shimazu. The proposed marriage displeased the major rival clan, the Choshu, a Strike-North faction into Russia, who were situated on the southwestern corner of Honshu island.
Earlier, the Choshu had provided the main thrust for Emperor Meiji to
Tokugawa shogunate and thereafter the Imperial Household was indebted to the Choshu clan, whose last remaining elderly "genre" and one of the few survivors of the Meiji reign was the former Army Chief of Staff, General Aritomo Yamagata.
When opposition from the Choshu clan came, Prince Kuni threatened that he and Nagako would commit suicide if she was jilted. After all, Princess Nagako was Hirohito's choice. Unfortunately for Prince Kuni, in the course of a full medical examination, Princess Nagako was discovered to be color-blind. As the bad news spread, fear struck the Imperial household that the Emperor's heirs might themselves be born with a genetic affliction. The imperial affairs then degenerated into a noisy family and clan row. Yamagata called on Hirohito to cancel the engagement while Prince Kuni argued that it was the Empress and Hirohito's choice.
Ultimately, it was Japan's underground world that was to rout the Choshu
determined Hirohito and Japan's future. When opposition continued to mount, Prince Kuni hired the powers of persuasion of the Black Dragon gang-lord Mitsuru Toyama to frighten off General Yamagata. Toyama succeeded and eventually, the proposed marriage went ahead on January 26, 1924, and gang-lord Toyama was one of the honored guests. When Hirohito was enthroned two years later, Toyama was again among the honored guests.
Indeed it was the plan of Hirohito as well, because the Satsuma clan was a naval power whose influence was to sway Hirohito on a Strike-South policy of expansion into the rich lands of the colonial Western powers. The Army was divided. One group, the Imperial Way Group, advocated the Strike-North policy while another group, the Control Clique in the Emperors Cabal, fought for the Strike-South policy. Although the Strike-South people were the minority in the establishment, they had the backing of the industrialists who had foreign interests in the South Seas; and by the priests of the imperial family who believe that Emperor Jimmu, the progenitor of the imperial family, had come from the south.
Hirohito also believed in the Strike-South policy because he saw no profit for the expansion of the empire except in the islands of the south where there was rubber, oil and other resources for Japan's own industrial use. Eventually, this course was what brought Japan into war with China, Great Britain, Australia, Holland, and the United States -- and why it ultimately had to relinquish its entire empire through defeat in 1945.
Before becoming Emperor, Hirohito made a tour of Europe in 1921. His father Taisho was bed-ridden and doctors had said his condition was irreversible. So, when Hirohito returned from abroad he would probably have to assume the full leadership of his country. After watching hundreds of school children lining the shores in the southern point of Japan waving soyonara to their Crown Prince, Hirohito began to settle down. On the long voyage through the South Seas, the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, it gave him time to think and to formulate a program of his own. David Bergamini, after studying many accounts of Hirohito's life during the following forty-five years, and of those who know him intimately, wrote:
"Hirohito began all considerations with a sad awareness that his
had been a failure. The dream of the ancestors to rule theocratically and keep
Japan sacred for the Sun Goddess remained unfulfilled. Hirohito had
reservations about the dream. It was too insular, too mystical and unscientific.
Because of his training in geography and economics, Hirohito could not think
of Japan in isolation but only as a part -- the leading part -- of Asia. Because of
his scientific training he could not accept the legend of the Sun Goddess at face
value. He was a devout Shinto priest and believed in the ghosts of his
ancestors, but not in a simple superstitious way like most of his countrymen.
He would eventually rationalize his creed by grafting onto it the semi-scientific
spiritualism of such Western thinkers as the astrophysicist Sir James Jeans and
the physiologist J.S. Haldane. Hirohito believed that the spirits were always
present and even available for consultation but only as psychic wave forms
permeating the ether. He doubted that they could provide physical assistance
to men in battle, as many Japanese believed. No, if his country was to realize
her imperial ambitions, she would have to count on armies of living men
equipped with modern weapons and deployed with coolheaded statesmanship.
He was inclined to agree with his father that the most natural growth for Japan
would be as a sea power into the islands of Southeast Asia" (Japan's Imperial
Conspiracy, pp. 314-5).
During this long voyage, the Crown Prince had on board influential members
Satsuma clan, his new alliance who favored a maritime expansion in the South Seas, and who were antagonistic against the Choshu clan which had provided Emperor Meiji with many of his oligarchs. In the cities of Europe, they were to be joined by representatives of other non-Choshu interests.
In Europe, Hirohito met many young Japanese officers working in factories, learning new industrial techniques and copying whatever they could in cities like Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt, the Ruhr, and the Saar. What was remarkable was that these spies were to provide Japan with half of all fascist generals of the 1930's and 1940"s. These included many of Hirohito's own Imperial family members.
Among the young officers that the Crown Prince met in Europe was Prince
Higashikuni (born 1887), the ninth son of Prince Asahiko and an uncle of Hirohito. Known also as Big Brother to Hirohito, Prince Higashikuni was in Paris setting up an organization for army intelligence. The first historic meeting was held on October 27, 1921 at the German spa of Baden-Baden. Present were Tetsuzan Nagata, Toshiro Obata and Yasuji Okamura who were to be known as the Three Crows, of whom Nagata was the most influential. All three were trained in military intelligence and were serving in Europe at Japanese embassies as attaches. It was in this secret meeting that a strategy to purge the samurai leadership of the Choshu clan in Army leadership, a plan to reorganize the Army into a modern and effective force, and a plan to take over Manchuria was formulated. Among the young officers who attended was Hideki Tojo, the prime minister who launched the Pacific war with the West.
The meeting was to select "Eleven Reliables" to carry out their program. Only two were present at the meeting. The others were then in China, Siberia, or Japan. All were young officers, graduates of 1904-1905, the years when Japan was victorious over Russia. All the eleven were from non-Choshu clans. Three of them, Tojo, Seishiro Itagaki, and Kenji Doihara were later to become infamous with their conduct and were hanged as Class A war criminals in 1948.
