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The Rising Sun by John Toland
The incredible human drama of World War II from the Japanese point of

THE FATAL MISUNDERSTANDING U.S.-Japanese negotiations in 1941 hinged on
the crucial aspect of China.  The Japanese believed that U.S.
insistence on total troop pullout included Manchuria, when in fact it
did not.  Had that point been clear, war could have been prevented.

THE SECRET JAPANESE RETREAT from Guadal Canal that saved the lives of

THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH The grisly slaughter the Japanese committing
murder of American prisoners of war.


The turning point of the war, as seen for the first time from the
Japanese side.  THE TRUTH ABOUT JAPANESE BARBARISM From foot soldier to
general, they speak of-the unspeakable: cowardice, murder, desertion,


the council chambers of the Imperial Palace, as the party and the
military argued over the question of surrender and the military's attempted palace coup to
overthrow Emperor and fight on!  HIROSHIMA AUGUST 1945 - 8:15 A.M. The
most vivid account yet of the terrible damage and horrible suffering caused
by our 20 kiloton atomic bomb.

"Trailblazing ... It is far and away the best of Toland's war histories
and one in which he has no effective competition ... A vast and moving
drama.  You have the feeling of being an eyewitness.  Toland's version
of the Hiroshima holocaust is so vivid as to give one nightmares."
John Barkham, Saturday Review Syndicate

"Unbelievably rich ... readable and exciting ... The best parts of
[Toland's] book are not the battle scenes but the intimate view he
gives of the highest reaches of Tokyo politics."

"Similar in scope to William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third
Reich.  Toland's book is fresh and dramatic throughout.  THE RISING SUN
is not only a blood-and-guts action story, it also presents for the
first time a great deal of fresh information.  It is quite possibly
the most readable, yet informative account of the Pacific war."
Chicago Sun-Times

The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 by
John Toland


To One and Tokiji Matsumura and Paul R. Reynolds This edition contains
the complete text of the original hardcover edition.



A Bantam Book published by arrangement with Random House, Inc.


Random House edition published October 1970 A 40-page Condensation of
this book appeared in the DETROIT news Sunday Magazine on February 14,

Literary Guild selection March 1971 Playboy Book Club selection March
1971 History Book Club alternate selection April 1971 Bantam edition 
November 1971 All rights reserved, under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions.

Copyright 1970 by John Toland.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission
in writing from the publisher.

For information address: Random House, Znc, 201 East 50th Street, New
York, N.Y. 10022.

ISBN 0-553-26435-4 Published simultaneously in the United States and
Canada Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam
Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.  Its trademark, consisting of the
words "Bantam Books" and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries.  Marca
registration, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York


KR 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16

War in the Pacific to August 1142 Contents


Part One-The Roots of War

1 Gekokujo

2 To the Marco Polo Bridge

3 "Then the War Will Be a Desperate One"

Part Two-The Lowering Clouds

4 "Go Back to Blank Paper"

5 The Fatal Note

6 Operation Z

7 "This War May Come Quicker Than Anyone Dreams"

Part Three-Banzai!

8 "I Shall Never Look Back"

9 "The Formidable Years That Lie Before Us"

10 "For a Wasted Hope and Sure Defeat"

11 "To Show Them Mercy Is to Prolong the War"

12 "But Not in Shame"

13 The Tide Turns

Part Four-Isle of Death

14 Operation Shoestring

15 Green Hell

16 "I Deserve Ten Thousand Deaths"

17 The End

Part Five-The Gathering Forces

18 Of Mice and Men

19 To the Marianas

20 "Seven Lives to Repay Our Country"

Part Six-The Decisive Battle

21 "Let No Heart Be Faint"

22 The Battle of Leyte Gulf

23 The Battle of Breakneck Ridge

24 Debacle

Part Seven-Beyond the Bitter End

25 "Our Golden Opportunity"

26 "Like Hell with the Fire Out "

27 The Flowers of Edo

28 The Last Sortie

29 The Iron Typhoon

30 The Stragglers

Part Eight "One Hundred Million Die Together"

31 In Quest of Peace

32 That Was Not Any Decision That You Had To Worry About

33 Hiroshima

34 ... and Nagasaki

35 "To Bear the Unbearable"

36 The Palace Revolt

37 The Voice of the Crane







The War in the Pacific

The Japanese Conquest of Luzon

The Slot Guadalcanal


The Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle for Leyte

Iwo Jima



After World War II most Westerners felt that General Tojo and other
Japanese leaders-indeed the mass of Japanese-were no better than Hitler
and his Nazi cohorts, and deserved all the punishment and misfortune
that befell them.

Twenty-five years have passed and Japan has recovered from almost total
moral and economic disaster to resume a respected place among nations
of the world.  Still, the question remains: How could we have come to
admire and respect a people who often acted like barbarians during the

This book, which is largely seen from the Japanese point of view, is an
attempt to answer that question as well as others about the war that
changed the face of Asia.  Why did a country the size of California
launch the suicidal attack on Pearl Harbor which involved it in a death
struggle with an enemy ten times stronger?  Was war between the two
nations, which today find so much in common, inevitable and essential?
Did the winning of that war perpetuate American involvement in Asian

I would not have attempted to write this book-even with the assistance
of a Japanese wife and her family-but for two things: a drastic change
in Japanese attitudes toward their own immediate past and the
appearance of significant new documents.  In addition to the mountain
of material already available in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the Military History Archives of the Japan Defense Agency,
valuable documents that had been hidden or lost were recently
discovered, such as records of the imperial and liaison conferences,
the supposedly burned portions of the Konoye Diary, and the
thousand-page "Notes" of Field Marshal Gen Sugiyama, Chief of the Army
General Staff from 1940 to February 21, 1944.

Even more important has been the willingness of Japan's former military
and civilian leaders-including Marquis Koichi Kido, the Emperor's chief
adviser; Prince Mikasa, the Emperor's youngest brother; Admiral
Ryunosuke Kusaka, de facto commander at Pearl Harbor and Midway; and
General Kenryo Sato, perhaps Tojo's most trusted confidant-to talk
freely and at length about the unhappy past.  Gone is the reluctance,
apparent only a few years ago during research for But Not in Shame, to
discuss certain sensitive subjects.  Moreover, they are convinced that
Westerners, after their postwar experiences in Asia, will have more
understanding of the blunders they made in Manchuria and China.  Those
who fought the war, from generals to privates, have also been more
willing to talk of their mistakes, and speak of the unspeakable:
cowardice, murder, cannibalism, surrender- and desertion.

In the interest of accuracy these men, as well as everyone else
interviewed whose story is included in the book, read the passages
about themselves and often added illuminating comments.  The dialogue
in the book is not fictional.  It comes from transcripts, records and
stenographic notes, and the memory of the participants.  The extensive
debates during the various imperial and liaison conferences, for
example, are based on the Sugiyama "Notes"; the recently assembled
official records; diaries; and interviews with Marquis Kido, who was
given an immediate report of each conference the Emperor attended, and
participants including General Teiichi Suzuki, Naoki Hoshino and
Okinori Kaya.  The Notes (at the end of the book) list sources for all
material used, chapter by chapter.

America's greatest mistake in World War II, I believe, was in failing
to recognize that she was fighting two different kinds of war
simultaneously: one in Europe against another Western people and
philosophy, Nazism, and one in Asia which was not only a struggle
against an aggressive nation fighting for survival as a modern power
but an ideological contest against an entire continent.  Millions of
Orientals saw Japan's battle as their own, as a confrontation of race
and color; they also saw in Japan's victories their own liberation from
Western domination.

"Each nation, the United States not excepted, has made its contribution
to the welter of evil which now comprises the Far East question." Tyler
Dennett, an authority on the Far East, wrote in 1922: "We shall all do
well to drop for all time the pose of self-righteousness and injured
innocence and penitently face the facts."

If we had done so, it is very probable that our negotiations with Japan
in 1941 would have ended in peace, not war, and America would not have
been forced to become the moral policeman of Asia for many years.  And
a moral policeman's lot is not a happy one, particularly when his own
morality is " in question.

What follows is a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the
most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened-muddled,
ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of contradiction and paradox.
I have done my utmost to let the events speak for themselves, and if
any conclusion was reached, it was that there are no simple lessons in
history, that it is human nature that repeats itself, not history.  We
often learn more about the past from the present, in fact, than the
reverse.  The lessons of our own brutalities in postwar Asia, for
example, have undoubtedly given Americans insight into the actions of
the Japanese a generation ago.

J. T.


The Roots of War

1 Gekokujo

The sky over Tokyo on the afternoon of February 25, 1936, was dark and
foreboding.  A thick blanket of snow already covered the city and there
was threat of more to come.  Three nights earlier more than a foot had
fallen, breaking a record of fifty-four years, and causing such a
traffic snarl that some theaters had to be turned into temporary hotels
for audiences unable to get home.

Even under its white cloak of snow, Tokyo looked almost as Western as
Oriental.  Japan had left much of its feudal past behind to become by
far the most progressive, westernized nation of Asia.  A few hundred
yards from the Imperial Palace with its traditional tile roof was a
modern four-story concrete building, the Imperial Household Ministry,
where all court business was conducted and the Emperor's offices were
located.  Just outside the ancient stone walls and moat surrounding the
spacious Palace grounds was the same melange of East and West: a long
line of modern structures, including the Imperial Theater and the Dai
Ichi Building, as Occidental as the skyline of Chicago, while a few
blocks away, in narrow cobblestone streets, were row upon row of geisha
houses, sushi stands and kimono stores, and assorted little ramshackle
shops, gay even on that cloudy day with their flapping doorway curtains
and colorful lanterns.

Next to the Palace on a small hill was the not quite completed Diet
Building, constructed mainly of stone from Okinawa and looking
quasi-Egyptian.  Behind this commanding edifice was a cluster of
spacious houses, the official residence of government leaders.  The
largest was that of the Prime Minister.  It was two buildings in one,
the business part Western in the early Frank Lloyd Wright style, the
living quarters Japanese with paper-thin walls, tatami floors and
sliding doors.

But beneath the peaceful exterior of Tokyo seethed an unrest which
would soon spill violently into the snow-covered streets.  At one end
of the Palace grounds were the barracks of the 1st (Gem) Division. Here
authorities were already prepared for trouble after a tip about a
military insurrection from a major in the War Ministry: he had learned
from a young officer that a group of radicals planned to assassinate
several advisers to the Emperor that day.  Suspects had been put under
surveillance, and important public figures were given emergency
bodyguards.  The doors of the Prime Minister's official residence were
reinforced with steel, iron bars installed in the windows, and a
warning system connected directly to police headquarters.  But the
kempeitai (military police organization and the regular police felt
they could easily handle the situation.  After all, what real damage
could a handful of rebels do, however strongly motivated?  And by now
they were wondering how reliable the information was that the uprising
was at hand.  The day was almost over.

It seems strange that they were so complacent, since the spirit of
rebellion was high among elite troops charged with defense of the
Palace grounds.  Their defiance was so apparent that they were on
orders to be shipped out to Manchuria in a few days, and their contempt
for authority so open that one unit, ostensibly on maneuvers, had
urinated in cadence at metropolitan police headquarters.  Fourteen
hundred of these unruly officers and men were preparing to revolt. Just
before dawn the next morning, attack groups would strike simultaneously
at six Tokyo targets: the homes of several government leaders, as well
as metropolitan police headquarters.

While intricate preparations for these attacks were proceeding,
pleasure seekers roamed the darkening streets in search of
entertainment.  Already the Ginza, Tokyo's Broadway-Fifth Avenue, was
teeming.  To young Japanese it had long been a romantic symbol of the
outside world, a fairyland of neon lights, boutiques, coffee shops,
American and European movies, Western-style dance halls and
restaurants.  A few blocks away, in the Akasaka section, where the
kimono was common for both men and women, the old Japan also
anticipated a night of pleasure.  Geishas looking like something out of
antiquity in their theatrieal make-up and resplendent costumes were
pulled in rickshaws through the winding, willow-lined streets.  Here
the lights were more muted, and the traditional red lanterns carried by
the police gave off a soft, nostalgic glow.  It was a charming woodcut
come alive.

These insurrectionists were not motivated by personal ambition.  Like
half a dozen groups before them-all of which had failed-they were about
to try once again to redress the social injustices in Japan through
force and assassination.  Tradition had legitimized such criminal
action, and the Japanese had given it a special name, gekokujo
(insubordination), a term first used in the fifteenth century when
rebellion was rampant on every level, with provincial lords refusing to
obey the shogun who in turn ignored the orders of the emperor.

The crumbling of autocracy in Europe after World War I, followed by the
tide of democracy, socialism and Communism, had had dramatic impact on
the young people of Japan, and they too set up a cry for change.
Political parties emerged and a universal manhood suffrage bill was
enacted in 1924.  But it all happened too fast.  Too many Japanese
looked upon politics as a game or a source of easy money and there was
a series of exposes-the Matsushima Red-Light District Scandal, the
Railway Scandal, the Korean Scandal.  Charges of bribery and corruption
resulted in mob brawls on the floor of the Diet.

The population explosion which accompanied Japan's westernization added
to the confusion.  Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku (her four main
islands, comprising an area scarcely the size of California) already
burst with eighty million people.  The national economy could not
absorb a population increase of almost one million a year; farmers who
were close to starvation following the plunge of produce prices began
to organize in protest for the first time in Japanese history, hundreds
of thousands of city workers were thrown out of work.  Out of all this
came a wave of left-wing parties and unions.

These movements were counteracted by nationalist organizations, whose
most popular leader was Ikki Kita,** a na*Kempei were soldiers acting
as armed policemen, with some authority over civilians.  (In Japanese,
one form serves for both singular and plural; there is no suffix to
indicate number.  De facto ruler in feudal Japan; a sort of
generalissimo.  Until the reign of Meiji, the present ruler's
grandfather, the emperor had for centuries been little more than a
figurehead, a puppet of the shogun.

In Japan the family name comes first but is reversed in this book for
easier reading.  tionalist as well as a fiery revolutionary who managed
to combine a program of socialism with imperialism.  His tract on
reform, "A General Outline of Measures for the Reconstruction of
Japan," was devoured by radicals and worshipers of the Emperor alike.
His words appealed to all who yearned for reform.

"The Japanese are following destructive examples of the Western
nations," he wrote.

"The possessors of financial, political and military power are striving
to maintain their unjust interests under cover of the imperial
power.... "Seven hundred million brethren in India and China cannot
gain their independence without our protection and leadership.

"The history of East and West is a record of the unification of feudal
states after an era of civil wars.  The only possible international
peace, which will come after the present age of international wars,
must be a feudal peace.  This will be achieved through the emergence of
the strongest country, which will dominate all other nations of the

He called for the "removal of the barriers between nation and
Emperor"-that is, the Diet and the Cabinet.  Voting should be
restricted to heads of families and no one would be allowed to
accumulate more than 1,000,000 yen (about $500,000 at the time).
Important industries should be nationalized, a dictatorship
established, and women restricted to activities in the home
"cultivating the ancient Japanese arts of flower arrangement and the
tea ceremony."

It was no wonder that millions of impressionable, idealistic young men,
already disgusted by corruption in government and business and poverty
at home, were enthralled They could battle all these wicked forces as
well as Communism, free the Orient of Occidental domination and make
Japan the leading country in the world.

In the West these young men could have found an outlet for action as
unionists or political agitators, but in Japan many, particularly those
from small landowning and shop The song of Nikkyo (the All-Japan
Council for the Joint Struggle of Patriots) indicated the peculiarly
Japanese spirit of such young rebels:

Daily we submit to hypocrisy and lies, While national honor lingering
dies.  Arise ye O patriots, arise!  Onward we march, defying death!
Come prison bars!  Come gory death!

keeping families, found they could agrve best as Armj^and Navy
officers.  Once in the service, they gained an even more profound
understanding of poverty from their men, who would be weeping over
letters from home-with their sons away, the families were on the verge
of starvation.  The young officers blamed their own superiors,
politicians, court officials.  They joined secret organizations of
which some, like Tenkento, called for direct action and assassination,
while others, like Sakurakai (the Cherry Society), demanded territorial
expansion as well as internal reforms.

By 1928 this ferment came to a head, but it took two extraordinary men
operating within the military framework to put it into action.  One was
a lieutenant colonel, Kanji Ishihara, and the other a colonel, Seishiro
Itagaki.  The first was brilliant, inspired, flamboyant, a fountain of
ideas; the second was cool, thoughtful, a master organizer.  They made
a perfect team.  What Ishihara envisioned, Itagaki could bring to pass.
Both were staff officers in the Kwantung Army, which had originally, in
1905, been sent to Manchuria to guard Japanese interests in a wild
territory larger than California, Oregon and Washington combined.

The two officers felt that Manchuria was the only answer to poverty in
Japan.  It could be transformed from a wilderness into a civilized,
prosperous area, alleviating unemployment at home and providing an
outlet for the overpopulated homeland, where more than two thirds of
all farms were smaller than two and a quarter acres.  Manchuria could
also supply Japan with what she so desperately needed to remain an
industrial state-a guaranteed source of raw materials and a market for
finished goods.  But all this could not come about, Ishihara and
Itagaki reasoned, until the Japanese gained complete control of
Manchuria, which was loosely governed by a Chinese war lord, Marshal
Chang Tso-lin.  At the time, Japan had only the right to station troops
along railroads and to engage in mining, farming and business

There had been a struggle over the vast territory north of China for
several hundred years, with the Chinese occupying Manchuria and Korea,
and the Russians taking over Maritime Province, the coastal region of
Siberia from Bering Strait to Vladivostok.  For centuries Japan had cut
herself off from the outside world and did not join this scramble for
territory until 1853.  In that year an American commodore, Matthew C.
Perry, sailed into Edo (Tokyo) Bay and, at cannon point, opened up a
medieval Japan to modern life.  firebrand Ikki K'ia "Hie rebels planned
to assassinate government and cour , then assemble in front of the
Palace, and by way ui apologizing to the Emperor, commit hara-kiri.

But so many groups with so many differing opinions were involved in the
coup that someone turned informer, in pique or for pay, and the
plotters were arrested on October 17, 1931.  The leader of the
conspiracy was sentenced to twenty days' confinement and his assistant
got half that.  Their accomplices were merely reprimanded.  It was the
old story: amnesty for any actual or planned violence if it was done
for the glory of the nation.

That evening the War Minister radioed the Kwantung Army a limp






As if this wasn't enough, the War Vice Minister added these
conciliatory words:





Rather than being appeased, the Kwantung commander indignantly denied
that his army was seeking independence, and though admitting it had
"tended to act over positively and arbitrarily," claimed it had done so
"for the country."

The abortive Brocade Flag Revolution did achieve one of its purposes:
in the next few years it assured the success of the Manchurian
adventure.  It also convinced many Japanese that politics and business
were so corrupt that a military-led reform had to be supported.  At the
same time it engendered such bitterness that the two wings of the
reform movement began to split.  One, nicknamed "the Control" clique by
newsmen, believed it was not enough to take Manchuria, since security
against a possible attack by the Soviet Union 8' could be forestalled
only by control of China itself.  TheJKita followers, known as "the
Imperial Wa>" s convinced this new expansion would be folly, ^ realized
Manchuria would be a sturdy enough fortress against Communism.

The younger, more idealistic officers belonged to the latter faction,
while field-grade officers as well as key men in the War Ministry
supported the Control clique.  The more radical nationalists turned
immediately to assassination.  Each member of the Blood Brotherhood,
for example, was pledged to kill at least one "corrupt" political or
financial leader on or about February 11, 1932, the 2,592nd celebration
of the ascension to the throne of Jinmu, the first human emperor of
Japan, the fifth in line of descent from the Sun Goddess, according to
legend.  Those marked for death included Finance Minister Junnosuke
Inoue, a forthright man who often opposed the mounting Army
appropriation.  The conspirator assigned to kill Inoue practiced
shooting on a deserted beach, and four days ahead of schedule put three
bullets into Inoue right on the sidewalk.  Less than a month later, the
second murder took place under similar circumstances.  As Baron Takuma
Dan, president of Mitsui, stepped out of his car, a young assassin
jabbed a pistol in his back and pulled the trigger.

Once again the trials provided the citizens of Japan with melodrama and
propaganda.  The assassin in Japanese history had often been a more
sympathetic figure than the victim.  Wasn't there some lack of virtue
in a man who let himself be killed, and wasn't an assassin who murdered
for lofty purposes merely defending the common people against tyranny?
Overwhelming evidence of guilt notwithstanding, the two killers were
not executed but given life imprisonment, from which it was obvious
they would be paroled in a few years.

On Sunday, May 15, only two months after the death of Dan, a pair of
taxis pulled up at the side entrance to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a
Shinto temple dedicated to all who have died in Japan's wars.  Nine
Navy and Army officers alighted from the cabs and bowed toward the Sun
Goddess; then, armed with charms bought from a priest, returned to the
taxis and headed for the Prime Minister's official residence.  Here
they forced their way past a police sergeant and into the room of Prime
Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai, a diminutive man of seventy-five with a
goatee.  The old man calmly led the would-be assassins to a
Japanese-style room, where they politely removed their shoes and sat
down.  At that moment acomrade who had got lost in the corridors
entered, dagger in hand, and cried out, "No use talking!  Fire!"
Everyone began shooting at the courageous little man who had opposed
the conquest of Manchuria and steadfastly refused to recognize the
puppet government of the province now going under the manufactured name
of Manchukuo ("State of Manchu").  The assassins left by taxi for
police headquarters to launch an attack, but it was Sunday, and except
for a few duty officers there was no one to fight.  Before surrendering
they heaved a grenade at the Bank of Japan.  Other conspirators
scattered handbills in the streets, and threw bombs which shattered a
few windows.

The coup itself-named the 5/15 (May 15) Incident-had fizzled out, but
it brought forth even more sensational trials.  There were three in
all-one for civilians, one each for Army and Navy personnel.  As usual
a large segment of the public sympathized with the assassins, and there
was general applause when one defendant declared that he and his
comrades only wanted to sound an alarm to awaken the nation.  The
people had heard so much about "corruption" that little sympathy was
shown the memory of gallant little Inukai.  His death was a warning to

Feeling ran so high that 110,000 petitions for clemency, signed or
written entirely in blood, inundated officials of the trial.  Nine
young men from Niigata asked to take the place of those on trial and to
show their good faith enclosed their own nine little fingers pickled in
a jar of alcohol.

One of Inukai's assassins did express regret but said that the Prime
Minister had to be "sacrificed on the altar of national reformation."
Another declared, "Life or death does not count with me.  I say to
those who bemoan my death, "Do not shed tears for me but sacrifice
yourselves on the altars of reform."

" The results of the trials could have been predicted.  No one was
sentenced to death, and of the forty to receive sentences almost all
were free in a few years.  To the people they were martyrs, their own
champions.  Who else called for such drastic methods to end the
crippling depression Who else would lead the farmers and workers out of
poverty?  Who else dared publicly assail leading politicians, court
officials and financial barons for corruption?  And since so many
people believed in this so implicitly, the power of the militarists and
rightists continued to grow.

For three years the idealistic young officers, chafed by the corruption
surrounding them, bided their time.  Only their reverence for the
Emperor prevented them from supporting a Communist revolution.  But one
of them, driven by "an impulse from on high," took matters into his own
hands.  It was a bloody and bizarre action even for a country with one
foot planted in feudalism.  One morning in August 1935, Lieutenant
Colonel Saburo Aizawa, after visiting the Meiji Shrine for advice,
entered the back door of Army General Staff headquarters, a decrepit
two-story wooden building just outside the Palace grounds.  Like so
many other idealistic, radical officers of the day, he had become
incensed when their idol, General Jinsaburo Mazaki, was dismissed from
his post as Inspector General of Military Education.* Aizawa strode
unannounced into the office of another general, Tetsuzan Nagata, chief
of the Military Affairs Bureau and one of Mazaki's most outspoken

"I feel an impulse to assassinate Nagata," Aizawa had recently told the
Sun Goddess at the Ise Shrine.

"If I am right, please help me succeed.  If I am wrong, please make me
fail."  Nagata, at his desk, did not even look up as Aizawa pulled his
sword, lunged and missed.  Slightly wounded on the second thrust, the
general lurched for an exit but Aizawa stabbed him through the back,
pinning him momentarily to the door.  Aizawa slashed his neck twice,
then walked to the office of a friend to say he had just carried out
Heaven's judgment and went off to buy a cap-he'd lost his in the
fracas.  When a military policeman arrested him, Aizawa thought he'd be
examined briefly and allowed to return to duty.  Instead he found
himself the star of a sensational trial that was shaking the
foundations of the Army and became the rallying point of all the young
superpatriots who wanted to reform the nation overnight.

At his trial Aizawa was treated gingerly by the five judges and was
allowed to use the witness stand to attack statesmen, politicians and
the zaibatsu (family business combines such as Mitsui and Mitsubishi)
for corruption.  Pleading Poverty in Japan had increased in the wake of
America's depression.  The price of raw silk, Japan's main export, had
dropped more than 50 percent.  The three most important posts in the
Japanese Army were the Chief of the General Staff, the War Minister and
the Inspector General of Military Education (referred to as "the Big
Three").  This triangular system dating from 1878 had been recommended
by a Prussian major, Jacob Meckel, on loan to Japan from the Kaiser. 
guilty to the charge of murder, he claimed he had only done his duty as
an honorable soldier of the Emperor.

"The country was in a deplorable state: the farmers were impoverished,
officials were involved in scandals, diplomacy was weak, and the
prerogative of the Supreme Command had been violated by the
naval-limitation agreements," he declared in the stilted prose of
reform "I came to realize that the senior statesmen, those close to the
Throne, powerful financiers and bureaucrats, were attempting gradually
to corrupt the government and the Army for their own selfish
interests."  These conditions had inspired him to murder-to commit

"If the court fails to understand the spirit which guided Colonel
Aizawa," his defense counsel said ominously, "a second Aizawa, and even
a third, will appear."


These prophetic words were uttered on February 25, 1936, in snowbound
Tokyo, even as the leaders of the most ambitious coup in the history of
modern Japan were ready to strike.  Their principal target the
following morning would be Prime Minister Keisuke Okada, a retired
admiral.  Okada was hosting a banquet at his official residence on the
evening of the twenty-fifth, in celebration of the victory of the
government party (Minseito) in the general election for the House of
Representatives five days earlier.  He was a politician by request, not
choice.  The previous fall the Emperor had asked him to form a new
cabinet after a scandal involving Finance Ministry officials forced the
resignation of his predecessor, Viscount Makoto Saito, also a retired

While Okada's guests toasted the election results as a resounding
triumph for the admiral's policies and a blow to fascism and
militarism, his private wish was that he could resign.  He was weary
from the struggle, and it seemed to him that despite the victory at the
polls, the militarists and chauvinists were as strong as ever.

Two other men marked for assassination were at a party His last charge
referred to the naval disarmament conference held in Washington (1922),
which adopted a 5-5-3 ratio as to capital ships belonging to America,
Britain and Japan.  The Japanese (particularly the young radicals) were
still incensed at the big-power curtailment of their naval strength.
The lower ratio for Japan implied astigma of Dational inferiority.
several blocks away at the American embassy where Amoassad or Joseph
C. Grew was giving a dinner for thirty-six in honor of the recently
cashiered prime minister, who had been made Lord Keeper of the Privy
Seal.  Among the guests was still another retired admiral, Kantaro
Suzuki, Grand Chamberlain to the Emperor.

Grew was a tall, courtly man with black bushy eyebrows, mustache and
gray-white hair.  Born in Boston's Back Bay, as was his
great-grandfather, he had attended Groton and Harvard with Franklin D.
Roosevelt.  An aristocrat with democratic instincts, he had already
distinguished himself as a diplomat in Europe.  He was particularly
qualified to serve in Tokyo, since he had a rare understanding and
affection for Japan and all things Japanese, as well as a wife who had
previously lived in the country, spoke the language and was a
descendant of Commodore Perry.

That evening Grew had gone to the trouble of providing special
entertainment for his guest of honor: a private showing of Naughty
Marietta, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.  He had chosen
the film because "it was full of lovely old Victor Herbert music,
beautiful scenes, a pretty, romantic story and no vulgarity whatever..
.."  After dinner he escorted former Prime Minister Saito to a
comfortable armchair in the salon.  Grew knew the old gentleman had
never attended a sound movie and if he was bored he could take a nap.
But Viscount Saito was too enraptured to sleep; and though it was his
custom to leave parties promptly at ten o'clock, not only did he stay
for refreshments at the end of the first half of the film but remained
until the end.  The other guests must also have been moved by the
romantic story, for when the lights went on, the eyes of all the
Japanese ladies "were distinctly red."

It was half past eleven when the Privy Seal and his wife got up to
leave.  The Grews saw them to the door, pleased that the admiral had
enjoyed himself so much.  Scattered flakes of snow drifted down gently
as the Saito car drove off.

At four o'clock in the morning on February 26, Captain Kiyosada Koda
and the other rebel leaders routed out their enlisted men, who still
knew nothing of the plot; they thought they were going out on another
night maneuver.  A few were told there would be killing that night.

"I want you to die with me," Lieutenant Kurihara told Pfc.  Kuratomo.

Completely taken by surprise, Kuratomo nevertheless answered "Yes, sir.  I'll
die."  A superior officer's order was absolute, never to be

"This," Kuratomo later recalled, "was the first time I realized
something very serious was taking place."

Snow was now falling steadily in huge flakes, and it reminded several
of the insurgent officers of the incident of "the forty-seven ronin."
In the seventeenth century a provincial lord was so disgraced by
Kira, the chief minister of the shogun, that he committed suicide.
Oishi, a samurai warrior serving the dishonored man, vowed to avenge
his death, and for the next seven years he pretended, in the tradition
of samurai sacrifice, to be a dissolute drunk while secretly | planning
revenge.  Early one morning in a snowstorm, the forty-seven ronin
(samurai who had lost their master and | were forced to become
wanderers; they might be compared to America's drifting cowboy heroes)
raided the Kira home, not far from the Imperial Palace.  They
assassinated the chief minister, cut off his head and brought it to the
temple where their master's ashes were enshrined.  Then, in true
bushido \ style, all forty-seven committed hara-kiri.  A factual story,
it represented an ideal of samurai behavior and was a favorite theme in
Japanese movies and the kabuki theater.  The groups headed for their
various destinations: one, led by Koda himself, would seize the War
Minister's official residence and force high-ranking officers to
support them; another would occupy police headquarters; four other
groups would assassinate the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, \
the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and the Grand Chamberlain.  The
killers of the Privy Seal would then proceed to the suburban home of
the Inspector General of Military Education and murder him while two
other units raced out of town as well, to kill Count Nobuaki Makino,
former Privy Seal and i counselor to the Emperor, and
eighty-seven-year-old Prince Kinmochi Saionji, the Emperor's closest
adviser, the nation's most honored elder statesman, the last genro.  *
Lieutenant Kurihara and a military police officer approached the front
gate to the Prime Minister's official residence.  A police officer on
guard inside the gate asked what was going on.  The kempei said, "Open
the gate quick."  The guard didn't think anything of it because they
were a ;

The genro were important statesmen who had helped Emperor Meiji draw up
the Imperial Constitution in 1889 and afterward became advisers to the
Emperor.  In 1916 Saionji had been added to the group, and by 1936 he
was the only surviving genro.  colleague and an Army officer.  As the
guar4 came closer to the gate Lieutenant Kurihara's hand grabbed the
police guard, and poking his pistol at him with the other hand,
ordered, "Open up!"

Kurihara and other officers broke in ahead of their men and disarmed
the sleeping policemen in the guardhouse by the gate.  Kurihara pushed
past them into the residence, which was in total darkness.  He turned
on the hall light, got his bearings and snapped it off.  Suddenly the
corridors reverberated with deafening gunfire.  This was the signal the
rebels outside had been waiting for; they opened up with heavy machine
guns.  The chandelier in the hall shattered and plummeted to the

Just before five o'clock young Hisatsune Sakomizu, one of Prime
Minister Okada's secretaries, had been wakened by a muffled commotion
outside his house, which was across the street from the rear gate of
the official residence.  They have finally come  he thought, for he had
long anticipated an attack on his employer, and jumped out of bed. His
ties to the old man were close; he was married to Okada's daughter, and
his father's younger sister was Okada's wife.

Sakomizu softly opened the window and in the whirling snow saw the
policemen who were guarding the rear gate mill around in confusion.  He
phoned police headquarters.

"We just heard the minister's alarm bell ring," replied a voice.

"One platoon is already on the way.  Reinforcement units are just
leaving."  Reassured, Sakomizu started to go back upstairs, when he
heard the clop of boots in the street.  He looked out expecting to see
either the police reinforcements or the special Army troops detailed to
protect the Prime Minister, but a rifle shot cracked and he saw one
policeman fall and others retreat before a group of soldiers with
glittering bayonets.  There was a shattering burst of fire-it sounded
like rifles and machine guns-and the secretary finally realized that
Army troops were attacking the residence.  He hastily dressed so he
could help the admiral.  As he rushed into the street he could hear
shots inside the Japanese section of the ministry.  Soldiers at the
gate came forward brandishing their rifles.  They forced Sakomizu back
into his own house and followed him without taking off their wet boots.
Frustrated, Sakomizu paced up and down.  What had happened to the
special Army troops or the police reinforcements?  The police had
already come and been driven off; the troops were among the rebels.

Sakomizu again called police headquarters.

"This is the insurgent unit," said a voice.  About five hundred rebels
were occupying the building.  Sakomizu hung up and called the Kojimachi
kempeitai station nearby.

"The situation is out of control" was the sheepish answer.

"What can we do?"

A few blocks from the Prime Minister's official residence 170 men,
commanded by a first cousin of Sakomizu's, stormed into the official
residence of War Minister Yoshiyu-ki Kawashima.  With them was Captain
Koda.  He routed out Kawashima and began to read off a list of demands:
political and social reforms; the arrest of leaders of the Control
clique; the assignment of Imperial Way clique officers to key positions
(the insurgents were against expansion into China); the assignment of
General Araki* as commander of the Kwantung Army "for the purpose of
coercing Red Russia."  Koda also insisted that martial law be
proclaimed and that the War Minister visit the Palace at once to convey
the rebels' intentions to the Emperor.

While the argument was going on, Captain Teruzo Ando and 150 men were
bursting into the official residence of Grand Chamberlain Kantaro
Suzuki, who, like Viscount Sai-to, had so enjoyed the private showing
of Naughty Marietta a few hours earlier.  The elderly admiral, wakened
by a maid, rushed to a storage room for a sword.  He couldn't find it.
Hearing footsteps in the corridor, he stepped into the next room-it
would have been a disgrace to die in a closet.  In moments he was
hemmed in by a score of bayonets.  One soldier stepped forward and
asked politely, "Are you His Excellency?"

Suzuki said he was and raised his hands for quiet.

"You must have some reason for doing this.  Tell me what it is." Nobody
answered and Suzuki repeated the question.  Silence.  The third time he
asked, a man with a pistol (he looked to the Grand Chamberlain like a
noncom) said impatiently, "There's no more time.  We're going to

Suzuki supposed they were acting under orders from a superior and
didn't know why.

"Then it can't be helped," he said stoically.

"Go ahead and shoot."  He drew himself erect as if facing a firing
squad.  Just behind him hung the pictures of his parents.  Three
pistols erupted.  One bullet missed, one hit him in the crotch, and the
third went through his heart.  As

General Sadao Araki had long been the idol of the reformists and had
figured prominently in the 1932 insurrection, when he was war minister.
He was known throughout the world for his outspoken remarks and
ferocious handlebar mustache.  he fell, still conscious, bullets struck
him in the head and shoulder.

"Todome Coup de grace!"  someone shouted repeatedly.  Suzuki felt the
muzzle of a pistol pressed against his throat, then heard his wife say,
"Don't do it!"  At that moment Captain Ando entered.

"Todome?"  asked the man with the pistol.

Two years earlier Captain Ando had come to Suzuki with a program for
reform; the admiral had refuted his arguments so forthrightly that Ando
still secretly admired him.  Now he said that to dome would be "too
cruel," and ordered the men to salute His Excellency.  They all knelt
by the fallen admiral and presented arms.

"Get up!  Leave!"  Captain Ando told his men.  He turned to Mrs.

"Are you okusan [madam]?"  She nodded.

"I have heard about you.  I am particularly sorry about this."  He said
they had no ill feeling toward the admiral.

"But our views on how to bring about reformation in Japan differ from
His Excellency's, and so we had to come to this."

The captain left, burdened by a sense of guilt and certain Suzuki was
dying (one of the maids heard him say that he was going to commit
suicide).  But miraculously Suzuki would survive to play a leading role
in Japan's last days as an empire.

A lieutenant led his men to the large sprawling home of Finance
Minister Korekiyo Takahashi.  They broke down the door of the inner
entrance, and while one group seized half a dozen police guards and
servants, the rest roamed through the house, kicking down the doors of
room after room looking for their victim.

Minister Takahashi was alone in a spacious ten-mat bedroom.  He was a
remarkable man who had started as a footman, turned Christian and
become president of the Bank of Japan and a member of the House of
Peers.  The young officers loathed him for having fought the previous
year's huge military budget.

Finally the lieutenant entered the minister's room brandishing a
pistol.  He kicked the quilt off Takahashi, crying "Tenchul"
(Punishment of Heaven!).  Takahashi looked up unafraid and shouted
"Idiot!"  at the lieutenant, who hesitated before emptying his pistol
into the old man.  Another rebel officer leaped forward and with a
shout swung his sword with such force that it cut through the padded
coat Takahashi was wearing for extra warmth and severed his right arm;
he then stabbed the minister through the belly and slashed him
viciously right and left.

Mrs.  Takahashi burst from her room in the attached Western-style
section, and at the sight of her disemboweled husband, cried out in
anguish.  As the lieutenant shouldered through the crowd of servants
gathered horrified in the corridors, he said, "Excuse me for the
annoyance I have caused."

Prime Minister Okada had been awakened by the sound of the alarm bell
just before five o'clock and moments later his brother-in-law, Denzo
Matsuo, a retired colonel, pushed into the bedroom with two police

"They've finally come," said Okada, adding fatalistically that there
was nothing anyone could do about it.

"It's no time to talk like that!"  shouted the sixty-one-year-old
Matsuo.  An energetic, dogmatic man, he had insisted on serving his
brother-in-law, whether Okada liked it or not, as unofficial factotum
without pay.  He pulled the reluctant Okada, clad in a thin nightgown,
across the corridor toward a secret exit, but on hearing the rebels
break down doors, one of the policemen shoved Okada and Matsuo into a
bathroom which was used primarily as a storeroom, and closed the door.
A moment later they heard shouts from the corridor, several shots, a
scuffle, then silence.

"Stay here," said the impetuous Matsuo and leftTThe Prime Minister
tried to follow but in the darkness bumped into a shelf, knocking down
several sake bottles.  He stiffened with fear.  Silence, Okada moved
again, this time stumbling noisily over the sake bottles.

"Don't come out yet!"  one of the policemen called weakly from the
corridor, so Okada quickly returned to the bathroom.  When he heard a
voice shouting, "There's someone in the courtyard!"  he looked through
the window and saw his brother-in-law standing pressed against the
building and a half a dozen soldiers watching him from inside.

"Shoot him!"  yelled their leader, but the soldiers hesitated.

"You men will be in Manchuria soon!  What are you going to do, if you
can't kill a man or two now?"

Reluctantly the men stuck their rifles through the windows and fired
into the courtyard.

"Tenno Heika banzai fLong live His Majesty the Emperor]!"  cried Matsuo
and slumped down on a doorstep, bleeding profusely.  Painfully, he
straightened his shoulders, as if on parade, but could not keep from
groaning.  Lieutenant Kurihara, followed by Pfc.  Kuratomo, pushed his
way through a wall of soldiers, rigid with shock.  They told Kurihara
that it was Prime Minister Okada.  The lieutenant hesitated, then
turned to Kuratomo and ordered, "Todome"

Kuratomo was reluctant; all he had was a pistol.

"Use it!"  said Kurihara impatiently.

Against his will Kuratomo leveled the weapon and fired one bullet into
Matsuo's chest, another between his eyes.  The colonel toppled forward,
dyeing the snow red.

