We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Tomoyuki Yamashita, the son of a village doctor, was born in Japan on 8th November, 1888. He enrolled as a military cadet and graduated at the Hiroshima Military Academy in 1906. He served in the Japanese Army as a second lieutenant before attending the Japanese War College in 1916.
Yamashita joined the general staff and was sent as a military attaché in Germany (1919-1922). He returned to lecture at the Japanese War College before serving as in Austria and Hungary. In August 1931, Yamashita became head of the Army Affairs Section of the Military Affairs Bureau.
In February 1936, Yamashita played a minor role in the military coup against the government. As was not punished but was sent to Korea as commander of the 40th Infantry Brigade. The following year he was promoted to lieutenant general and took over the China Garrison Brigade before becoming chief of staff of the Northern China Area Army in September 1939 and fought in Manchuria.
When Hideki Tojo became Minister of War he sent Yamashita to Europe where he spent time with the German Army. On his return Yamashita reported that Japan needed more air power, medium tanks and parachute units. He also advised against going to war against the United States or the Soviet Union until the Japanese armed forces were modernized.
In July 1941 Yamashita was placed in command of the Kwantung Defense Army. He led the invasion of Malaya and Singapore and on the 15th February, 1942 accepted the surrender of General Arthur Percival and 100,000 soldiers of the British Army.
Yamashita was promoted to general in February 1943 and sent to command the Japanese ground forces in the Philippines. By this time Japan was clearly losing the Pacific War and Yamashita told his chief of staff that it was his turn die. When he arrived he moved his headquarters to Manila but when the US Army under General Douglas MacArthur began landing on Mindoro, 150 miles south of Manila, he decided to concentrate on the defence of Luzon.
After the Allied landings in Luzon he freed the 4,000 prisoner of war and retreated to Baguio. In April he moved 50 miles farther inland at Bangbang. He was organizing the formation of guerrilla units when it was announced that Japan had surrendered.
Yamashita was captured on 2nd September 1945. Charged with violating the "laws of war". Although the Japanese Army had committed terrible atrocities in the Philippines there was no evidence that they acted under Yamashita's orders. However, Tomoyuki Yamashita was found guilty and hanged on 23rd February 1946.
It is not easy for me to pass penal judgment upon a defeated adversary in a major military campaign. I have reviewed the proceedings in vain search for some mitigating circumstances on his behalf. I can find none. Rarely has so cruel and wanton a record been spread to public gaze. Revolting as this may be in itself, it pales before the sinister and far reaching implication thereby attached to the profession of arms. The soldier, be he friend or foe, is charged with the protection of the weak and unarmed. It is the very essence and reason for his being.
When he violates this sacred trust, he not only profanes his entire cult but threatens the very fabric of international society. The traditions of fighting men are long and honorable. They are based upon the noblest of human traits-sacrifice. This officer, of proven field merit, entrusted with high command involving authority adequate to responsibility, has failed this irrevocable standard; has failed his duty to his troops, to his country, to his enemy, to mankind; has failed utterly his soldier faith. The transgressions resulting therefrom as revealed by the trial are a blot upon the military profession, a stain upon civilization and constitute a memory of shame and dishonor that can never be forgotten. Peculiarly callous and purposeless was the sack of the ancient city of Manila, with its Christian population and its countless historic shrines and monuments of culture and civilization, which with campaign conditions reversed had previously been spared.
It is appropriate here to recall that the accused was fully forewarned as to the personal consequences of such atrocities. On October 24-four days following the landing of our forces on Leyte - it was publicly proclaimed that I would "hold the Japanese Military authorities in the Philippines immediately liable for any harm which may result from failure to accord prisoners of war, civilian internees or civilian non combatants the proper treatment and the protection to which they of right are entitled."
Translating for Yamashita, the ‘Tiger of Malaya’
British and Commonwealth troops raise their hands in surrender after the 1942 fall of Singapore, a victory engineered by the “Tiger of Malaya,” Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita.
Getty Images / Alamy / HistoryNet photo illustration
In 1945 a young Marine with an aptitude for languages landed in the midst of a war crimes trial with international ramifications
Arriving for his arraignment at the U.S. High Commissioner’s Residence in Manila, Philippines, on Oct. 8, 1945, Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita looked solemn but self-confident in his mustard-green field uniform decorated with a general officer’s lapel insignia and four rows of ribbons. Completing his ensemble were brightly polished boots with gold spurs. Though the general stood only 5 feet 7 inches, one of his appointed American defense attorneys described him as “a large man for a Japanese.…His neck was thick and bull-like, and the back of his neck and head ran in almost a vertical line from the white shirt collar which was turned over his tunic collar.” Also present in court was U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Harry D. Pratt, the general’s appointed translator. Pratt later recalled Yamashita’s “distinguished appearance” as he stood before a military commission of five U.S. general officers to hear the charges against him. “He made no angry attacks and gave answers in a clear voice.”
Less than a month had passed since Yamashita’s arrest, on Sept. 2, 1945. Presiding officer Maj. Gen. Russel Burton Reynolds read aloud the indictment holding Yamashita responsible for all “brutal atrocities and other high crimes” committed between Oct. 9, 1944 and Sept. 2, 1945, by troops under his command in Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines. After the charge was read in Japanese, Yamashita firmly replied in that language, “Not guilty.” The arraignment ended within minutes, and the general was returned to his cell in New Bilibid Prison, 15 miles south of Manila. His trial, which opened on October 29, set a precedent in international law as well as in American military and constitutional law.
American prisoners of war sit under Japanese guard before the start of the Bataan Death March. Yamashita evaded responsibility for the march. / U.S. Marine Corps
At his side throughout the proceeding was Pratt, who was somewhat surprised to find himself involved in the historic event. At just 26 years old and with only a few years of Japanese language study behind him, the young Marine had been assigned at short notice as the general’s chief interpreter.
Pratt’s presence in the Manila courtroom was the result of converging paths of education and experience.
Born in Los Angeles on Dec. 26, 1918, Harry Douglas Pratt was fascinated by languages from an early age. After graduating as a French major from UCLA in 1940, he applied to the Marine Corps and was accepted for officer training at Quantico, Va. On completion of the course he was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the 2nd Marine Division in San Diego. On Sunday, December 7, Pratt was on weekend leave in Los Angeles when he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. He raced back to San Diego to find his regiment under orders to deploy to Wake Island. “By the time enough shipping was found, Wake was gone,” Pratt recalled. Instead, the regiment sailed to American Samoa in early January 1942 on three converted Matson luxury passenger liners, with all the comforts of nice beds and good food—“a great way to start a war,” he said with a laugh.
In response to an urgent need for interrogators and translators, Capt. Ferdinand Bishop was directed to start a Japanese language course in Samoa. French major Pratt volunteered to become “a full-time student” for the next six months. The shanty amid a stand of palms that served as Bishop’s schoolhouse belied the intensity of the course—of the 16 Marines who began the study, only the recently promoted Capt. Pratt and seven enlisted men completed it.
Harry Pratt / US Marine Corps History Division
Shortly before the 1st and 2nd Marine divisions invaded Guadalcanal on August 7, Pratt was assigned as an assistant intelligence officer to the 8th Marine Regiment, which was sent to reinforce Guadalcanal in early November. Pratt recalled it as “an unopposed landing, except for Japanese bombing attacks.” As the regiment moved into heavy jungle along the Matanikau River, however, “there was plenty of incoming fire.”
Thanks to his language skills, Pratt was soon transferred out of the line to 1st Marine Division headquarters, to assist in interrogating Japanese prisoners of war. Although few Japanese soldiers surrendered on Guadalcanal, among the POWs were downed aviators and survivors of sunken ships. Extracting information from them wasn’t too difficult, Pratt recalled. “We simply told them we were sending information about their capture to the International Red Cross, which would inform the Japanese government. Inevitably they would respond, ‘Don’t do that we’ll tell you what you want to know.’ They knew that if information about their capture reached Japan, their families would be disgraced forever.” Japanese service members considered surrender a humiliation worse than death.
On Jan. 31, 1943, the 8th Marines shipped out from Guadalcanal to refit in Wellington, New Zealand. Pratt’s assignment on the voyage south was to supervise 30 Japanese POWs. “My group of six interpreters provided all the communications between the ship and the POWs,” he said. “Upon arrival in Wellington we accompanied them to a camp in the hills above the city and worked with the New Zealand staff until they felt comfortable handling the Japanese.”
The next island operation took Pratt to Tarawa atoll, where he went ashore at Betio on November 21, the second day of the grueling four-day battle. As the tide was out, the landing craft dropped him and his fellow Marines some 500 yards from the beach. Shouldering his M1 carbine, Pratt balanced a box of Japanese dictionaries atop his helmet. As the men waded in, they came under enemy fire. Shrapnel struck Pratt in the left leg, but he managed to make it ashore. The Marines suffered 1,009 killed and 2,101 wounded on Tarawa. Nearly all of the 4,800-plus defenders were killed. Of the 146 prisoners taken, only 17 were Japanese. The rest were conscripted Korean laborers.
In the wake of battle Pratt escorted the Korean POWs from Tarawa to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There he reported to the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas, to translate captured documents. In July 1944 Pratt and close friend Lt. Elmer Stone were assigned to the Navy School of Oriental Languages at the University of Colorado in Boulder, which offered immersion lessons in reading, translating and conversation. Classes ran from Monday through Friday with exams on Saturday mornings. On Saturday nights Capt. Bill Croyle and his wife hosted gatherings with “splendid jazz”—though Pratt sometimes skipped the fun to memorize his kanji (Japanese written characters).