The Three Crows and the Eleven Reliables were to form the Emperor's
Cabal to work in secret Hirohito's programs within the Army and Navy. Further
recruits joined the Cabal
through the University Lodging House and other societies.
At the end of the Pacific war, Prince Higashikuni, in his old age, took responsibility for
all he had wrought by becoming prime minister in the first two humiliating months after Japan's surrender.
Prince Kotohito Kanin (1865-1945) was the adopted son of Emperor Komei, the father of Emperor Meiji. Having outlived the last of his brothers, he ranked as senior member of the Imperial family from 1923 to 1945. He was a graduate of the French military academy, and rose through the officer corps to the rank of Field Marshal.
Prince Kanin planned the attempt in 1916 to assassinate Chinese warlord Chang Tso-lin and occupy Manchuria. In December 1931, during the conquest of Manchuria, Prince Kanin accepted the highest post in the Army, that of Chief of Staff. He retained that position until October 1940 when the war with China was well underway. When the decision to join the Axis was made, Prince Kanin was still the Army Chief of Staff.
In his late seventies, he continued to assist Hirohito with Army manipulations until his death on May 21, 1945.
After the elderly former Army Chief of Staff, General Aritomo Yamagata, was mortally ill, the advice and influence to the throne from the Meiji oligarchy was left vacant. The best candidate was Prince Kinmochi Saionji, the last remaining oligarch from the Satsuma clan.
In 1921, a deal was agreed upon between Prince Saionji and Hirohito whereby Saionji, given the status of genro, would provide advice to the Throne, recommending to Hirohito the men for cabinet formation while the Emperor would give up overt leadership of his cabal and respect all the conventions of a constitutional monarchy. To Prince Saionji, this meant having the voice of the people heard and to Hirohito, it allowed him to work behind the chrysanthemum curtain.
To restrict the power of politicians, the Constitution was manipulated to confine the War and Navy ministries to be filled from active lists of generals and admirals. As active officers were bound by imperial orders, the cabinet, on advice from Prince Saionji, could not be formed without the Emperor's approval. Hirohito and his advisors could use this tactic to influence politicians through the blocking of any formation of undesirable cabinets or to topple cabinets which had served their purpose.
Thus from April 1931 to February 1937 there were five cabinet formations,
an average life span of 14 months. As the Strike-South policy gathered momentum, in the following years, from February 1937 to August 1945, there were a total of ten cabinet formations, each, on the average, shortening the life span to ten months. The ambiguous beast, "the Army" or the "Cabinet," was always held publicly responsible and to be blamed, and the fearful, reverent taboo-stricken people politely ignored the reality - that behind the chrysanthemum curtain, Hirohito was in fact, as well as in name, the Army and Navy's Commander-in-Chief.
Prince Saionji was to live out his life, until the age of ninety-one in 1940, "in bitter disillusionment" because most of his advice was subjugated by Hirohito and the Lord Privy Seal. In later years, the Lord Privy Seal, a position appointed by the Emperor to advise the Imperial Head, would conduct all the business involved in the choice of the prime minister and his cabinet, and simply informed Saionji of what he had done before carrying his advice formally to the Emperor.
An Indoctrination Center
While the Cabinet and Prince Saionji were overtly involved in running the country, within the sacred walls of the palace was an old Meteorological Observatory Institution which Hirohito converted into an undercover indoctrination center for young men who wished to transform Japan through global conquest. First called the Social Problems Research Institution, the center later was given a code name of Daigaku Ryo, or University Lodging House. The Emperor entrusted the administration of the Lodging House to his chief advisor, Lord Privy Seal, Count Makino, who in turn, entrusted it to a brilliant Dr. Shumei Okawa.
Dr. Okawa was a graduate from Tokyo Imperial University and a scholar in Oriental philosophy. He went in search of a vision to have faith in the Japanese mission to free the universe.' For a decade he was a spy working in China, but was also the trusted lieutenant of gang-lord Mitsuru Toyama and also a leader of his own gang, the Black Dragon Society.
Dr. Okawa was known as the Goebbels of Japan.' He provided the ideology and propaganda for the Strike-South faction which espoused war against Western colonies in the south seas rather than against Communist Russia. He operated as a member of the Civilian Spy Service.' He was fluent in English, French, German, Sanskrit, Arabic and several other languages. He worked as an intelligence agent in China for the Army General Staff from 1911 to 1918.
In January 1922, Dr. Okawa received an invitation to become headmaster at the Lodging House in the Palace. His curriculum in the Lodging House involved studies in ethics, weapons, contingency planning, army reorganization, geopolitical theories, and the function of the throne. Among those giving lectures at the Lodging House were the Three Crows, several of the Eleven Reliables, secret policemen, commercial spies, narcotics experts, pimps, terrorists, and interrogation specialists. Only the young and smartest members of the General Staff and of the faculties of the Army and Navy were able to attend the institute, allowing them to mix intimately with influential political and military men of position. David Bergamini wrote:
Amold C. Brackman, a correspondent for United Press during the Occupation and one of the reporters who covered the Tokyo war crimes trials wrote about the actual courtroom drama in Tokyo:
"Like any good fanatic, Okawa was also a combination ideologue,
propagandist, racist, and terrorist .. . Okawa believed in a one-party system
and advocated the regimentation of the Japanese people for a war of world
conquest. He operated a school for radicals in which each year twenty bright
young boys of peasant background were trained in his fascist doctrines and sent
into the hinterland to develop activist cells. As a cover for his activities, Okawa
directed the East Asia Research Institute, which was partly financed by the
financial interests behind the South Manchurian Railway. Okawa also
participated in three abortive coups d'etat in the early thirties against cabinets
that opposed the politics of the militarists and right-wing fanatics. One of the
coups resulted in the murder of the premier" (The Other Nuremberg, 1987,
Through his appointment as headmaster of the Lodging House, Dr Okawa was widely known to have been the rogue mediating between the palace and rightist thugs in all the plots which had rocked the nations early in the 1930s.