Kurihara, who had taken the Prime Minister's photograph from his
bedroom, knelt beside the body and compared it with Matsuo's face.

"Okada!"  he said without hesitation.

"Banzai!"  shouted the soldiers and carried the body to the Prime
Minister's bedroom, laying it on a thin mattress.

To find out what had happened, Okada crept out of the bathroom into the
corridor.  One of the police guards was lying there unconscious, his
left arm slashed off; a few yards away the other was jackknifed over a
chair, dead.  Okada bowed his head in tribute and continued on to his
bedroom.  Seeing Matsuo's body on the mattress, he sobbed and flung
himself down.  Finally he rose and began putting on a kimono.  As he
was tying the strings on an outer garment he heard footsteps and went
out to the corridor.

"What's that?"  a soldier called out and Okada lurched to a dark

"I just saw something strange," the soldier told several comrades.

"It was an old man.  But he disappeared like a ghost."

Death seemed to be everywhere and yet by a miracle Okada was alive.
Until that moment he had been sure he would die.  For the first time he
began to think of the future.  Had the rebels seized the Palace?  Were
the jushin* assassinated?  He decided it was his responsibility to stay
alive, and once the uprising was suppressed, enforce discipline on the
Army.  But where could he hide in a house overrun with rebels?  The
answer was solved for him when he suddenly came upon two maids in the
corridor.  They hustled him to their room, pushed him into a large
closet and covered him with a pile of soiled laundry.

Former prime ministers were referred to as jushin (senior statesmen);
their main duty was to recommend prime ministers to His Majesty.  By
now two of the attack groups assigned to out-of-town missions had
reached their destinations.  Lieutenant Taro Takahashi and thirty men
broke into the suburban home of Mazaki's successor, Inspector General
Jotaro Watanabe.  Mrs.  Watanabe and a maid tried to stop Takahashi,
but he pulled free and broke into the bedroom where the general lay on
a futon with his young daughter.  Takahashi fired a pistol at Watanabe,
then drew his sword and slashed at his head.

The other group was ranging through a resort in the mountains in search
of Count Nobuaki Makino, whom Saito had succeeded as Privy Seal and who
still was one of the Emperor's closest advisers.  Unable to find him,
the rebels set fire to the hotel to drive him into the open.  The old
man was led out through the rear of the hotel by his twenty-year-old
granddaughter, Kazuko.  They struggled up a steep hill, but the
soldiers were at their heels and loosed a fusillade.  Ignoring the
bullets, Kazuko stepped in front of her grandfather and spread out her
kimono sleeves.  One of the rebels, perhaps moved by the girl's
heroism, shouted "Success!"  and persuaded his mates to leave.

The third group, the one assigned to kill Prince Saionji, never left
Tokyo.  At the last moment the officer in charge refused to go; he
could not bring himself to do any violence to the last genro.

At his home in Okitsu, the aged prince had just wakened from a
horrifying dream-he was surrounded by decapitated heads and a heap of
bloody bodies.  Once news of the uprising was received from the
capital, the local police arrived in force and took Saionji to a nearby
cottage.  Then came a telegram announcing that a large automobile
filled with young men in khaki uniform was heading for Okitsu.  The
prince was wrapped up like a mummy and transferred from place to place
to fool the assassins-who turned out to be patent-medicine salesmen.

At the War Minister's official residence, Captain Koda found continued
vacillation among the hierarchy.  The generals were still reluctant to
either join the uprising or confront the rebels.  Major Tadashi
Katakura, a brilliant, impetuous career officer, was one of the few
showing any resolve.  The rebels infuriated him.  He was not so much
against their aims as against disorder and insubordination.  The Army,
he believed, could only exist through stern discipline and absolute
loyalty to the Emperor.

Katakura was in the courtyard of War Minister Kawashima's residence
assailing a group of rebels for misusing the power of His Majesty's
Army.  The Emperor alone had the right to mobilize troops, he shouted,
and demanded to see the minister, General Kawashima.

"The Showa Restoration* is what we are all thinking of," he told a
crowd that gathered around him.

"I feel as you do about the reforms.  But we must continue to revere
the Emperor and honor the Supreme Command.  Don't make private use of
the troops."

A rebel commander emerged from the building.

"We cannot let you in to see the minister," he said.

"Did the minister himself tell you that?"

"No, Captain Koda gave the order.  The minister is just getting ready
to go to the Imperial Palace.  Please wait awhile.  The situation will
soon clear up."

Katakura assumed the rebels were using violence to force the War
Minister to help them set up a military government.  He started-toward
the entrance, where General Mazaki was standing aggressively with his
legs apart, like one of the deva kings that guard Buddhist temples.
Katakura had an impulse to rush at Mazaki and stab him-Mazaki must be
behind all this; he probably wanted to be prime minister.  Katakura
controlled himself; first he would find out more what was going on.
Just then the Vice Minister came out of the building.  Katakura
accosted him and asked to have a few words.  As the other put him off,
the War Minister himself came out of the door buckling on his sword.

Something crashed against Katakura's head and he noticed a peculiar
odor.  He instantly put his left hand to his head.

"You don't have to shoot," he yelled.  A pale-faced captain (it was
Senichi Isobe, another of the leaders of the uprising) advanced with
drawn sword.

"We can talk!  Sheathe your sword!"  Katakura cried out.  Isobe slid it
back in its scabbard, then changed his mind and pulled it out again.

"You must be Captain Koda," Katakura continued.

"You The present ruler, Hirohito, had named his reign Showa
(Enlightened Peace).  On Japanese calendars the current year, 1936, was
Showa 11, the eleventh year of his reign.  Only after his death,
however, will he be referred to as Emperor Showa.  His father,
Yoshihito, took the name of Taisho (Great Righteousness).  His
grandfather, Mutsuhito, chose Meiji (Enlightened Rule); his era saw the
greatest reforms and development in Japanese history and was known as
the Meiji Restoration.  The young reformers of the moment wanted to
emulate the achievements of their fathers with the Showa Restoration.
can't mobilize troops unless you get an imperial order."  Faintly he
heard someone, perhaps Mazaki, say, "We must not shed blood like

He staggered, and several officers helped him to the War Minister's
car.  As it was passing through the main gate, he dimly saw several

"Get the kempei in the car," he exclaimed.  They did.  Someone
suggested they take him to the Army Hospital or the Army Medical
College, and again he forced himself to speak: "No ... some private
hospital in the city."  He didn't want to be assassinated in bed.


William Henry Chamberlin, chief Far Eastern correspondent for the
Christian Science Monitor, first heard of the rebellion from a Japanese
news agency.  In town he encountered a rash of conflicting rumors.  The
Ministry of Foreign Affairs was open and unoccupied by rebels, but no
one was there to tell the foreign correspondents what was going on.
Troops were posted at the main crossings in the center of Tokyo.
Chamberlin didn't know whose side they were on.  Was any government in

The office workers throughout the city had no idea this was anything
but an ordinary day until police detoured their buses around the
Imperial Palace and government offices.  By now the violence was over.
The rebels occupied a square mile of central Tokyo-the Diet Building
and the entire area around the Prime Minister's residence-and were
using the Sanno Hotel as a temporary headquarters.  They commandeered
tablecloths from the Peers Club dining room, paid for them, and made
them into banners reading in black ink, "Revere the Emperor-Restoration
Army," and hoisted them over the Prime Minister's residence.

When General Rokuro Iwasa, head of the kempeitai, learned of the revolt
he got out of bed, half paralyzed from palsy, and drove to the rebel
area.  Here he was stopped by guards.

"Is this the Emperor's Army?"  he asked and wept in mortification.

The rebels were distributing their "manifesto" to all newspapers and
news agencies.  The police impounded almost every copy, but
correspondent Chamberlin managed to get one.  To most Westerners it
seemed further proof of the inscrutability of the Orient, but to
Chamberlin, a student of Japanese history, it made frightening sense.
The national essence [kokutai] of Japan, as a land of the gods, exists
in the fact that the Emperor reigns with undiminished power from time
immemorial into the farthest future in order that the natural beauty of
the country may be propagated throughout the universe, so that all men
under the sun may be able to enjoy their lives to the fullest
extent.... In recent years, however, there have appeared many persons
whose chief aim and purpose have been to amass personal material
wealth, disregarding the general welfare and prosperity of the Japanese
people, with the result that the sovereignty of the Emperor has been
greatly impaired.  The people of Japan have suffered deeply as a result
of this tendency and many vexing issues now confronting Japan are
attributable to this fact.

The genro, the senior statesmen, military cliques, plutocrats,
bureaucrats and political parties are all traitors who are destroying
the national essence.... It is our duty to remove the evil retainers
from around the Throne and to smash the group of senior statesmen.  It
is our duty as subjects of His Majesty the Emperor.

May the gods bless and help us in our endeavor to save the land of our
ancestors from the worst that confronts it.

Near the edge of the rebel zone at the American Embassy, Ambassador
Grew cabled the first news of the revolt to the State Department:


The German embassy was also in range of rebel fire.  Here the
unofficial correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung and secretary to
the military attache was writing his preliminary report on the
revolt-one copy for the German Foreign Ministry and a duplicate for the
Red Army's Fourth Bureau, Intelligence.  This was Dr.  Richard Sorge,
born in Russia of a German father and Russian mother and raised in
Germany.  Sorge was flamboyant and resourceful.  He had managed to gain
the complete confidence of the German ambassador, General Eugen Ott
(who unwittingly supplied Sorge with some of the most devastating
intelligence material which he sent to Moscow), and their business
relationship had grown into a warm personal friendship.  He was
irresistible to women and was at the time writing love letters to his
first wife in Russia, living with a second in Tokyo and carrying on
several love affairs.  He could not resist alcohol in any form and
often shocked his fellow countrymen by drunken bouts which were
sometimes staged.  He was a Communist of bohemian bent (his great-uncle
had been friends with Marx and Eng-els) who had joined the Nazi party
as a cover for his role as head of the Red Army spy ring in the Far
East.  It had taken him almost two years to set up his organization in
Japan, and this rebellion was his first genuine test.

The coup, he later wrote, had "a very typical Japanese character and
hence its motivations required particular study.  A discerning study of
it, and, in particular, a study of the social strains and internal
crisis it revealed, was of much greater value to an understanding of
Japan's internal structure than mere records of troop strength or
secret documents."  Once the report was dispatched to Moscow, Sorge
ordered his ring to find out all possible details of the uprising. Then
he induced the German ambassador and the military and naval attaches to
make independent investigations and share their findings with him.

At the Palace the War Minister had just informed the Emperor about the
rebellion.  Ordinarily, if His Majesty spoke at all, it would be in
vague terms, but today he was so distressed that he replied directly.

"This event is extremely regrettable regardless of the question of
spirit.  In my judgment this action mars the glory of our national
essence."  Later he confided to his chief aide-de-camp that he felt the
Army was going "to tie its own neck with floss silk"-that is, no more
than gently admonish the rebels.

The role the Emperor played was difficult if not impossible for
foreigners to understand.  His powers and duties were unlike those of
any of the monarch in the world.  His grandfather, Meiji, a man of
strong will and conviction, had led the nation from semi feudalism to
modern times under the slogans "Rich Country, Strong Army" and
"Civilization and Enlightenment"; in his reign the welfare of the
nation took precedence over that of the individual.  Meiji's heir,
Taisho, was an eccentric who once rolled up a speech he was to make to
the Diet and used it as a telescope; his antics and tantrums became so
exaggerated that his heir, the crown prince, was named regent in 1921.
Five years later, on Christmas Day, Taisho died and his
twenty-five-year-old son became emperor.  Since childhood Hirohito had
been trained for This roll principally by Prince Saionji, who himself
had been influenced by the French Revolution and English liberalism.
Time am again the last genro would tell the young man that Japai needed
a father figure, not a despot, and that he shoul< therefore assume a
position of responsibility in all affairs of state, yet never issue any
positive order on his own volition He should be objective and
Theoretically the Emperor had plenary power; all stat decisions needed
his sanction. But according to tradition once the Cabinet and military
leaders had agreed on a policy he could not withhold his approval. He
was to remain above politics and transcend party considerations and
feuds, for he represented the entire nation.

All these restrictions notwithstanding, he exercised prodigious
influence since he was in the unique position of being able to warn or
approve without getting involved. More important, every Japanese was
pledged to serve him until death. This moral power was so potent that
he used it sparingly and then only in vague terms. Those reporting to
the Throne had to divine his wishes, since he almost always spoke
cryptically without expression.

A more positive emperor, like his grandfather, might have consolidated
his power; by the Meiji Constitution he was Commander in Chief of the
Armed Forces. But Hirohito was a studious man who would rather be a
scientist than monarch. His happiest days were Monday and Saturday when
he could retire to his modest laboratory and study marine biology.
Neither did he have the slightest wish to be despot. From his trip to
Europe as crown prince he had brought back a taste for whiskey,
Occidental music and golf along with an abiding respect for the English
version of constitutional monarchy. He could also defy tradition an
court pressure when principle was involved. After the Em press Nagako
had given birth to four daughters he refused to take a concubine or two
so he could sire a male heir-and within a few years was rewarded with
two sons by Nagako.

He was an unlikely-looking emperor, slouching around the Palace in
frayed, baggy trousers and crooked tie, dreamily peering through
glasses as thick as portholes, so oblivious of his appearance that
occasionally his jacket would be fastened with the wrong button. He
disliked buying new clothes, on the grounds that he couldn't "afford"
them. He was so frugal that he even refrained from buying books he
wanted, and he wore down every pencil to a stub. He was completely
without vanity, a natural and unaffected individual who looked and acted
like a village mayor. Yet this small round-shouldered man had some of
the qualifications of a great one: he was pure, free of pride, ambition
and selfishness. He wanted what was best for the nation.

His subjects regarded him as a god, and children were warned that they
would be struck blind if they dared look at his face. If a public
speaker mentioned the word "Emperor" the entire audience would sit at
attention. If a reporter had the temerity to ask a personal question
about the Emperor, he was icily told one should not pose such queries
about a deity.

But "god" did not mean in Japan what it meant in the West. To a
Japanese the emperor was a god, just as his own mother, father and
teacher were lesser gods. His reverence for the monarch was not only a
feeling of awe but also of affection and obligation, and no matter how
low his station, each subject felt a family kinship to the emperor, who
was the father of them all. As Meiji lay on his deathbed, all Japan
prayed for his recovery and multitudes remained in the Palace plaza day
and night; the entire nation grieved his death as a single family. For
Japan was one great family, a modernized clan which had evolved from a
number of warring tribes.

Every child was taught kodo, the Imperial Way: that the basis for
Japanese morality was on (obligation) to the emperor and one's parents.
Without the emperor one would be without country; without parents,
homeless. For centuries the Japanese ruler had been benevolent, never
attempting to exert his authority. Just as a parent loved and guided
his children, he loved and guided his people with compassion. The
imperial line had once gone 346 years without sanctioning a single
execution throughout the land.

Out of the present Emperor's vague status evolved an almost autocratic
power for the Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff. They had become, in
essence, responsible to themselves alone. Only once had the Emperor
challenged the military and that was in 1928 upon learning of the
assassination of old Marshal Chang Tso-lin by the Ishihara-Itagaki
group. His fury was such that he forgot his rigid training and sharply
criticized the Prime Minister. Prince Saionji, who was the influence
behind the Emperor's distrust of the military, was just as angry-but
his target was the Emperor. He spoke out as a teacher, not as a
subject, and accused Hirohito of acting like a tyrant The old man's
rebuke so shook the Emperor that with three exceptions, he would never
again fail to follow the last genro's primary rule: "Reign, not rule

Okada's secretary, Hisatsune Sakomizu, had returned to the Prime
Minister's official residence with the rebels' permission and when he
found his father-in-law safe in the closet he whispered, "I'll come
back; keep up your spirits," an returned to his own home to plan a
rescue. Shortly before ten o'clock an official of the Imperial
Household Ministr phoned, with polite condolences on the Prime
Minister's demise. He said the Emperor wished to send an imperial
messenger to the family; should the messenger go to the ministry or to
Okada's home?

Fearing the phone was tapped, Sakomizu put him off; the truth had to be
reported in person to the Emperor, and Sakomizu changed into a morning
suit, with a bulletproo vest underneath. Armed with an umbrella, he
walked across the street to the official residence, and after an
argument got authorization from the rebels to pass through their lines.
He took a taxi to the Hirakawa Gate of the Imperial Palace grounds, and
struggled on foot through the deep snow to the concrete headquarters of
the Imperial Household Ministry.

Household Minister Kurahei Yuasa began to express his condolences, but
Sakomizu interrupted to tell him Okada wa still alive. Startled, Yuasa
dropped something, said he must relay the good news to His Majesty and
disappeared. He must have run all the way to the Emperor's wing of the
rambling building and back, for he returned in minutes to tel Sakomizu
in a solemn voice, "When I reported that Prime Minister Okada was alive,
His Majesty was most pleased. He said, "That is excellent," and told me
to bring Okada to safety as soon as possible."

Sakomizu suggested that they get help from the commander of the 1st
Division, who could send troops to rescue Okada. Yuasa disagreed; it
would be too risky because the commander would have to get clearance
from his superiors "And you never know which way they are looking."

Prince Mikasa, the Emperor's youngest brother, was convinced that the
assassination of Chang was the basic cause of war with America. It not
only actuated the Manchurian Incident but was the turning point in his
brother's role as emperor. Prince Mikasa revealed this in a interview
on December 27, 1966. This made sense and Sakomizu decided to seek
help from a more independent source. He went into a room filled with
high-ranking officers. They all looked worried, as if they were about
to be reprimanded. Many expressed regrets at Okada's death, but a few
rudely remarked that something like this was bound to happen, since the
Prime Minister ignored the Army's suggestions.

The rebels' manifesto was being passed around and hotly debated but
nobody seemed to be in charge. War Minister Kawashima appeared to be
completely perplexed; he certainly couldn't be depended on. Sakomizu
surveyed the gathering in dismay. This was the hierarchy of the Army
and it was a mob-vacillating, undependable, opportunistic. There was
not one he felt he could trust with his secret, so he elbowed his way
out of the crowd. He went into another room where the Cabinet was
convening and found just as chaotic a scene. The ministers were
apprehensive and truculent and doing nothing until the arrival of their
senior member, Minister of the Interior Fumio Goto. They descended on
Sakomizu, deluging him with questions about the Prime Minister. How
had he died? Where was the body? Who killed him? While Sakomizu gave
evasive answers, he caught sight of someone he could trust-the Navy
Minister, who was an old friend of Okada's and a fellow admiral.
Picking his words carefully in case someone was eavesdropping, Sakomizu
said, "Mr. Minister, we'd like to claim the body of a senior member of
the Navy. Will you send a landing force unit to the Prime Minister's
residence to give us protection?"

The admiral failed to see through this charade and said, "Impossible.
What if it ends in a skirmish between the Army and Navy?"

Sakomizu lowered his voice.

"I'm going to tell you something important. Now, if you don't accept
my proposal, I would like you to forget everything I say." Sakomizu
informed the puzzled minister that Okada was still alive and should be
rescued by naval troops.

"I haven't heard a thing," said the embarrassed admiral and drifted

There didn't seem to be anyone else to turn to and Sakomizu began to
dream up wild schemes. He thought of imitating the dramatic balloon
escape from Paris of French President Gambetta during the
Franco-Prussian War, until he realized there were only advertising
balloons in Tokyo. What about spiriting Okada and Matsuo's body out of
the residence in one coffin? No, that would take a suspiciously large
coffin. It was already past noon and every moment counted. Desperate,
he wandered restlessly from room to room, at a loss as to what to do.

By midafternoon there was a semblance of normalcy in the streets
outside the square mile held by the rebels. Boys on bicycles pedaled
through the snow with groceries. Shopkeepers near the edge of the
action came out in their aprons and quizzed the young soldiers manning
the barricades. Nobody seemed to know much about anything.

The Army leaders still vacillated. Though they were all repelled by
the seditious actions of the rebels, so many agreed in principle with
their aims that no decision could be reached. They couldn't even agree
on an appeal to Captan Koda and his comrades, not until it was watered
down and hopelessly vague. Labeled an "admonition," it failed to cal
them what they were-rebels:

1. The purpose of the uprising has reached the Emperor's ears.

2. Your action has been recognized as motivated by your sincere
feelings to seek manifestation of the national essence.

3. The present state of manifestation of kokutai is such that we feel
unbearably awed.

4. The War Councilors unanimously agree to endeavor to attaii the above

5. Anything else will be subject to the Emperor's wishes.

This was published at three o'clock in the afternoon, along with a
ridiculous emergency defense order placing the center of Tokyo under
the jurisdiction of the 1st Division, the uni that had revolted. It
was an attempt at expediency; with orders to guard the area they had
seized, the rebels supposedly would regard themselves as loyal
government troops.

Neither the conciliatory "admonition" nor the emergency order had the
desired effect; they merely convinced Koda'i group that a large segment
of the military hierarchy was on their side. Koda's answer was: "If
our original demands an granted, we will obey your orders. Otherwise
we cannot evao uate the territory we have occupied."

That night reinforcements arrived from Kofu and Sakun to take up
positions opposite the barricades. At the American embassy, observers
on the roof could see the rebel banner waving from the Prime
Minister's residence and the Sann< Hotel. Mrs. Grew was so nervous
that she insisted on sleeping in a different room, even though the
ambassador assured her that the last thing the insurgents wanted was
trouble with the United States.

A few blocks away a car drove up to kempeitai headquarters and three
spruce military figures stepped out-Captain Koda and two other rebel
leaders. As they marched through the entrance to continue negotiations
with the Army, two sentries smartly presented arms.

"Bakayaro [Idiot]!" shouted a noncom leaning out of a window.

"Saluting rebel officers! They aren't the Imperial Army!"

The three spent the next thirty minutes listening to Generals Mazaki
and Araki urge them to end the rebellion, but again conciliation only
made them more steadfast.

At the Imperial Household Ministry, Interior Minister Goto had finally
arrived after a curious six-hour delay to get himself appointed
"temporary and concurrent prime minister." A few minutes later he was
listening to demands for martial law by War Minister Kawashima. Goto
and the other civilians in the Cabinet feared this might degenerate
into a military dictatorship and argued that since this was strictly an
Army insurrection which had nothing to do with the public, it should be
settled within the Army itself.

Kawashima replied that there must have been instigators from the
outside and it was therefore necessary to take extraordinary measures
to ensure the nation's safety. Feeble as this retort was, it swayed
the undecided members and at a meeting held at midnight in the presence
of the Emperor it was agreed that martial law should be declared at

By this time a kempei sergeant had been told of Okada's whereabouts:
one of his men, permitted to bring out the dead and wounded police
officers, had chanced to open the closet where the Prime Minister was
sitting resigned like a Buddha. The startling news about Okada was
reported to their commander, who decided not to relay the information
to his own superiors-if it was a mistake, he'd be ridiculed, and if
true, some kempei sympathetic to the rebels would tell them and Okada
would be killed. But to the sergeant, Keisuke Kosaka, this was
dereliction of duty. On his own initiative he and two volunteers stole
through the rebel lines late that night and just before dawn of
February 27 boldly marched into the Prime Minister's residence. Kosaka
went directly to the maid's room, opened the closet, assured Okada he
would soon be rescued, and crossed the street to get help from a
secretary of the Prime Minister's named Ko Fukuda who lived next door
to Sakomizu.

The secretary and the sergeant cautiously sounded each other out as
they sipped black tea until Kosaka finally revealed that Okada was
alive. Only then did Fukuda admii that he and Sakomizu also knew and
hoped to smuggle Okada out of the ministry in a crowd of mourners that
would soon arrive to pay their respects.

In the next half-hour the resourceful sergeant and his two men spirited
a suit of Western clothes for Okada from the bedroom and commandeered a
car in the courtyard. They were just in time. Two black sedans pulled
up and a dozen condolence callers filed into the ministry. Fukuda led
them to the bedroom, where one of the sergeant's men was waiting to
make sure they wouldn't get close enough to the corpse to realize it
wasn't the Prime Minister.

While the callers burned incense and honored the dead Fukuda and Kosaka
practically carried the cramped Okada his face half hidden behind a
germ mask, to the rear. A group of rebels stood at the door and Kosaka
called out authoritatively, "Emergency patient! He shouldn't have
taken a look at the corpse."

The rebels stepped aside and the trio was in the courtyard But there
was no car waiting, and curious to see what was going on, the commander
of the guard approached. Suddenly the commandeered car drew up. Fukuda
opened the door pushed the exhausted Okada into the 1935 Ford and
climbed in after him. Kosaka watched with pounding heart as the car
drove slowly through the gates and disappeared. Tears flowed down his
face and he remained standing there as if in a trance.

So Okada had escaped, but there was still the problem of getting rid of
Matsuo's body before someone discovered the deception. This was
Sakomizu's task but he felt it would be best to do nothing until Okada
was in a secure hiding place Hour after hour he sat in lonely vigil
next to the corpse. At last the phone rang. His wife reported that her
father was safe in a Buddhist temple. Now Sakomizu could act. First
he phoned the Imperial Household Ministry to tell of Okada's escape,
then called the Okada home to ask that a coffin be sent to the official
residence as soon as possible. The answer was that a ready-made coffin
wasn't proper for a Prime Minister, and it would take several hours to
make one.

The delay began to unnerve Sakomizu: he'd be found out and murdered. As
his terror grew he recalled that in his father's day boys used to hold
a contest of courage called shibedate (standing a rice stalk on end).
One boy would put some object on a grave; the next would retrieve it; a
third would stick a rice stalk on the grave. This went on and on until
someone lost his nerve. The boys believed that fear came only if their
testicles shrank, so when they walked toward the grave they would pluck
at them to stretch them out. Sakomizu discovered that, sure enough,
his testicles had contracted to almost nothing. He managed to stretch
them and to his amazement found his own fear disappearing. People in
the old days were clever.

It was dark by the time the coffin finally arrived. Sakomizu dismissed
the pallbearers, wrapped Matsuo's body completely in a blanket and got
it in the coffin. As the cortege slowly left the ministry, the rebel
in charge saluted and said a few courteous words of farewell. The
funeral carriage moved quietly through the gate, and after a harrowing
trip, safely reached the home of the Prime Minister. A crowd had
already collected for services. A tombstone was placed on the coffin
along with a large photograph of Okada, framed in black ribbon.

Sakomizu gave strict orders not to open the coffin and was off for the
Imperial Household Ministry, where Cabinet members had again gathered.
Now he told them that Okada was still alive, and while they were
recovering from the shock, proposed that the Prime Minister see the
Emperor as soon as possible. To Sakomizu's amazement, Acting Prime
Minister Goto protested: Okada was responsible for the rebellion and
should resign on the spot. Goto refused to listen to any
explanations-apparently he liked being prime minister-and Sakomizu was
compelled to phone influential men for support.

He found none. The consensus was that if the rebel troops learned that
Okada was on the Palace grounds they might fire toward the Palace. And
that would be "too appalling." In resignation Sakomizu phoned Fukuda
not to bring Okada there and returned to the Okada home to see that the
pre funeral ceremonies went off without discovery of the
deception-otherwise the rebels would start a manhunt.

Mrs. Matsuo sat silently in front of the coffin. As the hours passed
and she asked no questions about her husband, Sakomizu felt such pity
that he could no longer hold back the truth. He gathered the Prime
Minister's close relatives, including three of his four children and
three of Matsuo's four children and controlling his emotions, told how
Colonel Matsuo had sacrificed his life so that the Prime Minister could

"I am very pleased if my husband could be of service," said the widow
softly. She was the daughter of a samurai.


By now the mutiny had a name, the 2/26 (February 26) Incident, and
though the attitude of the military leaders was beginning to harden, it
took the Emperor himself to get them into action. Exasperated by their
dallying, he stepped out of his role for the first time since the
murder of Marshal Chang and spoke out clearly: "If the Army cannot
subdue the rebels, I will go out and dissuade them myself."

This forced the Army to issue an edict at 5:06 a.m." February 28. It
ordered the rebels, in the Emperor's name, to "speedily withdraw" from
their present positions and return to their respective units.
Inhabitants in the danger zones would be evacuated; if the rebels had
not withdrawn by 8 A.M." the following day, they would be fired on.

This order split the rebels into two camps: one wanted to obey the
Emperor; the other insisted it was not truly the wish of the Emperor
but the result of pressure from the Control clique.

During the day Sakomizu met with more disappointment Goto still opposed
Okada's visit to the Emperor, and in any case, the police refused to
provide an escort for the Prime Minister to the Palace-it was "too
grave a responsibility." Fearing that Okada might commit hara-kiri,
Sakomizu ignored Goto and the police and brought the Prime Minister to
the Imperial Household Ministry.

Shortly before seven o'clock in the evening the old man was escorted to
the Emperor's wing of the building. In the corridors they passed
Household officials who stared in terror at the grim-faced Okada,
imagining they were seeing a ghost. A few ran off as the rest crouched
in fright.

Once in the imperial presence, the Prime Minister humbly apologized for
the mutiny, as if it had been his fault, and offered his resignation.

"Carry on your duty for as long as you live," the Emperor replied and
added that he was very pleased.

Okada was too awed to speak or stop the flow of tears but finally
managed to say, "I am going to behave myself from now on." This time
the Emperor did not reply.

Okada slept that night in the Household Ministry but Sakomizu returned
to the Prime Minister's home, which was still crowded with mourners. A
group of irate admirals hemmed him in.

"As a samurai, how dared you surrender the castle?" one shouted.

"Even with the Prime Minister dead, you should have stayed to protect
his body and defend the official residence to the death. How can you
be so irresponsible as to run off to the Imperial Household Ministry
for what business I don't know!"

They were disgusted with the way Sakomizu was handling the funeral
arrangements and said they were taking the body to the Navy Officers
Club the next day for a proper service. Sakomizu begged them to be
patient, but was immediately set upon by yet another admiral: "Your
father was a fine military man. I arranged your marriage for you
because, since you are his son, I thought you'd be a reliable man. But
you've proven by this case to be a miserable fellow, a weak-kneed man
unable even to manage a funeral. Okada must be weeping for having
given his daughter to such a fellow. Your father is weeping too. Pull
yourself together!"

Despite the Emperor's edict, all but a few of the rebels refused to
withdraw. As more Army reinforcements invested Tokyo from outlying
cities, the Combined Fleet steamed into Tokyo Bay and landing forces
took positions outside the Navy Ministry and other naval installations.
The younger men were itching for action and revenge: three of their
senior officers-Admirals Saito, Suzuki and Okada-had been assassinated
or gravely wounded by the Army. One young officer, whose ship's main
guns were trained on the Diet Building, was "tempted by an impulse" to
blow off the tower but controlled himself.

At six o'clock in the morning on February 29-it was leap year-the Army
announced: "We are positively going to suppress the rebels who caused
disturbances in the neighborhood of Kojimachi in the imperial capital."
For the first time the word "rebels" was officially used. It was a
cloudy day with a threat of more snow. Except for soldiers, it was a
dead city. Schools were closed; there were no streetcars or trains. It
was impossible to make a phone call or send a telegram. Tokyo was
isolated. All civilian traffic in the city was suspended while the
Army marshaled its forces for the attack, but even as tanks were
brought to assault positions,[ other tanks clanked up to rebel
barricades, their sides placarded with messages invoking the insurgents
to "respectfully follow the Emperor's order" and withdraw at once.
Fully loaded bombers droned overhead while other planes dropped
leaflets addressed to noncommissioned officers:

1. Return to your units. It is not yet too late.

2. All those who resist are rebels; therefore, we will shoot them.

3. Your parents and brothers are weeping to see you become traitors.

An advertising balloon was raised above the Aviation Building, its long
trailer in large characters reading: IMPERIAL ORDER ISSUED. DONT
RESIST THE ARMY FLAG. Loudspeakers were brought up to strategic
places, and Chokugen Wada, the noted announcer of radio station NHK,
began reading a plea to the rebel enlisted men in a choked voice: "You
faithfully and sincerely obeyed your officers, trusting their orders to
be just. But the Emperor now orders you to return to your units. If
you continue to resist, you will be traitors for disobeying the
Emperor's order. You believed you were doing the right thing but now
that you realize you were wrong, you must not continue to revolt
against His Majesty and inflict upon yourself eternal disgrace as
traitors. It is not too late. Your past crime will be forgiven. Your
fathers and brothers, as well as the entire nation, sincerely pray that
you do this. Immediately leave your present positions and come

The rebellious soldiers began to look at one another questioningly
Still each waited for the other to act first. By midmorning the
solidarity of the ranks began to crack. Thirty noncoms and soldiers
walked away from their positions with rifles and machine guns. By noon
almost all enlisted men had returned to their units except for small
detachments at the Prime Minister's official residence and the Sanno
Hotel. At two o'clock the banner flying over the Prime Minister's
residence came down and an hour later Army headquarters announced by
radio that the rebels had surrendered without a shot being fired.

The leaders of the insurrection were still at the War Ministry and the
Sanno Hotel, but the loyal troops made no attempt to capture them; they
were giving the rebels a chance to act like samurai. General Araki,
who admired their spirit and sympathized with their motives, asked them
to commit luua-nm, since they had performed an outrageous, reckless act
that grieved the Emperor. The young officers considered mass suicide,
but finally decided to submit to a court-martial where, like Aizawa,
they could alert the nation to the corruption besetting Japan.

One officer, however, refused to surrender. Captain Shiro Nonaka went
off by himself and wrote a final statement regretting that his division
hadn't seen action for over thirty years while other units were
shedding their blood in glory.

"In recent years the sins of the traitors at home have been redeemed by
the blood of our comrades in Manchuria and Shanghai. What answer can I
give to the souls of these men if I spend the rest of my days in vain
here in the capital? Am I insane or am I a fool? There is but one
road for me to take." He signed the declaration, then took the road:

At four-thirty that afternoon the weary Sakomizu assembled the mourners
at Okada's home to read a prepared statement revealing the details of
Matsuo's death and Okada's escape. The listeners were stunned to
silence. Finally someone shouted "Banzai!" All the others joined and
the news was spread throughout the neighborhood.

The 2/26 Incident was over. What violence there was had been
incredibly bloody; yet only seven people had been killed and the
mutineers had surrendered peacefully. The most outstanding feats of
courage had been performed by women, and the vacillation by generals.
To most foreigners the mutiny was no more than another ultra
nationalist blood bath, and few realized its significance. The Soviets
did, largely because of Richard Sorge, who correctly guessed that this
would lead to expansion into China.* It was over, but like a stone
tossed in a millpond, its ripples were already spreading across the

* Dr. Sorge's detailed report to Moscow included an analysis of the
deep social unrest that had inspired the rebellion. Sorge also sent
photographs of the cream of the material gathered by the German
military attache's, including a secret pamphlet written the previous
year by two of the rebel leaders, entitled "Views on the Housecleaning
of the Army." The Fourth Bureau was pleased with its new secret agent
and requested additional information: Would it affect Japanese foreign
policy? Would it make Japan more anti-Soviet or less?

With the help of a highly connected journalist and an artist turned
Communist, Sorge answered all these questions, as well as observing
that the 2/26 Incident would result in either social reforms or a
policy of permanent expansion. And expansion would go in the direction
of China. He was careful to be circumspect and objective, since he was
aware that unlike Berlin and Washington, "Moscow knew China and Japan
too well to be fooled easily." 2

2 To the Marco Polo Bridge

Uneasy relief hung over the five million people of Tokyo, as it had
after the great earthquake of 1923. During the mutiny they had shown
little sympathy for the young rebels. For the first time public
condemnation of mutineers was almost unanimous and there was criticism
of the unruly streak running throughout the Army.

At the time of the 5/15 Incident the people had been confident that the
militarists and nationalists would smash corrupt party politics and
right social wrongs by direct acts of force. But corruption and social
injustice had persisted and now, after the past four wild days, the
public had lost its blind faith in force and wanted a return to orderly
ways-at almost any cost.

And although every performance at the Kabuki Theater of that paean to
revenge, violence and bloody self-sacrifice, The Forty-seven Ronin, was
still packed, there was increasing support for the group in the Army
that seemed the answer to chaos-the Control clique. Its very name
stood for the need of the hour, discipline, even though what it really
advocated was control of China. Civilian leaders, swayed by this same
desire for law and order, began a move to crush the Imperial To this
day a number of informed Japanese believe the mutiny was inspired by
Communist agents. They claim that General Mazaki secretly conferred
with left-wing leaders prior to the rebellion, and point out that not
only the young officers but Ikki Kita and other civilian nationalists
were unwitting tools of the Communists, whose plan it was to communize
Japan through the action of idealists who preached socialism and the
Imperial Way simultaneously. Realizing the power of emperor worship,
the Communists intended to utilize the imperial system, not do away
with it. This theory was somewhat shared by Sorge himself, who later
told a friend that Japanese Communists may have had some connection
with the uprising and that it was possible to have a Communist Japan
ruled by an emperor. Way clique; and inadvertently jarred open the
door to the gradual weakening of their own power by the military.

On the surface it looked as if the civilians had won new power when a
new cabinet was formed by Foreign Minister Koki Hirota. Ambassador
Grew informed the State Department that Hirota would "curb the
dangerous tendencies of the Army in China and Manchuria," and wrote in
his diary that he was pleased at the choice "because I believe that
Hirota is a strong, safe man and that while he will have to play ball
with the Army to a certain extent, I think that he will handle foreign
affairs as wisely as they can be handled Hirota made a promising start
by selecting the openly pro-American diplomat Shigeru Yoshida as his
foreign minister, but the Army's protest was so violent that Hirota
dropped him. This was only the first of a series of conciliatory
moves, climaxed by the new Prime Minister's acceptance of a demand that
all future war ministers be approved by the Big Three of the Army.
Apparently an innocent move, this return to the old system meant that
the policies of the country were now at the mercy of the Army. If the
military disapproved of a cabinet, the war minister could resign and
the Big Three would simply refuse to approve anyone else, thereby
bringing about the fall of the cabinet. The Army could then refuse to
provide a minister until a cabinet to their liking was selected. It
meant the voluntary abandonment of one of the last civilian controls
over the affairs of state.

Although the Army leaders were gaining political control, this was not
their primary goal. They were striving above all to prevent another
"2/26." They realized that no amount of discipline could control
idealistic young officers passionately dedicated to wiping out poverty
and corruption. The solution was to eradicate the causes of
discontent, which could only be done by correcting what the insurgents
considered to be the evils of free economy. Already the settlers of
Manchuria were demanding that their planned economy, which had brought
such rapid material progress, be applied to the homeland. But who
would carry out such a sweeping economic reform? The capitalists were
busy defending their interests, and their servants-the politicians-were
not only unsuited for the job but had lost the confidence of the
public. And since the Army could not openly enter into politics
without being corrupted itself, there was but one course left: to
"propel reform" without too much involvement.

To forestall public hostility, the Army leaders placedAraki, Mazaki and
a dozen other generals sympathetic to the Imperial Way clique on the
inactive list and transferred many of the younger officers to
unimportant posts Martial law, invoked during the rebellion, continued
month after month, with the press rigidly controlled and voices of
dissent silenced. The mutineers were tried swiftly and in private.
Thirteen officers and four civilians, including Ikki Kita, were
sentenced to death. On July 12 they were bound to racks, blindfolded,
and their foreheads marked with bull's-eyes. Lieutenant Takahashi, who
had helped assassinate General Watanabe, sang a song before remarking,
"Indeed, indeed, I hope the privileged classes will reflect upon their
conduct and be more prudent." One embittered young officer cried out,
"O, people of Japan, don't trust the Imperial Army!" Another shouted,
"The people trust the Army! Don't let the Russians beat us!" Almost
all gave three banzai for His Majesty just before the shots rang out.

Even with the purge of Imperial Way officers, there was a small but
influential group in Tokyo dedicated to their main principle-the end of
expansion. Their leader was the man who had engineered the seizure of
Manchuria, Kanji Ishihara. Now on the General Staff, he had become
appalled by the results of his own deed. He had dreamed of a
democratic Manchuria comprised of five nationalities, all living in
harmony as well as providing a bulwark against Russian aggression. But
this idealistic goal had degenerated into a determination by the Army
leadership to use Manchuria as a base for a takeover of North China.