After graduating in July 1945, Pratt returned to the Pacific to work for the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS) at Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s G-2 (Intelligence) Section in Manila. There Pratt and other graduates of the Boulder language school, as well as hundreds of Nisei (second-generation Japanese-Americans), translated enemy documents, field manuals and the personal papers of captured Japanese. ATIS troops also interrogated POWs and wrote propaganda leaflets urging the enemy to surrender.
Yamashita was held accountable for the maltreatment of Allied POWs, such as these shown above. / Getty Images
The day after the formal Japanese capitulation aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2 Pratt was assigned to ATIS headquarters in Tokyo. Within a month, however, he was suddenly transferred back to Manila to serve as chief interpreter for the newly formed U.S. military commission.
In his role as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers MacArthur had exonerated Emperor Hirohito and his family members, but he was determined to arrest and indict those members of the Japanese military who had committed wartime atrocities in the Philippines. The military commission convened by MacArthur comprised five U.S. Army generals, none of whom were attorneys. While those on the commission might not have been aware of legal precedent, MacArthur and his prosecutors in the Manila trial knew the case against Yamashita was novel. Never before had a military commander faced charges of “command responsibility” for crimes committed by his troops without the commander’s orders or approval. The argument presented by Yamashita’s defense team focused on whether he had been in communication with, and in control of, those who had committed the atrocities.
Pratt and the six Army lawyers assigned to defend Yamashita had only days to interview him before his October 8 arraignment. Going into his private interview with the accused, the young interpreter was nervous. “Like all of us who went through the Pacific operations, there was no ‘love lost’ for the Japanese,” Pratt recalled. “However, my experience at Boulder clearly showed the necessity of treating these officers with the respect their position deserved.”
On entering a small room annexed to the New Bilibid Prison chapel, Pratt exchanged greetings with the uniformed Yamashita and his chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Akira Muto. “The 59-year-old Yamashita was rather relaxed, while Muto was more reserved and formal,” Pratt said. Both openly discussed the fighting in Manila and denied all charges. “Yamashita had decided that the defense of Manila was impossible and took his forces north towards Baguio, in northern Luzon, leaving the city under the control of the navy, which committed terrible atrocities.” Yet he claimed he “knew nothing about this and could have done very little had he known, because he had no contact with the city.”
As the only available field-grade officer with the necessary combat experience and language skills, Pratt was an ideal choice for Yamashita’s interpreter. His responsibilities included all interpretation for the accused on behalf of both the defense and the prosecution. Pratt delegated most of the legwork to the Nisei, while ensuring they employed correct military terminology and properly addressed senior Japanese officers. Interpreters were also needed to translate three dialects of Filipino, three of Chinese and one of Spanish for testifying witnesses.
In general Pratt found the Nisei highly competent, though limited in their knowledge of combat operations in the Pacific and military terminology concerning weapons and Japanese army usage. “I felt that my job was to ensure that the questions put to the accused were a correct rendition of the English used by the U.S. and Philippine officers of the prosecution,” he said.
Surrounded by members of his personal protective detail, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur surveys Manila before entering in 1945 / Getty Images
Also attending Yamashita was his own personal interpreter—Masakatsu Hamamoto, a Harvard-educated Japanese army colonel. Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma, facing trial next for his role in the infamous Bataan Death March, spoke English and said he understood the testimony. Both the defense and prosecution had their own translators. However, the accuracy of the interpreters came into question. According to a New York reporter covering the proceeding, Hamamoto grimaced whenever questions were improperly worded or Yamashita’s answers were incorrectly translated. It was Pratt’s responsibility to resolve any such uncertainties.
The trial lasted more than a month, running from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with an hour lunch break, every day except Sunday. Over that time the prosecution presented 402 exhibits—photographs, motion-picture footage, newspaper accounts of atrocities, etc.—and called some 280 witnesses to testify. Pratt and his team of translators listened to testimony from hundreds of people attesting to murder, rape, torture and other outrages committed by Japanese military personnel against Filipino civilians and Allied POWs.
The defense team fought back at every cross-examination and argued repeatedly that not a shred of evidence proved Yamashita either ordered any of the atrocities or had any knowledge of them. When the general took the stand, he explained that after mid-November 1944 all communication ceased between his headquarters on Luzon and his troops in the Visayan Islands and on Mindanao, while the pressure of U.S. artillery attacks repeatedly forced him to move his headquarters higher into the mountains.
Pratt insisted the defense team did “a hell of a job,” despite facing such disadvantages as the admissibility of hearsay evidence. The interpreter himself believed Yamashita had not been informed of the brutality of Japanese units in Manila. “Command responsibility may be a valid charge when you’re capable of exercising that command,” he said. “In Yamashita’s situation…I find it of dubious validity.”
However, Pratt did question the general’s previous actions in Malaya and Singapore, where he’d earned the sobriquet “Tiger of Malaya.” Given the lingering bitterness over his swift victories there and in the Philippines, Yamashita was undoubtedly guilty in the eyes of most Allies and Filipinos even before the trial began.
At 2 p.m. on Dec. 7, 1945—four years to the day from the Pearl Harbor attack—attorneys, interpreters, journalists, cameramen and radio broadcasters filled the Manila courtroom to hear the commission’s verdict. Flash bulbs popped and newsreel cameras hummed as MPs led Yamashita to the front of the room. He was directed to stand before Maj. Gen. Reynolds, who was seated behind a row of microphones at a long wooden table with his fellow commissioners. Pratt stepped to Yamashita’s side to translate the sentence. It took several minutes for Reynolds to read the complete charge for violation of the “laws of war,” a summation of the presentations by the prosecution and the defense, and the commission’s own finding that a commander “may be held responsible, even criminally liable, for the lawless acts of his troops, depending upon their nature and the circumstances surrounding them.”
Reynolds then paused to allow Yamashita to make a statement, read in English by Hamamoto. In it the general swore before his Creator he was “innocent of the charges” made against him. Reynolds then read the verdict, which Pratt translated aloud into Japanese: “Accordingly, upon secret written ballot, two-thirds or more of the members concurring, the commission finds you guilty as charged and sentences you to death by hanging.” A moment of silence swept the courtroom. Yamashita remained calm and expressionless. “He was very stoic throughout,” the interpreter recalled. “I believe he knew all along what the sentence would be.”
Pratt (at far right) stands beside Yamashita on Dec. 7, 1945, as the Japanese general is sentenced to death for atrocities committed by troops under his command. / AP
While Pratt’s job was complete, Yamashita’s defense team filed an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution until the court could agree to hear the case. On December 20 the justices scheduled an oral argument, held on Jan. 7, 1946. Unfortunately for Yamashita, on February 4 the court upheld his conviction, though Associate Justices Frank Murphy and Wiley Blount Rutledge wrote vigorous dissenting opinions. Essentially, Murphy said there was no legal precedent in international law permitting a military commission to find a commander liable for any actions of his troops. “No one in a position of command,” he argued, “can escape those implications. Indeed, the fate of some future president of the United States and his chiefs of staff and military advisers may well have been sealed by this decision.” Rutledge likewise deemed the trial “unprecedented” in legal history.
In contrast to the joyous crowds dancing in the streets of Manila over the news of Yamashita’s death sentence, more than 86,000 people in Japan signed a petition pleading with MacArthur to commute the sentence or at least allow the condemned general an honorable death by hara-kiri.
Perhaps surprising, some Japanese POWs were infuriated by Yamashita’s unwavering denial of responsibility, one reflecting, “Since he knows he can’t get off anyway, you’d think he could act more like a general and take responsibility for the crimes of his subordinates.”
On Feb. 23, 1946, Yamashita was stripped of his uniform and decorations, dressed in worn U.S. Army fatigues and led from his tent to a wooden gallows at the Los Baños prison camp, 35 miles south of Manila. After making a final statement, he climbed the 13 steps to the scaffold, prayed in Japanese for Hirohito, bowed his head to the noose and seconds later dropped through the trap.
Years after the trial Pratt reflected on the resulting “Yamashita standard,” which holds that a commander has a duty to be aware of, and is always responsible for, the actions of his troops. “It was a fascinating experience, but it was also one which I found, as a career officer, to be very worrisome,” he later wrote. “War crimes trials are a function of the victors. I could then and still find that this law of command responsibility might well be charged against our own commanders under circumstances beyond their control.”
After the war Pratt served in headquarters at Marine Corps Station Quantico as G-2 (chief of intelligence) and was later transferred to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo as the naval attaché. He retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel in 1963. Over the next several decades he pursued a successful business career, first as a vice president with Pepsi Cola in the Far East and later with Royal Crown Cola in Manila. Along the way Pratt found time to marry twice and help raise six daughters. On retirement he built a house in Sonoma, Calif., where he and wife Grace led an active social life. Harry Pratt died on Nov. 6, 2015, and was buried at the Sonoma Veterans’ Cemetery with full military honors—a Marine to the end. MH
Suzanne Pool-Camp is a freelance writer based in Fredericksburg, Va. She and husband Col. Richard Camp, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), interviewed Col. Harry Pratt in 2014. The co-author of Who Financed Hitler (1978), she has a juris doctor degree from Salmon P. Chase College of Law. For further reading she recommends Yamashita’s Ghost: War Crimes, MacArthur’s Justice and Command Accountability, by Allan A. Ryan Deciphering the Rising Sun: Navy and Marine Corps Codebreakers, Translators and Interpreters in the Pacific War, by Roger Dingman and Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita and the Battle of Manila, by James M. Scott.