The Rape of Nanking
According to the massive research done by David Bergamini, among Emperor Hirohito's most intimate links with atrocities was surprisingly none other than the rape of Nanking! Officially, the army was considered responsible for that crime under General Iwane Matsui, who was to go down in history as the "butcher of Nanking", and one of the seven convicted and hanged after the war.
Matsui's army in Nanking was a result of Emperor Hirohito's decision
to send troops
into North China in 1937. It started with Hirohito summoning General Iwane Matsui, around August 15, 1937, to appear before him in the Imperial Palace and giving him instructions to build up forces around Nanking.
However, on December 2, 1937, there was a sudden turn of events when General Matsui was suffering from tubercular fever. He was relieved by Emperor Hirohito from his duty in the field and later put on a destroyer and removed to Shanghai. Subsequent crimes in Nanking were issued in his name as "overseeing the enforcement of Matsui's orders". By December 7, 1937, about 300,000 Japanese troops were ready to conquer Nanking.
"Emperor Hirohito had stamped the orders sending troops into
north China in
1937. It was later said that he did so unwillingly, yet he went on two months
later to stamp orders for the dispatch of troops to central and south China as
well. He reluctantly postponed execution of the south-China order on the advice
of hesitant 'militarists' in the Japanese General Staff. He opened an Imperial
Headquarters in his palace so that he could personally supervise the fighting. He
became so immerged in war planning that the prime minister at the time
complained of his preoccupation. Finally his own uncle assumed command of
the attack on Nanking, the Chinese capital, and moved into a hotel in Nanking,
to look on while his troops murdered over 100,000 defenseless military and
civilian prisoners there. It was the first act of genocide in World War II, but
when the uncle returned to Tokyo, Hirohito went out of his way to confer
decorations and honors upon him" (ibid., p.xxv-xxvi).
In place of General Matsui, Hirohito sent Prince Yasuhoko Asaka of the House of Fushimi. Prince Asaka was the eighth son of Prince Asahiko, who served as the chief counselor to Emperor Komei.
When General Matsui was transferred to Shanghai, Hirohito commissioned Prince Asaka with fresh Imperial instructions (along with his personal seal) to "kill all captives", and to act as Commander-in-Chief of the Army around Nanking. Prince Asaka left Tokyo by plane on December 5 and arrived to take command of the front three days later and to team up with General Kesago Nakajima, described as the Himmler of Japan, a specialist in thought control, intimidation, and torture. It was Nakajima who would superintend, in detail, the Nanking atrocities.
As the Japanese troops were closing in and tension intensified around
Nanking, one of
the Emperor's courtiers described Hirohito as "taking no recreation and exercising a wide
intensive supervision of military operation" (ibid., p.24). He was totally absorbed in long-term military planning from the very beginning. Prime Minister Konoye was reported to have said to Marquis Kido, "I just met with the Emperor and he is talking of strategy all the way up to next March. He mentioned sending a division to Canton ... " (ibid., p.25).
By December 7, seeing the inevitable, Chiang Kai-shek left the Nanking capital. Almost 800,000 inhabitants also fled into the hinterlands. Though there were American, German, and British safety zones, the Japanese refused to recognize them.
On December 9 Hirohito's uncle, Prince Asaka, ordered a general assault
on the city.
According to Tokyo's Asahi newspaper report the following day, Prince Asaka stood Napoleonic-like on a hill to the east and "watched the fall of the city surrounded by clouds of gunsmoke". Three days later Nanking fell and, within the next two days, General Nakajima and his division rolled into Nanking capturing men, women and children as prisoners.
Altogether there were approximately 300,000 standing captives with some 10,000 already killed which were replaced by a further 10,000 captured at the last moment. Then the order came from the Emperor's uncle, Prince Asaka, to "kill all captives". Some 80,000 Japanese soldiers were let loose by Prince Asaka and General Nakajima, who would
"have raped, killed, stolen, and burned if left to their own devices.
In the event
they acted under the guidance of their officers; they worked at being drunk and
disorderly; they ran amok, but systematically. Their rape of Nanking began
when Nakajima entered the city on December 14; it continued for six weeks;
and it was not stopped, despite world-wide protest ... " (ibid., p.35).
In addition, the Safety Zone Committee filed 444 carefully authenticated
murder, mass murder, rape, arson, and pillage with Prince Asaira's staff officers in charge while the terror was in progress. An eye witness, the Reverend John Magee, the postwar chaplain of Yale University, documented the sights he saw with a movie camera. His black-and-white film was later smuggled home to the United States, and the scene was described as a "parade of mutilated corpses, blood-spattered rooms, and babies on bayonets [and] was considered too revolting to exhibit except to a few limited audiences" (ibid.).
According to estimates issued by the Military Tribunal after the war,
some 20,000 women were raped in Nanking and over 200,000 men were murdered.
Despite world-wide protest against the crime, none of the criminals were
punished by the Japanese government at that time. It was official doctrine
that the troops in the field had gone berserk and nothing could be done
Instead, according to David Bergamini,
"More relevant facts are these: That on the day after the capture
Emperor Hirohito expressed his 'extreme satisfaction' to Prince Kanin, his
wife's grand-uncle, who was chief of the Army General Staff. . . a month
later, on February 26, Emperor Hirohito received the febrile Matsui the
princely Asaka . . . and rewarded each of them with a pair of silver vases
embossed with the imperial chrysanthemum . . . [and] as for sadistic Nakajima,
who bad dirtied himself most in the rape, he was allowed to retire from the
Army in 1939 and to live out his life in comfort on the spoils which he had
brought back from Nanking" (ibid., p.45-6).