Soon after the execution of the mutineers, Ishihara secretly met with
eleven other key officers from the War Ministry and Army General Staff
at the Takaraten restaurant in Tokyo. These men shared his fear of
expansion into China and had convened to discuss what should be done.

Ishihara opened with a question: Why risk war with China when the most
dangerous enemy was their traditional foe, Russia? Two wars at once
would be suicidal to a Japan weak in heavy industries, he continued.
Instead the nation should concentrate all its energies on expanding its
productive power

In an interview a few weeks before his death in 1966 General AraH said,
"We [Imperial Wayl were idealists, they [Control] were pragmatists. We
thought force was necessary at times but it was more important to set
the nation in a proper course according to Meiji's five principles.
Therefore it was not right simply to crush China." He then added
wryly, "But those who speak of ideals lose. The realists always get
their own way in the end." until it could compete with that of the
Soviet Union. To attain self-sufficiency in heavy industry, Japan
would have to develop the resources of Manchuria in a series of
five-year programs, avoiding all conflicts with Russia and China. When
Japanese industry reached its peak in 1952, then an all-out war could
be waged with Russia-and won. This alone could save Japan, not the
expansion policy of the Control clique which called for a push into
China and perhaps Southeast Asia that had to result in war with Britain
and America. If this happened, the only one to profit would be the
real enemy, Russia. Ishihara added that the greatest danger to the
nation lay not in Tokyo, with the hierarchy comprised of men open to
reason and persuasion, but in Manchuria.

In that country, influential radicals in the Kwantung Army were already
organizing unauthorized forays into North China. Their leader was
Major General Kenji Doihara, much like Ishihara with the same
brilliance, flamboyance and talent for intrigue. He had already been
nicknamed "The Lawrence of Manchuria" by Western newsmen. The previous
year he had gone alone into North China inveigling the war lords and
officials of the northernmost five provinces to break away from China
and form an autonomous government under the wing of the Imperial
Japanese Army. Once Prime Minister Okada learned this, he had sent out
word to check the impetuous Doihara. But he ignored Tokyo-as had
Ishihara- and continued to plot so successfully that an autonomous
government of sorts was set up. Opportunistic Japanese merchants
flooded into North China under their slogan "Follow the Japanese Flag,"
irritating Chinese merchants and stirring up anti-Japanese feeling all
over China. Doihara claimed he had established the puppet regime
merely as a buffer between Manchuria and China, but a few weeks later
he brought in five thousand Japanese troops on the grounds that
Japanese merchants needed protection from bandits.

Now Ishihara charged that this influx of troops was but the beginning
of a mass raid into China and that Doihara's buffer area was "a
poisonous flower" which should be destroyed before it involved Japan in
total war with Nationalist forces under Chiang Kai-shek. Both the
Russians and the Chinese Communists were plotting to this end so they
could step in once both sides were exhausted and establish a Red

Ishihara concluded that the best way to curb Doihara was to get back to
their offices and advise their chiefs to remove Japanese troops from
trouble spots in North China. One such was the ancient Marco Polo
Bridge fifteen miles southwest of Peking.

Japanese troops had been stationed in the Peking area ever since an
international expeditionary force-including European, American and
Japanese troops-suppressed the bloody, xenophobic Boxer Rebellion in
1900. The next year the chastened Chinese signed the so-called Boxer
Protocol allowing certain foreign powers to occupy key points near
Peking "for the maintenance of open communications between the capital
and the sea."

With the Boxers crushed, China became even more of a plundering ground
for Western imperialism, but the continued depredation of her resources
at last stirred her people to revolt. Long ago Napoleon had sounded
the warning that China was but a sleeping giant: "Let him sleep! For
when he wakes he will move the world."

In 1911 the collapse of the decadent Manchu Empire under the attacks of
Dr. Sun Yat-sen, China's first genuine nationalist, finally awakened
the sleeping giant. At once the fledgling republic was besieged on all
sides by local war lords hungry for spoils, and although Dr. Sun's
Kuomintang (National People's Party) continued to gain support
throughout the country, China was torn to pieces. Finally, after a
dozen frustrating years of bloody conflict, Dr. Sun called for help
from a country which was glad to oblige-the Soviet Union. Soon Canton
was swarming with Communists offering advice on everything from mass
propaganda to military tactics. The moving spirit behind the
Kuomintang armies called himself Galen but was in truth a Soviet
general named Bluecher; and the chief political adviser was a colorful
man who had taught in a Chicago business college and was one of the
Kremlin's top political agitators, Michael Borodin. With their help
the republic grew in power, and its armies, under an able young
general, Chiang Kai-shek, crushed its war-lord foes and pushed north,
capturing Shanghai and Nanking. But success brought a much greater
problem, the rising power of Communism within the ranks of the
Kuomintang itself. In 1927 Chiang, now Sun's successor, concluded that
continued help from Russia would lead to a Red China; he outlawed the
Communists.* From that day until the 2/26 Incident a triple After he
had been forced to leave China, Borodin reportedly said, "When the next
Chinese general comes to Moscow and shouts, "Hail to the world
revolution!," better send at once for the OGPU. All that any of them
want is rifles." war raged through China. On Monday, Kuomintang
troops fought war lords; on Tuesday, the two would unite to fight one
of the growing Red armies; and on Wednesday, war lords and Communists
would jointly fall upon Chiang Kai-shek.

This constant turmoil, along with the relentless surge of international
Communism, alarmed Japanese military leaders. They were threatened
from the north by Stalin's bombers in Vladivostok, less than seven
hundred miles from Tokyo, and from the west by the bourgeoning legions
of the Chinese Communists under a determined peasant named Mao Tse-tung
To the militarists, there was no choice but to consolidate Manchuria,
which lay between the two threats, as a breakwater against Communism.
Those in the Control clique further argued that Manchuria was not
enough and North China should also be seized. A state of anarchy
existed throughout that area, and the considerable Japanese interests
were needed protection. The claim of anarchy was somewhat justified.
According to the Survey by the Royal Institute of International
Affairs, banditry was rampant but Communism itself had become "an
organized and effective political power exercising exclusive
administrative authority over large stretches of territory." There
were also indications that the Chinese Communists were in league with
the Soviets.

"The possibility that Chinese and Russian Communism might join hands
was On their part, the Soviets accused America and Britain of plotting
against them in Asia. A Short History of the U.S.S-R." Part II, put
out by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Institute of History,
states: "In April 1927, political circles in Britain and the U.S.A.
tried to provoke a military conflict between the Soviet Union and
China. Police and troops broke into the Soviet Embassy in Peking,
arrested members of the staff and searched and ransacked the premises.
This provocation was instigated by representatives of the Western
powers, a fact which was confirmed by the Chinese charge1 d'affaires in
the USSR. in his reply to the Soviet protest note. He stated quite
clearly that the action of the Chinese military authorities and police
had been prearranged with Western diplomats." This same work further
declares: "In the summer of 1927 ... ruling circles in the U.S.A."
Japan, Britain and France made another attempt to provoke a Sino-Soviet
clash and involve the USSR. in war in the Far East On May 27, 1929,
bandits attacked the Soviet consulate in Harbin, and on July 10,
Chinese militarists tried to seize the Chinese Eastern Railway, which
was administered jointly by the USSR. and China ... In September and
October 1929, detachments of Chinese militarists and Russian
white-guards invaded Soviet territory." No corroborating evidence
could be found to these accusations. thus to be reckoned with if
Chinese Communism were Communism in the Russian sense."

Most of the world lived in terror of Communism, and it was not
remarkable that the Control clique regarded its spread in China as
Japan's principal danger. For the Chinese Communists, unlike those in
America and Europe, were not merely members of a party but actual
rivals of the national government, with their own laws and sphere of
action. Already large sections of China had been Sovietized, and
Shanghai itself was a fount of Communist propaganda.

At this time Mao was declaring that his Red troops alone were fighting
the Japanese, while Chiang was simply waging a "war of extermination"
against Communism.

"I solemnly declare here, in the name of the Chinese Soviet
government," he told Western newsmen, "that if Chiang Kai-shek's army
or any other army ceases hostilities against the Red Army, then the
Chinese Soviet government will immediately order the Red Army to stop
military action against them.... If Chiang Kai-shek really means to
take up the struggle against Japan, then obviously the Chinese Soviet
government will extend to him the hand of friendship on the field of
battle against Japan."

This call for a united front, which had originated in Moscow, failed to
move Chiang, but one of his most important field commanders, Chang
Hsueh-liang, was not so adamant and Mao decided to work through him.
Chang was known as "the Young Marshal," since his father was Old
Marshal Chang Tso-lin, whose assassination had led to the Japanese
occupation of Manchuria. Though the Young Marshal commanded the
Northeastern Army, which had been ordered by the Kuomintang to wipe out
all Red forces in North China, he had serious reservations about
Chiang's course; he had come to believe that those he was fighting were
also patriots and perhaps both sides should unite against the

In the fall of 1936 Mao sent his most able negotiator, Chou En-lai, to
work out a truce with the Young Marshal. Chou was mild-mannered,
soft-spoken, almost effeminate-looking, but it was he who had directed
the gory massacres of anti-Communists in Shanghai in 1927. Like all
good diplomats, he was blessed with endless patience.

"No matter how angry I get," said an old school friend named Han, "he
always smiles and goes back over the same ground covered in our
argument, only in a different way-different enough to make you feel as
though he were presenting a new point." He met with Chang in a
Catholic mission in Sian, a remote city in North China, and after
admitting that Chiang Kai-shek was the logical leader against the
Japanese, promised that the Red generals would serve under him. In
return Chang would have to assure him that the Red troops get equal
treatment with the Nationalists. In addition, Communists held in
Nationalist prisons would be released, and the Communist party allowed
to operate legally once Japan was defeated.

They signed a document listing these conditions and shook hands to seal
the bargain.

"Young Marshal, now that it is all settled," said Chou, "I am ready to
take orders from you this very moment."

Chang replied coldly that they would both have to wait and take orders
from Chiang Kai-shek.

"If you still have any doubt about the determination of my party to
join in a united front against Japan," said Chou, "I will gladly stay
here in Sian with you as a hostage."

Chang said this wouldn't be necessary and that he was as determined as
anyone to fight the Japanese-after all, he had a personal account to
settle with them. Nevertheless, he was a soldier and must first
attempt to persuade his superior, the Generalissimo, to accept the
terms of the truce just signed. But before such a meeting could take
place, another of Chiang's field commanders, General Yang Hucheng, an
ex-bandit chief, convinced the Young Marshal that the Generalissimo
could only be made to co-operate with the Reds if he were kidnapped.
Chiang was already on his way to Sian to confront Chang with evidence
that the Young Marshal was being influenced by leftists and to warn him
that "unless timely measures were taken, the situation could lead to

Although he had agreed to the kidnapping, the presence of Chiang
Kai-shek in Sian weakened Chang's resolve; he continued to vacillate
until General Yang took matters in his own hands on the morning of
December 12. He seized the Generalissimo and all troops in the area
loyal to him. Chiang had been badly injured in a fall while trying to
escape, but he was more composed than the Young Marshal when they came
face to face.

"Both for your own sake and for the sake of the nation, the only thing
for you to do is to repent at once and send me back to Nanking," he

"You must not fall into the trap set by the Communists. Repent before
it is too late." It took the sheepish Chang two days to get up his
nerve to show his superior a proposed eight-point agreement similar to
the one made with Chou. Once it was signed, Chang promised the
Generalissimo would be escorted back to the Nationalist capital.

"So long as I am a captive, there can be no discussion," said Chiang.
He dared the other to shoot him and went back to the Bible.

The distressed Chang turned to the Reds for help. When Chou arrived he
praised Chang for his courage, scolded him for bungling the kidnapping
and went in to see the prisoner. They knew each other well. Chou had
once served under the Generalissimo at the Whampoa Military Academy,
China's West Point; here, with Chiang's approval, he had set up a
political-commissar system. What Chiang didn't realize until too late
was that most of the commissars selected were Communists.

Chiang had since offered $80,000 for Chou's head and was understandably
pale and apprehensive. But Chou was all affability. He swore that the
Communists would not exploit the situation if Chiang joined them. All
they wanted was an end to civil war, and a joint effort against the

Hostile at first, Chiang listened with growing interest but still
refused to commit himself. Within a week, however- according to the
Communist version-Chou persuaded him to lead the fight against the
Japanese on his own terms. In any case, he was flown back to Nanking
on Christmas Day. Surprisingly, the Young Marshal went along with him
and once there the two went through a typically Oriental face-saving
game. It was like a stylized duel in Chinese opera. First Chang
abased himself, confessing that he was "surly and unpolished" and had
acted impudently and illegally: "Blushing with shame, I have followed
you to the capital in order to receive from you appropriate punishment.
Whatever is best for the state I will not evade, if I have to die ten
thousand deaths." Then it was Chiang's turn: "Due to my lack of virtue
and defects in my training of subordinates, an unprecedented revolt
broke out." Chang was tried, sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, and
pardoned within twenty-four hours.

At the same time Chiang was publicly proclaiming that despite stories
from Sian, he had been freed "without having to accept any conditions."
It was undoubtedly a version contrived to appease those in Nanking much
more violently opposed to any dealing with the Reds than he, because
within weeks he was dickering with Mao. The negotiations went so well
that early in 1937 the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee wired
the Kuomintang that they would abandon their policy of armed uprising
against the Nationalist government and place the Red Army under
Chiang's full control. The terms were informally accepted and once
more, as in the honeymoon days of Borodin, the Kuomintang and
Communists were united.

This brought China her first semblance of tranquillity in more than ten

"Peace is achieved," declared Chou En-lai in an interview.

"There is now no fighting between us. We have the opportunity to
participate in the actual preparations for the defensive war against
Japan. As to the problem of achieving democracy, this aim has only
begun to be realized ... One must consider the anti-Japanese war
preparations and democracy like the two wheels of a rickshaw, for
example. That is to say, the preparation for the anti-Japanese war
comes first, and following it, the movement for democracy-which can
push the former forward."

A few months later, on July 5, 1937, a formal Kuomin-tang-Communist
agreement was signed and both sides made preparations to drive the
Japanese out of Peking and the rest of North China.


In Japan, the increasing influence of the military over the government
had become an issue. In the name of law and order, Prime Minister
Hirota was now so obviously subservient to the generals that liberal
members of the Diet denounced them. One aroused deputy told the War
Minister he should commit hara-kiri. This was greeted by such
enthusiastic shouts and applause that the minister resigned in anger.
And of course, with his resignation, in February 1937, came the end of
the Hirota Cabinet.

Without hesitation Prince Saionji advised the Emperor to name another
general, Kazushige Ugaki, to succeed Hirota. This choice infuriated
almost everyone in the Army, since Ugaki was a moderate who had once
reduced their number by four divisions. Consequently the Big Three
said they simply couldn't find anyone who would serve with Ugaki. He
was compelled to report to the Emperor that he was unable to form a
cabinet and gave vent to his indignation in a statement to the
newspapers: "What I see is that only a few men in authoritative
positions in the Army have formed a group [the Control clique] and are
forcing their views on the authorities, propagandizing as if their
action represents the general will of the Army. The Army belongs to
the Emperor. Whether their action during the last few days represents
the general will of the Army of the Emperor or not is not too clear.
The selection of a war minister by the Big Three of the Army is too
formal and lacks sincerity.... I believe that Japan stands at the
crossroads between fascism and parliamentary politics. I am partly
responsible for the present condition in the Army, which has become a
political organization. I feel sorry for the Emperor because of this
state of affairs. Moreover, I greatly regret that the Army, which I
have loved so long, has been brought to such a pass.

A general named Senjuro Hayashi who was sympathetic to the Control
clique was selected as prime minister, but he ran into such opposition
from the Diet that his government, nicknamed the "eat-and-run cabinet,"
lasted just four months. Hayashi was succeeded by a civilian, Prince
Fumimaro Konoye, a descendant of the Fujiwara family, which had ruled
the land for several centuries. A disciple of Saionji's, he had long
resisted the last genro's efforts to get him involved in politics. In
the harrowing days following the 2/26 Incident, the old prince had
concluded that Konoye alone could lead the new government and
recommended him formally to the Emperor. Konoye had refused-he
preferred to remain as President of the House of Peers and besides was^
in poor health-causing Saionji's "most embarrassing moment."

But Konoye considered the present crisis so critical that he was
persuaded to accept the position hitherto reserved for old men. At
forty-six years of age he was a popular choice to lead the country,
since the people had little confidence in politicians and feared a
continuance of military rule. For their part, most military men
trusted him because he was above political greed. The zaibatsu counted
on him to bring stability, the intellectuals to stem the tide of
fascism. Ordinary people were impressed by his comparative youth and
good looks and his very reluctance to be prime minister. Any man with
such an utter lack of ambition had to be sincere.

"Evolutionary reforms and progress within the Constitution must be our
watchdogs," he promised upon assuming the premiership in June, "but the
country demands national reform, and the government, while neither
socialist nor fascist, must listen to its call. The impetus of the
great [Meiji] Restoration has carried us thus far with honor and
success; but now it is for the young men to take up the task and carry
the country forward into a new age."

The new age came sooner than he expected and was not at all what he had
envisaged. It was ushered in on the night of July 7 at the ancient
stone bridge named after Marco Polo. A Japanese company stationed near
this historic landmark was holding night maneuvers about a mile from a
large Chinese unit. Just as a bugle signaled the end of the operation,
bullets came whistling from the Chinese lines. The Japanese returned
fire, but within minutes the skirmish was over. There was a single
Japanese casualty-one man was missing. The company commander reported
the incident to his battalion commander, who phoned regimental
headquarters in nearby Peking. A second company was sent to the
bridge, as well as a staff officer who began arranging a truce with the
Chinese. Both sides had just agreed it was an unfortunate mistake when
a second fusillade poured into the two Japanese companies.

The first shots had probably been accidental. The second volley was
suspicious, particularly since relations between the Chinese and
Japanese troops in the area were so good. This had come about through
a close friendship between General Sung Chi-yuen, commander of all
Chinese troops in North China, and General Gun Hashimoto, chief of
staff of the North China Garrison. The question was who had fired the
second volley, if not the Chinese troops. Cohorts of Doihara trying to
aggravate the incident into an excuse to invade China in force? Or
Communists hoping to start a full-scale war between Chiang Kai-shek and
the Japanese that would probably end in the communization of China?*

It was not until after the war that the Japanese officers involved in
the Marco Polo Bridge incident generally concluded that Mao's agents
had sparked the incident.

"We were then too simple to realize this was all a Communist plot,"
General Akio Doi, a Russian expert, said in 1967. General Ho
Ying-chin, Chiang's minister of war at the time, still believes, like
most Chinese, that the incident was plotted by Japanese radical
militarists, although he did admit in a recent interview that after
Chou En-lai read Chiang's diary in Sian and realized the Generalissimo
was strongly anti-Japanese, he began conspiring to get the Kuomintang
involved in an all-out war with Japan.

Without doubt, both the Russians and the Chinese Communists were doing
their best to foster a long, enervating conflict between Chiang and the
Japanese. That fall Mao Tse-tung told his troops in Yenan, "The
Sino-Japanese conflict gives us, the Chinese Communists, an excellent
opportunity for expansion. Our policy is to devote seventy percent of
our effort to this end, twenty percent to coping with the Government,
and ten percent to fighting the Japanese. This policy is to Whoever it
was, the Japanese counterattacked, and it wasn't until the next morning
that the negotiators agreed that both sides should peacefully withdraw.
While the Japanese were pulling out, they again drew fire, retaliated
and the fight was resumed.

Though it should have seemed obvious by now that a third party was
trying to keep the skirmish going, each side accused the other of
breaking the truce and the negotiations floundered. When the news
arrived in Tokyo, the Army Chief of Staff cabled a routine order to
settle the trouble locally. Later in the day representatives of the
War, Navy and Foreign ministries agreed on a policy of non expansion
and "local settlement." This was approved by Prince Konoye and his
cabinet, but at a special meeting of the Army General Staff, the
expansionists argued that more troops should be sent into China to
teach Chiang a lesson, otherwise he might use this incident as an
excuse to retake Manchuria; this would endanger Japanese-controlled
Korea and eventually put Japan at the mercy of Russian and Chinese
Communists. They promised to make the military action brief and come
to a quick agreement with Chiang. Then all Japanese troops would be
withdrawn into North China, which would be used purely as a buffer
against Russia.

The greatest opposition came from Kanji Ishihara, now a general and
head of Operations. He argued for hours but finally had to admit that
the poorly disciplined Chinese troops in North China were bound to
start massacring the Japanese traders and settlers in the area. This
would arouse the Japanese public and bring about what he feared and
abhorred the most, an endless war of retribution.

That was why the man who once said, "The first soldier marching into
China will only do so over my dead body," approved the reinforcement of
North China with two brigades from the Kwantung Army, one division from
Korea and three from the homeland. And on July 11 Prince Konoye, who
had so recently pledged international integrity, gave his consent to
the flood of troops into another country. But there was little else he
could have done, according to his private secretary, Tomohiko Ushiba,
"in the face of the War be carried out in three stages. During the
first stage, we are to work with the Kuomintang in order to ensure our
existence and growth. During the second stage, we are to achieve
parity in strength with the Kuomintang. During the third stage, we are
to penetrate deep into parts of Central China to establish bases for
counterattacks against the Kuomintang." Minister's assurance that it
was merely a troop movement to stop local fighting."

At the Marco Polo Bridge, after hours of wrangling, the negotiators had
just arranged another truce. But as both sides pulled back, a loud
crackling like machine-gun fire broke out (it turned out to be
firecrackers) and the battle was on again. This time the two friendly
generals, Sung Chi-yuen and I Gen Hashimoto, personally stepped in and
before the day was over a firm local agreement had been signed. In it
Sung apologized for the entire incident. He promised to punish the
officers responsible, rigidly control any Red elements in his forces
and withdraw troops from the bridge area. On his part Hashimoto,
acting for his dying commander, agreed to bring no more reinforcements
into North China.

Chiang Kai-shek ignored the truce and sent Sung orders to concentrate
more forces in the troubled area. Instead Sung kept his promise and
began withdrawing troops. It looked as if the crisis was over, but
unfortunately communications were so bad that Tokyo had no idea the
problem was being solved, and on July 17 peremptorily demanded that the
Chinese stop sending troops into North China and recognize the puppet
government Doihara had helped set up. This so incensed Chiang that he
issued a defiant proclamation from Nanking: "If we allow one more inch
of our territory to be lost or sovereign rights to be encroached upon,
then we shall be guilty of committing an unpardonable crime against our
Chinese race ... China's sovereign rights cannot be sacrificed, even at
the expense of war, and once war has begun there is no looking back."
The Japanese military attache in Nanking, General Seiichi Kita, told
his old friend, Chinese War Minister General Ho Ying-chin, himself a
graduate of the Japanese Military Academy, that if Chinese troops were
not withdrawn at once from North China, the "situation might get out of
hand." Ho was not averse to some co-operation with the Japanese but
said, "If war breaks out, both Japan and the Chinese Republic will be
defeated and only the Russian and Chinese Communists will benefit. If
you don't believe it now, you will in ten years." He asked Kita to
pass this warning on to his government with a promise that the Chinese
would "fight to the last man."

Already concerned by exaggerated reports of the large number of Chinese
troops flowing up into North China, the Japanese public was indignant
at Chiang's proclamation; and one paper, the Nichi Nichi, declared
editorially that the Chinese reply left Japan no choice but "to cross
the Rubicon."

Only then did the long-delayed information from Hashimoto reach Tokyo
that all was quiet at the Marco Polo Bridge and that it was not
necessary to send any reinforcements to North China. The transfer
orders were canceled and even the expansionists in the Army high
command were relieved that a crisis had been averted. It was assumed
that Chiang would agree to the terms signed by Sung, and peace return
to China.

Sung continued to do his part by removing all sandbag barricades from
the streets of Peking and relaxing martial law. Passenger trains from
the south at last began entering the ancient capital. But there was
still no word of reconciliation from Chiang Kai-shek, and what the
negotiators on both sides feared came about: Japanese and Chinese
troops, at trigger's edge for almost three weeks, began firing at one
another in earnest. It happened on the night of July 25 at the
railroad station of Langfang, some fifty miles below Peking. Within an
hour a skirmish turned into a major conflict. Heavy Japanese
reinforcements were dispatched to Langfang and at dawn seventeen planes
bombed a Chinese barracks. A few hours later the city was occupied.

The friendship between Sung and Hashimoto was now of little avail. The
latter's commander had died and a new one, Lieutenant General Kiyoshi
Katsuki, had arrived. He was strictly a military man who felt he had
been sent "to chastise the outrageous Chinese." He cabled Tokyo that
he had done everything to bring about a peaceful settlement and asked
for permission to "use force" wherever necessary to protect Japanese
lives and property. The Army leaders approved and one division was
ordered to Shanghai and another to Tsing-tao.

Again Prime Minister Konoye, assured by the military that the Chinese
problem could be "solved in three months," felt constrained to go along
lest his cabinet fall. The following day, July 27, he announced in the
Diet that the government must now achieve a "new order" in East Asia.
To patriotic Japanese it seemed proper and equitable. Japanese lives
and property had to be protected and Communism contained; it was time
for firmness, not weakness. Nobody realized that it was a declaration
of total war with China. The Armyleaders were truly convinced they
could force Chiang to negotiate before fall It bore no resemblance to
the Manchurian coup. In 1931 the Kwantung Army had deliberately
provoked the incident at Mukden, but in 1937 the North China Army
neither sought nor organized the confrontation at the Marco Polo
Bridge. In 1931 the Army General Staff sanctioned the seizure of
Manchuria; in 1937 they did their utmost to forestall operations in
North China. In 1931 Prime Minister Reijiro Wakatsuki's failure to
execute a diplomatic settlement satisfactory to the Control clique
brought about the fall of his government; in 1937 there would be no
change of cabinet.

With approval from Tokyo in hand, General Katsuki issued a proclamation
that he was going to "launch a punitive expedition against the Chinese
troops, who have been taking acts derogatory to the prestige of the
Empire of Japan." Copies of this proclamation were dropped from planes
at dawn on July 28. Bombers struck at three cities and shelled others
as ground troops attacked Chinese forces all over the Peking area
except in the city itself.

The Rubicon had, in truth, been crossed. The rhetoric of the China
conflict had evolved into action without benefit of credible strategic
calculations, and Japan had taken the first giant step to war with


"Crush the Chinese in three months and they will sue for peace," War
Minister Sugiyama predicted. As city after city fell, patriotic fervor
swept through Japan, but almost the entire Western world condemned
Japan's aggression, and even Germany (because she feared for her
interests in China) was critical. China appealed to the League of
Nations, and while the world awaited its report, a bold attack came
James B. Crowley, assistant professor of history at Amherst College,
wrote in the May 1963 issue of Journal of Asian Studies that "it would
be safe to conclude that this incident was not caused by any
'conspiracy' of Japanese army officers and that the Japanese military
was not primarily responsible for the steady drift towards war." More
likely, he believes, it was the Chinese-and they had plenty of
provocation-who raised Marco Polo into a major crisis.

"The tragedy is that the interaction of conflicting national policies
and aspirations transformed an incident into a war from which neither
government was to derive substantial benefit." from another quarter.
On October 5, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a forceful
speech in Chicago condemning all aggressors and equating the Japanese,
by inference, with the Nazis and Fascists.* "When an epidemic of
physical disease starts to spread, the community approves and joins in
a quarantine of the patients in order to protect the health of the
community," he said and explained that war was a contagion, whether
declared or undeclared.

"We are adopting such measures as will minimize our risk of
involvement, but we cannot have complete protection in a world of
disorder in which confidence and security have broken down." There was
no mistaking Roosevelt's meaning when on the following day, after the
League of Nations had censured Japan, the United States, although not a
member, quickly concurred.

At home, Roosevelt's action was largely applauded but Secretary of
State Cordell Hull was unhappy about the "quarantine" clause, feeling
that it set back "for at least six months our constant educational
campaign intended to create and strengthen public opinion towards
international cooperation." Ambassador Joseph Grew also felt it was a
grievous mistake. No American interest in China justified risking a
war with Japan and it was futile to hurl "moral thunderbolts" at a
country which respected force above all; it would create bitterness
between the two countries and destroy the good will he had been
building. Aware that his staff members shared his shock and
resentment, he warned them two days later not to express their opinions
outside the embassy. That night he wrote in his diary:

This was the day that I felt my carefully built castle tumbling about
my ears and we all wandered about the chancery, depressed, gloomy, and
with not a smile in sight. That afternoon Alice, Elsie and I went to
the cinema to see Captains Courageous. Ever since his school days at Groton,
Roosevelt had been convinced of Japan's long-range plans of conquest.
He pored over Admiral Alfred Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power Upon
History until, according to his mother, he had "practically memorized
the book." Later he corresponded with Mahan and learned that the
admiral shared with him a strong concern over Japan as a major threat
in the Pacific.

At Harvard, in 1920, a Japanese student told Roosevelt in confidence
about his nation's hundred-year plan for conquest, drafted in 1889. It
allegedly covered the annexation of Manchuria, the establishment of a
protectorate in North China, the acquisition of American and British
possessions in the Pacific, including Hawaii, as well as bases in
Mexico and Peru. In 1934 Roosevelt informed his Secretary of State,
Henry L. Stimson, of this "plot," pointing out to him that many of its
particulars had already been verified. geous... And then I sunk myself
in Gone with the Wind-which is precisely the way I felt.

Japanese reaction, of course, was quick and bitter.

"Japan is expanding," retorted Yosuke Matsuoka, a diplomat whose sharp
tongue and ready wit was winning him many followers.

"And what country in its expansion era has ever failed to be trying to
its neighbors? Ask the American Indian or the Mexican how
excruciatingly trying the young United States used to be once upon a
time." Japan's expansion, like that of America's, was as natural as
the growth of a child.

"Only one thing stops a child from growing-death." He declared that
Japan was fighting for two goals: to prevent Asia from falling
completely under the white man's domination, as in Africa, and to save
China from Communism.

"No treasure trove is in her eyes-only sacrifices upon sacrifices. No
one realizes this more than she does. But her very life depends on it,
as do those of her neighbors as well. The all-absorbing question
before Japan today ... is: Can she bear the cross A few weeks later, on
November 16, Koki Hirota, now foreign minister, officially accused
America of initiating an anti-Japanese front. An economic boycott
against Japan, he told Grew, would not stop the fighting in China, but
encouraged the Chinese to prolong the hostilities. Hirota said that
until now the Japanese had felt America was the only country with
genuine impartiality and would help bring about peace, as Theodore
Roosevelt had done in the Russo-Japanese War.

Three days later Japan took Soochow, and the roads to Nanking and
Shanghai were open. On December 12, the eve of the fall of Nanking,
relations with America and Great Britain were almost shattered when
Japanese naval aviators sank the gunboat Panay on the Yangtze River,
though its American flag was clearly visible. A week earlier an
artillery regiment commanded by Colonel Kingoro Hashimoto (founder of
the Cherry Society) had fired on the British gunboat Ladybird, then
seized it.

In interviews in 1966-67 a number of former Japanese leaders, including
Generals Teiichi Suzuki, Sadao Araki and Kenryo Sato, pointed to this
and similar speeches regarding Japan's increasing involvement in China
as parallels to America's accelerating war in Vietnam. Both countries,
they agreed, were fighting a sacrificial war despite the world's
censure-and both had gone about wiping out Communism the wrong way.
These incidents revived President Roosevelt's hope of quarantining the
aggressor. He summoned the British ambassador in Washington, Sir
Ronald Lindsay, and suggested their two nations join in a naval
blockade which would cut Japan off from raw materials. Lindsay
protested that such a quarantine would lead to war. He cabled London
that his "horrified criticisms" had "made little impression upon the
President." The next day, December 17, Roosevelt sketched out his
quarantine plan to the Cabinet. His resolve was strengthened by a
report from the Navy's official Court of Inquiry in Shanghai that the
attack on Panay had been wanton and ruthless; more important, a message
to Combined Fleet had been intercepted and decoded by the U.S. naval
intelligence indicating that the raid had been deliberately planned by
an officer on the carrier Kaga.

In Tokyo the Konoye government was as aggrieved by the destruction of
Panay and Ladybird as the Americans and the British. Foreign Minister
Hirota brought a note to Ambassador Grew expressing regrets and
offering full restitution for the sinking of the Panay. Abjectly
apologetic, Hirota said, "I am having a very difficult time. Things
happen unexpectedly." The Japanese Navy high command also showed its
disapproval by dismissing the Kaga commander, who was responsible for
the Panay bombing.

"We have done this to suggest that the Army do likewise and remove
Hashimoto from his command," said Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Navy
Vice Minister, who had no relish for doing battle with the U.S. fleet,
since he had spent considerable time in America and was cognizant of
her potentialities.

The Japanese apology was officially accepted in Washington on Christmas
Day (Grew observed that its arrival on Christmas Eve was a "masterly"
arrangement) and the incident was apparently closed Great Britain also
gracefully Roosevelt was still intent on his quarantine. He sent
Captain Royal Ingersoll, chief of the Navy's War Plans Division, to
London with instructions to explore the implementation of a long-range
naval blockade of Japan. The proposal that had "horrified" Ambassador
Lindsay found approval in the British Admiralty. They told Ingersoll
that they were "prepared to stop all Japanese traffic crossing a line
roughly from Singapore through the Dutch East Indies, New Guinea, New
Hebrides and around to the east of Australia and New Zealand." They
considered "that the United States could prevent all westbound trade to
Japan by controlling by embargo or ships the entire Pacific coast from
Alaska to Cape Horn." But eight days later, on January 13, 1938, Prime
Minister Neville Chamberlain abruptly rejected another proposal of
Roosevelt's calling for Britain to join an internationalaccepted an
apology for the attack on the Ladybird, despite the refusal of the
Japanese Army to follow Yamamoto's advice. Hashimoto was not even
reprimanded. He had been allowed to proceed to Nanking with his

By the time the Japanese entered the city in December, all resistance
had ended, and their commander, General Iwane Matsui-who had left Japan
with the announcement: "I am going to the front not to fight an enemy,
but in the state of mind of one who sets out to pacify his
brother"-ordered them "to exhibit the honor and glory of Japan and
augment the trust of the Chinese people" and to "protect and patronize
Chinese officials and people, as far as possible."

Instead they roamed the city, looting, burning, raping, murdering.
According to one witness, men, women and children were "hunted like
rabbits; everyone seen to move was shot." Even the friendly Germans in
an official report condemned the Japanese Army as "bestial

It was not until General Matsui triumphantly entered the city that he
learned there had been "breaches of military discipline and morality."
He ordered strict compliance with his former orders to "insure that no
act whatsoever, which tends to disgrace honor, be perpetrated." He
declared: "Now the flag of the Rising Sun is floating over Nanking, and
the Imperial Way is shining forth in the area south of the Yangtze. The
dawn of the renaissance is about to take place. On this occasion, it
is my earnest hope that the four hundred million people of China will
reconsider." Matsui returned to Shanghai, only to hear rumors a week
later that "illegal acts" were still being committed.

"Anyone guilty of misconduct conference to discuss essential principles
of international law that would, incidentally, awaken American public
opinion to the true nature of the "bandit nations," as Roosevelt was
privately calling them. At first the President did not grasp the full
implication of Chamberlain's unanticipated rejection, but within a week
it was clear that the Prime Minister's refusal to join an international
conference meant that his government would take no part in a quarantine
of the aggressor, either in the Orient or in Europe.

The above information (much of it based on notes of the Ingersoll talks
recently uncovered in the archives of the United States Navy) indicates
beyond argument that as early as 1938, President Roosevelt was prepared
to do more than assail the "bandit nations" by words. If Chamberlain
had joined him in the naval quarantine, further aggression in both Asia
and Europe might have been stemmed. But Chamberlain's rebuff forced
Roosevelt to abandon his vigorous foreign policy and allow his country
to revert to isolation. Within two months it was too late. On March
12 Hitler's seizure of Austria started the world on the road to its
most devastating war. must be severely punished," he wrote the Nanking

But the atrocities continued for another month. About one third of the
city was gutted by fire; more than 20,000 Chinese male civilians of
military age were marched out of the city and massacred by bayoneting
or machine-gun fire. As many women and young girls were raped,
murdered and then mutilated. Numerous older civilians were robbed and
shot. By the end of the month at least 200,000, perhaps as many as
300,000 civilians had been slaughtered.

Why was such savagery inflicted on a nation the Japanese regarded as
their main source of cultural inspiration, their Rome and Greece? It
is axiomatic that soldiers of any army get out of hand in a foreign
land and act with a brutality they would never dare exhibit at home,
but this could hardly account for the extent and intensity of the
atrocities. They could only have been incited by some of the more
radical officers, in the belief that the Chinese should be taught a

Back home, Prime Minister Konoye knew less about the atrocities in
Nanking than the Germans. He was aware, however, that with all the
conquest of vast areas, the Japanese were no nearer to victory but were
sinking more deeply into a quagmire. Konoye was a unique individual-a
prince by birth and a socialist at heart. He seemed soft, shy and
effete, if not weak. To those who knew him best, he was a man of
almost painfully discriminating taste, of such wide interests and
objectivity that he could listen with sympathy to those of all
political beliefs. In fact, he listened with such sympathy that each
in turn thought the prince agreed with him. It always took him an
interminable time to make up his mind, since he first wanted to know
all sides of a question, but once decision was made, almost nothing
could make him change it.

"He was simply impregnable," his private secretary, To-mohiko Ushiba,
recalled. Konoye had few idols and one was Lord Balfour, considered
not quite qualified for the job of prime minister but decisive and
effective once he took office. Undoubtedly Konoye hoped to be the
Japanese Balfour.

Prince Konoye was the eldest son of Prince Atsumaro Konoye and the
first heir in 250 years in the Konoye family to be born of a lawful
wife-an occasion which prompted his great-grandfather to write numerous
poems expressing his joy. Eight days after his birth, his mother died
of puerperal fever, but until he was an adolescent he believed that his
father's second wife, his mother's sister, was his real mother. "When
I learned that she wasn't," he later said, "I began to think that life
was a tissue of lies."

When he was still a young man he was stricken with tuberculosis and
spent two years doing little but staring at a ceiling and thinking.
From this time he had a feeling for the underdog. He disliked money,
millionaires and politicians and wrote many radical essays. Some of
the socialistic convictions clung to him as he matured and even now he
was against the privileged classes. To outsiders he gave the
appearance of being democratic and treated all alike with courtesy.

"Even beggars are guests," he once told Ushiba. But his innermost self
remained aristocratic-"far more so," Ushiba recently recalled, "than
you can possibly imagine."

Almost everything about him seemed contradictory but made sense. He
felt ill at ease with Americans, yet sent his eldest son, Fumitaka, to
Lawrenceville and Princeton. He was fond of kimonos and wore them with
fastidious care, yet he was equally at ease in Western clothes. His
marriage was a love match but he treated his mistress, a geisha, with
great affection. He had upset family tradition twice: first, by
abolishing the system of having rooms in the main house for second,
third and fourth "wives" ("It's pardonable to have just one mistress,
don't you agree?"); and second, by discontinuing the family diary ("How
could I possibly write the truth if it were unfavorable to me?").

Only once did he seriously scold any of his five children, this in a
stern letter to Fumitaka at Princeton chastising him for drinking and
neglecting his studies. Fumitaka replied that he was just following
the American way of life and the subject was closed.

His own father, who died when Konoye was thirteen, was so
overprotective that Konoye spent his childhood with a leash around his
waist to keep him from falling. Konoye' showed affection to all his
children, including the youngest, a daughter by his mistress. He would
eat with them, singing and cavorting for their amusement more like an
American father than a Japanese.

Product of an elegant society, with one foot in the past and one in the
future, Prince Konoye's considerable personal charm and polish hid to
all but the discerning his profound sense of obligation to his country
and a cynicism so deep that he trusted no man, including himself. He
seemed to be what he was not, and even his family rarely saw the man
behind the facade. Ushiba, probably as close to him as anyone, did see
beyond the overly fond father, the loving husband, the charming
dilettante, the considerate employer, to a strange, cold man; he was
self-restrained and refined, and sophisticated to such a degree "that
it was sometimes quite difficult to make out his real thinking."

Once Ushiba asked him which Japanese historical figures he respected.