This article appeared in the May 2021 issue of Military History magazine. For more stories, subscribe here and visit us on Facebook:
A treasure map leads to a golden Buddha𠅊nd more.
For Roxas, the road to justice was long, winding and often bloody, as he related in his pre-trial deposition. In 1961, he said, he𠆝 met a man whose father served in the Japanese Army and had drawn a map showing where the so-called Yamashita Treasure was hidden. Soon another man, who claimed to have been Yamashita’s interpreter, told Roxas he𠆝 visited tunnels filled with boxes of gold and silver during the war. He𠆝 also seen a golden Buddha.
In 1970, Roxas obtained a permit from Pio Marcos, a local judge and relative of Ferdinand Marcos, to begin excavating one site. Along with a team of laborers, he spent the next seven months searching the area and digging hours a day” until they finally hit a network of underground tunnels. Inside they found weapons, radios and skeletal remains in a Japanese uniform. They continued digging, and several weeks later came upon a concrete enclosure in the floor of a tunnel.
When they broke into it, they were greeted by the golden Buddha.
Roxas estimated the statue to be about three feet tall and to weigh well over a ton. He said it took 10 men, with the aid of ropes and rolling logs, to hoist it from the tunnel. They then hauled the Buddha to Roxas’s house in Baguio City, about 150 miles north of Manila, and hid it in a closet.
Over the next two days Roxas returned to the tunnel to see what else it might contain. Beneath the concrete enclosure, he said, he discovered a pile of boxes, each 𠇊pproximately the size of a case of beer,” stacked five or six high and covering an area six feet wide by 30 feet long. When he opened just one of the boxes, he found it held 24 bars of gold.
Several weeks later, Roxas went back to the tunnels to blast the entrance shut. Before he did, he packed up the 24 gold bars, along with some Samurai swords and other war souvenirs he thought he could sell.
Roxas made no effort to conceal his historic find. He said he tried to report it to Judge Marcos but wasn’t able to reach him. He posed with the Buddha for at least one newspaper photographer and showed it to several prospective buyers—two of whom, he claimed, performed tests on the metal and declared it to be solid gold of at least 22 carats.
As if a ton of gold wasn’t valuable enough, Roxas also discovered that the Buddha’s head was removable and that hidden inside the statue were several handfuls of what appeared to be uncut diamonds.
Ferdinand Marcos in Manila Philippines, circa 1978.
Francois Lochon/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
He was a general of the Japanese imperial army during the World War II era. He was well known for conquering the British colonies of Singapore and Malaya. Hence, earning the nickname ‘The tiger of Malaya’.
Yamashita was born in AA small village on the Japanese island of Shikoku, on 8 November 1885,and also the son of a local doctor, Osugi Mura. He attended the army war college between 1913 and 1916,after graduating from the cadet academy in 1905.Yamashita introduced an unsuccessful military reduction plan in the war ministry.Between the year 1919 and 1921,he held the captain rank, and was posted to Berlin and Bern as a military admistrative staff.Despite his impeccable abilities, Yamashita fell into disfavour as a result of his involvement with adverse factions during the 1920s and 1930s internal power struggles within the Japanese military.He clashed with Hideki tojo,a war minister,who is also a leader in the ‘control faction’.Hideki tojo was also a powerful rival to Yamashita’s ‘imperial way’group.He also laid a bad impression with the Showa emperor,for his appeal for leniency toward the rebel officers involved in the 1936 Febuary 26 incident.. Yamashita insisted that Japan should keep peaceful relations with the the United states and Great Britain,and also end the conflict with China. But he was ignored and consequently assigned to an unimportant post in the Kwantung army. From 1938 to 1940, he commanded the 4th Infantry Division and noticed some action in Northern China against chinese insurgents fighting the occupying Japanese armies. In December of 1940, Yamashita was sent on a clandestine military mission to Germany and Italy.where he met Hitler and Mussolini.
Personal life :
Yamashita married the daughter of Japanese General Nagayama in 1916. They did not have any children.
He enjoyed fishing, music and despite countless of opportunities, decided not to learn how to drive an automobile, but preferred to ride instead.
Contribution to Malaya and singapore:
On november 6,1941, Yamashita was put in command of the 25th Army. On december 8, he launched an invasion of Malaya, from the bases in French Indochina. In the campaign, which include the fall of Singapore on February 15, 1942,Yamashita's 30,000 front-line soldiers seized 130,000 British, Indian and Australian troops, which was the largest surrender of British-led personnel in history.He was known as the ‘Tiger of Malaya’. The campaign and the consequent Japanese occupation of Singapore included war crimes committed against Allied personnel and civilians, such as the Sook Ching and Alexandra Hospital and Massacres .Yamashita’s culpability for these events resulted in a matter of contention, as some argued that he had failed to prevent them. though he personally had the officer who instigated the hospital massacre executed for that act and he also made apologies to the surviving patients.General Yamashita ,involved ib the World war II in singapore ,which was still under the british rule,set up his headquaters at the Sultan of Johor’s palace.From the five-storey high tower,Yamashita could see every vital key target in northern singapore.Yamashita was right that the British would not fire at the home of their old friend,Sultan Ibrahim.Yamashita gave precise and effective commands to his troops which led to the defeat of the British.Such as :Before the war,the Japanese had set up their intelligence services in malaya to get information on the british defence and readiness.they were well prepared and had planned on how to defeat and react to the British if trouble appears.The Japanese commander,Yamashita,was a skillful leader who could lead his troops effectively .on the other hand,the british commander,percival,was indecisive and not forceful.yamashita had many plans and plots up his sleeve which led to the defeat of the british.one of them was” My attack on sibgapore was a bluff,I had 30,000 men and was outnumbered 3 to 1.I knew that if I had to fight along for singapore,I would be beaten.That was why the surrender had to be done at once.I was very frightened that the British would come to know our numerical weakness and lack of supplies and force me into disastrous fighting” –Lieutenant –general yamashita.
From October 29 to December 7, 1945, an American military commission tried General Yamashita for war crimes relating to the Manila Massacre and sentenced him to death. This case has become a antecendant regarding the command responsibility for war crimes and is known as the Yamashita Standard.
Following the Supreme Court decision, an appeal for clemency was made to President Truman. The President, however, refused to act and left the matter completely in the hands of the military. General MacArthur announced that he had confirmed the sentence of the Commission and on February 23, 1946, at Los Banos Prison Camp, 30 miles south of Manila, Tomoyuki Yamashita was hanged. After climbing the steps leading to the gallows, he was asked if he had a final statement. To this Yamashita replied through a translator:
As I said in the Manila Supreme Court that I have done with my all capacity, so I don't ashame in front of the Gods for what I have done when I have died. But if you say to me `you do not have any ability to command the Japanese Army' I should say nothing for it, because it is my own nature. Now, our war criminal trial going on in Manila Supreme Court, so I wish to be justify under your kindness and right. I know that all your American and American military affairs always has tolerant and rightful judgment. When I have been investigated in Manila court I have had a good treatment, kindful attitude from your good natured officers who all the time protect me. I never forget for what they have done for me even if I had died. I don't blame my executioner. I'll pray the Gods bless them. Please send my thankful word to Col. Clarke and Lt. Col. Feldhaus, Lt. Col. Hendrix, Maj. Guy, Capt. Sandburg, Capt. Reel, at Manila court, and Col. Arnard. I thank you.
Yamashita was a dignified figure, with a prominent part of his uniform being a pair of black riding boots with spurs cast from gold. On the day he was sentenced to death, General Yamashita presented them to his American attorney, Major George F. Guy, as a gift.
His chief of staff in the Philippines, Akira Muto, was executed on December 1948 after having been found guilty of war crimes by the Tokyo tribunal.
And the Sword
The Curved Saber of San Martin. Source
The curved saber of San Martín was acquired during his stay in London, shortly after he left Spain and before embarking for South America. Later, San Martin would arm his granaderos cavalry with similar weapons, which he deemed ideal for cavalry charges. The curved sword stayed with San Martín until his death and was then passed down to the General de la Republica Argentina, Don Juan Manuel de Rosas. Before their deaths, many people bequeathed the sword to someone else. Rosas passed the sword to his friend Juan Nepomuceno Terrero, and after his death to his wife and then their sons and daughter in order of age. In 1896 Adolfo Carranza, director of the National Historical Museum, requested the donation of the saber of San Martín and that’s the place where the sword remains till today.
The sword was stolen twice from the museum, once in 1963 and once in 1965, causing the museum operators to build a screened gazebo to protect the artifact.
The Legend of Yamashita’s Stolen WWII Gold, Where Is it?
Since the end of World War Two, there have been many legends and tall tales involving mysterious maps and booby-trapped treasure caves.
Trainloads of Nazi gold have allegedly vanished into hidden tunnel sidings, while it is said that tonnes of bullion are cached in secret bunkers strung across the Philippine archipelago just waiting for treasure hunters to uncover them.
Now it has been claimed by a team of gold-hunters on Blaze TV show Lost Gold of WWII that the location of a particularly spectacular hoard may well have been discovered.
The island of Luzon was the last stronghold of “Tiger of Malaya” General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He earned his wartime sobriquet following his ruthless campaign that saw the British routed from Malaya and Singapore in just 70 days.
General Tomoyuki Yamashita led a successful assault of Japanese troops on Malaya.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it the worst disaster and the largest capitulation in Britain’s military history. Eighty-thousand British, Chinese, and Australian troops surrendered to just 30,000 invading Japanese troops.
Yamashita’s determination in the face of the advancing Allied forces at the end of the war also meant that he continued fighting his corner in Kiangan in Ifugao Province until September 2, weeks after Japan’s official surrender on August 15, 1945.