At the end of the war, General Matsui was used as a scapegoat for the
Nanking. After the verdict was pronounced from the Tribunal, Matsui must have accepted the fact that it was, after all, his religious duty to die for the Emperor. As for Prince Asaka, he continued to play golf with the Emperor. David Bergamini expressed his disappointment, "It is an incredible fact of the Matsui case that Prince Asaka, who was in direct command at Nanking was never summoned into court to testify even as a witness, much less as a defendant" (ibid., p.47).
Almost three years later, an historical conference was held in the Palace -- in the Imperial Presence - on September 19, 1940. Besides the Emperor there were eleven participants -- including Prince Hiroyasu Fushimi, representing the Navy General Staff; Prince Konoye, representing the Cabinet; and Prince Kanin, the Army Chief of Staff. After much discussion on the details of oil consumption and procurement, Prince Kanin said,
"On the basis of our studies to date, the Army section of the Imperial
Headquarters agrees with the government's proposal for a stronger Axis Pact
with Germany and Italy" (ibid., p.726).
Summing up for the Navy, Prince Fushimi said,
"The Navy section of Imperial Headquarters agrees with the government's
proposal that we conclude a military alliance with Germany and Italy ... that
the Strike-South will be attempted in so far as possible by peaceful means..
that harmful anti-British and anti-American statements and behavior will be
restrained ... that the government and the Navy Supreme Command agree on
the need to speed up the strengthening of naval power and preparedness .. . "
Finally on behalf of the Throne, Privy Council President Hara stated:
"Even though a Japanese-American clash may be unavoidable in the
end, I hope
that sufficient care will be exercised to make sure that it will not come in the
near future, and that there will be no miscalculations. I give my approval on
this basis" (ibid.,).
On September 27, 1940, the Tripartite Pact was signed in Hitler's presence in Berlin. It was an application of the American Monroe Doctrine for Europe and Asia. By its first article, Japan recognized "the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe." By its second article, Germany and Italy extended the same recognition to Japan's predatory rights in Asia. The Axis pledged for a period of ten years "to assist one another with all political, economic, and military means" if any one of them should be attacked by the United States.
To prepare for the coming inevitable war with the United States, and not to taint the hands of the imperial family, seventy-five-year old Prince Kanin resigned from his duty and was replaced by his minion, General Hajime Sugiyama. Prince Fushimi resigned too, paving the way for Osami Nagano as Navy Chief of Staff. Rumors were spread to the U.S. Ambassador that Hirohito had approved the Tripartite out of fear of assassination by Army extremists.
By October 12, 1940, Prime Minister Prince Konoye formally inaugurated his totalitarian party, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (I.R.A.A.). By this ruling, all other political parties were abolished and totalitarian rule was extended to all offices and factories.
In the following twelve months, secret preparations were made for war with the Western powers. The Emperor had made the decision to join the Axis. It then was just a matter of time before Japan would be at war with the United States. Regarding such a tense situation, David Bergamini wrote:
He continued regarding military matters,
During the month of August 1941, Hirohito commenced his review of the Navy's war planning. Combined Fleet commander Admiral Yamamoto had conducted exercises to ensure that his men, ships and planes were physically capable of handling the attack on Pearl Harbor.
September 6, Imperial Conference
Three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, during an historical imperial conference meeting on September 6, 1941 -- presided over by Hirohito himself -- Japan set her course which was to be irreversible. The decision to go to war was further strengthened in the presence of all the Cabinet ministers and Chiefs of Staff. The papers discussed were:
1/. "The purpose of war with the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands is to expel the influence of these three countries from East Asia, to establish a sphere for the self-defense and self-preservation of our Empire, and to build a New Order in Greater East Asia.
2/. "A war with the United States and Great Britain will be long,
and will become a war of endurance. It is very difficult to predict the
termination of war, and it would be well-nigh impossible to expect the
surrender of the United States. However, we cannot exclude the possibility
that the war may end because of great change in American public opinion
. .. At any rate, we should be able to establish an invincible position:
by building a strategically advantageous position through the occupation
. . . of rich resources of the Southern Regions.
3/. We must carry out military preparations as secretly as possible, conceal our intentions, and refrain from sending additional forces to southern French Indochina ... Diplomatic negotiations during this Period should be conducted with a view toward facilitating the switch-over from political to military methods.
4/. "[If] we promise not to use military force in the south, we
must put China under the complete control of our Empire. To do that, it
is absolutely essential to station the necessary forces there .. . If they
(Americansj do not accede to the conditions that we propose, we must regard
it as disclosing their true intention, which is to bring Japan to her knees"
In this conference Japan set her course toward war, but decided to continue intensive diplomatic activities as a cover with the United States.
During the next few weeks, Prime Minister Konoye resigned. By October 17, after much searching and discussion, Hirohito's advisor, Lord Privy Seal Kido proposed War Minister Tojo to be made Prime Minister and Home Minister besides retaining his war ministry portfolio. Hirohito, after giving a private audience to Kido "enthusiastically endorsed this proposal" and praised him for his choice and regarded Tojo as the best possible wartime Premier.
Tojo was a tough, able bureaucrat, unselfishly devoted to Hirohito and appearing to be reliable. The Emperor's advisor, Lord Privy Seal Kido described Tojo and his relationship with Hirohito as such:
"Of all the generals in the limelight, Tojo appeared to be the
Hirohito liked him ... because he never held anything back. He was also
intensely hard-working and impeccably honest. Whereas other military police
chiefs in Manchukuo had become rich men, Tojo remained poor, and still
distributed part of his salary to destitute members of his former regiment"
(Hirohito: Behind the Myth, p.279).