"None," was the answer.

"Not even General Nogi or Admiral Togo [heroes of the Russo-Japanese

"Certainly not!"

He treated the Emperor, for whom he had a warm personal feeling, rather
intimately. While others sat on the edge of their chairs like ramrods
in His Majesty's presence, Konoye would sprawl comfortably. He didn't
do this as an insult, but because he felt so close to Hirohito. When
he told someone on his way to an audience, "Oh, do remember me to the
Emperor," he was not being facetious, merely natural. He felt he came
from just as good a family.

As hope of a solution in China had faded with every month, Prince
Konoye looked desperately in another direction-a negotiated peace. He
preferred England as mediator but the Army persuaded him to use the
good offices of Germany, which was friendly with both parties. Hitler
had sent Chiang Kai-shek arms and military advisers and was bound, if
tenuously, to Japan by the year-old Anti-Comintern Pact. The terms
were so reasonable that when the strongly pro-Chinese German ambassador
to China, Oskar Trautmann, presented them, Chiang Kai-shek seemed about
to accept them.

But those two banes of stability in Japan-gekokujo and
opportunism-again appeared. First, news came of another great triumph
in China, and War Minister Sugiyama raised the price of negotiation;
then the commander of the North China Garrison unexpectedly set up a
puppet regime in Peking, against the specific orders of Konoye and the
General Staff. Though the latter, under the urging of Ishihara, still
called for negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek, Trautmann labored in
vain. After conversations in Washington between their ambassador and
President Roosevelt, China insisted that the Japanese terms were too
broad. The Japanese saw this as evasion, and being inflexible
negotiators themselves, lost the ii patience. Concluding that Chiang
Kai-shek really didn't wani to negotiate, Konoye decided to take a
shortcut to peace and deal with those Chinese who "shared Japan's
ideals." On January 16, 1938, he announced that "the Imperial
Government shall cease to deal with the National Government of China,
and shall rely upon the establishment and growth of a new Chinese
regime for co-operation."

This brought sharp rebukes from intellectuals and a number of liberal
Diet members. Ishihara also warned Konoye that it was a policy which
would inevitably lead to endless trouble. Such criticism forced the
Prime Minister to review his position and he began to realize that his
hasty act might have committed Japan to a rigid, do-or-die policy-a
settlement by full-scale war, the last thing he wanted. Assailed by
self-doubts, he wondered if he should resign. But court officials
persuaded him to remain in office, otherwise the Chinese would quite
properly assume that failure to settle the China question had caused
his resignation and it would be more difficult than ever to achieve the
solution they wanted.

It was at last apparent to Konoye that the Army itself didn't have a
fixed policy on China and was drifting with the tide of events, but
unable to get reliable information about Supreme Command matters, he
could only watch in frustration as the situation in China worsened.

In the name of national defense the Army proposed a national
mobilization law, designed to take away the Diet's last vestiges of
control over war measures and direct every aspect of national life
toward an efficient war economy. Army spokesmen argued persuasively
and not unreasonably that Japan was a small, overpopulated country with
almost no natural resources; surrounded as it was by enemies- Russians,
Chinese, Americans and British-total mobilization of the nation's
strength was the sole solution. The law was passed in March 1938-the
Diet, in effect, voting for its own capitulation to the Army.

"Liberties lost to the Japanese Army," commented Sir Robert Craigie,
the British ambassador in Tokyo, "were lost for good."

The people were also being prepared psychologically for the crusade in
East Asia with two slogans borrowed from the past. One was "kokutai,"
the national essence, and the other was "kodo " connected, ironically,
with the recently crushed li " iil i f k clique.

the see >riginal meaning of kodo, the Imperial Way, was nto signifying
world order and peace to be nese control of East Asia. <d kodo
underlined the father relationship with the people as well as his
divinity and were filled with ardor for a holy war to freedom and
Communism. 60

3 "Then the War Will Be a Desperate One"

The Japanese continued to win. They took Hankow and Canton, forcing
Chiang Kai-shek to move his government far inland to Chungking. But
they were conquering territory, not people, and by the beginning of
1939 were still far from final victory. They had lost thousands of
men, millions of yen and incurred the wrath of the Western world, and
Americans in particular.

The relations between the two countries had begun precariously the day
Commodore Perry's ships steamed into Tokyo Bay with a letter from
President Millard Fillmore inviting Japan to open doors long closed to
the outside world. The Americans were inspired by three motives: a
desire to trade, spread the Gospel to the yellow pagans and export the
ideals of 1776. The Japanese reluctantly, resentfully complied, but
the ensuing years brought improved relations as American officials and
private citizens materially helped Japan make the transition from
feudalism to modern times in the fields of education, science, medicine
and production. American obtrusion into the Pacific late in the
nineteenth century with acquisitions of Hawaii, Guam, Wake Island and
the Philippines perturbed the Japanese, but in 1900 the Boxer Rebellion
brought the two nations together again in a common cause.

These fraternal bonds were strengthened four years later by Japan's war
with Czarist Russia. American sympathies were overwhelmingly for the
underdog. The New York Journal of Commerce declared that Japan stood
as "the champion of commercial rights," and cartoonists pictured the
Japanese soldier as a heroic figure-a noble samurai confronting the
Russian Bear. Jacob Schiff, president of Kuhn, Loeb & Company,
distressed by reports of Russian anti-Semitism, felt that the effort of
Japan was "not only her own cause, but the cause of the entire
civilized world." Practicing what he preached, he made the resources
of his company available to the Japanese war effort. Despite
spectacular victories, Japan could not terminate the war and turned to
President Theodore Roosevelt for help. He accomplished this with the
Treaty of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1905, achieving for Japan the
best possible terms. In one of the perverse twists of history, this
act of friendship ended the good will between the two nations: the
Japanese, who were unaware that their country was close to bankruptcy,
were incensed at a treaty which gave them no indemnity. Anti-American
riots erupted throughout the land, and martial law had to be
established in Tokyo. Still not a word came from the Japanese
government explaining that Roosevelt had saved the empire from
embarrassment, perhaps disaster.

The next year the situation deteriorated. This time America was to
blame. An unreasonable fear that a resurgent Asia under Japanese
leadership would engulf Western civilization gained force in the United
States, particularly on the Pacific coast. The San Francisco Chronicle
averred that it was "a pressing world-wide issue as to whether the
high-standard Caucasian races or the low-standard Oriental races would
dominate the world." Caught up in the "yellow peril hysteria, the San
Francisco school board ordered all Nisei children to attend a school in

The Japanese government responded hotly that this was "an act of
discrimination carrying with it astigma and odium which is impossible
to overlook." There was talk of war, and Roosevelt secretly warned his
commander in the Philippines to prepare for a Japanese attack.

The crisis passed, but not the resentment, and antagonism reached a
climax during World War I, even though the two countries were allies.
Already President Woodrow Wilson was calling for "territorial integrity
and political independence throughout the world" and a return to China
of land and rights lost to conquerors. This idealistic stance was a
direct threat to the empire Japan had won in the past few decades and
it seemed inevitable to her military leaders that they were destined to
fight America for supremacy of the western Pacific and Asia. They
gained popular support in 1924 when Congress passed the Exclusion Act
barring Japanese from immigration to the United States. It seemed like
a deliberate challenge to the proud, sensitive Japanese, and even those
with pro-American sympathies were discomposed.

"Japan felt as if her best friend had, of a sudden and without
provocation, slapped her on the cheek," wrote a well-known Japanese

"Each year that passes without amendment or abrogation only strengthens
our sense of injury, which is destined to show itself, in one form or
another, in personal and public intercourse."

With the seizure of Manchuria and the invasion of North China, the gulf
widened as America denounced Japanese aggression with increasingly
forceful words. This moral denunciation only hardened the resolve of
the average Japanese. Why should there be a Monroe Doctrine in the
Americas and an Open Door principle in Asia? The Japanese takeover in
bandit-infested Manchuria was no different froir American armed
intervention in the Caribbean.* Moreover, how could a vast country like
the United States even begin to understand the problems that had beset
Japan since Work War I? Why was it perfectly acceptable for England
and Holland to occupy India, Hong Kong, Singapore and the East Indies,
but a crime for Japan to follow their example' Why should America,
which had grabbed its lands from Indians by trickery, liquor and
massacre, be so outraged when Japan did the same in China?**
Superpatriots plotted to assassinate pro-Western leaders and blow up
the American and British embassies. Mass meetings were held denouncing
both countries for giving heir to China, and calling for acceptance of
Hitler's invitation to join Germany and Italy in a tripartite pact.
Westerners were refused rooms in some hotels, insulted publicly and
occasionally beaten in sight of police.

The phrase originated with Kaiser Wilhelm in 1895. He had a revelation
of Oriental hordes overwhelming Europe and made a sketch of his vision:
a Buddha riding upon a dragon above ruined cities. The caption read:
"Die gel be Gefahrl"-"The Yellow Peril." Several copies were made and
presented to royal relatives all over Europe as well as every embassy
in Berlin.

Arnold Toynbee saw some logic in their point of view. He late wrote
that Japan's "economic interests in Manchuria were not superfluities
but vital necessities of her international life ... The internationa
position of Japan-with Nationalist China, Soviet Russia, and the
race-conscious English-speaking peoples of the Pacific closing in upoi
her-had suddenly become precarious again."

In this connection, Ambassador Grew once told the State Department "We
should not lose sight of the fact, deplorable but true, that no
practical and effective code of international morality upon which the
world can rely has yet been discovered, and that the standards of
morality of one nation in given circumstances have little or no
relation to the standards of the individuals of the nations in
question. To shape our foreign policy on the unsound theory that other
nations are guided and bound by our present standards of international
ethics would be to cort sure disaster." All this emotional turmoil was
worsened by marked differences between East and West in morality,
religion and even patterns of thinking. Western logic was precise,
with axioms, definitions, and proofs leading to a logical conclusion.
Born dialecticians, the Japanese held that any existence was a
contradiction. In everyday life they instinctively practiced the
concept of the contradiction of opposites, and the means of harmonizing
them. Right and wrong, spirit and matter, God and man-all these
opposing elements were harmoniously united. That was why a thing could
be good and bad at the same time.

Unlike Westerners, who tended to think in terms of black and white, the
Japanese had vaguer distinctions, which in international relations
often resulted in "policies" and not "principles," and seemed to
Westerners to be conscienceless. Western logic was like a suitcase,
defined and limited. Eastern logic was like the furoshiki, the cloth
Japanese carry for wrapping objects. It could be large or small
according to circumstances and could be folded and put in the pocket
when not needed.

To Westerners, the Japanese were an incomprehensible contradiction:
polite and barbarous, honest and treacherous, brave and cowardly,
industrious and lazy-all at the same time. To the Japanese, these were
not anomalies at all but one united whole, and they could not
understand why Westerners didn't comprehend it. To the Japanese, a man
without contradictions could not be respected; he was just a simple
person. The more numerous the contradictions in a man, the deeper he
was. His existence was richer the more acutely he struggled with

This philosophy was derived mainly from Buddhism, a doctrine wherein
all is absorbed in the spaceless, timeless abyss of non difference All
is vanity and nothing can be differentiated because nothing has entity
or identity.

"I" has no entity and is an illusion appearing transitorily and
momentarily on constantly floating relations of fallacious phenomena
which come and go as the Almighty Wheel of Causality moves on. Nobody
knows or is responsible for the movements of change, since there is no
Creator or Heavenly Father or Fate.

Almost every Japanese household had two shrines-one Buddhist, one
Shinto. Shinto ("the way of the gods") was the national religion. It
was based on awe inspired by any phenomenon of nature. More of a cult
of ancestor worship and communion with the past than a religion per se,
it had been revived in the nineteenth century and transformed into a
nationalistic ideology. Among the reasons for Japan's plunge into
military adventure in Manchuria and China, this Wheel of Causality
loomed significantly. Out of cowardice, or in some cases out of
self-interest or simple indecision, a number of military and political
leaders failed to curb the fanatic group of young officers who
engineered these aggressions. But many on all levels just moved along
with the tide, caught up in the Wheel of Causality. They lay down
obediently and quietly, as it were, on the road of Blind Change,
following the Buddhist belief that the Wheel of Causality went on
eternally and absolutely non teleologically With characteristic
flexibility, some sects believed that everyone could become a Buddha,
or "blessed one," after death; others that the individual was nothing
and salvation lay only in the negation of self, that man was a bubble
on the Ocean of Nothingness who would eventually vanish in the
boundless water where there was no birth, no death, no beginning, no
end. Buddha himself was nothing more than a finger pointing at the

This was all expressed in the word sayonara (sayo-so, naraif), that is,
"So be it." The Japanese said sayonara every moment to everything, for
he felt each moment was a dream. Life was sayonara. Empires could
rise or fall, the greatest heroes and philosophers crumble to dust,
planets come and go, but Change never changed, including Change

This strong recognition of death gave the Japanese not only the
strength to face disaster stoically but an intense appreciation of each
moment, which could be the last. This was not pessimism but a calm
determination to let nothing discourage or disappoint or elate, to
accept the inevitable. The most admirable fish was the carp. He swam
gallantly upstream, leaping the sheerest falls, but once caught and put
on the cutting board, lay quiet, accepting serenely what must be. So
be it. Sayonara.

Understanding little or nothing of either the Wheel of Causality or the
power wielded by the dedicated young rebels, informed Americans
mistakenly assumed that the takeover in Manchuria and the foray into
China were steps plotted by military leaders who, like Hitler, wished
to seize the world for themselves.

Within the Japanese, metaphysical intuition and animalistic,
instinctive urges lay side by side. Thus philosophy was brutalized and
brutality was philosophized. The assassinations and other bloody acts
committed by the rebels were inspired by idealism; and the soldiers who
sailed to China to save the Orient for the Orient ended by slaughtering
thousands of fellow Orientals in Nanking.

There was no buffer zone in their thinking between the transcendental
and the empirical-between the chrysanthemum and the sword. They were
religious but had no God in the Western sense-that is, a single Divine
Being. They were sincere but had no concept of sin; they had sympathy
but little humanity; they had clans but no society; they had a rigid
family system which gave security but took away individuality. They
were, in short, a great and energetic people often driven by opposing
forces and often trying to go in opposite directions at the same

There were also numerous petty differences between East and West that
needlessly aggravated matters. If a Westerner asked, "This isn't the
road to Tokyo, is it?" the Japanese would reply yes, meaning, "What
you say is correct; it is not the road to Tokyo." Confusion also
resulted when the Japanese agreed with the Westerner just to be
agreeable or to avoid embarrassment, or gave wrong information rather
than admit his ignorance.

To most Westerners, the Japanese was utterly inscrutable. The way he
handled his tools was all wrong: he squatted at an anvil; he pulled
rather than pushed a saw or plane; he built his house from the roof
down. To open a lock, he turned a key to the left, the wrong
direction. Everything the Japanese did was backwards. He spoke
backwards, read backwards, wrote backwards. He sat on the floor
instead of in chairs; ate raw fish and live, wriggling shrimp. He
would tell of the most tragic personal events and then laugh; fall in
the mud in his best suit and come up with a grin; convey ideas by
misdirection; discuss matters in a devious, tortuous manner; treat you
with exaggerated politeness in his home and rudely shove you aside in a
train; even assassinate a man and apologize to the servants for messing
up the house.

What Westerners did not realize was that underneath the veneer of
modernity and westernization, Japan was still Oriental and that her
plunge from feudalism to imperialism had come so precipitously that her
leaders, who were interested solely in Western methods, not Western
values, had neither the time nor inclination to develop liberalism and


Hostility between the Russians and the Japanese also continued, but
this was less a misunderstanding of cultures than a struggle for
territory. In the summer of 1938 their troops battled for possession
of a barren hill on the Manchurian-Soviet border, and the Red Army and
air force gave the Japanese such a drubbing that within two weeks they
agreed to a settlement. Some ten months later another squabble started
near Nomonhan on the Manchurian-Outer Mongolian border, relatively
close to Peking. In a few weeks it turned into full-fledged warfare,
with the first large-scale tank battles in history. Once again the
Russians crushed the Japanese, who suffered more than fifty thousand
casualties. This embarrassing rehearsal for war not only caused a
revolution in Japanese weaponry and military tactics but drove Japan
closer to an alliance with Germany and Italy, since she felt that the
Soviet Union, England, China and America might combine against her at
any moment Before this border war could be settled, Stalin threw both
the Chinese and the Japanese into turmoil by signing, on August 23,
1939, a pact with his bitterest enemy, Hitler. Prime Minister Kiichiro
Hiranuma, who had succeeded Prince Konoye in January, and whose cabinet
had held more than seventy meetings in a futile effort to reach
agreement on a Tripartite Pact, was so embarrassed and dismayed that he
announced, "The Cabinet herewith resigns because of complicated and
inscrutable situations recently arising in Europe;" Both Hitler and
Stalin trumpeted to the world the clauses of their historic
treaty-except for a secret protocol dividing This was not mere
paranoia. Shortly before, Stalin had written to Chiang Kai-shek: "If
our negotiations with the European countries should produce
satisfactory results-which is not impossible-this may be an important
step toward the creation of a bloc of peace-loving nations in the Far
East as well. Time is working favorably toward the formation of such a

"As a result of the now two-year-old war with China, Japan has lost her
balance, begun to get nervous, and is hurling herself recklessly, now
against Britain, and now against Soviet Russia and the Republic of
Outer Mongolia. This is a sign of Japanese weakness and her conduct
may unite all othc s against her. From Soviet Russia, Japan has
already received the counter blows she deserves. Britain and the
United States are waiting for an opportune moment to harm Japan. And
we have no doubt that before long she will receive another counter blow
from China, one that will be a hundred times mightier." up eastern
Europe-and nine days later, on September 1, one and a half million
German troops invaded Poland. World War II had begun. Though Poland,
crushed between two massive forces, disintegrated in a few weeks, the
western front remained so quiet that newsmen sardonically labeled the
conflict "the phony war."

As the fighting in China dragged on into 1940, the Japanese Army
General Staff decided in secret that unless total victory was achieved
within the year, forces would be gradually withdrawn, leaving only
troops in the northern part of China as defense against Communism.
However, six weeks later, on May 10, Hitler again charged the course of
Japan by launching a blitzkrieg against the western front. At dusk,
four days later, the Dutch commander surrendered. The next morning at
seven-thirty Britain's brand-new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was
wakened by a phone call from Paris.

"We have been defeated!" exclaimed Premier Paul Reynaud.

"We are beaten!" Two weeks later King Leopold III surrendered,
ignoring the advice of his government, and refused to seek refuge in

"I have decided to stay," he said.

"The cause of the Allies is lost." Within a month France capitulated
and England herself appeared doomed.

The Japanese military leaders, intoxicated by Hitler's easy victories,
changed their minds about the war in China and adopted the slogan
"Don't miss the bus!" With France defeated and Britain fighting for
survival, the time had come to strike into Southeast Asia for oil and
other sorely needed resources. On the morning of June 22 the Army
General Staff and the War Ministry held a joint meeting, and those who
had recently advocated a withdrawal from China recommended an immediate
surprise attack on Singapore. Conservatives squashed this scheme, but
the spirit of chance lingered in the air and the virus of opportunism
spread with each passing day. Reconciled to defeat in China a few
months earlier, the Japanese were tempted by Hitler's sudden fortune in
Europe to make a bid for the resources of Southeast Asia.

Before the end of July, Prince Konoye was persuaded to re-enter
politics and form his second cabinet. Two of the key posts were filled
by rising men-one a diplomat, the talkative, brilliant, quixotic Yosuke
Matsuoka, who became foreign minister, and the other a soldier,
Lieutenant General Hideki Tojo, who became war minister. Hard-working,
hard-headed and dedicated, Tojo had already earned the nickname "the
Razor." As simple as Konoye was complicated, he enjoyed great prestige
within the Army, having ably execute da number of difficult
assignments, including command of the kempeitai in the Kwantung Army.
He was incorruptible, a rigid disciplinarian who demanded and got
absolute discipline, and he selected subordinates for their ability and
experience alone. Unlike other generals who wavered during the 2/26
Incident, he had acted with dispatch proclaiming a state of emergency
in Manchuria, thus crushing any sympathetic revolt. To his legalistic
mind, gekokujo was "absolutely unpardonable," not to be tolerated. This
brought him respect from conservative military circles as well as from
civilians who dreaded another bloody revolt, and it was undoubtedly the
main reason Konoye selected him.

Foreign Minister Matsuoka, president of the South Manchurian Railway
and a close associate of Tojo's while the general was in the Kwantung
Army, was almost his opposite. He was equally strong-minded but far
more flamboyant, venturesome and intuitive. Whereas Tojo was a man of
few words, Matsuoka was an orator of extraordinary eloquence who
deserved his nicknames "Mr. 50,000 Words" and "the Talking Machine."
He good-naturedly denied he was loquacious.

"Being verbose means trying to cancel out or excuse what one has just
said. I'd never do that. Therefore I'm not verbose."

"I have never known anyone talk so much to say so little," observed
Ambassador Craigie, who judged him also to be a stubborn and determined
man with an acute mind.

Matsuoka was small and swarthy, and his clipped bullet head, mustache,
big tortoise-shell glasses and flare for the dramatic had brought him
world attention when he precipitously stalked out of the League of
Nations Assembly during the debate on Manchuria. At the age of
thirteen he had gone to sea, and was dumped ashore in America by the
captain, his uncle, and told to fend for himself. An American family
in Portland, Oregon, gave him refuge and he spent the next formative
years working diligently as a laborer, in a law office, and even as a
substitute minister while getting himself an education. After
graduation from the University of Oregon he worked for three more years
before returning to Japan, where he rose to fame by brilliance and
energy alone.

Prince Konoye listened to practically everybody, Matsuoka to
practically nobody. He was too busy expounding the ideas that kept
leaping to his agile mind. His mystifying statements confused many,
and some thought he was insane, but subordinates in the Foreign
Ministry, like Dr. Yoshie Saito and Toshikazu Kase, felt it was merely
his paradoxical nature in action. An intellectual gymnast, he would
often say some69 thing contrary to what he believed and propose
something he opposed in order to get his own way by default. A man of
broad visions, he seldom explained these visions, or if he did, talked
at such cross-purposes that it was no wonder he left a wake of
confusion behind him; even those who thought him one of the most
brilliant men in Japan watched anxiously as he nimbly played his
dangerous diplomatic games. He assured his associates over and over
again that he was pro-American, yet talked insultingly about America;
he distrusted Germany, yet courted Hitler; he was against the rise of
militarism, yet sprouted his arguments for war.

In his home he also played the paradox. He shouted at his seven
children, and let them ride on his back; he was autocratic, yet gave
unstintingly of his love and attention. Kiwamu Ogiwara, who worked for
Matsuoka as shosei (a combination secretary and personal servant)
became so terrified at his temper tantrums that he could never look
directly at him. One day after taking a bath, Matsuoka shouted "Oil"
(Hey!) from his room, and when Ogiwara peered in, gestured impatiently
at his middle. The shosei brought in an obi and this set Matsuoka off
on a furious pantomime. Ogiwara had to find out from the maid that
this particular gesture meant the master wanted his loincloth. On days
when he was "not at home," a visitor would sometimes insist on seeing
the master and the shosei would announce him to Matsuoka.

"How can a man who isn't here see anyone!" he would yell. Almost
constantly in a nervous state, Ogiwara left Matsuoka's employ detesting
him. Yet a few years later, when he wrote asking for a job on the
South Manchurian Railway, Matsuoka saw to it that he got a position.
Under the fierce, arrogant, impatient exterior was a different person
which few ever glimpsed.

The Cabinet was just four days old when it unanimously approved a new
national policy to cope with "a great ordeal without precedence" in
Japan's past. The basic aim of this policy was world peace, and to
bring it about, a "new order in Greater East Asia" would have to be
established by uniting Japan with Manchukuo and China-under the
leadership, of course, of Japan. The entire nation was to be
mobilized, with every citizen devoting himself to the state. Planned
economy would be established, the Diet reformed and the China Incident
brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Moreover, a tripartite pact would be signed with Germany and Italy, and
a nonaggression treaty arranged with the Soviet Union. Although
America had placed an embargo on strategic materials to Japan, attempts
would be made to placate her as long as she went along with Japan's
"just claims." In addition, Japan would move into Indochina and
perhaps farther, seizing an empire by force of arms if necessary while
Europe was involved in its own war.

This policy was the brainchild of the military leaders, but they had
convinced Prime Minister Konoye and the civilians in the Cabinet that
it was Japan's last hope for survival in the chaotic modern world. What
it means was that the "Don't miss the bus" fever had become national
policy, escalating the China Incident into war and pushing Japan to
further aggressions. While the supremacy of civilian leaders over the
military was a fundamental aspect of American democracy, the reverse
was true in Japan. The Meiji Constitution had divided the power of
decision between the Cabinet and the Supreme Command, but the military
leaders, who had little understanding of political and diplomatic
affairs, could almost always override the civilians in the Cabinet;
their resignation would bring down the government. Their influence,
however, went beyond the threat of resignation. Military monopoly had
become a tradition and was rarely questioned. Consequently, it was the
policies of well-meaning but ill-equipped generals and admirals, based
on narrow military thinking, which dominated Japan.

The militarists who had formed this "Don't miss the bus" policy did not
want to foresee the possibility of war. With France defeated, and
England battling for its own existence, Indochina with its rubber, tin,
tungsten, coal and rice was to them "a treasure lying in the street
just waiting to be picked up." Within two months Japan forced the
impotent Vichy government to sign a convention in Hanoi allowing Japan
to set up air bases in northern Indochina* and use that area as a
jumping-off place for attacks on China.

All this was not done without protests from Matsuoka and more
thoughtful men in the Supreme Command who foresaw a collision course
with the Anglo-Saxons in the making. The Army Chief of Staff, Prince
Kanin, resigned in tears.

The United States reacted violently to the Japanese move; it meant a
potential threat to the Burma Road, through which America was sending
supplies into China. Prime Minister Churchill, however, felt quite
sanguine about the Japanese garrisons in northern Indochina and
suggested that two Indian brigades be removed from Singapore. Foreign
Secretary Now North Vietnam. Anthony Eden disagreed.

"It seems to me difficult to maintain now that the Japanese threat to
Malaya is not serious," he wrote in a minute to the Prime Minister.

"There is every indication that Germany has made some deal with Japan
within these last few days, and it seems, therefore, wise to make some
provision for the land defense of Singapore."

Eden had guessed right. The long-discussed Tripartite Pact with
Germany and Italy was near conclusion even though the Navy still
objected, fearing that such an agreement would require Japan's
automatic entry into war under certain circumstances. Matsuoka
countered this with persuasive and interminable rebuttals. The pact,
he declared, "would force the United States to act more prudently in
carrying out her plans against Japan" and would prevent war between the
two countries. Furthermore, if Germany did get into a fight with
America, Japan would not be automatically obliged to come to her aid.

Unable to withstand the onslaught of Matsuoka's arguments-and,
incidentally, vociferous popular support for the alliance-the
dissidents were won over. Konoye gave his grudging approval because he
well knew he would again be forced to resign if he opposed the Army.

"My idea is to ride on the military away from war," he told his
son-in-law. Like the Navy, the Emperor opposed the pact, and before
affixing the official seal, he warned Konoye that he feared it would
eventually lead to war with America and Britain.

"You must, therefore," he added ominously, "share with me the joys and
sorrows that will follow." On September 27, 1940, the pact was signed
in Berlin.* To British and Americans this was further evidence that
Japan was no better than Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and that the
three "gangster" nations had joined forces to conquer the world. The
United States retaliated immediately by adding scrap metal of every
kind to the list of embargoes, such as strategic materials and aviation
fuel, which had been announced in July.

Not only the Anglo-Saxons were dismayed by the treaty.

At this time Hitler did not want war with Japan and the Anglo-Saxons
and felt, like Matsuoka, that the pact obviated such a conflict. He
wrote Mussolini that "a close co-operation with Japan is the best way
either to keep America entirely out of the picture or to render her
entry into the war ineffective." Almost as soon as the pact was signed
the Fuhrer changed his mind about keeping peace in the Far East. He
decided that Japan had to become involved in the war as soon as
possible, and the German ambassador in Tokyo was ordered to inveigle
Japan into attacking Singapore at the risk of provoking the United
States. Pravda called it a "further aggravation of the war and an
expansion of its realm." German Foreign Minister Joachim von
Ribbentrop assured Vyacheslav Molotov, his Russian counterpart, that it
was directed exclusively against the American warmongers.

"The treaty, of course, does not pursue any aggressive aims against
America. Its exclusive purpose is rather to bring the elements
pressing for America's entry into the war to their senses, by
conclusively demonstrating to them that if they enter the present
struggle, they will automatically have to deal with the three great
powers as adversaries." Why not join the pact, he suggested, and wrote
a long letter to Stalin saying that it was the historical mission of
the four powers-the Soviet Union, Italy, Japan, and Germany-to adopt a
long-range policy and to direct the future developments of their people
into the right channel by delimitation of their interests on a
world-wide scale.... Matsuoka was positive he had engineered a plan for
world peace. To confused intimates who considered him friendly toward
America, he said it was the best way to prevent war with the United

"If you stand firm and start hitting back," he told his eldest son,
"the American will know he's talking to a man, and you two can then
talk man to man." He thought he, and he alone, knew the real

"It is my America and my American people that really exist," he once

"There is no other America; there are no other American people."

"I admit people will call all this a tricky business," he told Dr.
Saito; but he had allied with Hitler "to check the Army's aggressive
policy ... and to keep American warmongers from joining the war in
Europe. And after that we can shake hands with the United States. This
would keep peace in the Pacific while forming a great combine of
capitalistic nations around the world against Communism."

The Tripartite Pact was also a means of settling the China Incident, he

"The solution of the incident should rest on mutual assistance and
prosperity, not on the hope of getting outside help to threaten China.
To do this we should use the good offices of a third nation. I think
the United States would do admirably for this purpose. But here the
question is, What concessions will Japan (or rather, the Army) make?
Japan should agree to a complete withdrawal of her troops from

The devious Matsuoka concluded that his aims could best be accomplished
by supporting Ribbentrop's plan for a grand quadruple alliance uniting
Germany, Italy and Japan with their common enemy, Russia, and requested
permission to go to Europe so he could personally bring this to pass.
After lengthy debate the military chiefs approved the trip but rejected
his request to bring along a gift for Hitler-promise of a Japanese
attack on Singapore.

On March 12, 1941, a large crowd gathered at Tokyo Station to bid
Matsuoka farewell. As the bell rang announcing the train's departure,
he rushed up to General Sugiyama and pestered him once more about
Singapore. When was he going to take the city?

"I cannot tell you now," the general replied stiffly, thinking to
himself, What a troublesome fellow this Matsuoka is!

That he was became evident when, on the long trip across Siberia, he
said privately to Colonel Yatsuji Nagai, sent along by the Army to see
that he would make no rash promises about Singapore.

"Nagai-ran, you try to stir up some trouble along the border; I'm going
to try to close a Japanese-Soviet neutrality pact."

In Berlin he first saw Hitler and even in these discussions it was
Matsuoka who, as usual, dominated the conversation. In fact, Hitler
rarely talked, and when he did he usually railed against England,
exclaiming, "She must be beaten!"

Both Ribbentrop and Hitler, as well as high officials of the Reich, did
their best to convince Matsuoka that seizure of Singapore would be
advantageous to Japan. Ribbentrop argued that it would "perhaps be
most likely to keep America out of war," because then Roosevelt
couldn't risk sending his fleet into Japanese waters, while Hitler
assured him that if Japan did get into war, Germany would come to her
aid and "would be more than a match for America, entirely apart from
the fact that the German soldiers were, obviously, far superior to the

But Matsuoka became evasive at every mention of Singapore. For
example, when Hermann Goring, after accepting a scroll of Mount Fuji,
jokingly promised to come and see the real thing only "if Japan takes
Singapore," Matsuoka nodded toward the edgy Nagai and said, "You'll
have to ask him."

Matsuoka was not at all reticent about the treaty he hoped to make with
Stalin and was surprised to hear Ribbentrop, who had given him the idea
of a grand quadruple pact, say, "How can you conclude such a pact at
this time? Just remember, the USSR. never gives anything for
nothing." Nagai took this to be a warning, but Matsuoka's enthusiasmr
could not be damped even when the ambassador to Germany, General
Hiroshi Oshima, told him in confidence that there was a good likelihood
Germany and Russia would soon go to war.
On April 6 the party left Berlin. At the Soviet border they learned
that Germany had invaded Yugoslavia. Nagai and the other advisers were
disturbed-just the previous day Russia had signed a neutrality pact
with Yugoslavia-but Matsuoka himself was effervescent.

"Now I have the agreement with Stalin in my pocket!" he told his
private secretary, Tosbikazu Kase.

He was right. A week after arriving in Moscow, he signed a neutrality
pact in the Kremlin. At the extravagant celebration party, Stalin was
so obviously delighted at the turn of events that he personally brought
plates of food to the Japanese, embraced them, kissed them, and danced
around like a performing bear. The treaty was a coup for his
diplomacy, convincing proof that he could disregard rumors about a
German attack on Russia. After all, if Hitler had any such plans,
would he have allowed Japan to conclude this agreement?

"Banzai for His Majesty the Emperor!" was his opening toast. He
averred that diplomatic pledges should never be broken, even if
ideologies differed.

Matsuoka toasted him in turn and then added something no other Japanese
diplomat would have said.

"The treaty has been made," he blurted out.

"I do not lie. If I lie, my head shall be yours. If you lie, be sure
I will come for your head."

"My head is important to my country," Stalin retorted coldly.

"So is yours to your country. Let's take care to keep both our heads
on our shoulders." It was an embarrassing moment made worse when
Matsuoka, in an attempt to be funny, remarked that Nagai and his naval
counterpart "were always talking of how to beat the devil out of

Stalin wasn't joking when he replied that while Japan was very strong,
the Soviet Union was not the Czarist Russia of 1904. But an instant
later he had regained his good humor.

"You are an Asiatic," he said.

"And so am I."

"We're all Asiatics. Let us drink to the Asiatics!"

The innumerable toasts made it necessary to delay the eastbound train
for an hour. At the station platform the Japanese were taken aback to
see Stalin and Molotov tipsily converging on them from a side door for
a final good-bye. Stalin kissed Nagai.

"The reason England's in trouble today," he bellowed, "is because she
has a low opinion of soldiers." Beaming, Stalin then encompassed the
diminutive Matsuokain a bear hug and gave him several affectionate

"There is nothing to fear in Europe," he said, "now that there is a
Japan-Soviet neutrality pact!"

Matsuoka should have heeded Corneille's character who said, "I embrace
my rival, but only to choke him." Instead, he blithely exclaimed,
"There is nothing to fear in the whole world!" and like a conqueror,
climbed aboard the train. (Stalin was already embracing another
ambassador-Hitler's envoy, Count Friedrich Werner von der
Schulenburg-and telling him, "We must remain friends, and you must do
everything to that end.") As the train carrying Matsuoka traversed
Siberia, he told Kase that just before leaving Moscow he had talked
freely with his old friend Laurence Stein-hardt, the American
ambassador, and they had agreed to try to restore good relations
between their two countries.

"Now the stage is set," he said.

"Next I will go to Washington."


On the other side of the world Matsuoka's ambassador in Washington, the
good-natured, one-eyed Kichisaburo Nomura, a retired admiral, was
already endeavoring to patch up the differences between Japan and
America with Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Their talks had been
inspired by two energetic Catholic priests, Bishop James E. Walsh,
Superior General of the Maryknoll Society, and his assistant, Father
James M. Drought. Some six months earlier, armed with an introductory
letter from Lewis L. Strauss of Kuhn, Loeb & Company, the two priests
had gone to Tokyo, where they visited Tadao Ikawa, a director of the
Central Agricultural and Forestry Bank. They persuaded him that men of
good will in both Japan and America could help bring about a peaceful
settlement, and showed Ikawa a memorandum calling for a Japanese "Far
Eastern Monroe Doctrine" and a stand against Communism, "which is not a
political form of government but a corroding social disease that
becomes epidemic." Ikawa was impressed by the memorandum and felt sure
any reasonable Japanese would agree to its terms. During several
years' service in the United States as an official of the Finance
Ministry, he had made numerous friends in New York banking circles and
acquired an American wife. He assumed that the proposal had the
backing of President Roosevelt, since Father Drought had mentioned he
was acting with the approval of "top personnel" in the U. S. government
and, fired with enthusiasm, introduced the clergymen to Prime Minister
Konoye and Matsuoka. The former suggested that Ikawa sound out the
Army in the person of an influential colonel in the War Ministry named
Hideo Iwakuro. He was a unique combination of idealism and intrigue
and was just the man to put the priests' project into action: he
ardently believed that peace with America was Japan's salvation, and
plotting was a way of life with him. Behind his impish smile was one
of the most agile brains in the Army. An espionage and intelligence
expert, he had founded the prestigious Nakano School for spies, which
was at the time sending out groups of well-trained agents throughout
Asia imbued with his own idealistic views of a free amalgamation of
Asian nations. It was he, too, who had dreamed up the idea for
wrecking the Chinese economy by flooding that country with a billion
and a half dollars' worth of counterfeit yen. He had also succeeded in
getting refuge in Manchuria for some five thousand wandering Jews who
had fled Hitler, by persuading the Kwantung Army leaders on grounds
that no true Japanese could deny: a debt was owed the Jews; the Jewish
firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Company had helped finance the Russo-Japanese

Colonel Iwakuro arranged an interview for the two Americans with
General Akira Muto, chief of the Military Affairs Bureau, and the
latter was equally impressed by their proposal; he gave it his
blessing. Around New Year's the two priests returned to America, where
they made an ally out of Postmaster General Frank C. Walker, a
prominent Catholic. He set up an interview with President Roosevelt.
The President met Bishop Walsh, read his long, enthusiastic memorandum
and passed it on to Hull with the notation: "... What do you think we
should do? FDR."

"In general, I am skeptical whether the plan offered is a practical one
at this time," Hull replied in a note drafted largely by Dr. Stanley
Hornbeck, his senior adviser on Far Eastern affairs, well known for his
sympathy toward China and hostility toward Japan.* "It seems to me that
there is Horn beck views on China were shared by an America which had
made Pearl Buck's novel The Good Earth a best seller. For three
decades Americans had held a highly idealized picture of the Chinese,
looking upon them as childlike innocents who needed protection against
the imperialism of Britain and Japan. China was a helpless, deserving
nation whose virtues America alone understood.

"In this highly subjective picture of the Chinese," wrote George F.
Kennan, "there was no room for a whole series of historical and
psychological realities. There was no room for the physical
ruthlessness that had characterized Chinese political life generally in
recent decades; little or no likelihood that the Japanese Government
and the Japanese people would in good faith accept any such arrangement
at this stage."

But the President was so intrigued by the idea that he asked Postmaster
General Walker to turn over his duties to an assistant and give Bishop
Walsh whatever assistance he could. As a "presidential agent," Walker
was empowered to set up secret headquarters on the eighteenth floor of
the Berkshire Hotel in New York City, and was given a code name, "John

Late in January, Bishop Walsh cabled Ikawa: as a result


awaiting developments. Ikawa wondered if he should go to Washington as
well, to help the priests and Ambassador Nomura, who was about to sail
for the United States, find a formula for coexistence. The admiral was
a straightforward, honest man of good will and good nature, with many
American friends, including President Roosevelt, but unfortunately had
no foreign office experience and little aptitude for diplomacy.

Ikawa went to Colonel Iwakuro for advice. The colonel encouraged him
to go and, moreover, wangled a commercial passport for him, as well as
money for the trip from two industrialists who were willing to make a
contribution toward peace. Ikawa would assist Nomura on the pretext of
negotiating with American businessmen. When word of the trip leaked
out, Matsuoka (just before his trip to Europe) accused the Army of
"taking upon itself negotiations with America" and of "putting up the
money." War Minister Hideki Tojo knew nothing of the arrangement and
summoned Iwakuro to his office. Iwakuro was so persuasive that Tojo
categorically, and in good faith, informed the Foreign for the
formidable psychological and political powers of the Chinese people
themselves; for the strong streak of xenophobia in their nature; for
the lessons of the Boxer Rebellion; for the extraordinary exploitative
talent shown by Chinese factions, of all times, in turning outside aid
to domestic political advantage."