Yamashita (seated, center) thumps the table with his fist to emphasize his terms – unconditional surrender. Percival sits between his officers, his clenched hand to his mouth.
As part of the war effort, the General was tasked with amassing as much bullion as he could lay his hands on which would be shipped back to Tokyo.
He allegedly partnered with local militia and Asian Yakuza, Mafia-style criminal gangs, to steal gold from banks and other institutions such as temples and museums. It is also alleged that the gangs would take gold from private homes and the strong-rooms of businesses across the Singaporean peninsula.
The gold was to be shipped to Japan to pay for the war effort, help rebuild the economy, and defend the Empire following the eventual defeat of Allied forces in the Pacific. The haul was originally concentrated in Singapore, and several merchant ships did sail for Tokyo laden with looted bullion.
Yamashita (second from right) at his trial in Manila, November 1945.
However, it is claimed that so many of these ships were sunk as American submarine dominance increased in the region that it became too perilous to dispatch the gold by sea.
Instead, much of the remaining booty was hidden in a network of caves and bunkers across the region. Legend has it that the bunkers were booby-trapped with vials of cyanide gas, which would dispatch a treasure hunter within seconds should they disturb them.
A hidden tunnel system. Photo: Kecko CC BY 2.0
Stories have circulated over the years claiming more than 170 locations as hidden caches of stolen gold.
The team on the TV show Lost Gold of WWII claimed to have discovered a tunnel laced with glass bottles, which could contain poison gas. Using gas detectors and camera technology developed by underground drain maintenance companies, they hope to discover whether the legends are based on fact.
Saddle Ridge Hoard of coins and dirt. Photo: Kagin’s Inc. CC BY-SA 3.0
The team are shown using the gas detector as it is lowered into the tunnel it begins to react, detecting levels of “bad air.”
Whether this is due to the presence of cyanide gas or is simply a reading reflecting normal levels of naturally occurring concentrations of toxic elements underground, will be revealed in the next episode which airs later in May 2019.
General Tomoyuki Yamashita just after he heard the verdict of death by hanging. He was taken out of the courtroom by military police.
During his command, General Yamashita was reportedly often at odds with the Emperor on the one hand and the expectations of his subordinates on the other.
Despite orders not to loot or commit arson or any other crimes, many of the soldiers under his command went on to commit war crimes regardless.
Officers gave orders to decimate Chinese troops. Terrible acts carried out at the Alexandra Hospital and the Sook Ching purge of Singapore were events which were to condemn the General to a sentence of hanging at his trial after the war.
General Tomoyuki Yamashita
General Tomoyuki Yamashita was the commander of the Japanese 25 th Army that attacked Malaya in December 1941. In February 1942, Yamashita took the surrender of the British and Commonwealth forces commanded by Lieutenant-General Percival at Singapore. His success in this campaign earned Yamashita the nickname “Tiger of Malaya”.
Yamashita was born on November 8 th 1885 on the island of Shikoku. His father, a local doctor, did not believe that Yamashita had the academic ability to succeed in a profession like law. He therefore enrolled his son in a military school, the Kainan Middle School. Aged 15, Yamashita joined the military academy at Hiroshima. Here he gained a reputation as a hard worker and he was transferred to the Central Military Academy in Tokyo in 1905. After several attempts, in 1913 Yamashita passed the required exams to get him into the General Staff College. Here he held the rank of captain and graduated in 1916, sixth in his class.
Between 1919 and 1921, Yamashita served as a military attaché in Berlin and Berne, Switzerland. During this time he met a fellow officer, Hideki Tojo. When he was not working Yamashita spent his time studying. In 1921 he returned to Japan and worked within the General Staff of the Imperial Japanese Army. In 1930 Yamashita was given the command of the 3 rd Imperial Infantry Regiment and held the rank of colonel.
Yamashita became a member of the Koda-ha group (Emperor Group), which attempted a coup d’état that failed. Yamashita was not directly involved in this attempted coup, which had been carried out by younger officers of the 1 st Regiment, but he found that his name, as a result of his membership of Koda-ha, had been removed from the army’s promotion list. This, to Yamashita, indicated that he could never achieve the high command that he wanted. His removal to a command in Seoul in Korea seemed to confirm this. Koda-ha had a rival group that had greatly benefited from the failed coup. Known as the ‘Control Faction’, one of its leading members was Hideki Tojo who now viewed Yamashita as a serious rival to be kept as far away from Tokyo as was possible.
Between 1938 and 1940, Yamashita was assigned to northern China where he commanded the 4 th Division of the Japanese Army.
In late 1940, Yamashita visited Europe at the head of a military mission and met both Hitler and Mussolini.
While he had fallen into disfavour with the likes of Tojo and Emperor Hirohito, there were those who did recognise his military ability and pushed for his promotion. In this they were successful. On November 6 th , 1941, Yamashita was given the command of the 25 th Army. He had a month to prepare both himself and his army for the attack on Malaya, planned for December 8 th .
The attack on British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya and Singapore was so successful that Yamashita earned the nickname ‘Tiger of Malaya’. His total tally of POW’s in the campaign, 130,000 men, was the largest in British and Commonwealth military history.
What happened in Singapore was used in evidence against Yamashita when he was put on trial for war crimes in 1945.
Yamashita’s success in Malaya greatly elevated his status in Tokyo. To dilute this as much as possible, it is thought that Tojo was behind his July 1942 appointment as commander of the Japanese 1 st Army in Manchuria. This appointment kept him out of the Pacific War for over two years.
In October 1944, when it was clear to some that America’s huge military power was overcoming Japan’s, Yamashita was appointed head of the 14 th Area Army that was set to defend the Philippines. Though he had over 250,000 soldiers at his disposal, supplying these men was all but impossible such was America’s supremacy at sea – her submarine and aerial forces mercilessly hunted down Japanese supply ships with huge success.
Yamashita was forced out of Manila by the advancing Americans and re-established his headquarters in mountains of northern Luzon.
Between February and March 1945 Japanese soldiers in and around Manila killed over 100,000 Filipino civilians. What was called ‘The Manila Massacre’ was also held against Yamashita at his trial.
Yamashita finally surrendered his troops, reduced to less than 50,000, on September 2 nd .
Yamashita was arrested and formally charged with war crimes on September 25 th . Specifically, he was charged with failing to control the men in Singapore who carried well-documented atrocities, such as the crimes committed at the Alexandra Hospital. The same accusation was made with regard to the ‘Manila Massacre’ – that he as commanding officer was responsible for the actions of his men.
Yamashita’s defence attorney argued that communications in the Philippines were so poor that Yamashita could not have known what was going on while he was in Luzon and the mass killings were in Manila. Colonel Harry Clarke, Snr, also argued that Yamashita had recognised that illegalities had gone on in Singapore by ordering the execution of the officers in charge of the soldiers who had committed murder at the Alexandra Hospital.
However, on December 7 th 1945, Yamashita was found guilty of war crimes under a precedent that was to become known as the ‘Yamashita Standard’ – that he as commanding officer had to take full responsibility for the actions of the men under his command. Given the environment in which the trial was held – knowledge of the treatment of POW’s held by the Japanese, knowledge of the treatment of civilians under Japanese rule, the fact that the trial was held in the Philippines where the ‘Manila Massacre’ was carried out etc. – the result probably was never in doubt.
The legitimacy of the trial was called into question as hearsay evidence was allowed. Appeals to both the Philippines Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court failed. It is said that Douglas MacArthur hoped for a swift trial with a guilty verdict, as the process would set a precedent for other war trials that were about to start.
On February 23 rd 1946 Yamashita was hanged. His final words were:
“I believe I have done my duty to the best of my ability throughout the whole war. Now at the time of my death and before God I have nothing to be ashamed of. Please remember me to the American officers who defended me.”