David Bergamini, describing the appointment of Tojo and his relationship with Hirohito, was more cordial:
"In appointing Tojo simultaneously Prime, War, and Home Minister,
gave him enough power to act as a shogun, a wartime dictator. Hirohito
showed no uneasiness at delegating this immense power, for be was really
delegating only responsibility and he trusted Tojo implicitly. Events would
prove that his trust was not misplaced. Tojo and the Emperor had much in
common: a quick appreciation of technical realities, a meticulous attention to
detail, an impatience with too much indirect and belly talk, a charm which
extended only to immediate personal relationships, and a blind pride in the
righteousness of Japan's cause. Both men shared a conviction that 'the
Japanese race' had been persecuted by the white race. Both men had
succeeded in cloistering themselves from the realities of Japan's own barbarous
racism in dealing with fellow Asiatics" (Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, p.801).
The next day, on October 18, Hirohito promoted Tojo from the rank of lieutenant general to that of full general to implement the decision made at the Imperial Conference of September 6. So it was that Tojo became Prime Minister of Japan and in American and Western eyes, the arch-villain responsible for Japan's eighty years of planning against the West.
Tojo's next job was to hide all intentions of war at all costs, and to plan the "surprise attack". In the afternoon, after promoting Tojo to full general, and knowing of spectacular events to come shortly, Hirohito and Kido went together to the Yasukuni Shrine to worship the spirits of the dead warriors.
Order Number One
As far back as pre-World War I, the old Prince Kuni, the Empress's father,
championed the development of air and navy power in Japan, and Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the most brilliant of his disciples. He was a professional athlete, full of confidence and belonging to the younger generation of naval strategists. Under Yamamoto, even under a lean budget, Japan became the most up-to-date naval and air power in the world.
On November 1, 1941, Admiral Yamamoto and his staff gained Hirohito's
approval for the final draft of' Order Number One', the comprehensive plan of Army and Navy operations that were to be carried out in the months ahead. It was a top-secret 151-page document, and three hundred numbered copies were issued. David Bergamini records:
"Few in the Army knew of Yamamoto's plan. The over-all commander
Army operations in the south, General Count Terauchi, had been let in on it
only six weeks previously. Army Chief of Staff Sugiyama, by the evidence of
his own memoranda, had been informed of it a scant four days before. Shogun
Tojo was probably still in the dark about it. Civilians like Foreign Minister
Tojo simply knew that the Navy had a plan for 'ambushing' the U.S. fleet.
They assumed -- and it was one of the assumptions on which they based their
disapproval of war -- that the 'ambush' would take place only if the U.S. Navy
was foolish enough to steam west in order to relieve the Philippines after it had
been attacked, Only Hirohito, a few members of his family, the staff chiefs, and some of Yamamoto 's own trusted naval colleagues yet knew of the Pearl Harbor plan" (ibid., p.806).
On November 3, Navy Chief of Staff Nagano and Army Chief of Staff Sugiyama received their bound, numbered copy. Both were scheduled to meet Hirohito in the palace, who too had his own copy of Order Number One before him. The bound document incorporated the Pearl Harbor attack plan as a feature in a comprehensive blueprint for the whole Strike-South campaign. It stated in part:
"Despite the fact that the Empire has always maintained a friendly
toward the United States, the United States has interfered in all the measures
which we have taken out of self-preservation and self-defense for the protection
of our interests in East Asia. Recently she has blocked our speedy settlement
of the China Incident by aiding the government of Chiang Kai-shek and has
even resorted to the final outrage of breaking off economic relations with us..."
During the conference, detailed points and questions were raised taking into consideration the monsoon season along the Malayan front, troop movements and other strategies.
At one point, Hirohito asked for the target date on Pearl Harbor,
"What is the Navy's
target date?" "December 8 is the target date", replied the Navy Chief of Staff Nagano. "Isn't that a Monday?" asked Hirohito. Nagano pointed out that December 8th was Monday, Japanese time, or Sunday 7, Hawaiian time. The date and time was chosen because spies had reported back that U.S. personnel were bibulous on Saturday nights followed by lethargic Sunday mornings. The plan was to coordinate all the attacks simultaneously using Hawaii as the focal point.
On November 4, 1941, Yamamoto's Order Number One was officially converted
a Taimei or Great Order by Hirohito affixing his seal to it. In explaining his decision, Privy Council President Hara, acting on behalf of the throne, stated,
"At the last Imperial Conference it was decided that we would go to war ...
" . . . We cannot let the present situation continue. If we miss
opportunity to go to war, we will have to submit to American dictation.
Therefore, I recognize that it is inevitable that we must decide to start a war
against the United States. I will put my trust in what I have been told: namely,
that things will go well in the early part of the year; and that although we will
experience increasing difficulties as the war progresses, there is some prospect
of success . . .
"As to what our moral basis for going to war should be, there is
some merit in
making it clear that Great Britain and the United States represent a strong threat
to Japan's self-preservation. Also, if we are fair in governing occupied areas,
attitudes toward us would probably relax. America may be enraged for a while,
but later she will come to understand ... "
"Do you have any other comments? If not, I will rule that the proposals
been approved in their original form (ibid., p.815-6).
The war had been decided and steps must be taken to keep war preparation as secret as possible. The next step for Japan was to send a special envoy to Washington to assist Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura as a subterfuge. The envoy selected was Saburo Kurusu, a career diplomat, who consummated the Tripartite Pact with Hitler as Japan's Ambassador in Berlin a year earlier. Kurusu's mission was a delicate one. He had to negotiate without endangering security.
Countdown to Pearl Harbor
Back in Japan gozen heigo, described as "soldier chess games in the Imperial Presence" were conducted in secret places. During late October, 1941, to avoid suspicion as war preparations were going on in all fronts, Hirohito had been talking to his civilian chamberlains about the possibility of going down to Hayama for a brief "vacation". Bergamini continues,
"Since it was a bleak season of the year go to Hayama for such
an outing, those
who knew Hirohito's character assumed that he would be going to Hayama to
disarm foreign observers by a show of unconcern before Japan's blitzkrieg"
Hirohito left for Hayama on November 7, 1941. At the seaside villa,
he was free from most of the protocol and security. The imperial marine
biological yacht was equipped with ship-to-shore radiotelephone and running
lights for night voyages.