The so-called China Lobby did much to further China's cause in America.
It was created by T. V. Soong, a clever and charming member of China's
most omnipotent family. One sister had married Sun Yat-sen; another, a
descendant of Confucius, H. H. Kung; and a third, Chiang Kai-shek.
Educated at Harvard and Columbia, Soong became close friends with
influential Americans such as Henry Morgen-thau, Harry Hopkins, Roy
Howard, Henry Luce, Joseph Alsop and Thomas Corcoran. With their help,
and that of a Pole, Ludwig Rajchman, Soong set up the lobby in 1940 and
found he now had direct access to President Roosevelt without having to
go through Hull. Ministry that the Army had no knowledge whatsoever of
the Ikawa mission.

It was a dangerous game but Iwakuro felt that friendly relations with
America were well worth it, and playing dangerous games was his hobby.
He thought this ended his part in the matter but it had just begun, for
Tojo had become so impressed with Iwakuro's grasp of the situation that
he was ordered to proceed to America to help Nomura in his mission.

To prepare himself for the assignment, Iwakuro consulted with those who
called for war as well as those who wanted peace. One night at a party
in the Ginza, Nissho Inoue, leader of the Blood Brotherhood, urged him
to become a spy: "We are going to fight against Britain and the United
States, since they are blockading us, and your duty in America is to
find out when we should start the war." But these saber rattlers were
far outnumbered by those who urged Iwakuro to arrange any kind of
honorable settlement.

Exuding an air of conspiracy, he arrived in New York City on March 30
to find an America widely split on the issue of war or peace. The
interventionists, convinced their country's future and ultimate safety
depended on helping the democracies crush the aggressor nations, had
just pushed through Congress the Lend-Lease Act committing America to
unlimited aid, "short of war," to the enemies of the Axis. She was to
be the Arsenal of Democracy. Supporting this measure, and war itself,
were such groups as "Bundles for Britain," as well as national
minorities whose European relatives had suffered at the hands of Hitler
and Mussolini. Their antiwar opponents included strange bedfellows:
the right-wing "America Firsters" of Charles Lindbergh, Senator Borah
and the German-American Bund; the "American Peace Mobilization" of the
American Communist and Labor parties; and the traditionally
isolationist Midwest which, though sympathetic to Britain and China,
wanted no part of a shooting war.

Iwakuro was taken from the airport to St. Patrick's Cathedral to
confer with Bishop Walsh and Father Drought.

"Because of the Tripartite Pact, Japan cannot do anything to betray its
co-signers," he said.

"The thirteenth disciple, Judas, betrayed Christ, and every Christian
despises him. It is the same with us Japanese. So if you insist that
we withdraw from the pact, it will be hopeless to go on." The priests
said they understood, and Iwakuro proceeded to Washington. He got a
room at the Wardman Park Hotel, where Cordell Hull had recently taken
an apartment. The next morning he reported to Admiral Nomura and found
him affable and eager to utilize the unofficial channel opened up by
the two priests and Ikawa. Most of the professional diplomats at the
embassy, however, were hostile to this approach and were already
treating Ikawa with open contempt. To them the new arrival was even
more of an enigma. Iwakuro appeared to be "engagingly frank" but they
felt he had come to camouflage the aggressive intents of the Army, and
were wary.

On April 2 Father Drought began helping the two unofficial Japanese
diplomats draw up a Draft Understanding between Japan and the United
States. In three days it was completed. It was a broad agreement,
conciliatory in tone, touching on problems ranging from the Tripartite
Pact to economic activity in the southwest Pacific. Its most
significant points concerned China, with Japan promising to withdraw
troops and renounce all claims to any Chinese territory, provided China
recognized Manchukuo and provided the government of Chiang Kai-shek was
merged with that of a rival regime in Nanking under a former premier of
the Republic of China, Wang Ching-wei.* Drought took one copy to
Postmaster General Walker, who called it "a revolution in Japanese
'ideology' and policy, as well as a proof of the complete success of
American statesmanship," and passed it along to Roosevelt, with the
recommendation that he sign it immediately before "the Japanese leaders
[were] assassinated." At the Japanese embassy Nomura, Minister Kaname
Wakasugi, the military "Several months earlier, on November 30, 1940,
Japan had signed a treaty with the Wang government. The son of a
scholar, Wang had studied political science in Tokyo and became Sun
Yat-sen's chief disciple. It was he who wrote down Sun's last wishes
at his deathbed. He served twice as premier of the Republic of China
before becoming vice president of the Nationalist party. From the
beginning he had been a rival of Chiang Kai-shek's, and their relations
became so strained that at a private luncheon late in 1938 he suggested
they both resign their offices and "redeem the sins they had committed
against China." This infuriated Chiang and a few days later Wang
thought it best to escape by plane to Hanoi. On March 30, 1940, he
established his own splinter government in Nanking, although he had
little popular support and not much money.

What he wanted primarily was peace with Japan for the good of the
Chinese people, and if he had succeeded he would have become a national
hero. But the treaty, which, by recognizing Wang's government,
purportedly gave Japan a legal basis for fighting in China, was turning
out badly for both Wang and the Japanese. It ruined any chance there
was for Japan to make peace with Chiang Kai-shek and made the Nanking
government a puppet of Japan. As a result, Wang had already become the
symbol of treachery in China. f and naval attaches and a man from the
Treaties Section, after some changes in wording, unanimously approved

The Draft Understanding was carefully examined at the State Department
by the Far Eastern experts. They concluded that "most of its
provisions were all that the ardent i Japanese imperialists could
want." Hull concurred but felt that "however objectionable some of the
points might be, there were others that could be accepted as they stood
and still others that could be agreed to if modified." On April 14 !
Ikawa told Nomura that he had arranged a private meeting with Hull at
the Wardman Park Hotel that evening. No, mura was to go to Hull's
apartment by a rear corridor and ! knock on the door at eight o'clock.
Nomura did this, but he was afraid it was a practical joke. To his
surprise, Hull opened the door. His was a sad, thoughtful face and he
spoke slowly and gently except-as Nomura was to learn-when j aroused.
He came from Tennessee, land of mountain feuds, I and was himself a man
of implacable hatreds.

Nomura announced cryptically that he knew all about a certain "Draft
Understanding," and though he hadn't yet forwarded it to Tokyo, thought
his government "would be ! favorably disposed toward it." Hull raised
objections to some of the points in the agreement but said that once
these had been worked out, Nomura could send the revised document to
Tokyo to ascertain whether the imperial government would take it as a
"basis for negotiations." The inexperienced Nomura inferred from this
that a revised Draft Understanding would be acceptable to the United

But the admiral was seriously mistaken. Hull had unwittingly misled
Nomura, since he did not regard the proposals i as a solid basis for
negotiations. Perhaps the misunderstanding was a result of Nomura's
faulty English. Or perhaps Nomura's great desire for a settlement had
influenced his interpretation of Hull's vague phraseology.
Nevertheless, it was largely Hull's fault. He should have known he was
giving some encouragement to Nomura, when he had no such intentions. He
had committed a tactical error.

The two diplomats met again two days later at Hull's apartment.

"The one paramount preliminary question about which my Government is
concerned," Hull began in his slow, circuitous manner, "is a definite
assurance in advance that the Japanese Government has the willingness
and ability to i go forward with a plan ... in relation to the problems
of a settlement; to abandon its present doctrine of military conquest
by force and ... adopt the principles which this Gov81 eminent has been
proclaiming and practicing as embodying the foundation on which all
relations between nations should properly rest." He handed over a
piece of paper listing these four principles:

1. Respect for the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of each
and all nations.

2. Support of the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs
of other countries.

3. Support of the principle of equality, including equality of
commercial opportunity.

4. Nondisturbance of the status quo in the Pacific except as the status
quo may be altered by peaceful means.

Wondering if his earlier optimism had been well founded, Nomura asked
if Hull "would to a fairly full extent approve the proposals contained"
in the Draft Understanding. Some would be readily approved, Hull
replied, while others would have to be changed or eliminated. "... But
if [your] Government is in real earnest about changing its course," he
continued, "I [can] see no good reason why ways could not be found to
reach a fairly mutually satisfactory settlement of all the essential
questions and problems presented." This reassured Nomura and he
remained optimistic even when Hull pointed out that they had "in no
sense reached the stage of negotiations" and were "only exploring in a
purely preliminary and unofficial way what action might pave the way
for negotiations later."

Nomura transmitted Hull's suggestions and objections to the unofficial
diplomats and most of his comments were incorporated in a revised Draft
Understanding. The document was enciphered and dispatched to Tokyo,
accompanied by a strong recommendation from Nomura for a favorable
response. He added that Hull had "on the whole no objections" to the
Draft Understanding (which Hull had said, in so many words) and was
willing to use it as a basis for negotiations (which he had no
intention of doing).

It was now Nomura's turn to commit a diplomatic blunder-as serious as
Hull's. He failed to relay the Secretary of State's four basic
principles to Tokyo. Certainly this information would have cooled some
of Prime Minister Konoye's enthusiasm for the Draft Understanding. As
it was, the Prime Minister was so encouraged by the way things seemed
to be working out that he convened an emergency meeting of government
and military leaders. They were just as enthused, including the
military, and agreed that the American propos82 al-for that is what
they thought the Draft Understanding was-should be promptly accepted in
principle Matsuoka's deputy protested. They should wait for a few
days, until the Foreign Minister returned from Moscow. Konoye wanted
no collision with the troublesome Matsuoka and acquiesced. On April 21
he learned that Matsuoka had at last arrived at Dairen, not far from
the battlefields of the Russo-Japanese War, and told him over the phone
to come home at once to consider an important proposal from Washington.
Matsuoka assumed this was a result of his talk in Moscow with U. S.
Ambassador Laurence Steinhardt and triumphantly told his secretary that
he would soon be heading for America to complete his plan for world

The next afternoon Matsuoka's plane landed at Tachikawa Air Base and he
stepped out warmed by the cheers of the waiting crowd. Prime Minister
Konoye was on hand, even though he was suffering so intensely from
piles that he had to sit on an inflated circular tube. He offered to
take Matsuoka to the Prime Minister's official residence, where other
Cabinet ministers were waiting; he would brief the Foreign Minister on
the negotiations with America en route. Matsuoka mentioned that he
wanted to stop briefly at the plaza outside the Palace moat to pay his
respects to the Emperor. To Konoye it was pretentious and in bad taste
to bow deeply while newsmen took pictures, and he could not stand to
the side while Matsuoka went through the ceremony or he'd be accused of
insolence to the Emperor.

Since Matsuoka insisted on having his own way and Konoye was too proud
to join him, the two left the airport in separate cars On the drive to
the Palace, Matsuoka learned from his Vice Minister that the proposal
for a peaceful The Army General Staff had already received an
optimistic report from the military attach^ in Washington: improvement
of diplomatic



One of War Minister Tojo's most trusted advisers, Colonel Kenryo Sato,
was astounded that America would make such concessions. It was all
"too good to be true," he felt, and passed along his suspicions to
Tojo. But the War Minister was willing to do almost anything to settle
the war in China honorably and went along with the rest of the

Later Konoye repeatedly said, "If only I had ridden that day with
Matsuoka!" His secretary, Ushiba, believes pain from piles was
probably a contributing factor. If so, it was not the first time this
relatively minor ailment changed history. Napoleon suffered intensely
from hemorrhoids at Waterloo.

"Konoye may not have succeeded in placating Matsuoka," Ushibasettlement
was not his own doing but the work of a couple of amateur diplomats. He
was mortified, and that night was late for a conference at the Prime
Minister's official residence, convened to discuss the Draft
Understanding. He avoided not only Konoye but the subject of the
meeting as well, talking incessantly of Hitler-ran and Stalin-ran as if
they were his closest friends. Piqued at first, he became spirited and
expansive as he boasted of how he had told Steinhardt that Roosevelt
was "quite a gambler" and that the United States was keeping both the
China Incident and the war going with her aid.

"I told him the peace-loving President of the United States should
co-operate with Japan, which is also peace-loving, and that she could
inveigle Chiang to make peace with us." He also related that
Ribbentrop had told him that Germany had signed the pact with Russia
only because of "unavoidable circumstances" and that if it came to war,
Germany would probably be able to defeat Stalin in three or four

But the business of the conference could not be avoided indefinitely.
When the Draft Understanding was finally brought up, Matsuoka burst out
stridently, "I cannot agree to this, whatever you Army and Navy people
say! First of all, what about our treaty with Germany and Italy? In
the last war the United States made use of Japan through the
Ishii-Lansing agreement and when the war was over, the United States
broke it. This is an old trick of theirs." Suddenly he announced that
he felt very tired and needed "a month's rest" to think things over,
and went home.

His arrogant manner had not been of a kind to bring reassurance, and as
the meeting continued far into the night, both Tojo and General Muto
recommended that the Draft Understanding be approved without further
delay. The following day Konoye summoned his Foreign Minister.
Matsuoka had calmed down, but about all he would say was, "I wish you
would give me time to forget all about my European trip; then I'll
consider the present case."

A week passed without any action from Matsuoka, and commented further,
"but his failure to ride with Matsuoka as he had planned may have been
a turning point of history. It was really a great pity inasmuch as
Konoye had been very keen on personally explaining to Matsuoka, and
even restrained other Cabinet ministers from going to meet him. This
incident throws much light on Konoye's character: he lacked
persistence; he easily cooled off."

In 1917 the United States consented to Japan's request that her
"special interests" in China be recognized, but terminated the
ambiguous agreement after the Armistice. pressure began to build in
the Army and Navy for his removal. Whether he was so offended that
negotiations had been initiated without him that he was deliberately
sabotaging them or was merely being properly cautious for fear that an
amateur attempt at peace might lead to disaster, it was difficult to

The reason Matsuoka himself gave was that the Draft Understanding was
merely a plot of the Army, and Colonel Iwakuro was making a cat's-paw
out of him. So he did nothing, while the Army and Navy fumed and the
negotiators in Washington wondered what had gone wrong. It was hardest
on the impetuous Iwakuro. Finally, on April 29, the Emperor's
birthday, he could restrain himself no longer and suggested telephoning
Matsuoka. It was indiscreet, but indiscretion was Iwakuro's creed and
his associates were persuaded by his enthusiasm. It was decided that
he and Ikawa should make the call from Postmaster General Walker's
secret headquarters in New York City. By the evening they were in Room
1812 at the Berkshire Hotel, and began toasting the Emperor in port.
The colonel had a small tolerance for wine and after two glasses he was
feeling light-headed. At eight o'clock (it was ten o'clock the next
morning in Japan) he put in the call to Matsuoka's home in Sendagaya.

"Congratulations on your trip to Europe," Iwakuro began.

"About the fish I sent you the other day, how did you find it? Please
have it cooked as soon as possible. Otherwise it will go bad. Nomura
and all the others are expecting to have your reply soon."

"I know, I know," said Matsuoka curtly.

"Tell him not to be so active."

Iwakuro wished he could have slapped Matsuoka for answering so

"Please find out how others think about it. If you keep the fish
around too long, it will surely go bad. Please be careful. Otherwise
people will hold you responsible for everything."

"I know," was the blunt answer. Iwakuro hung up, muttered something
incomprehensible, and to Ikawa's consternation, abruptly passed out.

The following day the two men called on former President Herbert
Hoover, who welcomed them warmly but observed that since the
Republicans were not in power, they could be of little help in the

"If war comes, civilization will be set back five hundred years," he
said and added somberly "The negotiations should be completed before
summer or they will fail."

In Tokyo, Matsuoka was still delaying the reply to Hull. He had
informed Hitler of the Draft Understanding and was waiting for his
comments To those who pressed for action, he repeated that before
approving the Draft Understanding, Japan should ask America to sign a
neutrality treaty which would be in effect even if Japan and Britain
went to war. Nomura was told to sound out Hull on such a treaty.
Naturally, Hull rejected the proposal peremptorily. This irritated
Matsuoka no end; he told the Emperor on May 8 that if the United States
entered the war in Europe, Japan should back their Axis allies and
attack Singapore. He predicted that the talks in Washington would come
to nothing, and that if they did succeed it would only mean that
America had been placated at the expense of Germany and Italy.

"If that happens, I am afraid I cannot remain in the Cabinet."

When Prince Konoye heard this-from the Emperor himself, who expressed
his "astonishment and grave concern" he secretly met with his War and
Navy ministers, General Tojo and Admiral Koshiro Oikawa, and they
agreed to force the fractious Foreign Minister to act. A reply
accepting the main conditions of the Draft Understanding was drawn up,
and Matsuoka was instructed to send it without delay.

On May 12 Nomura brought this document to Hull's apartment. Hull read
it with disappointment. It "offered little basis for an agreement,
unless we were willing to sacrifice some of our most basic principles,
which we were not." Still, it was a formal proposition and he decided
"to go forward on the basis of the Japanese proposals and seek to argue
Japan into modifying here, eliminating there, and inserting elsewhere,
until we might reach an accord we both could sign with mutual good

The problem-already beset by language difficulties, stubbornness,
rigidity and confusion-was further aggravated by American intercepts of
Japanese messages. Diplomatic codes, supposedly unbreakable, had been
cracked by American ex*Matsuoka also promised the German ambassador,
General Eugen Ott, who expressed fears that the negotiations in
Washington would negate the Tripartite Pact, that if the United States
entered the war, Japan would definitely get in it. Notwithstanding,
Hitler was suspicious of Matsuoka, and told Mussolini that Matsuoka was
a Catholic who also sacrificed to pagan gods and "one must conclude
that he was combining the hypocrisy of an American Bible missionary
with the craftiness of a Japanese Asiatic." Exrts, and messages from
the Japanese government to its diplomats overseas were being
intercepted and deciphered under the cover name of Operation Magic.
Consequently, Hull usually knew what was on Nomura's mind before he
walked into a conference But since many of the decoded messages were
not considered worthy of Hull's attention-a naval officer made this
decision on his own-and since messages were translated by men not
fluent in the stylized and difficult language of Japanese diplomacy,
Hull was occasionally misled.

The judge from Tennessee, moreover, was constantly annoyed at the
perpetual, "frozen" smiles of the Japanese, and either ridiculed or
made fun of their bowing and "hissing As a result, it was easy for his
chief adviser, Dr. Hornbeck, to persuade him that the Japanese were
not to be trusted and that any compromise with Japan would be a
betrayal of American democratic principles.

Hornbeck, a highly ethical man like his superior, who had been brought
up in China, was by nature antagonistic to the Japanese and looked on
their expansion from a purely moralistic standpoint. Hornbeck's
associate in the State Department, J. Pierrepont Moffat, described him
as regarding "Japan as the sun around which her satellites, Germany and
Italy, were revolving." A proponent for economic warfare since the
fall of 1938, he stood for "a diplomatic 'war plan."" Stubborn and
sensitive, he was convinced that Japan was a "predatory" power run by
arrogant militarists who were encouraged by world timidity to go from
aggression to aggression. He had always felt they could only be
blocked by a series of retaliations, ending, if need be, in economic
sanctions. This program should be put into effect even if it ended
About two weeks earlier Ambassador Hiroshi Oshima had cabled from
Berlin that he had just been told by Dr. Heinrich Stahmer, a Foreign
Ministry official in charge of Japanese-German affairs, that German
intelligence was fairly certain the American government was reading
Nomura's coded messages.

"There are at least two circumstances to substantiate the suspicion,"
said Oshima.

"One is that Germany is also reading our coded messages. And the other
is that the Americans once before succeeded in compromising our codes,
in 1922, during the Washington Conference." But Kazuji Kameyama, chief
of the Cable Section, assured Matsuoka that it was humanly impossible
to break the diplomatic code, and it was assumed that any secret
information America obtained had come through security leaks.

Snakes and cats hiss by expelling breath. Japanese do just the
opposite, sucking in at times of cogitation, uncertainty or
embarrassment. in war; bowing to the militarists' demands would
eventually end in war, anyway. Like so many intellectuals-and he was
one of the most brilliant men in the foreign service-he was opinionated
He was also dictatorial and could easily override more objective
subordinates, such as the modest Joseph W. Ballantine, the department's
leading Japan expert.

During these trying days Hull and Nomura often met at the Wardman Park
Hotel in an effort to work out their differences, but made little
progress. Part of their trouble came from Tokyo, where Matsuoka was
making provocative announcements both privately and publicly. On May
14 he told Ambassador Grew that Hitler had shown great "patience and
generosity" in not declaring war on the United States, and that
American attacks on German submarines would doubtless lead to war
between Japan and America. The "manly, decent and reasonable" thing
for the United States to do, he said, was "to declare war openly on
Germany instead of engaging in acts of war under cover of neutrality."
Grew with all his sympathies could not bear such an insult, and he
rebutted Matsuoka's assertions point for point. Matsuoka realized he
had gone too far and after the meeting wrote a conciliatory note: I was
wondering, to be frank, why you appeared so disturbed when I referred
to the American attitude and actions. After Your Excellency's
departure, it all suddenly dawned on me that I misused a word.... Of
course, I didn't mean to say "indecent." No! I wanted to say

I write you the above in order to remove any misapprehension; I'd feel
very sorry if I caused any.

Three days later Matsuoka wrote Grew again. In a long, disjointed
letter marked "Entirely Private" he said he knew how to be "correct" as
a foreign minister but often forgot that he was foreign minister.
Furthermore, he hated the so-called correct attitudes of many diplomats
which "hardly get us anywhere" and then admitted that he thought in
terms of one, two and even three thousand years, and if that sounded
like insanity he couldn't help it because he was made that way.

Indeed, more than one thought this last was the case. At a *"I am
still convinced," Ushiba wrote in 1970, "that on the U.S. side, Hull's
formalism and orthodox diplomacy and Hornbeck's stubbornness proved the
undoing of Konoye's efforts (granted there was much more stubbornness
on the Japanese side! recent liaison conference Navy Minister Oikawa
had remarked, "The Foreign Minister is insane, isn't he?" And
President Roosevelt, after reading a Magic translation of instructions
sent by Matsuoka to Nomura, thought they were "the product of a mind
which is deeply disturbed and unable to think quietly or logically."

Prince Konoye, however, believed Matsuoka's provocative, inflammatory
and sometimes erratic statements were purposely made to frighten
opponents; perhaps that was why he kept aiming so many barbs at
America. But if this had started as a tactic and he sincerely wanted
peace, it ended in disaster. Because of his insults and delays, the
talks in Washington had about reached an impasse. Matsuoka knew this
was happening, yet he continued insulting and delaying and looking to
Hitler for advice. He was deliberately wrecking the negotiations
probably out of his egomaniacal conviction that he and he alone knew
the real America and could resolve the controversy.

He remained belligerent while Nomura and Iwakuro talked peace, and Hull
understandably concluded that he was being misled. On June 21 the
Secretary of State at last answered the Japanese proposal: Japan would
have to abandon the Tripartite Pact, and he rejected the Japanese plan
to retain troops in certain areas of North China to help the Chinese
combat the Communists.

Konoye and his cabinet were dismayed. It wasn't even as acceptable an
offer as the Draft Understanding. Why had the Americans changed from
their "original" proposal? wondered Konoye, still unaware that Hull
had never regarded the Draft Understanding as a basis for

What infuriated Matsuoka was an Oral Statement that accompanied Hull's
answer to the effect that recent public statements by certain Japanese
officials-and it was obvious he meant Matsuoka-seemed to be an
unsurmountable roadblock to the negotiations. The Foreign Minister
took this as a personal insult, and cause for breaking off the talks in
Washington altogether.

This concern and confusion was eclipsed the next day, Sunday, June 22,
when Hitler invaded Russia. The Japanese were taken by surprise,
although Ambassador Oshima, after talks with Hitler and Ribbentrop, had
cabled sixteen days earlier that war between Germany and Russia was

It also came as a blow to Stalin, despite 180 German violations of
Soviet air space (including penetrations as deep as four hundred miles)
in the previous two months. There were also unheeded warnings of an
impending attack from official Washington and London-and Stalin's own
secret agent in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, who had correctly predicted in
the spring of 1939 that Germany would march into Poland on September 1.
Sorge not only dispatched photocopies of telegrams from Ribbentrop
informing his ambassador in Tokyo, General Eugen Ott, that the
Wehrmacht would invade the Soviet Union in the second half of June, he
also sent a last-minute message on June 14: "War begins June 22." In
the first few hours the Luftwaffe wiped out 66 Soviet airfields and
destroyed 1,200 planes while ground forces swept forward capturing
almost 2,000 big guns, 3,000 tanks and 2,000 truckloads of ammunition
The news of the attack reached Tokyo a little before four o'clock on
Sunday afternoon. Within minutes Matsuoka phoned the Lord Privy Seal,
Marquis Koichi Kido, and asked for an audience with the Emperor. Kido
was a small, neatly compact man of fifty-two, with a trimmed mustache,
and had, like Konoye, been a protege of Prince Saionji's. The liberal
political philosophy and logical reasoning which characterized the last
genro (he had died the previous year at the age of ninety-one) had
always made a deep impression on him, particularly Saionji's repeated
warnings that Japan's policy must be based on co-operation with Britain
and America. Accordingly, Kido had actively opposed the seizure of
Manchuria, the push into China and the Tripartite Pact. His
grandfather by marriage, as it were, was Koin Kido, one of According to
A Short History of the USSR.: "The country's poor preparedness was due
to grave errors of judgement made by Stalin in evaluating the general
strategic situation and in his estimates of the probable time the war
would break out ... Hitler hoped that his surprise attack would knock
out the Red Army, and to be sure, Stalin's errors of judgement, and his
outright mistakes, went a long way to further his designs." .

Early in 1969, however, the Soviet Communist party's most authoritative
journal, Kommunist, declared that Stalin was an "outstanding military
leader," and that Nikita Khrushchev's dramatic attack on Stalin at the
20th Party Congress in 1956 was completely unfounded.

"Not a stone remains of the irresponsible statements about his military
incompetence, of his direction of the war 'on a globe," of his
supposedly absolute intolerance of other views, and of other similar
inventions grasped and spread by foreign falsifiers of history." This
reappraisal was echoed a few days later by the Red Army newspaper
Krasnaya Zvezda in a lengthy attack on "revisionists" in such countries
as Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and France. the four most illustrious
leaders of the Meiji Restoration," but the young man had earned every
advancement by his own industry and ability. As Lord Keeper of the
Privy Seal Kido was the permanent confidential adviser to the Emperor
on all matters ("I was to the Emperor what Harry Hopkins was to
President Roosevelt") and Hirohito had grown to lean on his counsel.
Konoye and Kido were probably the two most influential civilians in
Japan, and though close friends were almost exact opposites in
character as well as appearance. Already highly respected as a
hard-headed, practical man, the Privy Seal was direct and decisive, a
pragmatist. He was an able administrator and every detail of his life
was carefully planned, precisely executed. In golf, which he played
with zealous regularity, he was such a model of precision with his
modulated swing that his partners called him "Kido the Clock."

After arranging a five-thirty audience for Matsuoka, Kido informed the
Emperor that the Foreign Minister's views probably differed from

"I would like His Majesty to ask him if he has consulted with the Prime
Minister regarding the question, and tell him that this question is
extremely important," said Kido.

"Therefore he should confer closely with the Prime Minister and tell
him that the Emperor is basically in agreement with the Prime Minister
Please excuse my impertinence for daring to give His Majesty this

When Matsuoka spoke to the Emperor, within the hour, it was evident he
had not yet talked with Konoye. He was sure Germany would quickly
defeat Russia,** and recommended In going over this portion of the
manuscript for corrections, Marquis Kido wrote: "My grandfather is
generally called Koin, but the proper pronunciation of the Japanese
characters is Takayoshi." Takayoshi had no son to carry on the family
name, and his nephew Takamasa (his younger sister's son) was legally
made a Kido after he married Takayoshi's only daughter. She died and
Takamasa marriec again; Koichi Kodo was the eldest son of that union.

The U. S. military agreed. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox
prognosticated that "it would take anywhere from six weeks to two
months for Hitler to clean up in Russia." Secretary of War Henry
Stimson wrote in his diary: "I cannot help feeling that it offers to us
and Great Britain a great chance, provided we use it promptly," and
then told Roosevelt that in his opinion it would take Germany from one
to three months to whip the Soviet Union. Ambassador Grew thought only
good could come of the attack and wrote in his diary: "Let the Nazis
and the Communists so weaken each other that the democracies will soon
gain the upper hand or at least be released from this dire peril." an
immediate attack on Siberia and a postponement of the push to the
south. Astonished, since this policy meant expansion in two
directions, the Emperor asked Matsuoka to consult with Konoye and
indicated that the audience was over.

Matsuoka did see Konoye but listened to no advice, and continued to
call for an attack on Russia in private as well as at liaison
conferences. These were ordinarly held at the Prime Minister's
official residence. They were informal gatherings of the Big Four of
the Cabinet-the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, War Minister and Navy
Minister- with the Army and Navy Chiefs and Vice Chiefs of Staff. Other
Cabinet ministers and experts occasionally attended to give counsel and
information. The Prime Minister sat in an armchair near the center of
a medium-sized conference room surrounded by the others. Three
secretaries-the Chief Secretary of the Cabinet, the chief of the
Military Affairs Bureau of the War Ministry and the chief of the Naval
Affairs Bureau of the Navy Ministry-sat near the entrance.

The conferences were lively. There was no presiding officer, no strict
protocol, and arguments were common. The meetings had been started in
late 1937, to co-ordinate activities of the government and the
military, discontinued for some time, then resumed in late 1940 when
the situation became more critical.

Three days after Matsuoka's audience with the Emperor, he met direct
opposition from the military, who were not eager for a simultaneous
fight with the Soviet Union and America. Naval operations against both
these countries, said Navy Minister Oikawa, would be too difficult.

"To avoid this kind of situation, don't tell us to attack the USSR. and
at the same time push south. The Navy doesn't want the Soviet Union

"When Germany wipes out the Soviet Union, we can't simply share in the
spoils of victory unless we've done something," said Matsuoka and then
uttered words which were strange coming from a foreign minister.

"We must either shed our blood or embark on diplomacy. And it's better
to shed blood." The following day he pressed his argument What was
more important, the north or the south? he asked.

Of equal import, replied Army Chief of Staff Sugiyama.

"We're waiting to see how the situation develops." He did not reveal
that if Moscow fell before the end of August, the Army would attack

"It all depends on the situation," said Army Vice Chief officer Staff
Ko Tsukada, a bright, short-tempered man.

"We can't go both ways simultaneously."

After the conference Colonel Kenryo Sato continued the debate with
Tojo, who felt Matsuoka had made several good points.

"We gain nothing in the north," said Sato.

"At least we get oil and other resources in the south." He was as
brilliant and impulsive as General Ishihara and Colonel Iwakuro, and
often served as the official spokesman for Army policy. He was already
notorious throughout the country for having yelled "Shut up!" at a
Diet member who kept interrupting his speech.

Wary as he was of Sato's quixotic behavior, Tojo had come to depend on
advice from the "Shut up" colonel. Sato's logic made him wonder, "If
we declare war on the Russians, would the United States back them up
and declare war on us?"

"It's not impossible. America and the Soviet Union have different
systems, but you never can tell in war."

The following day Tojo gave Matsuoka no support at all. But the
Foreign Minister was undaunted. He argued that reports from Ambassador
Oshima indicated that the war in Russia would soon be over and that
England would capitulate before the end of the year.

"If we start discussing the Soviet problem after the Germans beat the
Soviets, we'll get nowhere diplomatically. If we hit the Soviets
without delay, the United States won't enter the war." He was
confident, he said, that he could hold off the United States for three
or four months with his diplomacy.

"But if we just wait around to see how things will turn out, as the
Supreme Command suggests, we'll be encircled by Britain, the United
States and Russia. We must first strike north, then south." He went
on and on almost compulsively until he saw that his words were having
no effect. Then, in an attempt to force the issue, he said, "I would
like a decision to attack the Soviet Union."

"No," said Sugiyama, who spoke for all the military.

Matsuoka's strongest ally was in Berlin, but Hitler himself had yet to
come out with a flat request to attack Russia. He did this three days
later, in the form of a telegram from Ribbentrop to his ambassador in
Tokyo. On the morning of June 30 General Ott transmitted this request
to Matsuoka, who used it as a principal argument at the liaison
conference that afternoon. Germany, he announced, was now formally
asking Japan to come into the war. He became so fervent in his appeal
for an attack on Russia that one listener likened it to "a vomit of

"My predictions have always come true," Matsuoka boasted.
"Now I predict that if war starts in the south, America and Britain
will join it!" He suggested postponing the drive south and was so
persuasive that Oikawa turned to Sugiyama and said, "Well, how about
postponing it for six months?"

It looked as if Matsuoka had abruptly turned things around by his
oratory. A Navy man leaned over and whispered to Army Vice Chief of
Staff Tsukada that perhaps they should consider the postponement, but
Tsukada could not be swayed; with a few impassioned words of his own,
he brought Oikawa and Sugiyama back to their original position. At
this point Prince Konoye, who had been almost silent until then, said
that he would have to go along with the Supreme Command. There was no
more to say. The long debate was over and the decision was made to go

The final step was to get formal approval from the Emperor. This would
come automatically at a ceremony held at the Imperial Palace, an
imperial conference. At these meetings the Emperor traditionally did
nothing but sit silent and listen to explanations of the policy in
question. Afterward he would indicate his approval with a stamp of his
seal. The members were comprised of those who attended liaison
conferences, an expert or two, and the President of the Privy Council,
a civilian who represented the Throne in a sense by occasionally asking
questions the Emperor himself could not.

The conference to approve the move south was convened on July 2. The
members sat stiffly on both sides of two long tables covered with
brocade, but the minute the Emperor entered the room they shot to their
feet. His skin, like that of his three brothers, was smooth as
porcelain and of unique coloring. His army uniform did not make him
look a bit martial. He stepped up to the dais and sat down before a
gold screen, facing south, the direction to be honored according to
court etiquette. He seemed detached, as if above worldly affairs.

Below, the members sat down at right angles to His Majesty and stared
woodenly at each other, hands on knees. Then the ceremony began. All
but the President of the Privy Council, Yoshimichi Hara, had rehearsed
what they would say. First Prince Konoye rose, bowed to the Emperor
and read a document entitled "Outline of National Policies in View of
Present Developments." It was the plan to go south; the first step
would be occupation of French Indochina. This, hopefully, would come
without bloodshed by exerting diplomatic pressure on the Vichy
government; but if persuasion failed, military force was to be used,
even at the risk of provoking war with America and Britain.

Sugiyama bowed and said he agreed that Japan should push south.

"However, if the German-Soviet war develops favorably for our empire, I
believe we should also use force to settle this problem and so secure
our northern borders."

Admiral Osami Nagano, Chief of the Navy General Staff, also felt it was
necessary to go south despite the risks. When he finished, the
President of the Privy Council began asking questions, some of them
more embarrassing than expected at such a formalized meeting. What
were the realistic chances of taking Indochina by diplomatic means? he

"The odds are that diplomatic measures won't succeed," replied
Matsuoka. Still against going south, he had to argue the majority

Hara was a small, mild-looking man but he was not at all intimidated by
the stern faces of the generals and admirals. He emphasized that
military action was "a serious thing." And wasn't sending troops into
Indochina while attempting to ratify a treaty between Japan and France
inconsistent with the Imperial Way of conducting diplomacy?

"I do not think it wise for Japan to resort to direct, unilateral
military action and thus be branded an aggressor."

"I will see to it that we won't seem to be involved in an act of
betrayal in the eyes of the world," Matsuoka assured him.

Hara remained dubious. Why not go north? he suggested and began using
some of Matsuoka's own arguments. Hitler's attack on Russia presented
the chance of a lifetime.

"The Soviet Union is spreading Communism all over the world and we will
have to fight her sooner or later ... The people are really eager to
fight her." What was supposed to be a formality threatened to turn
into a debate.

"I want to avoid war with the United States. I don't think they would
retaliate if we attacked the Soviet Union." On the other hand, Hara
feared a move into Indochina would bring war with the Anglo-Saxons.

Matsuoka had used the same words the day before.

"There is that possibility," he agreed.

Sugiyama privately thought that Hara's questions were "sharp as a
knife," but curtly pointed out that the occupation of Indochina was
"absolutely necessary to crush the intrigues of Britain and America.
Moreover, with Germany's military situation so favorable, I don't
believe Japan's advance into French Indochina will provoke America to
war." He warned, however, of counting out the Soviet Union
prematurely. They should wait "from fifty to sixty days," to make
certain that Germany would win. The finality of his statement shut off
further discussion, and any hopes that Matsuoka might have had about
resuming the debate vanished. A vote was taken and the policy document
unanimously approved. Japan would go south.

Throughout the proceedings the Emperor had been sitting silent and
impassive, as custom decreed, his mere presence making any decision
legal and binding. The document was taken to the Cabinet secretariat,
where a copy was made on official stationery. It was signed by Konoye
and the Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff, brought to the Emperor and
finally to the Privy Seal's office, where the imperial seal was
affixed. It was national policy, and another step had been taken
toward total war.


Now Hull's counterproposal had to be dealt with. Matsuoka,
predictably, was still in a rage over the Oral Statement, which
criticized unnamed Japanese officials for inflammatory public remarks.
This rather innocuous rebuke was, to Matsuoka, a personal insult as
well as an unforgivable affront to Japan, and at a liaison conference
on July 12 he said, with anger bordering on paranoia, "I've thought
about it for the last ten days, and I believe America looks on Japan as
a protectorate or a dependency! While I'm foreign minister, I can't
accept it. I'll consider anything else, but I reject the Oral
Statement. It is typically American to ride roughshod over the weak.
The statement treats Japan as a weak and dependent country. Some
Japanese are against me, and some even say the Prime Minister is
against me." His words tumbled out, revealing as much resentment for
his personal enemies as for Hull.

"Little wonder then that the United States thinks Japan is exhausted
and therefore sends us such a statement. I propose right now that we
reject the statement out of hand and break off negotiations with the
United States!" He called Roosevelt "a real demagogue" and accused him
of trying to lead America into war. As for himself, it had been his
cherished hope since his youth to preserve peace between Japan and

"I think there is no hope, but," he concluded irrationally, "let us try
until the very end." At last he had said something the military liked.
Even if there seemed to be no hope, Tojo repeated, they should keep
negotiating with America.

"Can't we at least keep the United States from formally going to war by
means of the Tripartite Pact? Naturally, the Oral Statement is an
insult to our kokutai and we must reject it, as the Foreign Minister
advises. But what if we sincerely tell the Americans what we Japanese
hold to be right? Won't this move them?"

Navy Minister Oikawa was also for coming to some agreement with the
Americans. According to reports, they weren't in any position to
instigate a war in the Pacific.

"Since we don't want a Pacific war either, isn't there room for

"Room?" Matsuoka retorted with some sarcasm.

"They'll probably listen only if we tell them we won't use force in the
south. What else would they accept?" He was in no mood for

"They sent a message like this because they're convinced we submit

It was obvious to Prince Konoye that Matsuoka was making this a
personal issue and that it would be necessary to by-pass him. But the
Foreign Minister's influence was still so great that the Prime Minister
had to meet surreptitiously with key Cabinet members to draft their own
conciliatory reply to Hull. This was presented to Matsuoka, but it
took him several days just to read it-he claimed he was sick- and even
after he had, he tried to delay matters. First, the Oral Statement
should be rejected, then there should be a wait of several days before
dispatching the answer.

Prime Minister Konoye agreed to reject the statement but insisted that
both the rejection and the reply be sent simultaneously to Hull, to
save time. Konoye gave these instructions to Matsuoka's associate Dr.
Yoshie Saito, who promised to follow orders. He disobeyed-another act
of gekokujo-and without consulting anyone, cabled a single message to
Washington: the rejection of the Oral Statement. He held back the
proposal for a few days, as Matsuoka had wanted, and Hull first saw it
in an intercepted cable to Germany.

To the legal-minded Tojo such action was insupportable, and he told
Konoye that Matsuoka should be dismissed at once. But the prince did
not want open conflict with Matsuoka, who was still a public hero after
his meetings with Hitler and Stalin. Konoye decided to get rid of him
by subterfuge: he would ask the entire Cabinet to resign and then form
a new one with a different foreign minister. He called an
extraordinary session of the Cabinet at six-thirty on July 16, and when
he made his proposal, no one objected; Matsuoka was home ill in bed.