Tomoyuki Yamashita (b. 8 November 1885, Osugi Mura, Shikoku, Japan&ndashd. 23 February 1946, Manila, Philippines), 1 was the Army Commander of the 25th Army that captured Malaya and Singapore during World War II. The capture was the most decisive victory of the East over the West. 2
Yamashita distinguished himself as the &ldquoTiger of Malaya&rdquo during World War II. After the war, he surrendered in the Philippines, where he was tried for war crimes by the Allied Forces. 3 He was hanged as a war criminal at 3.02 am on 23 February 1946 on Luzon Island, Manila, and buried in a Japanese cemetery at Los Banos Prisoner-of-war Camp, Philippine Islands. 4 His record in history is a mix of brilliance and bad luck, and he is remembered as a higeki no shogun, a tragic general. 5 A waxwork model of Yamashita can be found at the Surrender Chambers, Waxwork Museum, Sentosa. 6
Yamashita was the son of a village doctor, Sakichi. His mother, Yuu, was the daughter of a wealthy farmer. 7 He had two sisters and an elder brother who had followed in his father&rsquos footsteps and became a doctor. Yamashita, on the other hand, took on the rigid life of a military man, dedicated to service in war. 8 In 1916, he married Hisako, the daughter of General Nagayama. They had no children. 9
After graduating from the Military Academy in Hiroshima in 1908, Yamashita was gazetted into the infantry. In 1916, he graduated from the Staff College and was promoted to Major General by 1926. 10 In February 1936, he was implicated in an attempted coup d&rsquoetat in Tokyo, which was led by the Imperial Way faction, a group of radical young officers who had long admired him. 11 His career was seemingly cut short, as his only two options then were either resignation, or an obscure posting to Korea. He chose the command in Korea. The move, as it turned out, gave him the opportunity to distinguish himself during the 1937 Sino-Japanese Crisis and he was promoted to Lieutenant-General in November 1937 for his leadership during the conflict. His rival, General Hideki Tojo, apparently sought to have him removed, and this led to Yamashita serving in North China and Manchuria between 1938 and 1939. Yamashita only returned to Tokyo in July 1940 and had by then been promoted to Inspector General of Aviation. In January 1941, he toured military establishments in Germany and Italy and was posted to Manchuria as Commander of the Kwantung Defence Army. 12
Invasion of Malaya and Singapore
Yamashita was appointed Commanding General of the hurriedly formed 25th Army with the Order of Battle, gazetted on 6 November, for the invasion of Malaya and Singapore. 13 The invasion began on 8 December 1941 with the attack on Singhora, Patani and Kota Bahru. 14 The radical Yamashita made unorthodox decisions such as sending his troops on bicycles and reducing them by one full division. 15
Malaya fell to the Japanese within 100 days and the eventual capture of Singapore, the reputedly impregnable British stronghold in Southeast Asia on 15 February 1942 under Yamashita&rsquos command, was considered the worst defeat for British troops. 16 Yamashita was credited for forcing the British to surrender unconditionally. 17 For this success, he was nicknamed the &ldquoTiger of Malaya&rdquo. 18 He also attained the highest honour as a warrior for this conquest. His strategy to attack Singapore was &ldquoa bluff that worked&rdquo, despite his men actually being outnumbered. 19
In July 1942, Yamashita was posted to Manchuria without visiting Tokyo or gaining an audience with the emperor. 20 But by 10 February 1943, Yamashita had been promoted to General. He was appointed as the Commanding General of the 14th Area Army to defend the Philippines from an impending American invasion. 21
On 2 September 1945, Yamashita surrendered to the Allied Forces at Keangan, Luzon, Philippines. He was tried by an American Military Tribunal in the ballroom of the US High Commissioner&rsquos residence in downtown Manila. 22 He was charged with failing to control his troops from committing atrocities against the people of the United States and its allies and dependencies, particularly the Philippines, where his troops had carried out wild massacres and rapes in Manila. The trial invariably focused on Japanese atrocities in the Philippines, rather than British Malaya. 23
&ldquoYamashita Treasure&rdquo refers to the supposed treasure made up of war loots stolen in Southeast Asia by the Imperial Japanese forces during World War II. 24 Named after Yamashita, it was speculated to be hidden in more than 145 underground tunnels and caves in the Philippines before Japan&rsquos surrender under the command of Yamashita. 25
26 Jun 1906: Graduates from Military Academy, Hiroshima with high honours. 27
1916: Graduates from Staff College in sixth place and begins a tour of duty on the General Staff. 28
1918: Posted to the Japanese Embassy in Switzerland as assistant military attaché. 29
1919&ndash37: Serves in the War Ministry, with occasional special assignments to Europe and the United States. 30
1919: Serves as military attaché to Switzerland and then Germany. 31
1923: Promoted to Colonel and given command of the Third Regiment. 32
1929: Promoted to Colonel. 33
1932: Section Chief of Military Affairs, War Ministry.
1934: Succeeds General Hideki Tojo as Chief of the Military Investigation Bureau, War Ministry. 34
1936: Assigned to command an infantry brigade in Korea. 35 / Posted to Korea, disgraced for allegedly supporting a fascist movement by the Imperial Way, which threatened a coup d'etat in Tokyo.
Nov 1937: Promoted to Lieutenant General 36 for distinguishing himself during the China incident of July 1937. The promotion makes him the Japanese overseer for North Korea.
1938: Chief-of-Staff, North China Expeditionary Force.
1939: Commanding General, Fourth Division, Manchukuo (Manchuria).
Jul 1940: Inspector General of Aviation, Tokyo.
Jan 1941: Military Minister to Germany and Italy, 37 heading a mission to Berlin and Rome.
Sep 1941: Transferred to Manchuria to command the Kwantung Army. 38
Nov 1941: Commanding General, 25th Army assigned to Malaya and Singapore. 39
1942: Supreme Commander, Malaya. 40
10 Feb 1943: Promoted to General after the surrender of the British forces in Singapore. 41
Nov&ndashDec 1943: Commander at Timor, Netherlands East Indies.
7 Oct 1944: Commander-in-Chief, 14th Area Army, operating in the Philippine Islands.
9 Oct 1944: Commanding General, 14th Area Army, operating in the Philippine Islands.
2 Sep 1945: Protective custody of American Army at Keangan, Luzon, Philippines.
7 Dec 1945: Found guilty and sentenced to hang.
23 Feb 1946: Hanged at 3.02 am at Los Banos Camp by the official executioner, First Lieutenant Charles R. Rexroad, United States Army. 42
1. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 80. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR]) Abridged encyclopedia of world biography. (1992). (Vol. 2). Detroit: Gale Group, p. 702. (Call no.: R q920.003 ABR)
2. Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, p. 196. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT)
3. Abridged encyclopedia of world biography. (1992). (Vol. 2). Detroit: Gale Group, p. 702. (Call no.: R q920.003 ABR)
4. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, p. 88. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR]) Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, p. 195. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT)
5. Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, p. 196. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT) Yoji, A. (2002). General Yamashita Tomoyuki: Commander of the Twenty-Fifth Army. In B. Farrell, & S. Hunter (Eds.), Sixty years on: The fall of Singapore revisited. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 204. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SIX-[WAR])
6. Brazil, D. (1991). Street smart: Singapore. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 242. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BRA-[HIS])
7. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 80. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR])
8. Taylor, L. (1981). A trial of generals: Homma, Yamashita, Macarthur. South Bend, Ind.: Icarus Press, p. 105. (Call no.: RSING 341.69 TAY) Potter, J. D. (1963, March 6). The boy who chose spartan life of a soldier. .The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 82. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR]) Hoyt, E. P. (1993). Three military leaders: Heihachiro Togo, Isoroku Yamamoto, Tomoyuki Yamashita. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 122. (Call no.: RSING 940.54092052 HOY-[WAR])
10. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 81. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR])
11. Yoji, A. (2002). General Yamashita Tomoyuki: Commander of the Twenty-Fifth Army. In B. Farrell, & S. Hunter (Eds.), Sixty years on: The fall of Singapore revisited. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, pp. 187, 204. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SIX-[WAR]) Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, pp. 83, 89. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR])
12. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, pp. 90&ndash91. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR])
13. Tsuji, M. (1997). Japan&rsquos greatest victory, Britain&rsquos worst defeat. New York: Sarpedon, pp. 27, 32. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 TSU-[WAR])
14. Hoyt, E. P. (1993). Three military leaders: Heihachiro Togo, Isoroku Yamamoto, Tomoyuki Yamashita. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 138. (Call no.: RSING 940.54092052 HOY-[WAR])
15. Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, pp. 60, 67. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT)
16. Yoji, A. (2002). General Yamashita Tomoyuki: Commander of the Twenty-Fifth Army. In B. Farrell, & S. Hunter (Eds.), Sixty years on: The fall of Singapore revisited. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 185. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SIX-[WAR]) Koh, J., & Ho, L. L. (2009). Culture and customs of Singapore and Malaysia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press, p. 18. (Call no.: YRSING 305.80095957 KOH)
17. General Tomoyuki Yamashita (1885&ndash1946). (2005, September 12). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Brazil, D. (1991). Street smart: Singapore. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 242. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 BRA-[HIS])
19. Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, pp. 81, 195. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT) Yenne, B. (2014). The Imperial Japanese Army: the invincible years 1941-42. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, pp. 172&mdash173 (Call no.: RSEA 952.03 YEN)
20. Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, p. 99. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT)
21. Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, p. 105. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT)
22. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, pp. 31, 39&ndash41. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
23. Potter, J. D. (1963). A soldier must hang: The biography of an oriental general. London: Muller, pp. 182&mdash183. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.541352 POT)
24. Fernando, D. M. (1978, May 12). There is no Yamashita Treasure, says war crime investigator. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Cindy, T. (2017, January 6). Has the secret treasure stolen by a Japanese WWII general been uncovered in the Philippines? Adventurers claim gold bars have been found &lsquobooby trapped&rsquo in a cave. Mail Online. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB&rsquos eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
26. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, pp. 32&ndash33. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
27. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, p. 32. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR]) Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 81. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR])
28. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 81. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR])
29. Hoyt, E. P. (1993). Three military leaders: Heihachiro Togo, Isoroku Yamamoto, Tomoyuki Yamashita. Tokyo: Kodansha International, pp. 122&ndash123. (Call no.: RSING 940.54092052 HOY-[WAR])
30. Taylor, L. (1981). A trial of generals: Homma, Yamashita, Macarthur. South Bend, Ind.: Icarus Press, p. 106. (Call no.: RSING 341.69 TAY)
31. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 80. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR])
32. 30. Hoyt, E. P. (1993). Three military leaders: Heihachiro Togo, Isoroku Yamamoto, Tomoyuki Yamashita. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 940.54092052 HOY-[WAR])
33. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, p. 32. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
34. Yoji, A. (2002). General Yamashita Tomoyuki: Commander of the Twenty-Fifth Army. In B. Farrell, & S. Hunter (Eds.), Sixty years on: The fall of Singapore revisited. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 186. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SIX-[WAR])
35. Hoyt, E. P. (1993). Three military leaders: Heihachiro Togo, Isoroku Yamamoto, Tomoyuki Yamashita. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 940.54092052 HOY-[WAR])
36. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, p. 33. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
37. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, p. 33. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
38. Taylor, L. (1981). A trial of generals: Homma, Yamashita, Macarthur. South Bend, Ind.: Icarus Press, p. 108. (Call no.: RSING 341.69 TAY)
39. Swinson, A. (1968). Four samurai: A quartet of Japanese army commanders in the Second World War. London, Hutchinson, p. 91. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 SWI-[WAR]). Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, p. 33. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
40. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, pp. 33. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
41. Conqueror of Singapore gets promotion. (1943, February 11). The Syonan Shimbun, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
42. Kenworthy, A. S. (1953). The tiger of Malaya: The story of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and &ldquoDeath March&rdquo General Masaharu Homma. New York: Exposition Press, pp. 33, 43, 66, 68, 84&ndash85, 88. (Call no.: RSEA 940.5405 KEN-[WAR])
Farrell, B. (2015). The defence and fall of Singapore 1940&ndash1942. Singapore: Monsoon Books Pte Ltd, pp. 473&ndash477.