The Lord Privy Seal Kido, who accompanied Hirohito to Hayama, took care of all state business during the Emperor's absence. In Hayama, he did not see Hirohito until the tenth for a duration of forty-five minutes, and then Hirohito disappeared the second time for a few more days. It was believed that during his second disappearance, he was aboard the carrier Akagi which was nearby at Yokosuka Naval Base, reviewing the the final coordination of the Pearl Harbor attack fleet. Thereafter, a few days later, together with Yamamoto's task force in Saiki Bay, in the northeast corner of Kyushu, the fleet was to detach one by one, each ship moving northward at night, under the cover of darkness, to the northern-most part of the deep Hitokappu Bay in the Kuriles.
A few days later, on November 14, Hirohito resurfaced at Hayama to catch up on civilian developments and to receive briefings from Prime Minister Tojo and other Cabinet Ministers. Upon returning to Tokyo the following day, he was immediately in conference with Army Chief of Staff reviewing war preparations for the invasion of Malaya. Troops were scheduled to move from Shanghai and other places bound for Indochina, Thailand, Burma, or the Philippines.
On November 16, special Japanese envoy Kurusu submitted his credentials
in Washington and, at once, played the game of subterfuge. First, he submitted
Proposal A, Japan's final offer for an over-all settlement with the United
States. It was difficult for Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, to be impressed.
A year earlier, Kurusu was in Berlin representing Japan at the signing
of the Tripartite Pact. When Proposal A was turned down out of hand, Kurusu
proceeded to Proposal B, a plan for a return to the position prior to Japan's
occupation of southern Indochina and America's freezing of her assets.
While the game of subterfuge continued in Washington, final preparations were going on according to the imperial schedule. On November 22, Lieutenant General Hisaichi Terauchi, the commander-in-chief of the Strike-South forces for all of Southeast Asia, moved his headquarters southward from Tokyo to Taiwan.
During the week, in the calm waters of Hitokappu Bay, the fleet waited for the other task force to arrive and assemble. On November 26, 1941, they were to vanish again, together this time, eastward across the fog of the north Pacific toward Pearl Harbor, steering between a narrow course on the southern fringes of the U.S. air reconnaissance from the Aleutians and the northern fringes of the reconnaissance from Guam and Midway. Total secrecy could be better assured because, this time, the departure was watched only by seals and walruses along the wintry beaches.
Back in Washington, a flurry of Japanese diplomatic activity was going on -- with greater and greater intensity -- creating a facade to conceal last-minute preparations.
The American Ambassador, Joseph Grew, had been warned by the Peruvian
in Tokyo that "in the event of trouble breaking out between the United States, the Japanese intend to make a surprise attack against Pearl Harbor . . . " By the time U.S Naval Intelligence forwarded Grew's note to Admiral Husband Kimmel in Hawaii, the warning was transformed into a statement that "no move against Pearl Harbor appears imminent or planned for the foreseeable future." A Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was considered inconceivable by all top officials in Washington. Japanese troops were known to be moving transports down the China coast toward Malaya or the Philippines and that was all that was expected. David Bergamini observes,
"Hirohito had known better than to think that U.S. leaders were
asleep, and so he had intervened to force through Yamamoto's plan over the
objections of most of the top brass in the Japanese Navy General Staff.
Knowing nothing of Hirohito's power, the U.S. Office of Naval Operations had
wrongly concluded, by majority vote, that a majority of their opposite numbers
in Tokyo would have vetoed any plan to raid Pearl Harbor" (ibid., p.827).
Another Imperial Conference was convened on Monday, December 1, 1941, for the final go-ahead for war. The conference was only a ceremony to review the progress of their preparations. Finally, Privy Council President Hara stood up to speak on behalf of the Throne and explained why Hirohito felt justified in deciding on war,
"In negotiating with the United States, our Empire hoped to maintain
making one concession after another ... The United States is being utterly
conceited, obstinate, and disrespectful. It is regrettable indeed. We simply
cannot tolerate such an attitude.
"If we were to give in, we would surrender at a stroke not only
from the Manchurian Incident but also our gains in the Sino-Japanese and
Russo-Japanese wars [of 1895 and 1905]. This we cannot do . . . Our nation,
governed by our magnificent national structure, is, from a spiritual point of
view, certainly unsurpassed in all the world.
"I believe that the proposal before us cannot be avoided in the
light of present
circumstances, and I put my trust in my officers and men whose loyalty is
supreme. I urge you to make every effort to keep the people in a tranquil state
of mind, in order to prosecute a long-term war" (ibid., p.831-2).
In reply to the Throne, Prime Minister General Tojo said:
"At this moment our Empire stands at the threshold of glory or
tremble with fear in the Presence of His Majesty. We subjects are keenly aware
of the great responsibilities we must assume from this point on. Now that His
Majesty has reached a decision to commence hostilities, we must all strive to
repay our obligations to him, bring the Government and the military ever closer
together, resolve that the nation united will go on to victory, make an all-out
effort to achieve our war aims, and set His Majesty's mind at ease. I now
adjourn the meeting" (ibid., p.832).
On Wednesday, December 3, 1941, the Japanese fleet was 2,300 miles northeast of Pearl Harbor. There, in the light swell amidst fog, the carriers took on oil from the tankers which had accompanied them thus far on their historic voyage. While the tankers and short-range destroyers turned back toward Japan, the fast light carriers made their lightning dash toward Hawaii.