This terminated the stormy career of the most controversial figure in
Japanese diplomacy. The end had come through an act of insubordination
committed for Matsuoka's sake by a faithful subordinate, but without
his knowledge.

The following day the Emperor asked Konoye to form a new cabinet. He
did so within twenty-four hours, which was possible only because there
were so few changes. Matsuoka was replaced by an admiral who got along
well with Americans, Teijiro Toyoda. One of his first acts was to
cable his ambassador in Vichy that the Japanese Army would push into
Indochina on July 24 no matter what the Vichy government decided to do.
But on the day before the deadline, Vichy agreed to the peaceful entry
of Japanese troops in southern Indochina. The ambassador in Vichy
triumphantly wired Tokyo:




When Hull read this, courtesy of Magic, he was as indignant, and
perhaps rightly so, as if Indochina had been taken by force. He
pressed Roosevelt to retaliate by imposing a new embargo on Japan,
despite a recent warning from the War Plans Division of the Navy that
such action "would probably result in a fairly early attack by Japan on
Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies, and possibly involve the United
States in early war in the Pacific."

This time Roosevelt listened to those who, like Ickes, had long been
urging him to act forcefully against all aggressors On the night of
July 26 he ordered all Japanese assets in America frozen, and Britain
and the Netherlands soon followed suit. In consequence, not only did
all trade with the United States cease, but the fact that America had
been Japan's major source of oil imports now left Japan in an On the
day after Hitler's invasion of Russia, Secretary of the Interior Harold
Ickes wrote Roosevelt: "To embargo oil to Japan would be as popular a
move in all parts of the country as you could make. There might
develop from the embargoing of oil to Japan such a situation as would
make it, not only possible but easy, to get into this war in an
effective way. And if we should thus indirectly be brought in, we
would avoid the criticism that we had gone in as an ally of communistic
Russia." untenable situation. To The New York Times it was "the most
drastic blow short of war." To Japan's leaders it was much more. They
had secured the bases in Indochina by negotiation with Vichy France, a
country recognized if not approved by America, and international law
was on their side; the freezing was the last step in the encirclement
of the empire by the ABCD (American, British, Chinese, Dutch) powers, a
denial to Japan of her rightful place as leader of Asia and a challenge
to her very existence.

The frustration, near-hysteria and anger could be expected but not the
confusion among the Supreme Command. Five days later Naval Chief of
Staff Nagano, a cautious and sensible man, still had not recovered from
an event that should have been foreseen. In an audience with the
Emperor, he first said he wanted to avoid war and that this could be
done by revoking the Tripartite Pact, which the Navy had always
maintained was a stumbling block to peace with America. Then he warned
that Japan's oil stock would only last for two years, and once war
came, eighteen months, and concluded, "Under such circumstances, we had
better take the initiative. We will win."

It was a curious performance. In one paragraph Nagano had put in a
word for peace, cleared the Navy of responsibility for any diplomatic
disaster, prophesied an oil famine, suggested a desperate attack and
predicted victory.

The Emperor cut through the tangle with one question: "Will you win a
great victory? Like the Battle of Tsushima?"

"I am sorry, but that will not be possible."

"Then," said the Emperor grimly, "the war will be a desperate one."

PART TWO The Lowering Clouds'

4 Go Back to Blank Paper'

Konoye's actions over the past few years had baffled those who
sympathized with the tremendous problems he faced. Why had a liberal
allowed the Army to gain ascendancy? Why had he subordinated himself
to his own Foreign Minister, permitted him to endanger the negotiations
in Washington? Ambassador Craigie was impressed by Konoye's numerous
acts of statesmanship "only to be irritated just as often by his
apparent lack of firmness in leadership and his failure at times of
crisis to use his strong personal position to curb the extremists In
the opinion of Lieutenant General Teiichi Suzuki, director of the
Cabinet Planning Board and an Army intellectual, Konoye wavered at
critical moments not from weakness, but from intellectual doubts, and
his objectivity rendered him almost incapable of making a clear-cut
decision and taking action on it.
But both Suzuki and Craigie agreed on one thing-Konoye *Ushiba, who was
privy to Konoye's thoughts, comments: "A Churchill or a Kennedy might
have succeeded in controlling the Army, but given the Japanese
constitutional system, by which the Supreme Command was independent of
the Prime Minister, and confronted with such a huge organization
determined to control national destiny, it is doubtful if even
Churchill could have succeeded. Konoye was no leader, was not a
strong-man type, was not the kind of man whose outstanding feature is
courage, resoluteness, dedication to a cause. He was, however,
informed of what the Japanese Army was like, better perhaps than any
other outsider, and concerned about taming it as much as anybody else.
His philosophy was basically negative; that is, not to offend or
provoke, and to defer the showdown as long as possible. If you stood
in the Army's way, it would simply remove you and proceed to find
another convenient blind or cover behind which it could do whatever it
wanted." was another Hamlet. And like Hamlet he was finally spurred
to decisive action-he would meet privately with President Roosevelt to
settle once and for all the question of China.* On August 4 he summoned
War Minister Tojo and Navy Minister Oikawa and told them of his

"If the President still does not see reason I shall, of course, be
fully prepared to break off the talks and return home." Both Japan and
America would have to make concessions, but he felt agreement could be
reached if the high-level talks were "carried out with
broad-mindedness." He promised that he would neither be "too anxious
or hasty to come to terms, nor assume a supercilious manner or act

Tojo and Oikawa refused to commit themselves without consulting their
colleagues. Within hours the admiral reported back that the Navy was
in "complete accord and, moreover, anticipated the success of the
conference." But Tojo found Army opinion divided. He wrote the Prime
Minister that it was feared the summit meeting would weaken Japan's
current policy, which was based on the Tripartite Pact, as well as
cause repercussions at home. Nevertheless, the Army had no objections
to the meeting so long as Konoye promised to lead the war against
America if Roosevelt refused to appreciate Japan's position. He
concluded the letter with the pessimistic observation that "the
probability of failure of this meeting is eight to ten."

Konoye himself had no doubts, and over lunch told his close friend
Shigeharu Matsumoto, editor in chief of the Domei News Agency, about
the proposed meeting with Roosevelt. On the morning of August 6 the
prince advised the Emperor of his intentions.

"You had better see Roosevelt at once," said His Majesty, recalling
what Admiral Nagano had told him about the dwindling oil stockpile. The
following morning a message was sent to Secretary of State Hull
suggesting that Konoye and Roosevelt meet in Honolulu to discuss means
of adjusting the differences between the two countries.

But Hull was dubious of Konoye's proposal. It had the same
"hand-to-heart touch" used by Hitler on Chamberlain at Munich.
Secretary of War Stimson was in accord and About this time Konoye
called Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the Combined
Fleet, to his private home and asked what chances there were in an
attack on America. Yamamoto foresaw success for a year or so.

"But after that I am not at all sure." This confirmed Konoye's own
suspicions and his conviction that a meeting with Roosevelt was the
only solution. wrote in his diary: "The invitation to the President is
merely a blind to try to keep us from taking definite action." After
two days the Secretary of State saw Ambassador Nomura, who wanted a
definite reply. But Hull, mixing accusations with moral observations,
contended that it was now clear that those in Japan who favored peace
"had lost control." The Japanese press "was being constantly
stimulated to speak of encirclement of Japan by the United States."
That very day, he continued, he had told correspondents "there is no
occasion for any nation in the world that is law-abiding and peaceful
to become encircled by anybody except itself." The frustrated Nomura
finally asked if this was the reply to the suggested summit meeting and
Hull reiterated everything he had just uttered, concluding that "it
remained with the Japanese Government to decide whether it could find
means of shaping its policies accordingly and then endeavor to evolve
some satisfactory plan."

Since the Japanese military leaders felt they had bent a good deal to
approve the meeting, its cool reception in Washington sharpened a
growing suspicion. Did the Americans really want peace or were they
playing for time? Each day twelve thousand tons of irreplaceable oil
were being consumed and soon the armed forces would be as helpless as a
whale thrown up on the beach.

Roosevelt was not on hand to discuss the situation. The cruiser
Augusta was taking him to a rendezvous in Argentia Bay, Newfoundland,
with Winston Churchill. On Sunday, August 10, the President attended
church services on the deck of the British battleship Prince of Wales,
in the shadows of its big guns. The lesson, appropriately, was from
Joshua: "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the
days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will
not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

After the service Roosevelt, in his wheelchair, was taken on a tour of
the ship by Churchill. Belowdecks, Acting Secretary of State Sumner
Welles was being shown two messages to Japan drafted by Churchill, to
be sent simultaneously from Washington and London, warning of severe
countermeasures if Japan continued her aggression in the southwest

As Welles was leaving Prince of Wales, Churchill said he didn't think
"there was much hope left unless the United States made such a
clear-cut declaration of preventing Japan from expanding further to the
south, in which event the prevention of war between Great Britain and
Japan appeared to be hopeless."

The next day Roosevelt and Churchill conferred on Augusta. Roosevelt
felt "very strongly that every effort should be made to prevent the
outbreak of war with Japan." The problem was what line to take-tough,
medium or soft? Tough, said Churchill; the proposals from Tokyo were
no more than "smoothly worded offers by which Japan would take all she
could for the moment and give nothing for the future."

Roosevelt suggested that he negotiate "about these unacceptable
conditions" and win a delay of some thirty days while Britain secured
its position in the Singapore area. The month gained would be

"Leave that to me," he observed.

"I think I can baby them along for three months."

Confident that he had swayed Roosevelt to take the "tough" line,
Churchill telegraphed Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden: at the end of the
note which the president will hand to the japanese ambassador when he
returns from his cruise in about a week's time he will add the
following passage, which is taken from my draft: "any further
encroachment by japan in the southwest pacific would produce a
situation in which the united states government would be compelled to
take countermeasures, even though these might lead to war between the
united states and japan." he would also add something to the effect
that it was obvious that the soviet being a friendly power, united
states government would be similarly interested in any similar conflict
in the northwest pacd7ic.

Perhaps Churchill was right, but once at home Hull, who was himself
convinced that nothing would stop the Japanese except force (recently,
he had told Welles over the phone, "I just don't want us to take for
granted a single word they say, but to appear to do so to whatever
extent it may satisfy our purpose to delay further action by them"),
convinced the President to reconsider and take a more moderate course.
On August 17, though it was Sunday, he sent for Ambassador Nomura.
Roosevelt was in high spirits and said that if Japan halted her
expansion activities and decided "to embark upon a program of peace in
the Pacific," the United States would be "prepared to reopen the
unofficial preparatory discussions which were broken off in July, and
every effort will then be made to select a time and place to exchange
views." He was intrigued by the idea of a secret meeting and even
suggested that it take place in Juneau, Alaska, "around the middle of

Nomura immediately cabled Tokyo: A reply should be


The following afternoon, August 18, Ambassador Grew was summoned by
Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda. The admiral ("a sympathetic and very
human type," according to Grew) said he wanted to speak frankly, as a
naval officer and not as a diplomat. Japan had gone into Indochina to
solve the China affair and not because of pressure from Germany. The
freezing of funds which followed had left "a big black spot on the long
history of peaceful relations" between Japan and America, and future
historians would be unable to understand if the negotiations broke
down. The solution was a meeting between the two leaders of both
countries in which the problems could be settled "in a calm and
friendly atmosphere on an equal basis."

Grew, who had not been informed by the State Department of the proposed
Konoye-Roosevelt meeting, was taken by the novel idea. Both leaders
were gentlemen from distinguished families and they could reach an
honorable settlement. Moreover, he would be in attendance and it could
be the crowning moment of his own career.

With the heat so oppressive in the ministry, the admiral ordered iced
drinks and cold wet towels, and suggested that they remove their coats.
As they swabbed themselves with the towels, Grew said, "Admiral, you
have often stood on the bridge of a battleship and have seen bad storms
which lasted for several days, but ever since you took over the bridge
of the Foreign Office you have undergone one long, continuous storm
without any rest. You and I will have to pour some oil on those angry

The meeting lasted for an hour and a half, and as soon as Grew returned
to the embassy he sent an extraordinary message to Hull: . THE














A few weeks before, Colonel Iwakuro and Ikawa, who had labored so
diligently on the Draft Understanding, realized that their attempt at
independent diplomacy had failed. On the last day of July they had
left Washington, arriving home two weeks later. Iwakuro was struck by
the warlike atmosphere in Tokyo on all levels. There was growing
hatred of America and Britain and a general feeling that the ABCD
encirclement was strangling the nation. In America the predominant
mood, though anti-Axis, seemed one of peace. Antiwar groups were
picketing the White House, and the isolationists' opposition to
Roosevelt's aid to China and Britain was widespread and vocal. A bill
extending the service of draftees had passed with a margin of one vote,
and in Army camps the word Ohio was given a cryptic meaning-Over the
Hill In October.

Iwakuro made dozens of speeches to top-level military, political and
industrial groups urging that the negotiations be continued; America's
potential was far superior to Japan's and a conflict would end in
disaster. But the staff officers were far more interested in talking
about an advance to the south, and at naval headquarters one said,
"Japan is blockaded by the ABCD line. We cannot afford to lose time.
We have only one course now-to fight." Iwakuro remembered that several
months before, the Navy had been almost solidly aligned for a peaceful
settlement with America, and sadly concluded that "the die was cast."

Nevertheless, he refused to give up and went pleading from ministry to
ministry. But his words had no more effect than "hitting a nail into
rice bran." During the last week in August he attended a liaison
conference, where he contrasted the alarming differences between
American and Japanese war potential. In steel, he said, the ratio was
20 to 1; oil more than 100 to 1; coal 10 to 1; planes 5 to 1; shipping
2 to 1; labor force 5 to 1. The overall potential was 10 to 1. At such
odds, Japan could not possibly win, despite Yamato damashii-the spirit
of Japan. For once his listeners were impressed and Tojo ordered
Iwakuro to make a written report of everything he had just said.

The following day Iwakuro arrived at the War Minister's office to
discuss the report but was summarily told by Tojo that he was being
transferred to a unit in Cambodia.

"You need not submit the notes in writing I requested yesterday."

As Iwakuro was boarding the train for the first leg of the trip south,
he told his friends, "So many of you have come to bid me farewell, but
when I return to Tokyo-if I survive- I'm afraid I shall find myself
alone in the ruins of Tokyo station."

Iwakuro's missionary zeal may have caused his banishment but he was not
alone in his views, and they brought about a dramatic policy reversal.
The military leaders had finally agreed, after long arguments, to avoid
war with the United States even at the cost of major concessions. On
the day of Iwakuro's departure-it was August 28-two messages were on
their way to Franklin Roosevelt. One was a letter from Konoye again
requesting a meeting, and the other an official proposal to withdraw
all Japanese troops from Indochina once the China Incident was settled
or a "just peace" was established in East Asia. Japan further promised
to make no military advances into neighboring countries and to take no
military action against the Soviet Union as long as Russia remained
"faithful to the Soviet-Japanese neutrality treaty" and did not "menace
Japan or Manchukuo." Far more important, the Japanese consented to
abide by Hull's basic four principles-which had by now arrived in an
official U. S. missive. . Regarding the principles and directives set
forth in detail by the American Government and envisaged in the
informal conversations as constituting a program for the Pacific area,
the Japanese Government wishes to state that it considers thAt these
principles and the practical application thereof, in the friendliest
manner possible, are the prime requisites of a true peace and should be
applied not only in the Pacific area but throughout the world ...

The proposal was a negation of policies championed for months-and,
though limited, gave promise of more concessions to come. Roosevelt's
first reaction to it was one of optimism and he made tentative plans to
spend three days or so with Konoye. But Dr. Stanley Hornbeck didn't
believe the offer was sincere and when Hull read Magic intercepts of a
military buildup in Southeast Asia, it was not surprising that he, too,
became suspicious of the Japanese. Nor was it any wonder that
Roosevelt, who still "relished a meeting with Konoye," was easily
persuaded that it should not be held "without first arriving at a
satisfactory agreement." In other words, the Americans, who didn't
believe what they were offered in the first place, would not bargain
unless they were previously assured that their own conditions would be
generally met.

In Tokyo, Grew and his staff were more than willing to take the new
proposal at face value and were convinced that Konoye would agree "to
the eventual withdrawal of Japanese forces from all of Indochina and
from all of China with the face-saving expedient of being permitted to
retain a limited number of troops in North China and Inner Mongolia
temporarily." Accordingly, Grew pleaded that the Konoye-Roosevelt
meeting be approved before time ran out. For months he had warned
Washington that the Japanese Army was "capable of sudden and surprise
action" and that traditionally in Japan "a national psychology of
desperation develops into a determination to risk all."

This psychology of desperation overshadowed the session of the liaison
conference which started at eleven o'clock on September 3, next door to
the Palace in the Imperial Household Ministry.* As yet no official word
had come from Roosevelt, and the members were filled with misgivings.
Had it been a mistake to make such a conciliatory offer? Were the
Americans simply playing for time?

"With each day we will get weaker and weaker, until finally we won't be
able to stand on our feet," said Navy Chief of Staff Nagano.

"Although I feel sure that we have a chance to win a war right now, I'm
afraid this chance will vanish with the passage of time." There was no
way to "checkmate the enemy's king"-industrial potential-and a decisive
initial victory was essential.

"Thus our only recourse is to forge ahead!"

It was assumed that security leaks, such as those reported by
Ambassador Oshima in Berlin, had come from Cabinet civilians, and to
seal these off, all liaison conferences, after July 21, were held on
the Palace grounds. Magic, of course, continued to keep U. S.
officials informed of most political decisions. These words brought
the Army to the point of panic, and Chief of Staff Gen Sugiyama
introduced a new element-a deadline.

"We must try to achieve our diplomatic objectives by October 10," he

"If this fails we must dash forward. Things cannot be allowed to drag

It was a perilous suggestion and might mean war. Yet the two who
wanted peace the most, Prince Konoye and Foreign Minister Toyoda,
raised no objections. Perhaps they secretly felt that the negotiations
would be successfully concluded within the five weeks of grace, and the
only substantial argument was over phraseology. After seven hours they
all finally fixed the following policy: "For the self-defense and
self-preservation of our empire, we will complete preparations for war,
with the first ten days of October as a tentative deadline, determined,
if necessary, to wage war against the United States, Great Britain and
the Netherlands." Concurrently they would negotiate in a sincere
attempt to attain minimum objectives, but if it appeared that these
were not met by October 10-war.

The operational plans for war had already been completed. Assaults by
the Navy and Army would be launched simultaneously at Pearl Harbor,
Hong Kong, Malaya and the Philippines.* The Army General Staff had
learned about Pearl Harbor only a few days before. Several in the War
Ministry also knew but, curiously, Tojo was not one of them.

The slim hope that this hastily conceived deadline would be
reconsidered by the Cabinet before presentation to the Throne
disappeared with the arrival, a few hours later, of a reply from
Roosevelt to Japan's conciliatory proposal. It was in two parts: one
was a polite refusal of Konoye's reiterated invitation to meet until
they first came to agreement on the "fundamental and essential
questions"; the other, an Oral Statement, was as vague and more
disappointing. It was the kind of clever riposte so many diplomats
seemed to delight in: it politely avoided promising anything of import
while side-stepping the main issues. It noted "with satisfaction"
Japan's willingness to abide by Hull's four principles but seemed to
ask the question, "Do you really mean it?" and never mentioned Japan's
offer to withdraw all troops from Indochina.

Since it seemed to be a deliberate rebuff (which it was not), as well
as a belittling of concessions made by the Army Chapter 7 is devoted to
the detailed development of plans for these attacks. at agonizing cost
(which it was), the Cabinet approved the deadline policy without
argument. On September 5 Konoye went to the Palace to request an
imperial conference to make the policy official. First he stopped off
at the office of the Privy Seal.

"How can you suddenly present such a proposal to the Emperor!" Marquis
Kido exclaimed. It sounded to him like out-and-out preparations for

"He won't even have time to consider it." Konoye's excuse was weak.

"Couldn't you make it vague?" Kido asked.

"It's too dangerous to set the limit at mid-October."

Konoye shifted uncomfortably.

"You must do something!" Kido persisted. Konoye muttered that the
matter had been decided at the liaison conference, and what could he do

At four-thirty a chamberlain announced that the Emperor was ready to
see the Prime Minister. His Majesty looked up from the proposed

"I notice you first speak of war and then of diplomacy. I must
question the Chiefs of the General Staff about this tomorrow at the

"The order in which the items are listed doesn't necessarily indicate
importance," Konoye replied with embarrassment. He suggested that the
Chiefs of Staff come at once and give a fuller explanation of the
Supreme Command's position, and at six o'clock he returned with General
Sugiyama and Admiral Nagano.

The Emperor asked if the operations in the south would succeed as
planned and was given a detailed presentation of the operational plans
for the Malay and Philippine campaigns. But these details didn't
relieve his concern.

"Is there a possibility that the operations will not proceed on
schedule? You say five months, but isn't it possible it won't work out
that way?"

"The Army and Navy have studied the whole matter a number of times,"
Sugiyama explained.

"Therefore, I imagine we'll be able to carry out the operations as

"Do you think the landing operations can be carried out so easily?"

"I do not believe it will be easy, but since both the Army and the Navy
are constantly training, I feel confident we'll be able to do it

"In the landing maneuvers on Kyushu a considerable number of ships were
'sunk." What would you do if the same thing happened in reality?"

Sugiyama was disconcerted.

"That was because the convoy had started cruising before enemy planes
were shot down. I don't believe that will happen."

"Are you sure it will work out as planned?" the Emperor persisted.

"When you were War Minister you said Chiang Kai-shek would be defeated
quickly, but you still haven't been able to do it."

"The interior of China is so vast," said the chagrined Sugiyama.

"I know, but the South Seas are much wider." The Emperor was agitated
and showed it.

"How can you possibly say you can end the war in five months?"

Sugiyama tried to answer. He said Japan's strength was gradually
diminishing and that it was necessary to strengthen national prosperity
while the empire still had its resiliency.

This was no answer and the Emperor interrupted him.

"Can we absolutely win?"

"I couldn't say 'absolutely." However, I will say that we can probably
win; I don't dare say we can absolutely win. It won't help Japan to
gain peace for half a year or a year if this were followed by a
national crisis. I believe we should seek peace that will last twenty
years or fifty years."

"Ah so, I understand!" the Emperor exclaimed in an unnaturally loud

Sugiyama saw that he was still troubled.

"We'd rather not fight at all. We think we should try our best to
negotiate, and only when we're pushed to the edge shall we fight."

Nagano immediately came to his colleague's assistance.

"It is, I think, like a critically ill patient awaiting a surgical
operation." The decision to operate had to be made quickly. No
operation meant the gradual decline of the patient. Operation, though
an extreme measure, might save his life. But a quick decision was

"The Supreme Command hopes for successful negotiations, but if they
fail, an operation is necessary." He quickly added that diplomacy was,
of course, of "primary importance."

"Am I to understand that the Supreme Command now gives first preference
to diplomacy?" Both Chiefs said yes and the Emperor seemed to be

But the next morning at nine-forty-it was September 6-he sent for Kido,
just before the imperial conference was to start. Could Japan win a
war against America? he asked. What about the negotiations in

Kido advised the Emperor to remain silent at first and leave the
questions to Privy Council President Hara; he had already instructed
Hara what these should be. But once the discussion was over, the
Emperor should break precedent. He should cease to reign, that is, and
momentarily rule: "Instruct the Chiefs of Staff to co-operate with the
government in making the negotiations successful." Only through such a
dramatic break in tradition could the disastrous deadline policy be

As members filed into the conference room, Konoye took aside General
Teiichi Suzuki, who had been brought in as an expert on resources, and
showed him the new policy. A glance convinced Suzuki that it should
not be presented to the Emperor. Konoye was in accord but said that
the Supreme Command, and Tojo in particular, insisted on speed, and if
the imperial conference was put off even for twenty-four hours, the
Cabinet would probably have to resign.

"Whether we go to war or not will be decided later. This is merely a
decision to prepare for battle while negotiating. Therefore I'm going
to let this go through."

Promptly at ten o'clock the crucial meeting opened.

"With your permission, I will take the chair so we may proceed," Konoye
began, and reviewed the tense international situation. Everyone sat
stiffly, hands on knees, as Navy Chief of Staff Nagano urged that every
effort be made to negotiate. But if Japan's minimum demands were not
met, the problem could only be solved by "aggressive military
operations," despite America's "unassailable position, her vaster
industrial power and her abundant resources."

The Army Chief of Staff reiterated the same hope for successful
negotiations, and General Suzuki spoke about the grim state of national
resources. Even with strict wartime control, the liquid-fuel stockpile
would be exhausted in ten months.

"If the negotiations in Washington succeed, fine; but if not and we
wait too long, it would be disastrous." There were three alternatives:
start war preparations at once; continue the negotiations; or just sit
and starve.

"The third is unthinkable. Therefore we must choose between the first

The practical Hara stood up. The time had passed for conventional
diplomacy, he said, and praised Konoye for his resolution to meet
Roosevelt and come to some agreement. He held aloft a draft of the new

"This draft seems to imply that war comes first and diplomacy second,
but can't I interpret this to mean that we'll do our utmost in
diplomacy and go to war only when there is no other recourse?"

"President Hara's interpretation and my intentions when Icomposed the
draft are exactly the same," said Navy Minister Oikawa.

But the more the military explained, the more it bothered Hara.

"This draft still gives me the impression that we will turn to
belligerency rather than diplomacy. Or are you actually going to place
emphasis on diplomacy? I should like to have the views of the
government as well as of the Supreme Command."

In the embarrassing silence the Emperor stared at the conferees, then
did the unheard-of. He said in his loud, high-pitched voice, "Why
don't you answer?"

Not since the 2/26 Incident had he abandoned his role as passive
emperor. His listeners were stunned at the sound of his voice and it
was a long moment before a member of the Cabinet finally rose. It was
Navy Minister Oikawa.

"We will start war preparations but, of course, we'll also exert every
effort to negotiate."

There was another pause as the others waited for one of the Chiefs of
Staff to speak. But both Nagano and Sugiyama sat paralyzed.

"I am sorry the Supreme Command has nothing to say," the Emperor
remarked. He took a piece of paper from his pocket and began reading a
poem written by his grandfather, Emperor Meiji:

"All the seas, everywhere, are brothers one to another Why then do the
winds and waves of strife rage so violently through the world?"

The listeners sat awed by the Emperor's censure. There wasn't a sound
or movement until the Emperor spoke again.

"I make it a rule to read this poem from time to time to remind me of
Emperor Meiji's love of peace. How do you feel about all this?"

Finally Nagano forced himself to stand up.

"Representing the Supreme Command," he said humbly, head bowed, "I
express our deep regret for not replying to His Majesty's request but-"
He floundered in apology.

"I think exactly the same as President Hara. I made two mentions on
this point in the text. Since President Hara said he understood my
intentions, I didn't feel there was any need to re-emphasize the

Sugiyama got to his feet.

"It was exactly the same with me. I was about to rise from my seat to
answer President Hara question when Navy Minister Oikawa answered it
for me." This made it unnecessary for the two Chiefs of Staff to

"However, I am overawed to hear His Majesty tell us directly that His
Majesty regrets our silence. Allow me to assume that His Majesty feels
we should make every effort to accomplish our goals by diplomatic
means. I also gather His Majesty suspects that the Supreme Command may
be giving first consideration to war, not to diplomacy." He assured
the Emperor that this was not true.


The decision to start war preparations at once while attempting to
negotiate was much more than that. It meant, in fact, that hostilities
would commence unless the negotiations were successfully concluded by
October 10. The decision was made and approved with the Emperor's
seal, but His Majesty's displeasure left a sense of doubt even among
the military. He had put the accent on diplomacy, and Prime Minister
Konoye realized that this gave him a last chance to achieve peace. The
problem was not so much the Tojo group as the public. The controlled
press had led the people to believe that the Anglo-Saxons were intent
on reducing Japan to a third-rate nation, and out of all this came a
rash of indignation meetings calling for action. The situation was so
ominous that Ambassador Grew took to wearing a pistol, although it made
him feel silly and "wild west."

The danger was real: two secret organizations, which had learned of the
proposed Konoye-Roosevelt meeting, were plotting to murder the Prime
Minister. One had decided to make a daring, gangland-style assault in
Tokyo; the other, to emulate the bombing of Marshal Chang. The latter
plan was devised by a lieutenant colonel named Masanobu Tsuji, already
an idol of the most radical young officers. A chauvinist of the first
order, he was determined to thwart a summit meeting that was destined
to end in a disgraceful peace.

As his instrument of murder he chose a civilian who had already spent
two terms in prison: once for something he had done-handing the Emperor
a rightist petition demanding relief for the unemployed, and once for
something he had not done-throwing as tick of dynamite into the Finance
Minister's home. Yoshio Kodama, leader of the most active nationalist
society, shared Tsuji's convictions and approved his plan. Konoye
would have to go to the meeting by ship, and since there wasn't a good
highway to the naval base at Yokosuka, would travel by train. As it
passed over the Rokugo Bridge outside the capital, Kodama would set off
an explosion.

Several hours after the imperial conference, Konoye called his mistress
at the hairdresser's. There was a note of urgency in his voice as he
told her to get ready at once; a car would call for her. A few minutes
later she was driven to the home of Count Bunkichi Ito, son of Prince
Hirobumi Ito, one of the four great men of the Meiji Restoration. There
wasn't a servant in the house.

Two other cars arrived, one with Konoye and his private secretary,
Tomohiko Ushiba; the other, diplomatic tags removed, carried Ambassador
Grew and Embassy Counselor Eugene H. Dooman. Never before had either
diplomat been invited to such a meeting. Traditionally, prime
ministers had no social or official contact with foreign envoys except
on state occasions.

Konoye introduced his mistress as "the daughter of the house"; she
alone would serve them dinner and they could converse freely. For the
next three hours Konoye and Grew talked "with the utmost frankness,"
with Ushiba and Dooman interpreting. Konoye assured Grew that both
General Tojo and Admiral Oikawa wanted a peaceful settlement.

What about Hull's four principles? Grew asked.

Konoye said they were generally acceptable.

"However, when it comes to applying them practically, various problems
will arise, and to solve them I must have a meeting [with the
President]." He admitted that he was to blame for the "regrettable
state of relations" between America and Japan- he took the
responsibility for the China Incident and the Tripartite Pact-and
therefore was determined to take any personal risk to settle the
differences between the two countries.

He and Roosevelt, face to face, could surely come to an agreement, but
only such a meeting in the near future could accomplish this.
Negotiations using the ordinary diplomatic channels would take a year.
Konoye couldn't reveal, of course, that he had less than five weeks
before the October 10 deadline.

"A year from now," he said, "I'm not sure that anything can be done to
solve our differences. But I can do it now. I promise that some
agreement can be reached if I can only see him [Roosevelt]. I'll offer
him a proposal which he can't afford to reject." After this cryptic
remark he turned to Dooman, who was born in Osaka of missionary parent
sand who had already spent almost twenty-three years in Japan: "You
know the conditions in this country. I want to tell you something you
must not repeat to Mr. Grew. You should know so you can impress him
with your belief in my sincerity. You realize that we cannot involve
the Emperor in this controversy, but as soon as I have reached a
settlement with the President I will communicate with His Majesty, who
will immediately order the Army to cease hostile operations."

This was a bold plan, something never before attempted in Japan's
history. Although impelled to tell Grew, Dooman promised to keep it a

Konoye reiterated that Generals Tojo and Sugiyama had already given
their consent to the proposal he could make to the United States, and
the former had promised to let a full general accompany him to the
summit meeting.

"I will talk to the President with two generals and two admirals
standing behind me." Admittedly, a certain group in the armed forces
opposed peace negotiations, but with the full support of the
responsible Chiefs of the Army and Navy, he was confident he could put
down any opposition. He might be assassinated later, but if peace
came, it would be worth it.

"I do not care that much about my life."

Grew, deeply impressed by Konoye's obvious earnestness and willingness
to abide by Hull's four principles, said that he was going back to the
embassy and send immediately "the most important cable" of his
diplomatic career Though it was true that General Tojo had approved the
summit meeting, he wasn't giving it his full support, so Konoye asked
Prince Higashikuni, uncle-in-law of the Emperor, to use his influence
on the War Minister. The next morning Higashikuni summoned Tojo: "I
hear the Emperor At one point in the message Grew either embellished
Konoye's remarks or had not clearly understood the Prime Minister via
Dooman's translation when he declared that the Japanese "conclusively
and wholeheartedly agree with the four principles enunciated by the
Secretary of State ..." In his memoirs, Konoye recalled he had said:
"Gensokuteki ni wa kekko de aru ga ..."-"They are agreeable in
principle." In a recent interview Ushiba confirmed the Konoye version
and explained that several times during the meeting he had to correct
Dooman's translations. Robert Butow translates the phrase "splendid as
a matter of principle." Although "splendid" is listed in dictionaries
as one translation for kekko, conversationally in this context it
merely means "agreement without accent"-that is, "I'll go along with

The Grew interpretation later gave the Hornbeck group an excuse for
labeling Konoye a liar. is very concerned over the Washington
negotiations and is putting high hopes on the Konoye-Roosevelt
meeting." As war minister, Tojo should respect His Majesty's feelings
and take a more positive view of this meeting as well as of Japan's
problems with America.

"I am sorry indeed for the inadequate explanation given to the Throne,"
said Tojo tightly.

"In the future I will certainly see to it that the Army explains so His
Majesty fully understands. I am quite aware of the Emperor's views on
the Japan-U. S. negotiations and the Konoye-Roosevelt meeting." He
promised to do his best as war minister to bring about the meeting,
although he personally didn't think it had more than a 30 percent
chance of success.

"Nevertheless, if there is the slightest hope of success, I believe we
should conduct the negotiations." He became more agitated and vowed
that if the diplomatic settlement turned out to Japan's future
disadvantage he would have to "remonstrate with His Majesty," and if
the Emperor refused to heed this advice, he would be forced to

"That is the only way I can fulfill my loyalty to His Majesty."

Higashikuni let Tojo speak without interruption. Now he said
reminiscently, "While I was in France, Petain and Clemenceau told me,
"Germany was an eyesore to the United States in Europe and it did away
with her in the Great War. In the next war it will try to get rid of
another eyesore, this one in the Orient, Japan. America knows how
inept Japan is diplomatically, so she'll make moves to abuse you inch
by inch until you start a fight. But if you lose your temper and start
a war you will surely be defeated, because America has great strength.
So you must bear anything and not play into her hands." The present
situation is exactly as Petain and Clemenceau predicted. At this time
we must persevere so that we won't get into war with America. You're a
member of the Konoye Cabinet. In the Army, an order must be obeyed.
Now the Emperor and the Prime Minister want to bring about the
negotiations. As war minister, you should either follow their line of
policy or resign."

The desperation of the Japanese should have been obvious to the
Americans when Hull's cool reception of their offer to get out of
Indochina and abide by his four principles was followed by two more
Japanese proposals the very next day. One, submitted to Grew, promised
to resort to no military action against any regions lying south of
Japan and to withdraw troops from China once peace was achieved. In
return America would rescind the freezing act and suspend her own
military measures in the Far East and southwest Pacific.

This was an official offer, but the second was not. Without informing
Tokyo, Nomura handed Hull a long statement drafted months earlier,
during the days of Colonel Iwakuro; apparently the admiral thought the
old formula would appeal to Hull. All it did was confuse him. With
two proposals in hand, covering entirely different points, he quite
rightly wondered just where Japan stood.

It took about a week to straighten out the tangle and answer the
official proposal. Hull told Nomura it "narrowed down the spirit and
scope of the proposed understandings," and handed over half a dozen
pages of objections.

The delay and the apparent reluctance to come to a quick agreement
convinced the militarists in Tokya that Hull was playing for time. They
turned on Konoye in public as well as in private. Widespread vocal
criticism was climaxed by a physical attack on the Prime Minister on
September 18. As he was leaving his quiet, rural refuge in Ogikubo, a
suburb about forty-five minutes' drive from the center of Tokyo, four
men, armed with daggers and swords, leaped up on the running boards of
his car. But the doors were locked and before the would-be assassins
could break the glass they were seized by plain-clothes men.

Konoye was less concerned with violence than with the approaching
deadline-he had less than three weeks to make a peaceful settlement and
Roosevelt still declined to set a date for their meeting. Grew knew
nothing about the deadline but sensed the urgency, four days after the
assassination attempt, when he was summoned to the office of the
Foreign Minister. Toyoda said he couldn't understand Hull's remark
that the latest proposal narrowed the scope of the negotiations-on the
contrary, it was widened. Toyoda was willing to go further, and set
forth the peace terms Japan was now prepared to offer China: fusion of
the Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei governments; no annexations; no
indemnities; economic cooperation; and withdrawal of all Japanese
troops except those needed in certain areas to help the Chinese fight
the Reds.

Grew dispatched this new offer to Hull, and in view of the critical
situation decided to make a special appeal of his own. Presuming on
his long friendship with Roosevelt (they had served together on the
staff of the Harvard Crimson), he wrote directly to the President: I
have not bothered you with personal letters for some time for the good
reason that letters are now subject to long delays owing to the
infrequent sailings of ships carrying our diplomatic pouches, and
because developments in American-Japanese relations are moving so
comparatively rapidly that my comments would generally be too much
out-of-date to be helpful when they reach you. But I have tried and am
constantly trying in my telegrams to the Secretary of State to paint an
accurate picture of the moving scene from day to day. I hope that you
see them regularly.

As you know from my telegrams, I am in close touch with Prince Konoye
who in the face of bitter antagonism from extremist and pro-Axis
elements in the country is courageously working for an improvement in
Japan's relations with the United States. He bears the heavy
responsibility for having allowed our relations to come to such a pass
and he no doubt now sees the handwriting on the wall and realizes that
Japan has nothing to hope for from the Tripartite Pact and must shift
her orientation of policy if she is to avoid disaster; but whatever the
incentive that has led to his present efforts, I am convinced that he
now means business and will go as far as is possible, without incurring
open rebellion in Japan, to reach a reasonable understanding with us.
In spite of all the evidence of Japan's bad faith in times past in
failing to live up to her commitments, I believe that there is a better
chance of the present Government implementing whatever commitments it
may now undertake than has been the case in recent years. It seems to
me highly unlikely that this chance will come again or that any
Japanese statesman other than Prince Konoye could succeed in
controlling the military extremists in carrying through a policy which
they, in their ignorance of international affairs and economic laws,
resent and oppose. The alternative to reaching a settlement now would
be the greatly increased probability of war,-Facilis des census Averno
est-and while we would undoubtedly win in the end, I question whether
it is in our own interest to see an impoverished Japan reduced to the
position of a third-rate Power. I therefore most earnestly hope that
we can come to terms, even if we must take on trust, at least to some
degree, the continued good faith and ability of the present Government
fully to implement those terms ...

The letter had as little effect as earlier recommendations (in fact, it
merely provoked a bland acknowledgment five weeks later) and Konoye
felt so desperate at the finish of the September 25 liaison conference,
where the Supreme Command demanded an irrevocable deadline of October
15, that he refused to eat the lunch prepared at Imperial Headquarters
and instead invited the Cabinet to accompany him to his official
residence. Here, he applied pressure on Tojo. Was the October 15
deadline a demand or a request on the part of the Supreme Command?

"It was a definitely set opinion but not a demand," replied the War
Minister. It was just putting into effect what had been previously
decided at the imperial conference of September 6. "And that decision
cannot be easily changed now."

Against such resolve Konoye felt helpless and he told Marquis Kido that
with the Army insisting on the deadline, all he could do was resign.
Kido chastised him as if he were a child. Between Konoye and Kido,
according to Ushiba, existed a unique informality. With the Privy
Seal, Konoye showed a rare side of himself-he discarded all pretense.
Now, since Konoye was responsible for the decision of September 6, it
would be "irresponsible to step out by leaving things as they are." Be
"prudent," Kido cautioned.

Konoye didn't answer. Despondent, his mood aggravated by another
intense attack of piles, he left and told his private secretary he had
to think things over in peace and tranquillity. And so, on September
27, he quit the capital for the nearby seaside resort of Kamakura.