(Call no.: RSING 940.5425957 FAR-[WAR])
Reel, A. F. (1949). The case of General Yamashita. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
(Call no.: RDTYS 341.69 REE)
The information in this article is valid as at September 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
Last Words of the Tiger of Malaya, General Yamashita Tomoyuki
The final reflections of a convicted war criminal enshrined at Yasukuni Jinja
One of the major reasons for Chinese and Korean public criticism of Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine is that 14 out of 28 A-Class Japanese war criminals are enshrined there. Seven among them including Tojo Hideki and Matsui Iwane were executed at the conclusion of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and the other seven died either during the tribunal or while serving their sentences. Yasukuni Shrine also sanctifies many B and C-Class war criminals, many of whom were directly responsible for atrocities committed throughout the Asia-Pacific region. One of those is Tomoyuki Yamashita, who was enshrined on 17 October 1959. As the commander who led the Japanese Imperial Army troops to invade Singapore in February 1942, he was nicknamed the 'Tiger of Malaya.'
At 2:15 am on the morning of 8 December 1941, advance troops of the 25th Army led by Lieutenant General Yamashita landed at Kota Bharu on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula with the aim of seizing Singapore. This landing was an hour and 20 minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor and thus, strictly speaking, marks the beginning of the Pacific War. The 25th Army swiftly advanced south towards Singapore, completely unsuspected by the British forces armed with large-bore artillery that were defending Singapore from seaborne attack via the Straits of Malacca. The Japanese troops numbered 20,000 the defending troops consisted of 88,000 British, Australian, and Indian soldiers and Malay volunteers. Although the British forces had the advantage of much greater numbers, Singapore fell relatively quickly, the British not only having underestimated the ability of the Japanese forces, but being insufficiently trained in jungle warfare and lacking adequate communication among their forces.
On the evening of 15 February 1942, Yamashita and Lieutenant General A.E. Percival of the British Forces met at the Ford Motor factory outside Singapore to negotiate the surrender of the Commonwealth forces. Japanese correspondents reporting the meeting claimed that Yamashita aggressively demanded: "Is the British Army going to surrender immediately? Answer 'Yes' or 'No'." In fact, he had simply instructed his interpreter to ask Percival whether he was prepared to accept unconditional surrender. The story of this negotiation was, however, embellished and proudly publicized by the Japanese media as emblematic of Japan's new confidence and strength. Due to the swift victory of his military campaign and the successful capture of Singapore, Yamashita won the sobriquet 'Tiger of Malaya.' A feature film under the same title was screened throughout Japan and the occupied territories of Asia, creating an image of him as a ruthless militarist. Less than five months after the fall of Singapore, he was posted to remote northern Manchuria as commander of the First Area Army by General Hideki Tojo, the then Prime Minister and Minister of the Army. Effectively, Tojo demoted Yamashita whom he perceived as a threat, Yamashita belonging to a different military faction to his own.
Yamashita was promoted to General in February 1943, but in 1944, with the war situation deteriorating for Japan, he was dispatched as Commander of the 14th Area Army in the Philippines. He arrived in Manila on 6 October 1944, just two weeks prior to the landing of U.S. forces on Leyte Island. He opposed the plan devised by the Imperial Headquarters in Tokyo to send some of his troops to Leyte because of the lack of food and ammunition supplies as well as ships to transport them there. Eventually, however, he was unable to disobey his immediate superior, General Terauchi Hisaichi, General-Commander of the Southern Army, and sent approximately 80,000 troops to Leyte by early December. The result was a disaster -- 97 percent died, many from starvation. In the middle of the Battle of Leyte, Terauchi moved his headquarters from Manila to Saigon in Vietnam, thereby escaping the dangerous battlefield situation that enveloped all Japanese forces in the Philippines.
As large quantities of supplies had already been exhausted in the Battle of Leyte, there were insufficient arms and ammunition for the 287,000 Japanese troops stationed across Luzon Island under Yamashita's command as they faced 191,000 U.S. troops who landed at the island's Lingaen Bay on 9 January 1945. In mid-December 1944, anticipating the landing of the U.S. forces, Yamashita had ordered all troops stationed in Manila to evacuate the city within six weeks and his headquarters was also moved to Baguio in the mountains of northern Luzon. About 20,000 troops of the 31st Naval Base Force, initially under the command of Rear-Admiral Iwabuchi, came under Yamashita's command by late December, but they refused to move. For four weeks, these troops fought fiercely against the U.S. forces that entered the city on 3 February. As a result, about 100,000 Filipino civilians were killed. In the course of the campaign, Japanese tortured and killed many civilians believed to be members or collaborators of guerrilla groups opposing Japan. Many women were raped by the Japanese troops, and numerous civilians became victims of aerial bombing conducted by the U.S. forces. Eventually all the Japanese troops who had remained in the city to fight the Americans perished.
Yamashita's troops continued to fight in the mountains despite suffering widespread disease and starvation. By the time Yamashita surrendered to the U.S. forces in June 1945, 210,000 Japanese soldiers were dead.
Immediately after the surrender, Yamashita, as commander of all Japanese forces in the Philippines, was arrested as a war criminal, charged with responsibility for atrocities committed by Japanese forces under his command against civilians in Manila. The evidence suggests, however, that he was unaware of the crimes committed by the members of the Naval Base Force who had refused to obey his order to move out of Manila, and that he exercised no command over those forces during the battle. Despite weak legal grounds for his personal responsibility for those crimes, the U.S. court martial conducted a swift trial and sentenced him to death on 7 December 1945. The background to this affair was General MacArthur's determination to turn the trial of the 'Tiger of Malaya' into a showcase. MacArthur, who had been Governor of the Philippines, fled shortly after the Japanese invasion in late December 1941. A group of American military lawyers who defended Yamashita appealed the verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the appeal was rejected by five to two. Yamashita was hanged in Manila on 23 February 1946.
What was Yamashita's responsibility for the crimes committed by Japanese troops against local civilians and POWs in the Philippines? When he arrived in Manila as Commander of the 14th Area Army in October 1944, the Japanese communication and supply system was already in turmoil, and the morale of the troops was very low. These problems intensified after his headquarters was moved to Baguio while the troops were scattered throughout the mountains of northern Luzon. By this stage the soldiers were desperate in the face of severe shortages of food, medicine and ammunition. Many soldiers never received Yamashita's orders and instructions, and many commands were ignored, even by junior officers. The rejection by the 31st Naval Base Force of Yamashita's order to evacuate Manila was a typical example of a situation aggravated by the longstanding Army-Navy rivalry. For this reason, the defense lawyers, themselves members of the American armed forces, thought the trial a "kangaroo court" -- a political exercise -- staged by the U.S. Army, particularly General MacArthur.
However, this does not automatically exempt Yamashita from responsibility for all Japanese military atrocities. On 18 February 1942, three days after the capture of Singapore, Yamashita issued an order to 'select and remove hostile Chinese.' At the time, about 600,000 Chinese lived in Singapore and anti-Japanese sentiment was rife after a decade of Japanese invasion and war beginning in Manchuria in 1931 and continuing in China from 1937. Indeed, a Chinese guerilla force set up with the help of British forces support fought fiercely against the invading Japanese troops after the fall of Singapore. For their part, the Japanese occupation force amassed and interrogated 200,000 Chinese men aged between 15 and 50, in an attempt to root out the so-called "anti-Japanese elements," such as communists and supporters of the Guomindang, as well as criminals. One officer, Masanobu Tsuji, reportedly boasted that he would reduce the Chinese population of Singapore to half by implementing Yamashita's order. Due to the haphazard methods used to find these "anti-Japanese elements," however, the exercise ended as a massacre of large numbers of innocent civilians. Estimates of the toll varied between 6,000 and 100,000, although it was probably around 40,000. Similar atrocities were also carried out across the Malaya Peninsula, resulting in the deaths of a further 60,000 Chinese. If the British forces had conducted Yamashita's war crime tribunal, he would certainly have been found guilty for this appalling large-scale massacre of Chinese.
Surprisingly, it seems that Yamashita was profoundly affected by the tribunal, even though the proceedings conducted by the US Army were patently unfair. At the hearing, about 200 victims and witnesses to various Japanese atrocities gave detailed accounts of Japanese atrocities. It must have been an excruciating experience for Yamashita, listening day after day to painful stories of the victimization of many men, women and children. In the courtroom, on the advice of his American lawyers, he denied responsibility for the crimes committed by those under his command, but in his personal will he humbly acknowledged his failure as commander to discipline his soldiers and punish those who committed crimes against the people of the Philippines. Moreover, he appears to have internalized the pain of the victims of Japanese atrocities, displaying remorse for his troops' war crimes, somehow overcoming his own old-fashioned militarist ideology and replacing it with a remarkable self-criticism. This is clear from his last words, dictated to Buddhist prison chaplain Morita Shokaku, shortly before he was hanged. These words, a message to the Japanese people, were an addition to his written will, in which he sincerely apologized to all the people of the Philippines for the atrocities that his troops committed.