Two days later, on December 5, another Japanese task force was moving toward the island of Hainan, getting ready to advance against the beaches of Malaya. Later the same night, Hirohito gave approval for a Navy schedule for handing the final note to Secretary of State Cordell Hull, informing the United States of a disruption in diplomatic relations, just half-hour before the appointed hour for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Due to the genius of American intelligence at intercepting Japan's highest
diplomatic messages between Tokyo and Japanese ambassadors in Washington and decoding them into English, President Roosevelt knew he had to expect the worst outcome. Knowing that Japan meant to start war on or about one o'clock (Washington time), the President consulted his advisors and decided simply to wait. It was the policy that the United States should not react until after Japan had struck. That was the way to keep an unblemished democratic record. Furthermore, the majority of the President's military advisors felt that Japan would gain only a small temporary advantage by striking first, and only in Asia. David Bergamini states,
"There was a tendency on the part of U.S. admirals and generals
underestimate the fighting qualities of the Japanese soldier and the originality
and daring of the Japanese strategist" (ibid., p.839).
President Roosevelt and his military advisors believed that the Japanese
were moving against Malaya while the Naval Base in Hawaii was placed on
"third alert", looking only for sabotage.
On that most infamous day, December 7, 1941, at 6 a.m. (Hawaiian time), the fleet's
aircraft carrier, Akagi was just 230 miles north of Hawaii and while the night was still black and the seas wild, the first wave of planes were preparing to take-off under Commander Mitsuo Fuchida. Within fifteen minutes, all 182 planes -- bombers, dive-bombers, torpedo planes and Zero fighters -- would join Fuchida as he circled the fleet. Then, with a signal from his wings, he lead the planes south. By 7:35 a.m., Fuchida saw the northern side of the Hawaiian islands. Within the next twenty minutes all of Fuchida's 182 planes were converging on their targets from different angles and directions for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
At 8:15 a.m., a second wave of 167 planes had arrived above Pearl Harbor
and accomplished almost nothing as there were nothing left to hit from
the first wave. Ships that were already mortally wounded were finished
off -- but no important new targets were identified or destroyed. The planes
returned to their fleet and back into the fog of the north Pacific for
an uneventful voyage back to Japan.
During those few hours, Malaya, Guam, Hong Kong and the Philippines were attacked. Just before noon in Japan (December 8, Japanese date), Tokyo radio finally broadcast the Emperor's message proclaiming war. It ended as follows:
" . . . The hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors guarding
Us from above,
We rely upon the loyalty and courage of Our subjects in Our confident
expectation that the task bequeathed by Our Forefathers will be carried forward,
and that the source of evil will be speedily eradicated and an enduring peace
immutably established in East Asia, preserving thereby the glory of Our
Empire" (ibid., p.849).
The Pacific war had begun and soon the whole of Southeast Asia was under the control or influence of the Japanese military command. America had underestimated the strategy of the Japanese, but at last, with a sigh of relief, the President could declare war without being vetoed by Congress. During the next few years,
"more than a hundred thousand Americans were to die in the effort
'Japanese militarism.' And more than a million Japanese, who distrusted
militarism but honored the Emperor, died to defend whatever it was that the
Americans opposed. The two cultures clashed tragically, with a hate that fed
on ignorance, but the clash enabled the United States to make war on Hitler"
Hirohito had thus led Japan into war with the West. In the course of
his research into
the life of Hirohito, David Bergamini quoted the dairy of Japan's wartime Army Chief of Staff, General Hajime Sugiyama, who committed suicide when the war ended. In such testimony, the dairy
"revealed that Hirohito was asking detailed questions about
economic planning in the months before Pearl Harbor . . . Most surprising, the
Sugiyama Memoranda stated that in January 1941, eleven months before the
outbreak of war with the United States, Hirohito had personally ordered a secret
evaluation to be made of the feasibility of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor .
The Sugiyama Memoranda revealed that Hirohito had participated in the
Pearl Harbor planning a full six months before any of his official military
advisors were informed of it. Evidence taken before the Allied judges of the
International Military Tribunal for the far east, and verified by witnesses under
oath and cross-examination, demonstrated conclusively that none of the
'militarists' who were supposed to have dragged Hirohito to war knew of the
Pearl Harbor plan until August 1941. General Tojo, the arch 'militarist' who headed Japan's wartime Cabinet, was not told of the plan until November 1941"
Despite mounting evidence, the West continued to believe the best of Hirohito, down to this day, exempting him of any war crimes. Truly amazing!
In his last days, the Emperor developed stomach cancer and had part of his colon removed in 1987. Newspapers reported that Hirohito was also suffering an inoperable tumor of the pancreas. The Imperial Household refused to comment, preferring to keep his life, as usual, a secrect. Hirohito died on January 7, 1989, and he was renamed Emperor Showa (Peace Made Manifest). The funeral ceremony was held on February 24, with a mixture of civil and Shinto rites.
That day, the funeral was attended by 163 Heads of State and Government,
Britain's Prince Philip, Belgium's King Baudouin, King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Carl Gustav XVI of Sweden, King Hussein of Jordan, President Aquino of the Philippines, President George Bush and France's President Mitterrand. As the yen is such a mighty instrument in today's commerce and trade, no country could afford not to send its highest representative to the funeral.
Behind the scenes, the extremist right-wing elements had their way. The Shinto rites was held behind an opaque black curtain and watched only by members of his family, Imperial Household Officials and Shinto priests. Sea bream, birds, mountain potatoes and melons were offered to the spirit of the late Emperor, and his favorite personal effects, including his microscope, which identified him as a marine biologist, were buried with him.
David Bergamini, who investigated deeply into Hirohito's life on a day
to day basis, expressed that on an ordinary Saturday morning, it was his
schedule to indulge his interest in marine biology. But Hirohito's intention
was, unfortunately, greatly misunderstood. David Bergamini found that Hirohito
was not merely building a scientific hobby to gain an unwarranted reputation
for himself through the effort of hired assistants. From the evidence of
his own published work and the diaries of his courtiers, they substantiate
conclusively that Hirohito was a good student of biological science, genuinely
interested, observant and knowledgeable.
Neither was Hirohito, as some others have thought, a preoccupied collector of obscure marine organisms -- nor one who pursued science for its own sake. The institutes which he subsidized over the years and the comments which he made to intimates showed that "he believed in science as a practical tool, a necessary tool of warfare, a tool in which he knew Japan to be deficient".