To the people in the State Department, nine thousand miles away,
Japan's Prime Minister was an aggressor. Hull could not forget that
Konoye had been prime minister when China was overrun and the
Tripartite Pact consummated. And although Konoye expressed support for
the four principles, did he mean it? For all these reasons any meeting
with Roosevelt, without first working out the details, would be a

Hull's apprehensions chilled Roosevelt's initial enthusiasm for the
meeting, and on September 28 the President sent his Secretary of State
a memo from Hyde Park:

I wholly agree with your pencilled note-to recite the more liberal
original attitude of the Japanese when they first sought the meeting,
point out their much narrowed position now, earnestly ask if they
cannot go back to their original attitude, start discussions again on
agreement in principle, and reemphasize my hope for a meeting.

In Tokyo, however, Ambassador Grew had not yet given up hope, and he
was so certain that those in Washington lacked insight into the problems
faced by Konoye that the following day he sent another report to Hull.
It was as much a warning as an appeal: . THE AMBASSADOR [Grew]


He ended with the observation that unless America placed a "reasonable
amount of confidence" in Konoye and his supporters to remold Japan, it
was the end "to the hope that ultimate war may be avoided in the

The next day Grew wrote in his diary that he had done his "level best
to paint to our Government an accurate picture of the situation in
Japan." He was upset by receipt from Hornbeck of a batch of
recommendations he himself had earlier made to be firm with Japan. I
don't quite know just what was in Stanley Hornbeck's mind in sending me
those excerpts, unless it was in the belief, and with the purpose of
calling attention to that belief, that I am now advocating so-called
"appeasement" in contra-distinction to my former recommendations for a
strong policy. In the first place, "appeasement," through association
with Munich and umbrellas, has become an unfortunate, ill-used and
misinterpreted term. It is not appeasement that I now advocate, but
"constructive conciliation." That word "constructive" is important. It
connotes building, and no one is going to be foolish enough to try to
build any structure, if it is to be a permanent structure, on an
insecure foundation ... What the eventual outcome will be, I do not
know; nobody knows; but defeatism is not within my philosophy.

Hornbeck was right about Grew to a certain extent. Perhaps he was too
trustful of the Japanese. Nor was he intellectual or even particularly
keen. He did have three great assets: a sensitive wife with a rare
sympathy for Japan; an adviser (Dooman) born in Japan with an equally
rare understanding of that country's flaws and virtues; and finally,
his own overriding sense of honor and duty. Moreover, his beliefs and
convictions were shared by a canny British colleague, Ambassador
Craigie. At four-twenty the next morning he telegraphed Foreign
author were not decoded, horizon probably meant "part"] may
legitimately be bounded by

Since Matsuoka's departure a radical change had occurred in the
political situation and there was now a steady swing from the Axis.















"can"] survive if the discussions prove abortive


He admitted that any agreement might make Chiang Kai-shek suspicious
and discouraged, and that America's interest in the Far East was not
wholly identical with Britain's.


[probably "in any case"], and my united states colleague AND I ARE


BE ILLEGIble [probably "inexcusable"] folly to let slip, caution MUST


It was not until October 2 that Hull finally gave some definite answers
to the questions the Japanese had long been awaiting. He "welcomed" a
summit meeting and found Konoye's acceptance of the four principles
"gratifying," but the proposals themselves were unacceptable,
particularly those on China-all Japanese troops had to be withdrawn
without delay. Therefore the meeting would have to be postponed until
there was "a meeting of minds on essential points."

"We have no desire whatever to cause any delay," he hastened to assure
Nomura. It was a deception that must have been repugnant to such an
honorable man; surely Hull had not forgotten the reiterated pleas of
General George C.Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, and Admiral Harold
R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, for more time to reinforce the
Pacific. Ironically, it was giving them less by accelerating Japan's
necessity to make a decision for war. At eleven o'clock on October 5,
the Army division and bureau chiefs met in Tojo's office and concluded:
"There is no possibility to settle the matter by diplomatic
negotiations. We must therefore petition the Emperor to hold an
imperial conference and decide upon war."

Konoye returned from his holiday more discouraged than ever. His
associates were just as disheartened. Marquis Kido alone had not given
up hope for peace.

"Judging the situation both at home and abroad, it is difficult to
predict the outcome of a war between Japan and America," he told the

"We should, therefore, re-examine the situation. Instead of making an
immediate decision to declare war on the United States, the government
should make clear that its first consideration is to bring the China
Incident to a successful conclusion. The people should be told flatly
that we now face ten to fifteen years of gashin-shot an It was a
disagreeable solution, but realistic, and Konoye decided to pursue it.
On the morning of October 12 he summoned the War, Navy and Foreign
ministers and General Suzuki of the Cabinet Planning Board to his villa
in Ogikubo. It was a fine Sunday, his fiftieth birthday.

Konoye's private home was a comfortable but far from ostentatious
Japanese structure located on spacious grounds at the edge of the
suburb. Just before the conference was to start, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Kanji Tomita arrived with a note for Konoye from the chief of
the Naval Affairs Bureau, Admiral Takasumi Oka: "The Navy does not want
the Japanese-American negotiations stopped and wishes to avoid war if
at all possible. But we cannot see our way to expressing this openly
at the meeting."

Tojo somehow learned of the note and by the time he Literally, "sleep
on kindling and lick gall."

"This phrase is Chinese in origin," Marquis Kido explained in a
personal letter.

"In the dictionary it says: 'to suffer hardships and privations
repeatedly in order to take revenge'; however, here it means to ask the
people to endure a life of patience and austerity in order to
accomplish our purposes. Not too long ago, after the Sino-Japanese
War, when Japan was forced to return the Liaotung Peninsula by the
Triple Intervention [of Germany, Russia and France], this phrase was
first used in Japan to mean that we were to endure a life of patience
and austerity until someday our national strength burgeoned and we
would rise again." reached Ogikubo he had resolved to make Navy
Minister Oikawa speak out plainly. It was cowardly of the Navy to
sekinin o nasuri-tsukeru ("transfer their responsibility"). Tojo was
so nettled that he was scarcely civil to Oikawa as they sat down at a
table to begin the conference. Then he blurted out impetuously, "There
is no point in continuing the talks in Washington." His adamant stand
forced the Navy to do what Oka had written they could not do: speak
with candor.
"We are now at the crossroads-war or peace," said Oikawa.

"If we are to continue with diplomacy, we must give up war preparations
and go in completely for talks-to negotiate for months and then
suddenly change our tack won't do.... The Navy is willing to leave the
decision entirely up to the Prime Minister ..."

Whatever the choice, it had to be made at once, said Konoye.

"It's risky either way. The question is, Which is riskier? If we have
to make a decision here and now, I will be in favor of negotiations."

Tojo turned to Admiral Toyoda.

"Mr. Foreign Minister, have you any confidence in negotiations?" he
asked with more than a touch of sarcasm.

"I'm afraid you can't persuade the Army General Staff, judging from
what you've already said. I would like to hear if you have any

"Weighing both sides," Konoye replied in his stead, "I still choose

"That's only from your own subjective point of view," said Tojo

"You can't prevail on the Army General Staff." Oikawa said he
concurred, but this only irked Tojo. He asked Konoye not to reach a
hasty conclusion.

"I want to hear the opinion of the Foreign Minister."

"That depends on the conditions," said Toyoda.

"I think the thorniest issue today is the presence of troops in China,
and if the Army won't concede a thing to the United States, then
there's no point in continuing the talks. But if the Army can see its
way clear to making some slight compromise, it may not be

"The stationing of troops is a matter of life and death to the Army!"
Tojo burst out.

"No concession in that direction!" Japan had already agreed in
principle to the withdrawal of all troops from China, he continued.
That, in itself, was a tremendous concession. Now it was obvious that
America was demanding that Japan withdraw all troops at once. This was
impossible. A million Japanese were still locked in battle in China.
Japan could not withdraw completely until order was restored in China.
The interior was a hotbed of Communists and bandits, and only the
presence of Japanese troops in certain areas could guarantee law and
order and the successful economic growth of that whole part of the
continent. Total withdrawal before the aims of war had been
accomplished "would not be in keeping with the dignity of the Army,"
and the entire General Staff "as well as the troops abroad" agreed with

"Don't you think now is the time to forget the glory and reap the
fruits?" Konoye remarked. Why not give in to America in form? That
is, agree in principle to withdraw all troops, yet make an arrangement
with China to retain some troops in unstable areas?

Unthinkable, said Tojo. If they made a pledge they would have to honor
it scrupulously; and once they bowed to the American demand, the
Chinese would show contempt. They were always most to be feared when
contemptuous; withdrawal would lead to a complete loss of face and the
rise of Communism. It would be like a run on the bank, and Korea as
well as North China would be lost.

It was Tojo against the other four, but he stuck obstinately to his

"The Army has no intention of changing the decision of the imperial
conference which was held the other day [September 6]. If there is
hope of success in negotiation before the deadline set by the Supreme
Command, then the talks should continue. The Navy Minister said the
decision for war or peace rests with the Prime Minister. I don't agree
at all. The decision for war should be made jointly by the government
and the Supreme Command. And I don't think there is any possible way
to settle the problem by diplomacy at this stage."

"I'm not confident of victory in war," Konoye retorted.

"I think there is no way to overcome the present difficulties except by
diplomatic negotiations. As for war, I will leave that to a person who
is confident of victory." He turned to Tojo.

"If you keep insisting on war, I cannot hold myself responsible for

"Haven't we decided to go to war if diplomacy fails?" Tojo was

"Of course, you were present at that conference. I don't see why you
can't assume responsibility for that."

"That decision was really nai-nai," said Konoye, meaning "only among
ourselves"-that is, it was a secret decision and, with the Emperor's
approval, could be reconsidered. Tojo took this literally to mean "of
an unofficial nature"-an insult to the Emperor-and he was so visibly
agitated that Konoye tried to elaborate.

"Since I have greater confidence in negotiations, why should I hold
myself responsible? That's all I meant. We must consider the decision
for war as final only when there is no prospect of carrying on
negotiations. And there is still a chance for success."

"Just suppose we do abandon war preparations," said Suzuki, envisaging
another 2/26 Incident, "how can we control the Army?"

"If that is the case," said Tojo, "controlling the Army won't be

The argument continued through the afternoon, and finally ended in
compromise: they would continue negotiations until October 15, or later
if Imperial Headquarters approved it, but concede nothing on the
stationing of troops in China to fight Communism.

Compromise or not, the meeting did have one good effect. Tojo had
argued stubbornly, but on the way back to Tokyo he began to realize
that the September 6 decision had been too hasty, since the Navy seemed
to lack confidence. War under such circumstances could be a great
mistake. Once back at the War Ministry, he summoned Kenryo Sato, who
was now chief of the Military Affairs Section, and told him the Navy
still seemed to be wavering.

"Mr. Minister," said Colonel Sato, "I will arrange a conference for
you with the Navy Minister and the two Chiefs of Staff. Why don't you
make it a private meeting over sake at a machiai [restaurant where
geisha girls entertain]? You can say, "Is the Navy confident or not
about this war? The main role in such a war would be played by the
Navy. If you men really don't believe in it, we must not fight this
war. In that case, I promise never to say we're not fighting because
the Navy lacks confidence. Instead I will take full responsibility and
say, "I, the War Minister, will not fight."" Tojo's face flushed and he
began to sputter.

"Do you mean to tell me that responsible men like the Navy Minister and
the Chiefs of Staff would say at a machiai what they won't talk about
at an imperial conference?" He refused to be party to such shameful

Out of the inconclusive meeting at Ogikubo came rumors of a Cabinet
crisis and a possible declaration of war. Konoye was already
regretting the compromise. With no further concessions on China, it
would be impossible to conclude a settlement with America. He wondered
what he could possibly do before time ran out, then decided to speak to
Tojo informally. He phoned the War Minister early in the morning of
October14 and arranged to see him just before the ten o'clock Cabinet

"I can go along with you except for your stand on our troops in China,"
Konoye said and suggested they withdraw all troops at once "for
formality's sake."

Tojo bristled; Konoye was already going back on his word.

"If once we give in, the United States will assume a highhanded
attitude and keep on acting that way. Your solution is really not a
solution. War will crop up again in a few years. I respect you, Mr.
Prime Minister, but your view is too pessimistic. You know our weak
points too well ... America has her weaknesses too."

"That's a matter of opinion." Konoye reminded him that on February 4,
1904, Emperor Meiji summoned Prince Ito and asked if Japan could defeat
Russia. Ito replied that the enemy could be checked at the Korean
border for a year. In the meantime America would be asked to mediate a
peace. Relieved, Emperor Meiji had sanctioned a declaration of war. In
the present case, however, there was no third party to mediate.
Therefore, they must proceed with great caution, particularly since
America had such tremendous superiority in material resources.

Tojo stiffened at the word "caution."

"There are times when we must have the courage to do extraordinary
things- like jumping, with eyes closed, off the veranda of the Kiyomizu
Temple!"* Konoye said that was possible only for a private

"People in responsible positions should not think that way."

Tojo looked at him with scorn and said, "All this is a matter of
difference in our personalities, isn't it?" He thought, This man is
too weak to be prime minister at such a critical time; he can't even
keep a promise.

Tojo went into the Cabinet meeting determined to repudiate his own
promise, and take such a strong stand that Konoye would be forced to
resign. By the time the meeting started he had purposely worked
himself into a state of excitement. Flicking a piece of paper, he
said, "The Army will continue its preparations. I don't mean this will
necessarily interfere with the negotiations, but I will not consider
another day's delay!" He swung on Foreign Minister Toyoda and *A
Buddhist temple located on a hill at the edge of a ravine in Kyoto.
asked if he thought the talks with America would be successful.

"The point of dispute," reiterated the admiral, "is the withdrawal of
troops. The United States is not satisfied with Japan's reply. If we
are to answer again on this matter, we must do so in a straightforward
manner ... America is becoming more and more suspicious of our
attitude, so we can't satisfy them unless we give them facts. They
cannot understand Japan's way of carrying on peace talks while
preparing for war."

"I make no concessions regarding withdrawal!" shouted Tojo as if he
had lost his temper-and perhaps by now he had.

"It means defeat of Japan by the United States-a stain on the history
of the Japanese Empire! The way of diplomacy isn't always a matter of
concession; sometimes it is oppression. If we concede, Manchuria and
Korea will be lost." He repeated all his old arguments, but this time
with a fervor that moved the listeners. Then he turned his wrath on
the Navy, and Oikawa in particular, for failing to declare openly and
frankly if they could beat America. Konoye and the Cabinet sat in
silence, petrified by Tojo's "bomb speech."

Tojo's outburst did what he had hoped. Several hours after the
meeting, General Suzuki came to his office to say that he was acting as
Konoye's go-between: he could not continue as prime minister since the
War Minister had publicly expressed such a forceful opinion.

Tojo refused to retract his statement and said Konoye could only
continue in office if he was willing to go along. But others in the
Army were alarmed at the thought of a Konoye resignation. General Muto
conceded to Suzuki that although the Prime Minister was a coward, he
alone could maintain the unity of the nation.

"If he resigns, Japan cannot fight a war." Muto paced around and half
jokingly said, "How about carrying out a big maneuver in Manchuria so
the troops can let off steam?"

Later that afternoon Muto called on Konoye's cabinet secretary, Kanji
Tomita, and said, "Somehow or other it seems that the reason the Prime
Minister can't make up his mind is because the Navy can't make up its
mind." The Army would have to reconsider the entire matter if it was
sure the Navy really didn't want war.

"But the Navy just says it will 'leave the decision entirely up to the
Prime Minister." Saying that isn't enough to control the inner circle
of the Army. That can only be done if the Navy openly states, "Wedon't
wish war." I wonder if you can arrange it so that the Navy says
something along that line."

But the Navy still refused to make an official statement "The most we
can do," Admiral Oka told Tomita, "is ask the Prime Minister to deal
with the matter at his own discretion."

All that day Suzuki, Tomita, Oka and Muto shuttled from office to
office. Use of such go-betweens was common in critical times, since
telephones might be tapped; moreover, ideas could be expressed through
a middleman which would have been difficult to bring up face to face;
and if things didn't go well, the go-between could simply be

That night Suzuki returned to the War Ministry. He blamed the Navy for
the impasse, then asked Tojo who should be the next prime minister.

"I'd say it can be nobody but Prince Higashikuni," Tojo replied.

"Even Konoye could not solve this problem, so we must call upon a
member of the royal family." If the decision was for peace, the
uncle-in-law of the Emperor was one of the few Japanese who could bring
it about without a revolt within the Army. He could summon both Chiefs
of Staff and tell them he'd decided against war. The Emperor could not
do this-it was against custom and Constitution. But a prince of the
royal family could, and his wishes would have to be followed by the
military. Thus peace could come without civil disorder. Before they
parted, Tojo said he didn't think he ought to meet again with Konoye or
he might lose his temper.

Suzuki went directly to Konoye's villa in the suburbs and told him
about Higashikuni as the War Minister's choice. Konoye was in

"Prince Higashikuni is a very good man. I know him well. He is
against war. I will tell this to the Emperor when I see him

The next day was October 15, the deadline for peace, and Suzuki was
busier than usual. In the morning he told Marquis Kido about the
recommendation of Higashikuni for prime minister, but the Privy Seal
showed no enthusiasm. The prince was "talented" but lacked political
experience and training. More important, a member of the imperial
family should not bear the responsibility in case war broke out.

At noon Suzuki heard from Konoye. He'd spoken to the Emperor, who,
unlike Kido, considered Higashikuni a suitable candidate for prime
minister. Konoye asked Suzuki to sound out the prince himself for his

"We in the Army are not all for war," Suzuki told Higashikuni.

"I too believe you can control the situation." He added that Tojo
himself felt Higashikuni alone could go directly to the Emperor and
find out exactly what he wanted, and then control the Army, whatever
the decision-war or peace.

"This is a grave matter," said the prince.

"I want some time to think it over. I'd like to talk with the War and
Navy ministers before making up my mind."

That evening Konoye phoned Kido for advice. Should he talk to Prince
Higashikuni informally? Too soon, said Kido.

"But as long as the government takes the responsibility, I have no
objection." Despite this lukewarm endorsement, Konoye secretly went at
once to Higashikuni and said the negotiations could not succeed unless
the Army agreed to withdraw all troops from China, and only a new
cabinet led by the prince could resolve the matter and unite the Army
and the Navy.

"This is too sudden and too difficult a question to decide on the spur
of the moment," said the prince.

"I'm against a prime minister from the royal family, but in case you
organize a new cabinet and still can't come to an agreement with the
Army, I might take office as a last resort, even at the risk of my
life." He was far more enthusiastic about Konoye as prime minister and
suggested that he form the new cabinet with a war minister who would be
more open to peace than Tojo. He promised to use his considerable
influence to bring this about. Konoye left the man he had come to
proselyte, determined to succeed himself as prime minister.

His chief antagonist, Tojo, had also made a resolution. He was
impatient for action: the deadline had come and none was being taken.
Though torn by doubts, he made up his mind to force the issue by
placing the question before the Emperor, and the following afternoon
went to the man who could arrange an interview, Privy Seal Kido.

"The time has come to act upon the decision of September 6," he

Kido said that decision had been made too abruptly, without sufficient

"It must be reconsidered."

There was reason in this reply, but Tojo brushed it off with a "Yes, I
know" and took a new tack.

"How about a cabinet formed by a member of the royal family?"

Kido said it would not do to pick Higashikuni.

"The royal family should join the government only in times of peace."

There was also reason in this reply, but it wasn't what Tojo wanted to
hear. He paused to find a rejoinder, and finding none, reverted to the
September 6 decision. It had to be carried out, he said stubbornly.
"If we do, what will happen to Japan?"

"What do you think?"

"I think," said Kido, "that Japan will become a third- or fourth-class

It was a conversation that left Tojo dejected and Kido hopeful. He
sensed Tojo's doubts and was satisfied that he could be dealt with once
Konoye could be persuaded to "exert himself a little harder" in the
quest for peace. By coincidence he was called to the phone; it was

"I am going to resign," he said abruptly.

What Kido had feared had come with unsettling suddenness, and now he
faced a task made more difficult by the times. The new cabinet would
be Japan's most critical, and the burden of choice was his own. Since
the death of Prince Saionji in 1940, he, as privy seal, had taken over
the last genro's major task because the vacuum had to be filled and
because he was one who never shirked responsibility, nor made a show of
it. The very anonymity of his personality had left this assumption of
power unchallenged.

The new cabinet would lead the nation to war or peace and it was up to
him to see that it was peace. The man who would help make the choice
was the one who had made it necessary. Just before dusk Prince Konoye
appeared, worn by weeks of anxiety.

"The September 6 decision should be canceled; it is a cancer," said

"It should then be reconsidered under someone who is familiar with the
situation." The new prime minister could not be an outsider. He must
be someone of stature who had participated in the arguments of the past
few months. This limited the choice to two men-Admiral Oikawa and
Tojo. Since Tojo had precipitated the present crisis, perhaps Oikawa,
who had expressed some doubts about the outcome of a war, should be
chosen. But Oikawa might not be acceptable to the young officers, who
actually ran the Army; they might resist or even revolt.

The quiet, scholarly Oikawa would of course give a better impression on
the international scene.

"But if we appoint him," Kido told Konoye, "the Army wouldn't select a
war minister." Therefore Tojo was the sole choice. He could control
the fiery elements in the military in case the decision was peace; he
was a man of character with no political ambitions. He was too direct
to scheme and had shown, since his appointment as war minister, that he
would do whatever His Majesty wished.

It was typical of Konoye that his immediate reaction was positive
Perhaps he was overreacting to his own antipathy to Tojo. They had
reached the point where they could no longer meet face to face, yet
Konoye began listing arguments (or were these rationalizations?) in his
favor: not only could he control the Army but he had recently assumed a
"rather humble" manner; he appeared to be reconciled to renewed
negotiations with America.

"Tojo told me the other day that since the Navy's attitude still wasn't
clear, we should look into the matter thoroughly and reconsider the
whole situation. So I don't think he will push for war on assuming the
premiership. And he will be still more cautious if he gets words of
counsel from the Throne."

Kido assured Konoye that the Emperor would surely ask Tojo to
reconsider the decision. It was a scheme that no one but a pragmatist
could have devised: to select a cabinet primarily because it could
control the situation, and then force it to think in terms of peace by
an extraordinary act of the Emperor.

Konoye left the Palace engrossed by the idea. But as he drove home
with his son-in-law, he began to have doubts about Tojo, and did what
few in the land would have dared- vocally blame the Emperor for the
crisis. His Majesty had recently remarked, "How stupid the Army people
are!" If he felt that way, why hadn't he expressed his views candidly,
firmly? In normal times it was proper for an emperor to remain silent,
but when the question of war or peace was at stake, he should
unhesitatingly point the way.

Both Konoye and the Emperor were examples of what was most admirable in
Japan, and what might lead to national disaster. Both were unselfish
and without personal ambition, putting the welfare of the people ahead
of everything else. Each showed he could step out of character and act
decisively, but these times were too rare. This was the tragedy of
Hirohito and Konoye-and Japan. That day-October 16-a new patriotic
song recently broadcast over radio station JOAK appeared in the Japan
Times & Advertiser, the nation's leading English-language newspaper:

Siren, siren, air raid, air raid! What is that to us? Preparations
are well done, Neighborhood associations are solid, Determination for
defense is firm. Enemy planes are only mosquitoes or dragonflies.
We will win, we must win.

What of air raid?

We know no defeat.

Come to this land to be shot down, Eugene Dooman was still dressing the
next morning when the phone rang. It was Ushiba, Konoye's secretary,
asking if he could come over right away. Ushiba arrived "nervous and
excited" while Dooman was at breakfast, and said he had been up all
night helping Konoye make arrangements for a new prime minister. He
had a letter from the prince to Ambassador Grew expressing "regret and
disappointment" over his resignation. It had been drafted by Ushiba
after a full explanation from Konoye of why Tojo had to be his
successor. Only he would be able to revoke the decision for war-"to
let the Navy do it would be too provocative." I feel certain, however,
that the cabinet which is to succeed mine will exert its utmost in
continuing to a successful conclusion the conversations which we have
been carrying on up till today. It is my earnest hope, therefore, that
you and your Government will not be too disappointed or discouraged
either by the change of cabinet or by the mere appearance or impression
of the new cabinet. I assure you that I will do all in my power in
assisting the new cabinet to attain the high purpose which mine has
endeavored to accomplish so hard without success.... Shortly after one
o'clock the jushin-the seven ex-premiers-met in the West Antechamber of
the Palace to help select a prime minister. Kido was there, still
determined to recommend Tojo; Konoye was not, since he was the outgoing

Someone suggested that they choose a prince of the blood. Kido opposed
this. If war came, "the imperial family might be faced with a storm of
denunciation from the people." He suggested Tojo; he was "fully
acquainted with the development of the situation" and could "effect
real co-operation between the Army and the Navy." He also understood
the need of reexamining the September 6 decision.

One Navy man, Admiral Okada-who as prime minister had so miraculously
escaped assassination by the "2/26" rebels-disapproved someone like the
War Minister. Hadn't the Army hierarchy Tojo represented proved it was
tough and uncompromising?

"To quote the Privy Seal: "In the past the Army used to shoot rifles at
us from the rear; I hope they don't start using cannon."

"The man just quoted agreed that this was certainly matter of concern;
yet who but Tojo had the position prestige and strength to control the
young officers an rightists? Some Navy man?

"In my opinion, the Navy should absolutely not step in this time," said
Okada and recommended his liberal friend General Ugaki, who had favored
a reduction of the armed forces back in the twenties.

Resistance to Tojo continued until three-thirty. Then Yeshimichi Hara,
present in his capacity as President of the Privy Council, agreed to go
along, provided Tojo would follow the policy laid down by the
Emperor-that is, reconsider the September 6 decision. Koki
Hirota-the civ ilia prime minister who had succumbed to Army pressure
after the 2/26 Incident-asked if Tojo was also to retain his position
as war minister.

"Yes," Kido replied.

"In that case, fine." That would give Tojo control of the Army

The other jushin gave their consent, but Hara spoke for all of them when
he remarked, "I don't think the Privy Seal' choice is very
satisfactory, but since it's the only specific one we have nothing to
do but give it a try."

Kido had got his way.

Tojo was packing. He was concerned about a possible reprimand from the
Emperor for his part in the fall of Konoye and wondered where he would
be assigned. At about three-thirty the Grand Chamberlain phoned and
asked him to report to the Palace at once. Tojo hastily stuffed into his
briefcase some papers which might support his position.

He had gone to the Palace to be admonished, and was confounded to hear
the Emperor say, "We order you to form a cabinet. Observe the
provisions of the Constitution. We believe that the nation is facing
an extremely grave situation Bear in mind that the Army and Navy
should, at this time work in even closer co-operation. We will later
summon the Navy Minister to tell him the same."

Tojo requested time to consider and went into the waitinj room. He was
joined a few minutes later by Admiral Oika wa, who had just been
instructed by the Emperor to work "it closer co-operation" with the
Army. Kido approached them "I assume the Emperor has just talked to
you both about Army-Navy co-operation," he said and explained what His
Majesty could only imply.

"With regard to the decision or our kokuted [national essence], it is
the Emperor's wish that you make an exhaustive study of domestic and
foreign conditions-without regard to the decision of the September 6
imperial conference. I convey this to you as an order of the

It was unprecedented in Japanese history. No Emperor had ever before
rescinded a decision of the imperial conference. Tojo was ordered to
"go back to blank paper," that is, start with a clean slate and
negotiate with America for peace.

Tojo could not fully comprehend what had occurred. He managed to tell
Kido that he accepted the responsibility thrust on him by the Emperor.
At the Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of Japan's war dead were
enshrined, he bowed his head in prayer. Appropriately a thousand dead
warriors were just being enrolled in a mass ceremony. Tojo realized
that he faced a completely new life. From now on he had to think as a
civilian, not as a soldier. It was a disruptive turnabout, but he
forced himself to examine the problems ahead: he must at once form a
cabinet based solely on merit and experience and embracing all segments
of Japanese life. His would not be a military but a national cabinet
and he should, above all, scrupulously follow the wishes of the
Emperor. He vowed to live by a new motto: "To Have the Emperor as the
Mirror of my Judgment." He would take every decision to the Emperor.
If His Majesty's mirror was clean, Tojo would go ahead; if it was even
slightly clouded, he would reconsider. What better criterion was
there? The Emperor was born to be fair, belonged to no class and
reflected the interests of the people exclusively.

He returned to find the War Ministry in ferment. Two excited generals
intercepted him in the hall with their cabinet nominations. Tojo
turned on his heel, muttered something about the military "meddling too
much," and strode into his office to summon Naoki Hoshino, a close
civilian associate from Manchuria. He was finally located at the
Kabuki Theater, and when he arrived at the ministry, Tojo was sitting
on the floor surrounded by papers.

"I'd like you to be my secretary-general," said Tojo.

Together they began picking the new cabinet.

"The Army should have no part in the selection," Tojo explained but
suggested Hidehiko Ishiguro, a favorite of military men, as minister of
education. Hoshino thought this might create troublesome opposition;
why not keep the present minister, a professor?

"Good idea," said Tojo and crossed Ishiguro's name off his list

"Which do you think would be better as finance minister, Aoki or

"They're both fine men of character and experience," said Hoshino, but
since the former was in Nanking and the latter in Tokyo, Tojo put a
check opposite Okinori Kaya's name.

"What do you think of Togo for foreign minister?"

Hoshino said he knew him well. They had worked together when buying
the Chinese Eastern Railway from the Russians.

"He's quite tenacious. I think he's a good man." Tojo made another
check mark.

Hoshino began phoning those selected, asking for a quick decision.
Seven accepted on the spot but four, including Kaya and Togo, had
doubts and insisted on speaking to Tojo first. Kaya came at once.

"There are many rumors of war between Japan and America," he said.

"I hear the Army is advocating this. Are you for war or not?"

"I intend to bring a peaceful solution if possible. I have no desire
for war.

"It's fine that you don't want to start war, but the Supreme Command is
independent," Kaya retorted and reminded Tojo of Manchuria and China.

"I will never allow the Army to start war against the wishes of the
Cabinet," said Tojo.

His candor impressed Kaya, but before accepting, he decided to phone
Konoye despite the late hour. The prince advised him to accept the
post and do what he could to work toward peace.

Shigenori Togo,* who came from a samurai family but was no relation of
the famous admiral, arrived soon after Kaya. He was a heavyset,
thoughtful man who talked deliberately in a heavy Kyushu accent that
was harsh to Tokyo ears. To Grew he was grim and "ultra-reserved." An
experienced career diplomat, he had an understanding of European ways
and had scandalized his family by marrying a German. Unlike most
diplomats, however, he was in the habit of saying what he meant with a
bluntness that some construed as rudeness. He wanted to make sure he
could negotiate in good faith. Why had Konoye failed in the
negotiations with America?

Tojo was frank. Konoye had been dismissed because the Army had
insisted on stationing troops in China. The Army would have to agree
"to make genuine concessions" re Pronounced approximately like Tohngo.
In Japanese the sound of g, except when it is the first letter of a
word, is somewhat similar long gar ding the troops in China and other
problems so a settlement could be reached "on a reasonable basis." Tojo
added that he had no objection to reviewing any of the issues but
insisted on an immediate answer so he could submit the list of
ministers to the Emperor in the morning.

Togo accepted.

The next day the fifty-seven-year-old Tojo was promoted to full
general, a rank commensurate with his new post. After the investiture
ceremony of the Cabinet, he took the train for the Ise Shrine, the most
sacred of all Shinto shrines, to pay homage, according to custom, to
the Sun Goddess.

Publicly the selection of Tojo was greeted with enthusiasm. One
newspaper, the Yomiuri, declared it should inspire the nation "to rise
to the occasion and administer a great shock to the anti-Axis powers."
But privately a few like Higashikuni were concerned. The prince
wondered how Kido could possibly have recommended Tojo, since he was so
"war-minded." And how could the Emperor have accepted him?

American opinion was divided as well. Otto Tolischus, the Tokyo
correspondent of the New York Times, after discussing the matter with
Embassy Counselor Dooman, wrote: "It would be premature to assume that
the new Government will necessarily be dominated by the extremists
whose belligerent pronouncements heralded the fall of Konoye. Tojo
himself is a certain guarantee against this.... In some respects, the
negotiations might even be facilitated by the change.... Now the United
States knows that it is dealing with the Army directly."

But the one whose opinions would carry the most weight in the
negotiations, Cordell Hull, characterized the new Prime Minister as a
"typical Japanese officer, with a small bore straight-laced, one-track
mind" who was "rather stupid." He had expected little good from
Konoye; from Tojo he expected "even less."

5 The Fatal Note

Even though the Russians didn't yet know the results of the imperial
conference of July 2, one of their agents, Hotsumi Ozaki, had just
heard a rumor of the decision to go south instead of attacking Siberia.
For confirmation his chief, Richard Sorge, sent him to Manchuria, where
he discovered that the Kwantung Army's secret order for three thousand
railroad workers to help mount an attack on the Red Army had
inexplicably been reduced to practically nothing. On October 4 Sorge
radioed this information to Moscow, along with the latest diplomatic

















This remarkably accurate information, which helped influence the Red
Army to transfer most of its troops from Manchuria to the western
front, was the last sent by Sorge. A week later a member of his ring,
Yotoku Miyagi, athirty-eight-year-old artist with tuberculosis, was
arrested by chance when a woman who had been picked up in a general
anti-Communist drive by the tokko ("Thought" police) revealed that she
had known him in America, where both had been members of the Communist
party. Miyagi had become a Communist out of resentment for "the
inhuman discrimination practiced against the Asiatic races" in the
United States. He had in his possession a study of Japan's oil-stock
level in Manchuria and other top-secret material, but refused to talk
for a day. During a lunch break, in a unique try at suicide for a
Japanese, Miyagi suddenly dived out a third-story window. A detective
instinctively plunged after him. Both landed in a tree and Miyagi
suffered a broken leg. After that he told everything he knew about
Sorge's setup.

This resulted in Ozaki's arrest three days later. Both he and Miyagi
were supposed to rendezvous with their chief that night, and when they
failed to appear, Sorge suspected that they had been caught. As he
gloomily drank cup after cup of sake, he became more certain than ever
that his mission in Japan was over; recently he had drafted a message
to Moscow requesting that he be sent to Russia or Germany "to embark on
new activities."

As it happened, Sorge himself was safe for the moment The Minister of
the Interior was alarmed lest the resulting publicity reveal that Ozaki
was "a close friend" of Konoye's (the connection was tenuous; he was
merely an acquaintance and had gained access to the prince's celebrated
discussion group, the Breakfast Club, through his classmate Ushiba),
thus causing the government to fall. But since Konoye resigned the
following day, this was no longer a consideration. Permission was
granted to pick up Sorge.

Before dawn the next morning-the day Tojo was to be installed formally
as prime minister-Sorge was arrested in bed and taken in pajamas and
slippers to the Toriizaka police station. Ambassador Ott protested to
the Foreign Ministry and demanded to see Sorge. When they met, Sorge
seemed embarrassed. They talked of trivialities for a few moments,
then Ott asked if Sorge had anything else on his mind. After a pause
he said, "Mr. Ambassador, this is our final farewell. Give my regards
to your wife and family."

At last Ott realized he had been betrayed by his friend. The two
stared at each other silently, and once Sorge was taken away, the
shaken Ott told the official in charge, "For the good of our two
countries, investigate this case thoroughly. Get to the bottom of it."
At the liaison conference of October 23, Navy Chief of Staff Nagano
observed somberly, "We were supposed to have reached a decision in
October and yet here we are." The Navy was consuming four hundred tons
of oil per hour.

"The situation is urgent. We must have a decision at once, one way or
the other."

The Army was in agreement.

"There's already been a month's delay," Sugiyama said.

"We can't waste four or five days in study. We must rush forward!"

Prime Minister Tojo's answer could have come from Konoye.

"I can understand why the Supreme Command is urging haste, but the
government prefers to study the matter carefully and responsibly, since
we have new ministers of Navy, Finance and Foreign Affairs. We should
make up our minds whether to accept the September 6 decision or look at
it from a different point of view. Does the Supreme Command object?"

No, said Sugiyama and Nagano.

Tojo had met his first formal test with authority. Kido's instinct had
been correct; Tojo had proved he could cope with a disgruntled

Subsequent liaison conferences during the next ten days were devoted to
the negotiations in Washington and the chances of success in case of
war. The members agreed to maintain their stand on the Tripartite Pact
and to honor Konoye's promise to adhere to Hull's four principles. The
only discord was on the withdrawal of troops from China. Tojo, so
adamant with Konoye, suggested that "as a diplomatic gesture" they
should offer to withdraw all troops in about twenty-five years. Now it
was Sugiyama who argued Tojo's former position. He adamantly refused
time and again to make any concession. The Prime Minister found
stronger support than he wanted from Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo,
who said "it would be better to withdraw troops right away," and then
that "everything would turn out for the better" if the American
proposals were accepted, almost intact.

These suggestions were so disruptive-in fact, several thought Togo had
lost his mind-that a motion was made for an adjournment until the next
day. This was agreeable to Togo, who welcomed the chance "to get my
mind in order." It was Tojo who insisted that they continue. Every
minute counted and a decision must be made, if they had to stay up all
night. He urged them to study three courses: avoid war even at the
expense of great hardship, or as Kido had put it, gashing-shot an-"to
sleep on kindling and lick gall"; decide on war at once; or continue
negotiations but be ready to go to war if necessary. Personally, he
added, he was hoping that diplomacy would bring peace.

Sugiyama and Tsukada left the prolonged meeting, bewildered and
distressed by Tojo's change in attitude; he was talking more like a
civilian than a general. Tojo returned to his office and discussed the
three alternatives with his favorite sounding board, Kenryo Sato, now a
major general, who said an immediate declaration of war was folly. The
Kido solution, gashin-shot an would solve neither the China Incident
nor the basic differences between America and Japan; nevertheless, this
course would have to be taken if the Navy officially admitted lack of

"If there is any real prospect of winning, I am of course for war. But
if there's no chance of victory, it would be nonsense to start it."

Tojo needed little persuasion. He told Sato to induce Chief of Staff
Sugiyama privately not to insist on immediate war at the crucial
liaison conference the next morning. But Sugiyama answered with some
sarcasm, "Tell the War Minister the only possible answer is war."

The conference was set for nine o'clock, but Tojo asked Sugiyama to see
him earlier; he was hoping that a personal confrontation would lead to
a compromise. At seven-thirty Sugiyama and his deputy, the outspoken
Tsukada, arrived at the official residence.

"The Emperor," Tojo began, "is strongly opposed to abandoning diplomacy
and starting a war in the south." He doubted that Sugiyama's views
would change the Emperor's mind.

"If you feel confident, please see him yourself. I have no

The General Staff felt that the negotiations with America were at a
dead end, Sugiyama replied, and as long as the United States remained
stubborn there was neither opportunity nor need to continue the talks.
There was but one solution-war! Then he berated Tojo, a military man,
for siding with the civilians. Tojo made no reply; he was the Prime
Minister, and secondarily War Minister.

The conference-it was the sixty-sixth since their inception in
1937-started on November 1 at the Palace in the Imperial Courtroom
amidst an atmosphere of apprehension. With the fate of the nation in
the balance, a prime minister was again at odds with the Army, which
still held the voting majority. Tojo said he would like to discuss the
three alternatives. What about the first-gashin-shot an One of his
civilian supporters, Finance Minister Kaya, answered with two
questions: "What if we go along as now, without war, and in three years
the American fleet attacks us? Would the Navy have any prospect of
winning then or not?"

"Who knows?" said Admiral Nagano.

"Will the U. S. fleet come and attack us or not?" pressed Kaya.

"I think the chances are fifty-fifty," said Nagano.

If it came, Kaya insisted, could the Navy win?

Nagano still refused to commit the Navy.

"We can either avoid war now and go to war in three years; or go to war
immediately and plan for it to continue for the next three years." It
would be better, he said, to start war at once while Japan held the

Kaya reminded him that Nagano himself had admitted that victory was not
certain if the war lasted for three years.