His dictated message started in a state of confusion -- many ideas must have rushed to mind just hours before his execution. Thus some of his words in the first few paragraphs do not really make sense. It seems that he wished to justify his decision to surrender rather than commit suicide. He obviously had a deep sense of guilt at having survived while many men under his command died. Such statements of remorse at not having died in combat are not unusual and most war criminals' final statements are full of self-justification for what they did during the war. Interestingly however, in contrast to other Generals, Yamashita made no excuses for the atrocities that his soldiers committed against the people of the Philippines. On the contrary, he clearly accepted responsibility as commander and the judgment "by rigorous but impartial law." It seems ironic that many conservative politicians who support Prime Minister Koizumi's official visits to Yasukuni Shrine now claim that the war crime tribunals conducted by the Allied forces were simply "victor's justice" and therefore had no legal validity.
Undoubtedly the trials were unfair because the Allies ruled out consideration of war crimes committed by their own forces -- the most obvious example of war crimes committed by the United States being the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (The A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed between 70,000 and 80,000 people in an instant, and an estimated 140,000 died by the end of 1945. In Nagasaki, 70,000 people are believed to have died by the end of the same year. Many more would die agonizing deaths in subsequent years from the blast, wounds, and radiation. It is a well-established fact that the killing of civilians in wartime is contrary to international law.) However, unfairness in the tribunals themselves does not invalidate the criminality of the numerous atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers during the Asia-Pacific War, nor does it call into question the responsibility of their commanders, including that of the Supreme Commander, Emperor Hirohito.
When Yamashita overcame his initial difficulty in explaining himself and started talking about his hopes for the Japanese people, his tone became quite straightforward and confident. He ascribed the fundamental cause of war crimes to the Japanese peoples' inability to make independent moral judgments. Although he did not use the term "human rights" (and probably he was not familiar with that terminology), the words "moral judgment" are repeatedly used in order to urge the Japanese people to respect the human rights of others. This is indicated by his expression "your personal responsibility in relations with other people" (emphasis added). By the time he faced execution, he clearly had come to the realization that Japan's brutal military actions were due to the lack of a sense of personal responsibility toward others that may be equated with the concept of "human rights", and that this eventually led people in Asia and elsewhere to distrust Japan. He concluded that this was one of the crucial reasons for Japan's defeat in war. He welcomed the prospect that the Japanese in defeat would belatedly be given the freedom to make their own moral judgments. But he remained apprehensive about their ability to do so, and urged the Japanese to become "cultured and dignified" people. We need to reflect on this statement carefully, particularly in the current situation where some nationalist scholars and many Japanese politicians -- including Prime Minister Koizumi -- seek to sanitize Japan's military conduct during the Asia-Pacific War.
Yamashita's second point was that there could be no weapons or military strategies to defend ourselves against nuclear weapons. This should also be re-emphasized on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 2005, and above all in light of the failure of the NPT Review Conference in May 2005 to advance the abolition of nuclear weapons. Politicians like Mr. Abe Shinzo, who think that Japan should develop nuclear arms for defense purposes, should also be reminded of General Yamashita's words that the "only method to defend ourselves against atomic bombs" is "to establish nations all over the world that would never contemplate the use of such weapons." Indeed, these words of a Japanese general at the hour of his execution are fully consistent with the spirit of eternal peace that the A-bomb victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have long advocated.
It is remarkable that half of his final words were addressed to women. Here we can discern Yamashita's hope that the new Japanese society should be built on the principles of women, not those of men, specifically power and violence. His statement that "the driving force of peace is in the heart of women" sums up his thoughts on this issue. He was surely that rare person amongst Japanese military leaders who was able to see the fundamental link between war and male violence. He came to hold the view that women should play more important roles in building peace, especially in the field of education. I am not sure how he overcame his own patriarchal beliefs in the eight months between his surrender and execution. During the conduct of his trial, something must have occurred that led him to dramatically change his views on gender and society, and indeed on war and peace.
His last point emphasizing the importance of mothers educating their children sounds like male chauvinism, imposing all responsibilities for raising children on women. We must understand, however, that his views on this issue were closely intertwined with his deep sense of personal responsibility for the deaths of many young men under his command. Perhaps for this reason he romanticized the bond between mothers and their children, using "breastfeeding" as an overriding metaphor for nurturing and educating children. It should be noted that his goal was to educate Japanese youth "to be able to live independently, cope with various circumstances, love peace, appreciate cooperation with others and have a strong will to contribute to mankind when they grow up."
Closely examining Yamashita's last words, it becomes crystal-clear that the conclusions he drew from his war experience are fundamentally at odds with the reigning ideology of Yasukuni Shrine and its supporters. It is an historical irony that General Yamashita is worshipped by neo-nationalist politicians who claim that Yasukuni Shrine is sacred, deride the legality of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal as victor's justice, deny Japan's war responsibilities, promote nationalistic education policies and textbooks, advocate the abolition of the Peace Constitution, suggest the necessity of possessing nuclear arms "for the purpose of defending the country," and show no interest at all in improving women's social and economic status.
Yamashita Tomoyuki's Last Message to the Japanese People
Due to my carelessness and personal crassness, I committed an inexcusable blunder as the commander of the entire [14th Area] Army and consequently caused the deaths of your precious sons and dearest husbands. I am really sorry and cannot find appropriate words for sincere apologies as I am really confused because of my excruciating agony. As the commander of your beloved men, I am soon to receive the death penalty, having been judged by rigorous but impartial law. It is a strange coincidence that the execution is to be carried out on the birthday of the first U.S. president, George Washington.
I do not know how to express my apology, but the time has come to atone for my guilt with my death. However, I do not think that all the crimes for which I am responsible can easily be liquidated simply by my death. Various indelible stains that I left on the history of mankind cannot be offset by the mechanical termination of my life.
For a person like me who constantly faced death, to die is not at all difficult. Of course I should have committed suicide when I surrendered, as ordered by the emperor in accordance with the Japanese code of the samurai. In fact, I once decided to do so when I attended the surrender ceremonies at Kiangan and Baguio, at which General Percival, whom I had defeated [in Singapore], was also present. What prevented me from committing such an egocentric act was the presence of my soldiers, who did not yet know that the war was over at that time. By refusing to take my own life, I was able to set my men free from meaningless deaths, as those stationed around Kiangan were ready to commit suicide. I really felt pain from the shame of remaining alive, in violation of the samurai's code of "dying at the appropriate time in an appropriate place." I therefore can imagine how much more difficult it is for people like you to remain alive and re-build Japan rather than being executed as a war criminal. If I were not a war criminal, I would still have chosen a difficult path, bearing shame to stay alive and atone for my sins until natural death comes, no matter how you all might despise me.
Sun Tzu said 'The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.' From these words, we learn that our military forces were lethal weapons and their very existence was a crime. I tried my best to prevent the war. I am really ashamed of having been unable to do so because of my weakness. You may think that I am a born aggressor and a typical militarist, because my campaign in Malaya and the fall of Singapore excited the entire Japanese nation. I understand that this is quite natural. I do not excuse myself, as I was a professional soldier and dedicated myself to the military. But even while being a military man, I also have a relatively strong sense as a Japanese citizen. There is no resurrection any longer for the ruined nation and the dead. From ancient times, war has always been a matter for exceptional prudence by wise rulers and sensible soldiers. It was entirely due to our military authorities' arbitrary decisions, which were made by just a handful of people, that a large number of our people died and the rest of the nation was dragged into its present unbearable suffering. I feel as if my heart will break when I think that we professional soldiers will become the object of your bitter resentment. I believe that the Potsdam Declaration will wipe out the leaders of military cliques who led the nation to its downfall, and Japan will start rebuilding as a peaceful nation under new leaders elected by the popular will. However, the path of rebuilding the nation will not be easy in the face of many obstacles.
The experience that you went through, enduring various difficulties and poverty in the last ten years of war, will inevitably give you some strength, even though it was as an unwelcome result of pressure from the military authorities. To construct a new Japan, you really must not include militarists who are the relics of the past or opportunistic unprincipled politicians, or scholars patronized by the government who try to rationalize an aggressive war.
Probably some appropriate policies will be adopted by the Allied Occupation Forces. But I would like to say something on this point, as I am just about to die and thus have great concern about Japan's future. Weeds have a strong life force, and grow again when spring comes, no matter how hard they are trodden underfoot. I am confident that, with strong determination for development, you will rebuild our nation now completely destroyed, and make it a highly cultured one like Denmark. Denmark lost its fertile land in Schleswig-Holstein as the result of the German-Denmark War in 1863, but gave up rearming themselves and made their infertile areas into one of the most cultured of European nations. As a ruined people, we repent having done wrong. I will pray for Japan's restoration from a grave in a foreign country.
Japanese people, you have expelled the militarists and will gain your own independence. Please stand up firmly after the ravages of war. That is my wish. I am a simple soldier. Faced with execution in a very short time, a thousand emotions overwhelm me. But in addition to apologizing, I want to express my views on certain matters. I feel sorry that I cannot express myself very well, because I am a man of action, reticent and with a limited vocabulary. The time of my execution is drawing near. I have only one hour and forty minutes left. Probably only convicts on death row are capable of comprehending the value of one hour and forty minutes. I asked Mr. Morita, a prison chaplain, to record these words and I hope he will pass my ideas on to you some day.