David Bergamini's research went into great depths. Speaking of Hirohito, he wrote:
"Thus he prided himself that his marine biological knowledge of
currents was of use in naval planning. Thus, too, in 1927, at a time when the
very concept of biological warfare was novel in the West, a number of
biologists and physicians who were his former tutors had been encouraged to
devote themselves full time to war research. By 1939 tissue cultures at the
Imperial University would be producing the most virulent agents of yaws,
encephalitis, botulism, and bubonic plague known to medicine. After 1940
plague bombs containing bacilli or bacilli in fleas, or bacilli in rat food would
be dropped repeatedly in China in unavailing experiments to find effective
germ-delivery systems. In 1945 Occupation search teams would find large
stockpiles of unused viruses, spirochetes, and fungus spores in decentralized
laboratories in Japanese rural areas" (ibid., p351).
Hirohito's connection to bacteriological warfare was confirmed by a
researcher, Edward Behr. Behr, after researching into the life of Pu-Yi, the puppet Emperor of Japanese-dominated Manchukuo, led him to research the life of Emperor Hirohito. In his book, Hirohito: Behind the Myth, he wrote:
"The decrease in the size of the army was compensated for by the
new tank and anti-tank units, a signals corps, and, later, a chemical and
bacteriological warfare centre -- these last two were, in part at least, the
brainchild of the scientific minded Prince Kuni, Hirohito's father-in-law, and
Hirohito himself; with his passion for science and marine biology, took a keen
interest in both centres from their creation" (Hirohito: Behind the Myth, 1989,
Years after the end of the Pacific war, revelations of the existence
of Japanese laboratories for research into bacteriological weapons in Manchuria
were brought to the attention of the world. These new deadly weapons were
tested on prisoners of war and cost thousands of lives. Such incidences
would have provided a case of centrally organized war criminality in Japan.
Yet, everything connected with this crime was kept from the Tokyo war crimes
Edward Behr wrote that veterans of the "Imperial" unit, otherwise known as "Unit 731", were inordinately proud of its "imperial" origin, pointing out that theirs was the only army unit ever set up by "imperial decree".
"Unit 731" was the brainchild of General Shire Ishii. General
Ishii was known to Hirohito. Later, Ishii was promoted, and bestowed by
Hirohito with the highest honor --the Order of the Rising Sun.
The American military authorities were aware of such crimes but they wanted to avail themselves of the results of these experiments. As the Cold War loomed over the horizon, American officials tried to prevent any research information from falling into the hands of the Soviet Union. On one hand, the Japanese criminals involved in these misdemeanors had all the confidential data, while on the other hand, Douglas MacArthur and his minions wanted the data for themselves. So a scheme was set up whereby criminals were promised immunity by MacArthur from prosecution in exchange for divulging the results obtained from the experiments. MacArthur maintained this arrangement and thus the whole scheme was kept secret during the Tokyo trial. The criminals were happy not to be prosecuted and, so too, was MacArthur, because he would have all the most up-to-date scientific data for himself, and in a very inexpensive way.
When the Tokyo trial was brought up for review at an international symposium on May 28-29, 1983 in Tokyo, the Dutch judge, B.V.A. Roling, was the last remaining judge from the original trial. During the Tokyo Trial in 1946-48, Roling was the youngest judge at the age of just under forty. In 1985, writing from Groningen, he expressed,
"The prestige of the trial has been severely damaged by the revelation
existence in Manchuria of a Japanese laboratory for research into bacteriological
" ... It is not inconceivable that it was strictly a military matter,
kept by the
minister of defense from his colleagues in the government. But it remains a
disturbing fact that this, the worst of Japanese crimes, was kept from the
tribunal" (The Tokyo War Crimes Trial, An International Symposium,
Introduction, by B.V.A. Roling, p.18).
At a late stage of the Pacific war, Russia declared war against Japan to revenge her defeat forty years previously. The Red Army then seized much of Manchuria against almost no opposition from the weakened Kwangtung Army. During the 1983 symposium, Judge Roling expressed his enigma, "It is incomprehensible that the Russian prosecutor did not reveal the affair." The notion that the Russians had a mirror motive of the Americans did not enter his thoughts.
As to the life of Hirohito, it is a mystery to many people. Despite
that the Emperor was not only deeply involved in the war but also acted as an instigator, by placing the right men at the right places, by coaxing and guiding his pupils through persistent questioning of his generals' aims and tactics, he, ironically, managed to evade any responsibility for the war. He was granted immunity by Douglas MacArthur, especially after their first meeting of September, 1945. In the course of granting immunity to the Emperor, it was also necessary to grant immunity to members of his family, for it would not be possible to spare Hirohito while at the same time, pursuing his close relatives in the trial.
The myth of Hirohito's innocence is not only widely accepted within
Japan, but is extended beyond its shores. Few ever did realized that Hirohito
was not an Emperor for nothing, he was, by his deeds and testimonies of
his trusted courtiers, indeed, The Emperor. Such misconception is
as widespread among most Western academics as those in Japan, and is backed
by generations of diplomats and foreigners based in Tokyo, ever enchanted
by Japanese friendliness, geisha and culture, and now, the mighty yen.
In the days after Japan's defeat through the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, few discerned the role of Japan's female forces at work and the corruption during the seven years of the Occupation forces. Modern historians, lawyers, judges, diplomats and other specialists were astonished and bewildered by their own inadequacies to comprehend the mysteries of Japan. This is due in large part by their own field of specialty, seeing only the individual tree without an awareness of the existence of the forest, leaving a large part of the riddle left unraveled. One can be reminded of the story of six blind men trying to fathom what they feel by touching a part of a whole picture of an elephant, and so likewise are these specialists. The next article, "Victory by A-Bombs, Defeat in Kimono" expounds the missing dimension of Japanese history, the vital piece of the whole puzzle.
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