Facing death, I have four things to say to you, the people of the nation of Japan as it resurrects.
First, is about carrying out one's duty. From ancient times, this topic has repeatedly been discussed by scholars, yet it remains most difficult to achieve. Without a sense of duty, a democratic and cooperative society cannot exist. Duty has to be fulfilled as a result of self-regulating and naturally motivated action. I feel some misgivings in thinking about this, considering that you are suddenly to be liberated from the social restraints under which you have long lived.
I often discussed this with my junior officers. The moral decay of our military was so grave that the Imperial Code of Military Conduct as well as the Field Service Code were simply dead letters. Therefore, we had to remind people of this all the time, even in the military where obedience was strongly demanded and defying orders was not allowed at all. In this war, it was far from true that officers under my command carried out their duties satisfactorily.
They were unable to fulfill even the duties that were imposed upon them. Therefore I have some concern over your ability to fulfill your duty voluntarily and independently, after being released from long-standing social restraints. I wonder if you'll be dazzled by suddenly bestowed freedom, and whether some may fail to carry out your duty as required in relations with others, as you've received basically the same education as military men. In a free society, you should nurture your own ability to make moral judgments in order to carry out your duties. Duties can only be carried out correctly by a socially mature person with an independent mind and with culture and dignity.
The fundamental reason why the world has lost confidence in our nation, and why we have so many war-crime suspects who left ugly scars on our history, was this lack of morals. I would like you to cultivate and accept the common moral judgment of the world, and become a people who fulfill duties on your own responsibility. You are expected to be independent and carve out your own future. No one can avoid this responsibility and choose an easy way. Only through that path can eternal peace be attained in the world.
Second, I would like you to promote education in science. No one can deny that the level of Japan's modern science, apart from certain minor areas, is well below world standards. If you travel outside Japan, the first thing you notice is the unscientific way of life of the Japanese. To search for truth with Japan's irrational and cliquish mentality is like searching for fish among the trees.
We soldiers had great difficulties in securing the necessary materials to fight and to make up for the lack of scientific knowledge. We tried to fight against the superior forces of the United States and to win the war by throwing away the priceless lives of our nation as substitutes for bullets and bombs. Various methods of horrendous suicide attack were invented. We exposed our pilots to danger by stripping vital equipment from the planes in order to just slightly improve their mobility. This shows how little knowledge we had for conducting war. We made the greatest mistake -- unprecedented in world history -- by trying to make up for the lack of materials and scientific knowledge with human bodies.
My present state of mind is quite different from that at the time of surrender. In the car on the way to Baguio from Kiangan, Mr. Robert MacMillan, a journalist of the magazine Youth asked, what I thought was the fundamental reason for Japan's defeat. Something suppressed for a long time in my sub-consciousness suddenly burst out and I instantly responded "science," before referring to other important issues. This was because my long-lasting frustration and intense anger were loosened all at once when the war was over.
I am not saying that this is the only reason, but it was clearly one important reason for Japan's defeat. If there will be another war somewhere in the world (although I hope there won't be), it is expected end in a short time through the use of horrific scientific weapons. The foolish methods of war that Japan adopted will be regarded as the illusions of an idiot. Human beings throughout the world, I presume, will make efforts to prevent such a terrible war -- not just the Japanese who thoroughly endured the horror of this war. This is the task that is given to humanity.
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrendous weapons. Never before have so many people been killed instantly in the long history of slaughtering human beings. As I have been in prison, I have not had enough time to study the A-bomb, but I think that no weapon will be invented to defend against atomic weapons. It used to be said that it would always be possible to fight against a new method of attack. This is still true. If there is any method to defend against atomic bombs -- the weapon that has made obsolete all past warfare -- it would simply be to create nations all over the world that would never contemplate the use of such weapons.
A defeated officer like me reflects sadly that if we had had superior scientific knowledge and sufficient scientific weapons, we would not have killed so many of our own men. Instead we could have sent them back home to use the knowledge as the foundation to rebuild a glorious and peaceful country. However, the science that I mean is not science that leads mankind to destruction. It is science that will develop natural resources still to be tapped, that will make human life rich, and will be used for peaceful purposes to free human beings from misery and poverty.
Third, I want to mention the education of women. I have heard that Japanese women have been liberated from the feudal state authorities and been given the privilege of suffrage. From my experience of living in foreign countries for a long time, I can say that the position of modern Japanese women is inferior to that of women in the west.
I am slightly apprehensive about the fact that freedom for Japanese women is a generous gift from the Occupation Forces, not one that they struggled to acquire themselves. A gift is often enjoyed as an object of appreciation and not actually put to direct use. The highest virtues for Japanese women used to be "obedience" and "fidelity." That was no different from "obedient allegiance" in the military. A person who respects such castrated and slave-like virtues has been called a "chaste woman" or praised as a "loyal and brave soldier." In such values, there is no freedom of action or freedom of thought, and they are not the virtues by which one can self-examine autonomously. My hope is that you will break out of your old shell, enrich your education, and become new active Japanese women, while maintaining only the good elements of existing values. The driving force for peace is the heart of women. Please utilize your newly gained freedom effectively and appropriately. Your freedom should not be violated or taken away by anyone. As free women, you should be united with women throughout the world and give full play to your unique abilities as women. If not, you will be squandering all the privileges that you have been given.
Finally, there is one more thing that I would like to tell women -- you are either already a mother or will become a mother in future. You should clearly realize that one of a mother's responsibilities is a very important role in the "human education" of the next generation.
I have always been unhappy about the idea that modern education begins at school. The home is the most appropriate place for educating infants and the most appropriate teacher is the mother. You alone can lay the foundation for education in its true meaning. If you do not want to be criticized as worthless women, please do your best in educating your own children. Education does not begin at kindergarten or on entry to elementary school. It should begin when you breastfeed a newborn baby. It is a mother's privilege to have a special feeling that no one else can have when she cuddles and breastfeeds her baby. Mothers should give their love to their baby both physically and mentally, as they are the baby's source of life. Breastfeeding can be done by another, and nourishment can be provided by other animals, or can be substituted for by a bottle. Yet nothing else can substitute for mother's love.
It is not enough for a mother to think only about how to keep her children alive. She should raise them to be able to live independently, cope with various circumstances, love peace, appreciate cooperation with others and have a strong desire to contribute to humanity when they grow up.
You should raise the joyful feeling of breastfeeding to the level of intellectual emotion and refined love. Mother's love will constantly flow into her baby's body through breastfeeding. The fundamental elements of future education must exist in embryo in mother's milk. Attention to the baby's needs can be the basis for education. Untiring mothering skills should naturally develop into a higher level of educational skill. I am not a specialist on education and therefore I am not sure how appropriate it is, but I would like to call this kind of education "breastfeeding education." Please bear this simple and ordinary phrase in your mind. These are the last words of the person who took your children's lives away from you.
Yuki Tanaka is research professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, a Coordinator of Japan Focus, and author of Japan's Comfort Women. Sexual slavery and prostitution during World War II and the US Occupation. He prepared this article for Japan Focus. Posted September 22, 2005.
Will There be a The Lost Gold of WW2 Season 3?
Foraging of treasure that had been long lost in history, acts as an interesting premise for multiple shows — and rightly so. Contemporary researchers are intrigued by the prospect of finding hidden gold — stowed away in unknown corners of the world. Well, another documentary that adopts this format is ‘The Lost Gold of World War II’, which restarts the search for “hundreds of billions of dollars of stolen loot supposedly hidden in Southeast Asia by Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita” — as outlined by History. The docuseries, which has recently finished airing its second season, has managed to captivate viewers all over the world. So does this mean that we will see its third outing as well? Read on and get your answer!
The Lost Gold of World War II Season 3 Release Date: When Will it Premiere?
‘The Lost Gold of World War II’ season 2 premiered on April 28, 2020, on the History Channel. It ended with its eighth episode on June 16, 2020. The second season follows the team as they dig deeper into the mystery of General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s hidden treasure. They get hold of recent scans and divert their attention to three key sites: a mysterious waterfall, a crater called Breach 6, and a massive, recently discovered tunnel. We learn more about the conspiracies surrounding Yamashita&rsquos Gold, its connection to the CIA, and iconic world leaders.
The second season, which showcases unparalleled advanced technology and interesting historical information, is, no doubt, more captivating than the first outing. Moreover, there is still a lot to be revealed and more secrets to be unearthed. Noting the fans’ thirst for added narratives regarding these fascinating real-life tales based in the Philippines, we expect History to renew the show for another season. Once that happens, we can expect ‘The Lost Gold of World War II’ season 3 to premiere sometime in 2021.
The Lost Gold of World War II Season 3 Cast: Who Can be in it?
John Casey is a construction professional, who has been intrigued by the lost treasure from WW2 since his childhood and his expedition was inspired by a Filipino villager. He leads the team to the rugged terrains of the Philippines, accompanied by his younger brother Rob — who is also from the construction and engineering industry. Metallurgist Rick Hurt is an experienced expert in the mountains in this region. George &ldquoGeo&rdquo Duncan is a third-generation miner and his son, Levi, is a former Marine and fourth-generation hard rock miner. Rounding up the crew is Colin Miazga (a geoscientist with experience in geophysics and archaeology), Max Layton (a master of geophysical applications), and Bingo Minerva (the head researcher). Season 3 is expected to mark the return of all the aforementioned experts.