"What's more, I firmly believe there is little chance of the United
States attacking us and I must conclude it would not be a good idea for
us to go to war at the present."

Another civilian, Foreign Minister Togo, supported him on both

"Remember the old saying, "Don't count on what won't happen,"" said

"The future is a question mark and anything can happen." Within three
years America would be strong in Southeast Asia.

"All right, so when can we go to war and win it?" Kaya goaded him.

"At once," Nagano replied emphatically.

"An opportune time for war will not come later!"

The conflict should be started at the beginning of December, said
Sugiyama, but negotiations with America should be carried on to give
Japan a military advantage. To Kaya, this was totally repugnant.

"We have come to a great turning point in our 2,600-year history. The
fate of our country hangs in the balance. It's simply outrageous for
us to resort to diplomatic trickery!"

"We can't do such a thing!" Togo protested.

The Navy Vice Chief of Staff ignored their outbursts.

"Speaking for the Navy, you can negotiate until November 20 [Tokyo

The Army was not willing to wait that long-their deadline was November

Togo was indignant.

"I can't carry on diplomacy as foreign minister unless there is a
chance of success. I simply cannot accept deadlines or conditions that
will hinder hope of success. It's obvious you'll have to give up the
idea of starting a war." Prime Minister Tojo somehow remained calm,
backing Togo and Kaya as often as he did the military. Gradually the
Army began concentrating on Togo, and even tried to pressure him during
the breaks. He was told, "If the Foreign Minister opposes war, all we
have to do is replace him." After lunch, which was served at the
conference table, Togo continued to berate the Army.

"November 13 is too outrageous," he said.

"The Navy puts it at November 20."

"Until November 13 at the latest!" said Tsukada. A delay would create
confusion among operational units.

It was an admiral who objected to such rigid thinking. Navy Minister
Shigetaro Shimada didn't see why negotiations couldn't continue until
November 29.

"Keep quiet, please!" exclaimed General Tsukada.

"Your suggestion is out of order." He turned to Togo.

"What deadline would you like?"

The discussion got out of hand. Tojo called a break. During the
twenty-minute recess the Army conferred and concluded that negotiations
could continue, if necessary, until November 30.

When the meeting reconvened, Prime Minister Tojo tried for one more

"Can't we make the deadline December 1?" he said. Psychologically it
might give the diplomats much more time.

"Can't you let negotiations go on just one more day?"

"Absolutely not," said Tsukada.

"We absolutely cannot go beyond November 30."

"Tsukada-jart," Admiral Shimada asked, "until exactly what time on
November 30? Till midnight?" This would, in effect, put the deadline
where Tojo wanted it-December 1. "All right," Tsukada conceded, "until
midnight." With the deadline for negotiations tentatively agreed upon,
the burden of convincing the Americans to come to agreement would rest
on Foreign Minister Togo. He said he had drawn up two proposals to be
sent to America. Proposal A was a somewhat watered-down version of
their previous offers. In it the Army agreed to withdraw all troops
from China, including those left as defense against Communism, by 1966.
Proposal B was to be used in case Secretary of State Hull turned down
the first, and constituted a modus vivendi a temporary arrangement
pending a final settlement, to be used as a last resort. It was
designed to allay Hull's suspicions about the drive into Indochina and
assure him that Japan was abandoning any idea of a military conquest of
Southeast Asia.

In Proposal B, Japan promised not to make any more aggressive moves
south, and once peace was restored with China or a general peace in the
Pacific established, all troops would be pulled out of Indochina. In
the meantime Japan would at once move all troops in south Indochina to
the north of that country. In return, America was to sell Japan one
million tons of aviation gasoline.

Proposal B was unacceptable.

"Stationing troops in French Indochina keeps China under control, and
also enables us to get raw materials in the south on a fifty-fifty
basis," said Sugiyama.

"Moreover, it places us in a stronger position strategically toward the
United States as well as in settling the China Incident. Coming to an
agreement with the United States doesn't mean they will give us
materials. We're against Proposal B." Such stubborn opposition forced
Togo to come out in the open and say he really didn't think "A" would
have much chance in Washington with such a short time left to
negotiate. The only realistic hope of salvaging peace was to narrow
the negotiations to the south.

"You're putting me in a difficult position if you tell me to do
something that can't be done."

A few-including Secretary-General Hoshino and Finance Minister
Kaya-realized that he was right, but the Army remained adamant "We
absolutely cannot pull out our troops from southern Indochina!" Tsukada
exclaimed and repeated Sugiyama's arguments.

"Besides, withdrawal of these troops would place our supply routes for
all materials from the south at the mercy of the Americans, who could
cut them off whenever they wanted." It would merely delay the crisis
for another six months and by then-because of the weather-Japan's
chances to win a decision by arms would have come and gone.

"Therefore, Proposal B is out. Just present Proposal A."

For hours the Army refused to accede to any suggestion of withdrawal
from Indochina, while insisting that Hull be asked to unfreeze Japanese
assets and cease his sabotage of a peaceful settlement of the China
Incident.* It was a ridiculous suggestion. In addition to sending considerable supplies
to China, America was now providing manpower. Claire Chennault, a
former U. S. Army Air Corps colonel, and his Flying Tigers were openly
training in Burma for air battle with the Japanese. On April 15, 1941,
President Roosevelt had signed an unpublicized executive order
authorizing Reserve officers and enlisted men to resign from the Army
Air Corps, the Naval andrlous proposition and Togo thought he could not
possibly negotiate on such terms. In desperation he burst out, "We
can't carry on diplomacy-but we still shouldn't start a war!"

"That's why we should go ahead with Proposal A!" Tsuka-da shouted

"Yes," said Nagano, "we should just go ahead and negotiate with
Proposal A."

Confronted as he was by combined Army-Navy opposition, Foreign Minister
Togo still refused to back down on Indochina. How could he negotiate
without any ammunition? The shouting reached such a peak that one of
the secretaries- it was General Muto-proposed a ten-minute recess, then
helped Tojo herd the three other Army men into an anteroom to reason
with them.

"If the negotiations fail on account of the Army's resistance to the
Foreign Minister's proposal," Muto asked, "can the Army take the
responsibility?" Tojo reminded them that the Emperor had called for
"blank paper" and they should bow to his wishes. Finally Sugiyama
reluctantly acquiesced, but only if Proposal A failed. He was still
concerned about how the radicals in the Army might be kept from
rebelling when they learned that Japan had made such a humiliating

"I can handle that," said Tojo. The discussion simply could not go on
and on. It was already after midnight.

The rest of the group was out in the imperial garden, recovering from
the smoke and the heat of the argument. Admiral Nagano tapped Togo on
the shoulder: "Can't the Foreign Ministry take over this task and
straighten everything out by diplomacy? As far as the Navy is
concerned you can settle the problem at your own discretion."

Togo was startled. A few minutes earlier this man had been an
adversary. Encouraged by such unexpected support, he went back to the
meeting more determined than ever. But once the discussion resumed,
Nagano was back recommending war. It was another example of the Navy
talking peace in private and war in public-to save face and get their
share of military appropriations.

"Of course, we may lose," he said, Marine Air services so they could
join Chennault's American Volunteer Group. Since the United States was
not at war with Japan and could not deal openly with China, all
arrangements had to be made with an unofficial agency to ensure
secrecy. The Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company of China was set
up and authorized to hire a hundred American pilots and several hundred
ground crewmen to "operate, service and manufacture aircraft in China."
The Japanese considered this a hostile, provocative act' but if we
don't fight, we'd just have to bow to the United States. If we fight,
there's a chance we can win. If we don't fight, wouldn't that be the
same as losing the war?"

Nagano's words irked Tsukada, who found them cautious and vague. It
seemed as if Nagano was set on going to war; why didn't he speak out,
like Sugiyama?

"All of us wonder if there isn't some way to achieve peace," he said

"But no one is willing to say, "Don't worry, I'll assume all
responsibility even if the war is a long one." However, we just can't
maintain the status quo, so there is only one conclusion: we must go to
war. I, Tsukada, believe we cannot avoid war. This is the moment. If
we don't go to war now, we'll have to next year or the year after. This
is the moment! The moral spirit of Japan, the Land of the Gods, will
shine on our enterprise!" Japan's drive south would probably help
Germany and Italy beat Russia and force China to surrender. The
capture of Southeast Asia would be a mighty blow to America's

"We will build an iron wall, and inside it we will crush, one by one,
our Asian enemies. We will also crush America and Britain!"

Tsukada's urgent call for battle was rebutted from an unlikely
source-his own commander. Sugiyama said, "with extreme reluctance,"
that he would have to acquiesce to Togo's proposal to withdraw troops
from southern Indochina. The abrupt shift came like an electric shock
to all except Sugiyama's Army colleagues who had heard his concession
in private. It was a considerable compromise, one that everyone knew
would cause tremendous resentment throughout the ranks of the Army.

In return the military expected an end to civilian resistance and
called for an immediate formal adoption of the deadline proposal. But
Finance Minister Kaya refused to be rushed.

"I cannot agree to a decision involving the destiny of Japan so
suddenly," he said. He proposed they wait another day "to sleep on
it," and the exhausted conferees filed into the garden at two o'clock
in the morning.

As Kaya started home through the silent city he debated with himself.
What if he persisted in opposing war? This would compel Tojo to
dissolve the entire Cabinet, and the new one would undoubtedly bow to
the militarists. On the other hand, there was still a possibility that
the negotiations in Washington could be concluded successfully.
Therefore, wouldn't it be wiser to go along with the proposal? Besides,
if war did erupt, who was better equipped as finance minister to
prevent inflation? His conclusions were logical but war with America
was still unthinkable and he could not bring himself to phone Tojo and
give his approval.

Togo was also debating with himself on the lonely trip home. He had
won his fight for Proposal B but he wasn't sure it would be enough to
satisfy America. Perhaps more concessions could be wrung out of the
Army if he resigned? After a few hours' sleep he called on an old
friend, Koki Hirota, and asked for his opinion. The former prime
minister thought he should stay in office and "work for the success of
the negotiations." A new foreign minister would back the war party. It
made sense.

Togo's next stop was Tojo's office. The Prime Minister had shown such
reasonableness the day before that it encouraged Togo to ask for
support in "persuading those concerned to make further concessions" if
Hull reacted favorably to either "A" or "B."

Tojo did not disappoint him. He was more than willing to make further
compromises if the Americans also came partway, and would soon tell an
associate, "I'm praying to the gods that some way we'll come to an
agreement with America." There was, he felt, a 50-50 chance that "B"
would be accepted. Now only Kaya's resistance remained. All morning
Tojo had pressed the Finance Minister by phone for a decision. Worn
down by this persistency and unable to ignore the logic of this own
arguments, Kaya drove to the Prime Minister's official residence, and
about two o'clock informed General Tojo that he was reluctantly bowing
to the majority opinion.

At last unanimity had been achieved. Now it was Foreign Minister
Togo's well-nigh hopeless task to engineer peace before the deadline.
The only chance for success in Washington, he decided, was to send
assistance to Ambassador Nomura, who had already made several
diplomatic blunders. Months before, the admiral himself had put in a
request for Saburo Kurusu, an extremely able diplomat. He had signed
the Tripartite Pact for Japan, but he also had strong ties with the
United States. His wife was an American, Alice Jay, born of British
parents on Washington Square, New York City.

Kurusu was hesitant but finally accepted the assignment. The
difficulty was to get him to Washington as soon as possible and in
utmost secrecy. If the war-minded staff officers or ultra nationalists
learned of the trip, his assassination was likely. A Pan American
Clipper was scheduled to leave Hong Kong in forty-eight hours, but it
would take several days to make arrangements to spirit Kurusu there by
naval plane. The problem was solved by Ambassador Grew, who phoned
Maxwell Hamilton, chief of the Far Eastern Affairs Division in
Washington. He persuaded Pan American to delay its flight for two

On the afternoon of November 4, Kurusu bade good-bye to Tojo, who said,
"The American people are against war, and their supply of rubber and
tin is dwindling," and added that he had thought the chances of
Kurusu's success were 30 percent. In two days he had grown 20 percent
more dubious.

"Please do your best to reach an agreement."

Late that night Kurusu tiptoed into the bedroom and sat on his wife's

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"Probably to the United States," he told her. She wrapped a steamer
blanket around him and made him coffee. Since there was "every
possibility" he might be assassinated she suggested that their
twenty-two-year-old son, an Army aviation engineer, accompany him on
the first leg of the journey from Tokyo Station to Yokosuka. The
reporters would assume Kurusu was merely seeing his son off on an
assignment. Kurusu agreed. As he left he said, "I may never

The next morning at ten-thirty, thirteen men filed solemnly into the
conference room set up for the imperial conference. When the
fourteenth man, the Emperor appeared, the ceremony proceeded according
to custom. There was a general feeling of anxiety as General Tojo
explained that the September 6 decision had been reconsidered.

"As a result of this, we have concluded that we must be prepared to go
to war, with the time for military action tentatively set at December 1
lit sounded better than the actual date, midnight of November 30] while
at the same time doing our best to solve the problem by diplomacy."

Foreign Minister Togo reviewed the diplomatic prospects. There was
"little room left to maneuver diplomatically" and the chances of
success were "we most deeply regret, dim."

General Suzuki reiterated the crucial problem of Japan's resources.

"Briefly, we will have no easy task to fight a long war against
Britain, America and the Netherlands, while still at war with China."
However, the chances of victory in the first months were so bright that
he felt war was the answer. It would be better than merely "waiting
until the enemy applied the pressure."

Admiral Nagano called for secrecy of battle plans, since the fate of
Japan depended on a decisive victory in the early moments of the war,
and Sugiyama advised them to consider the importance of timing.

"As far as operations, if the start of hostilities is delayed," he
said, "the armament ratio between Japan and the United States will
become increasingly unfavorable to us with the passage of time." He
was fully confident of success in the early stages.

"Nevertheless, we must face the fact that it will probably be a
long-drawn-out war." Even so, he felt Japan could "establish a
strategically impregnable position" and thus frustrate the enemy.

With all the brave talk, an air of growing despair hung over the room;
and General Sugiyama himself called for a "stepping up" in diplomacy.
In response to a question on the negotiations from Privy Council
President Hara, Tojo said the American had answered with "flowery

"The United States hasn't conceded a single point; all it does is make
strong demands on Japan." The most serious point of argument was the
stationing of troops in China, he said, and as he spoke about that
frustrating war, became emotional.

"We dispatched a million men at the cost of over one hundred thousand
dead and wounded, bereavement of families, four years of hardship, and
several tens of billions of yen." And if the troops were pulled out,
China would rise up against Japan.

"She would try to take over Manchuria, Korea and Formosa as well!"

Hara asked how America would react to Proposals A and B. Togo's answer
was that Proposal A would not bring quick results.

"I'm afraid we can't even settle things with Proposal B." There were
only two weeks left to negotiate.

"Therefore, I think chances of success are small. As foreign minister
I will do my utmost but, I regret to say, I see little hope of success
in the negotiations ... about a ten percent chance of success."

"Forty percent!" said Tojo. He had apparently regained 10 percent of
his optimism overnight.

Hara feared war was inevitable and warned of its racist implications.
America, Britain and Germany all were Caucasian.

"So I'm afraid that if Japan attacks America she will come to terms
with Germany, leaving Japan all alone. We must face the possibility
that hatred of the yellow race could shift the hatred now directed
against Germany to Japan, and as a result the German-British war would
be turned against us."

Tojo also sounded a warning-the dangers of a prolonged war with a foe
like the United States.

"When I think about the increasing American strength in the southwest
Pacific, the Still-unfinished China Incident, and other things, I see
no end to our troubles. We all can talk about gashin-shot an at home, but how
many years and months will our people be able to endure it?" His
answer implied the affirmative: despite his show of optimism for peace
a few minutes earlier, he too agreed that they would have to go to

"I am afraid we would become a third-class nation in two or three years
if we just sat tight." Morally there were grounds for war, since
Britain and America threatened Japan's very existence.

"Also, if we govern occupied areas with justice, the hostile attitude
toward us will probably soften. America will be outraged at first but
then she'll come to understand [why we waged war]. Anyway, I will
carefully avoid making this a racial war. Do you have anything more to
say? If not, I take it the proposals have been approved in their
original form." There were no further comments. This time, unlike the
last conference, the Emperor remained silent 2.

Grew understood how frustrated the Japanese leaders were and to what
that frustration might lead. Several days before the historic imperial
conference of November 5, he had written in his diary: "Japan is
obviously preparing a program of war, to be carried out if her
alternative program of peace should fail. Resort to the former may
come with dramatic and dangerous suddenness." In this mood he sent
Hull an ominous cable once more recommending a reconciliation: . IF








This wasn't advocacy of appeasement or a compromise with principles.








He prayed for understanding in Washington.

"The trouble with you Anglo-Saxons," a Japanese friend had told him,
"is that you regard and deal with the Japanese as grown-up people,
whereas the Japanese are but children and should be treated as

Grew's message, however, was as usual ignored in the State Department.
Stanley Hornbeck regarded the ambassador as old-fashioned and honorable
but gullible. Grew was, he thought, too influenced by Doorman, who had
lived too long in the Orient to deal with the Japanese objectively; his
pro-Japanese sympathy obviously colored every dispatch from Tokyo.

The Magic intercepts had convinced Hornbeck of Japanese duplicity. How
could you trust a nation that played the two-faced game of talking
peace while preparing for war? Moreover, he was so convinced that
Japan was bluffing and would not dare fight America that he advised
Hull to ignore Grew's latest warning.

Ironically, it was the two military Chiefs;-General Marshall and
Admiral Stark-who were making a joint appeal to Roosevelt to do nothing
that might force a crisis. The defeat of Germany, after all, was the
major strategic objective.

"If Japan be defeated and Germany remains undefeated, decision will
still not have been reached," they said and warned the President that
war with Japan could cripple the Allied struggle against "the most
dangerous enemy," Germany. They wanted no ultimatum issued to the
Japanese for three or four months, until the Philippines and Singapore
were strengthened.

Roosevelt began searching for a way that would, as he told Stimson,
"give us further time," but even as he looked, he received information
that the crisis could not be avoided. It came in an intercepted
message from Foreign Minister Togo to Ambassador Nomura, a long cable
containing Proposals A and B, along with secret instructions. The
cable was decoded, translated and rushed to Hull. The opening sentence
of the instructions gave the impression that the Japanese had given up
on the negotiations:


Such pessimism was not in the original, for Togo had written:


The translation of the second paragraph was even more misleading: *


The original was responsible in tone:



The translation then stated that unless these proposals succeeded,
relations between the two nations would be ruptured.

Many Japanese are convinced that this and other diplomatic messages
were purposely mistranslated. No evidence could be found of this. It
is far more likely that the inaccuracies came from ignorance of the
stylized Japanese used by diplomats. It is also possible that the
hastily trained translators wanted to make their copy more readable and

Togo's actual words were:


Where Hull read... this time we are showing the limit of our
friendship: this time we are making our last possible BARGAIN, AND I

PEACEABLY, Togo had written:


Hull got just as inaccurate a version of Togo's specific instructions
regarding Proposal A, as the following excerpts show:

What Hull Read


suitable period [for retaining Japanese troops in China]," answer


What Togo Wrote

















To Hull, this last example alone was
convincing-enoug] proof of Japan's deceitful intentions to underline
his old suspicions. Actually, it was a colossal blunder. The translater
had taken the "four" of "four principles" and made i point (4),
concluding part of the instructions following "(1


WITHDRAWL of troops." By making this excerpt appear to be one of the
main divisions of the message and changing "with regard TO THE FOUR
PRINCIPLES" into "(4) AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE" and arbitrarily
inserting the word "anxious," the trans lator had misled Hull into
believing that the Japanese were trying to avoid committing themselves
to a formal agreement on any of the proposed points. On the evening of
November 7 Nomura arrived at Hull's apartment with Proposal A. Hull
glanced through it rapidly; he already knew all about it-or thought he
did-and was convinced that it contained no real concessions. His
attitude was so obvious that Nomura asked for an appointment with the
President. Every day was precious and the admiral was desperate. He
was being pressed for a quick decision at the urging of the Japanese
Chiefs of Staff; Hull was holding up the decision because the American
Chiefs of Staff wanted time. This maneuvering at cross-purposes
unfortunately was contributing to the deterioration of the

When Nomura finally got to see the President three days later he
pointed out the "considerable concessions" made by Japan and reiterated
the need for haste. Roosevelt must also have been mindful of Marshall
and Stark's plea for time in his reply that "nations must think one
hundred years ahead, especially during the age through which the world
is passing." A mere six months had been spent in the negotiations. It
was necessary to be patient; he didn't want a temporary agreement.
Nomura cabled Togo that the United States "was not entirely
unreceptive" to Proposal A. The wishful-thinking admiral was ready to
grab at any straw of hope.

So was Bishop James Walsh. Just back from another trip to the Far
East, he made one more attempt to bring Japan and America together in
the form of a long memorandum delivered to Hull on November 15. In
reading it, Hornbeck added a number of sarcastic notes for Hull which
revealed his own strong bias.

Where the bishop explained that the Emperor's sanction of any policy
was regarded by all Japanese as "the final seal that makes it the
irrevocable policy of the nation," Hornbeck noted in pencil: "If a
policy sanctioned by the Emperor is 'irrevocable," then the alliance
with the Axis is irrevocable." And to a long plea for understanding
between the two countries, he put down: "Naive."

"It is perhaps worthwhile to recall," Walsh observed, "that the Chinese
were well on the way to actual collaboration with Japan when the
Manchurian Incident rudely arrested the movement and turned the Chinese
radically in the other direction." Opposite this, Hornbeck penciled:
"He speaks as though the Chinese had started the "Manchurian
Incident."" And when Walsh noted that "There is no real peace anywhere
in the Far East today," Hornbeck wrote down: "And for that fact who are
responsible?-the Japanese (& the Germans)." That very day Special
Envoy Saburo Kurusu arrived in Washington after a tiring trip across
the country, and two days later Ambassador Nomura brought him to Hull's
office. One glance at the diminutive, bespectacled man with the neat
mustache who had signed the Tripartite Pact was enough for the
Secretary of State to conclude that he was not to be trusted.

"Neither his appearance nor his attitude commanded confidence or
respect," Hull wrote in his memoirs.

"I felt from the start that he was deceitful... His only recommendation
in my eyes was that he spoke excellent English, having married his
American secretary."

Convinced that Kurusu was privy to his government's trickery and would
try "to lull us with talk until the moment Japan got ready to strike,"
Hull escorted the two Japanese the few hundred yards to the White
House. Roosevelt put himself out to be affable: "As Bryan said, there
is no last word between friends."

Kurusu replied that a way must be found to avoid war. The Pacific was
"like a powder keg." Roosevelt agreed that a broad understanding
should be reached.

As for the Tripartite Pact, Kurusu said he didn't see why America,
"which has been a strong advocate of observance of international
commitments, would request Japan to violate one." Japanese leaders had
already assured the Americans that the pact would not automatically
lead to war; that would require an independent decision. Moreover, an
understanding between Japan and America "would naturally 'outshine' the
Tripartite Pact, and American apprehension over the problem of
application of the pact would consequently be dissipated." It was a
step toward actual abrogation of the treaty, but Hull didn't believe a
word Kurusu said; it was merely "some specious attempt to explain away"
the pact.

Roosevelt remained friendly, and reaffirmed that there was "no
difference of interest between our two countries and no occasion,
therefore, for serious differences," and even offered to act as
"introducer" between China and Japan.


That same day Prime Minister Tojo made a speech in the Diet which was
also broadcast to the nation. It dealt with the negotiations in
Washington and he pointed out that their success would depend on three
things: America must not interfere with Japan's solution of the China
Incident; she must "refrain from presenting a direct military menace to
our empire" and call off the economic blockade; and exert efforts to
"prevent the extension of the European war" to East Asia. There was
thunderous applause, whereas excellent speeches ordinarily failed to
get much of a response. In the diplomatic box of the U. S. embassy,
the naval attache leaned over and whispered to his companions. An
Asahi Shimbun reporter noticed this and wrote: . The four staff
members of the American embassy suddenly went into a huddle and
conversed with each other, and then all vigorously shook their heads,
although no one knows what they meant by this. All others in the
visitors' gallery looked at them with fixed attention.

What the naval attache whispered was: "Well, he didn't declare war,

Among the leaders of Japan hope dwindled as each day passed with no
definite word from Washington on Proposal A. America's attitude seemed
to be stiffening on the major issues. All that remained was the last
resort, and Togo cabled Nomura to present "B." On November 20 the
admiral read it to Hull, who took it as an ultimatum and in his memoirs
described the conditions as "of so preposterous a character that no
American official could ever have dreamed of accepting them." But he
hid his feelings to "avoid giving the Japanese any pretext to walk out
of the conversations" and said he would give the proposal "sympathetic

His reaction was unfortunate and uncalled-for. Only one of Proposal B's
five conditions-the one to stop giving aid to China-was unreasonable.
This paragraph aroused him so much that he made it the most vital
issue. In a fit of temper he burst out, "In the minds of the American
people there is a partnership between Hitler and Japan aimed at
enabling Hitler to take charge of one-half the world and Japan the
other half." The Tripartite Pact strengthened the public in this
belief, he added, and began to assail it vigorously.

Nomura turned to Kurusu helplessly. Little more than a week before,
Hull had admitted that the pact was not a major problem. Yet three
times in the past few days he had declared that as long as Japan clung
to it, a peace settlement could not be taken seriously. Why was the
pact being elevated again to importance? It was almost as if nothing
had changed in Japanese-American relations since the days of Matsuoka.*
Hull's subordinates also had a similarly curious reaction to Proposal
B. The man most sympathetic to Japan, Joseph Ballantine, feared its
acceptance would mean "condonemeni by the United States of Japan's
aggressions, assent by the United States to unlimited courses of
conquest by Japan in the future ... betrayal by the United States of
China ..." and "a most serious threat to American national

Such talk of aggression made little sense. The proposal adequately
covered Southeast Asia and the southwest Pacific and offered peace in
China. Japan could not have committed further aggression without
breaking her own proposal, and if the Americans had wanted a definite
pledge to stop mUitarj expansion they probably could have gotten it.

It was not really a question of Proposal B itself, but of State
Department refusal to accept it at face value. What the Japanese Army
considered a major concession and had accepted only after bitter
arguments-withdrawal of troops from southern Indochina to the north-was
scorned by Ballantine. It was a "meaningless" offer, since the
Japanese could easily return the same troops to southern Indochina
"within a day or two."

Roosevelt, on the other hand, must have been impressed by "B" because
he responded with his own modus vivendi He wrote it out in pencil and
sent it on to Hull.

6 months 1. U. S. to resume economic relations-some oil and rice now-
more later.

2. Japan to send no more troops to Indochina or Manchurian border or
any place South-(Dutch, Brit, or Siam).

3. Japan to agree not to invoke tripartite pact even if U. S. gets into
European war.

4. U. S. to introduce Japs to Chinese to talk things over but U. S. to
take no part in their conversations.

Later on Pacific agreements.

There were several possible reasons why Hull revived this dead issue:
out of moral indignation; out of fear of denunciation from the American
public, which generally equated Japan with Nazi Germany, if any
agreement was reached with Japan; to prepare the public for a war with
Japan by raising the specter of a Hitler-Tojo joint attack. This modus
vivendi was further evidence that Roosevelt, unlike Hull, was a
practitioner of Real politik, and brought about the first genuine
relaxation of American rigidity, the first realistic hope for a
peaceful settlement. Though it must have offended Hull's purist
nature, he dutifully began putting it into diplomatic form. Despite
personal reservations about Kurusu and suspicions of his superiors back
in Tokyo, he was still willing to negotiate.

Since the talk with Hull had revealed the great importance he still
attached to the Tripartite Pact, Kurusu called the following day at the
State Department with a draft letter declaring that Japan was not
obligated by that agreement to collaborate or co-operate in any
aggression by any third power. My Government would never project the
people of Japan into war at the behest of any foreign power: it will
accept warfare only as the ultimate, inescapable necessity for the
maintenance of its security and the preservation of national life
against inactive justice.

I hope that the above statement will assist you in removing entirely
the popular suspicion which Your Excellency has repeatedly referred to.
I have to add that, when a complete understanding is reached between
us, Your Excellency may feel perfectly free to publish the present

Neither the indirect negation of the Tripartite Pact nor the offer to
publish it allayed Hull's suspicions, which were "confirmed" a day
later in an intercept from Tokyo to Nomura extending the deadline of
negotiations to November 29 (Washington time).



That evening-it was Saturday, November 22-Kurusu and Nomura called at
Hull's apartment to urge a prompt reply to Proposal B. They were
smiling and courteous. It was a "strain" for Hull to respond amiably,
knowing what he did "of Japan's nefarious plans" from Magic.

"There they sat, bowing agreeably, Nomura sometimes giggling, Kurusu
often showing his teeth in a grin, while through their minds must have
raced again and again the thought that, if we did not say Yes to
Japan's demands, their government in a few days would launch new
aggressions that sooner or later would inevitably bring war with the
United States and death to thousand or millions of men."

Hull said, "It's a pity that Japan cannot do just a few peaceful things
to help tide over the situation."

Nomura was just as ill at ease. He reiterated the need for haste and
pressed for an item-by-item answer.

"There is no reason why any demand should be made on us" was the testy

"I am quite disappointed that despite all my efforts you are still
trying to railroad through your demand for our reply." Hull could see
no reason why Tokyo couldn't wait for a few days, but did promise to
get an answer as soon as possible. This would be Monday at the
earliest, since he had to consult several friendly governments with
interests in the Far East. The answer Hull had in mind was his version
of Roosevelt's hastily scribbled modus vivendi

On Monday, November 24, Hull invited representatives of England, China,
Australia and Holland to his office and passed around copies of the
latest draft of the Roosevelt plan. Dr. Hu Shih, the Chinese
ambassador, was troubled. Why should five thousand Japanese be allowed
to remain in Indochina? Hull replied that in General Marshall's
opinion, even twenty-five thousand troops wouldn't be a menace.

"While my government does not recognize the right of Japan to keep a
single soldier in Indochina," he explained, "we are striving to reach
this proposed temporary agreement primarily because the heads of our
Army and Navy often emphasize to me that time is the all-important
question for them, and that they must be fully prepared to deal
effectively with a possible outbreak by Japan."

The Dutch minister, Dr. Alexander Loudon, forthrightly declared that
his country would support the modus vivendi but the other three had to
wait for instructions. Irked and impatient, Hull said, "Each of your
governments has a more direct interest in the defense of that area of
the world than this country. But your governments, through some
preoccupation in other directions, do not seem to know anything about
this matter under discussion. I am definitely disappointed at this
unexpected development, at their lack of interest and lack of
disposition to co-operate."

The next day Dr. Hu apologetically handed Hull a note from his Foreign
Minister stating that Chiang Kai-shek had had a "rather strong
reaction" to the modus vivendi and felt that America was "inclined to
appease Japan at the expense of China." Exasperated, Hull said America
could of course kill the modus vivendi but if so, she was "not to be
charged with failure to send our fleet into the area near Indochina and
into Japanese waters, if by any chance Japan makes a military drive

Although it was dark by the time Dr. Hu left, Hull called together his
staff for further discussion. He himself was strongly in favor of
sending the modus vivendi to the Japanese despite the slender chance
of acceptance. If nothing else, it would underline "for all time to
come that we were doing everything we could to avoid war, and a
Japanese rejection would serve more fully to expose their predetermined
plan for conquest of the Orient."

Later that night a cable for Roosevelt arrived from Churchill:






Obviously Chiang Kai-shek had carried his complaints to London and this
subtle rebuff wore out Hull's last patience, Magic had assured him that
Proposal B was the last offer Japan would make and that the
negotiations would definitely be terminated at the end of the month.
That Tojo was prepared to make still further concessions in a sincere
attempt for peace he did not know, nor would he have believed it if he
had. Ever since midsummer he had been "well-satisfied that the
Japanese were determined to continue with their course of expansion by

That was why Chiang's objection and Churchill's halfhearted
endorsement, coupled with his own doubts and exhaustion from months of
negotiating, caused him at this moment to shelve the modus vivendi
Instead he would offer the Japanese "a suggested program of
collaboration along peaceful and mutually beneficial, progressive
lines." His assistants began putting this new proposal into draft form
Stimson was making an entry in his diary. He described a meeting that
noon of the so-called War Cabinet at the White House: [Roosevelt]
brought up the event that we were likely to be attacked perhaps next
Monday [December 1], for the Japanese are notorious for making an
attack without warning, and the question was ... what we should do.
The question was how we should maneuver them into the position of
firing, the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.
It was a difficult proposition. Hull laid out his general broad
propositions on which the thing should be rested-the freedom of the
seas and the fact that Japan was in alliance with Hitler and was
carrying out his policy of world aggression. The others brought out
the fact that any such expedition to the south as the Japanese were
likely to take would be an encirclement of our interests in the
Philippines and cutting into our vital supply of rubber from Malaysia.
I pointed out to the President that he had already taken the first
steps towards an ultimatum in notifying Japan way back last summer that
if she crossed the border into Thailand she was violating our safety
and that therefore he had only to point out [to Japan] that to follow
any such expedition was a violation of a warning we had already given
The following day, November 26, Secretary of the Treasury Henry
Morgenthau, Jr." arrived at the White House just as Roosevelt was
starting his breakfast. The phone rang At Sugamo Prison, after the
war, Tojo told Kenryo Sato that if he had received the Roosevelt modus
vivendi the course of history would probably have changed.

"I didn't tell you at the time, but I had already prepared a proposal
with new compromises in it. I wanted somehow to carry out the
Emperor's wishes and avoid war." Then he heaved a big sigh.

"If we had only received that modus vivendi!" This entry was later used
by revisionist historians such as Charles Beard to bolster their claim
that President Roosevelt purposely maneuvered Japan into an attack on
American territory. A superficial reading of the controversial diary
entry and subsequent remarks by Stimson seem to indicate that the
anti-Roosevelt group is correct, but a study of the records of the
discussions between the President and his advisers in the last days of
November make it evident that they were expecting an onslaught on
Singapore, Thailand or some other part of the Southeast Asian
continent. They certainly did not appear to anticipate an initial
attack on any American territory such as the Philippines or Guam, much
less Hawaii. Thus, when Roosevelt said "we were h'kely to be attacked"
he probably used "we" meaning the ABCD powers. It was a "difficult
proposition" just because he did not expect a direct assault on the
United States, and the problem was to make an attack on Singapore or
Thailand seem to be a "first shot" against America. There were two
ways to carry on this "maneuvering"-with a diplomatic warning to Japan
or with a message to Congress so phrased that if Japan made a move
south, even without directly menacing American territory, we would take
it to be an assault on our vital interests-and, as it were, an assault
on the United States.

In the absence of positive proof this assumption, and it can only be an
assumption, seems much more logical and fair than the wishful reasoning
of those who disapproved of almost everything Roosevelt did. before
the President could eat his kippered herring. It was Hull, who told of
the Chinese protests to the modus Vivendi.

"I will quiet them down," Roosevelt said and went back to his
breakfast. By now it was cold, so he pushed it aside, inspiring
Morgenthau to jot down in his notes: "I don't think the President ought
to see me or anybody else until he has finished his breakfast."

Hull was already on the phone with Stimson, telling him that he had
"about made up his mind not to give ... the proposition [the modus
vivendi] ... to the Japanese but to kick the whole thing over-to tell
them that he has no other proposition at all."

This prompted Stimson to check with Roosevelt by phone to find out if
the paper he had sent the night before about the new Japanese
expedition from Shanghai into Indochina had been received. Roosevelt
reacted so violently that Stimson commented in his diary that he
"fairly blew up-jumped up into the air, so to speak"-and said no, he
hadn't seen it and it "changed the whole situation because it was an
evidence of bad faith on the part of the Japanese that while they were
negotiating for an entire truce-and entire withdrawal [from China]-they
should be sending this expedition down there to Indochina."

Not much later Hull appeared in person. He recommended that in view of
the opposition of the Chinese they drop the modus vivendi and offer
the Japanese a brand-new "comprehensive basic proposal for a general
peaceful settlement."

Still angry at the news of the Japanese convoy, Roosevelt approved, and
that afternoon Kurusu and Nomura were summoned to the State Department.
At five o'clock Hull handed them two documents, "with the forlorn hope
that even at this ultimate minute a little common sense might filter
into the military minds of Tokyo."

Kurusu and Nomura expectantly began reading the first paper, an Oral
Statement which set forth that the United States "most earnestly"
desires to work for peace in the Pacific but that it believed Proposal
B "would not be likely to contribute to the ultimate objectives of
ensuring peace under law, order and justice in the Pacific area ..." In
place of Proposal B, Hull offered a new solution and it was embodied in
the second paper, marked "Strictly Confidential, Tentative and Without
Commitment." Kurusu read its ten conditions with dismay. It
peremptorily called for Japan to "withdraw all military, naval, air and
police forces from China and Indochina"; to support no other government
or regime in China except Chiang Kai-shek's; and, in effect, to
abrogate the Tripartite Pact.

It was far harsher than the American proposal made on June 21 and Hull
had drawn it up without consulting General Marshall or Admiral Stark,
who happened to be in the act of drafting still another memorandum to
Roosevelt begging for more time to reinforce the Philippines. Hull's
proposal again raised the dead issue of the Tripartite Pact, though
Kurusu had already given written assurance it had little significance,
and introduced a new proposal calling for "a multilateral nonaggression
pact among the British Empire, China, Japan, the Netherlands, the
Soviet Union and Thailand and the United States." Kurusu knew this
would complicate an already complicated situation and cause more delay.
When Nomura sat down, too stunned to talk, Kurusu asked if this was the
American reply to Proposal B. It was, said Hull, and pointed out the
economic advantages to Japan if she accepted: an offer to unfreeze
Japanese funds, make a trade agreement based upon reciprocal
most-favored-nation treatment, stabilize the dollar-yen rate, reduce
trade barriers and grant other considerable economic concessions.

Kurusu foresaw that in Tokyo this would be regarded as an insult, as a
bribe, and began taking exception to the conditions. He didn't see how
his government could possibly agree to the immediate and unconditional
withdrawal of all troops from China and Indochina, and if the United
States expected Japan "to take off its hat to Chiang Kai-shek and
apologize to him," no agreement was possible. He requested that they
informally discuss the proposal at greater length before sending it on
to Tokyo.

"It's as far as we can go," said Hull. Public feeling was running so
high that he "might almost be lynched" if he let oil go freely into

Kurusu observed with mordant humor that at times all "statesmen of firm
conviction" failed to find public sympathy. Wise men alone could see
far ahead and they sometimes became martyrs, but life was short and one
could only do his duty. Dejected, he added that Hull's note just about
meant the end, and asked if they were not interested in a modus vivendi

The phrase had become an unpleasant one to Hull. We explored that, he
said curtly.

Was it because the other powers wouldn't agree? Kurusu asked. It was
uncomfortably close to the truth.

"I did my best in the way of exploration," said Hull.


The first news of Hull's reply reached Tokyo late in the morning on
November 27. It came in a message from the military attache in
Washington to Imperial Headquarters which began by announcing that the
United States had replied in writing to Proposal B but that "there was
no gleam of hope in negotiations." Staff officers huddled around the
communications room, anxiously waiting while the rest of the message,
containing the gist of Hull's proposal, was being decoded.

The message was sent at once to the Palace, where a liaison conference
was in session. It arrived just as the meeting adjourned for lunch and
Tojo read it aloud. There was dumfounded silence until someone said,
"This is an ultimatum!" Even Togo, who had held forth slight hope of
success, never expected this.

"Overpowered" by despair, he said something in such a stutter that no
one could understand him; the Hull note "stuck in the craw." His
distress was intensified when he saw that several Army men were
pleased, "as if to say, "Didn't we tell you so?"

" But to one Navy man, Admiral Shimada, it was "a jarring blow." Hull's
reply was "unyielding and unbending" and didn't so much as recognize
the fact that Japan had made significant concessions.

The demands were equally outrageous to a peacemaker like Kaya. Hull
obviously knew that Japan would have to refuse them. He was rejecting
an immediate accommodation and seemed to be wanting endless discussions
instead. It was just a stall for time. America had made up her mind
to go to war-to attack Japan! That Japan had already offered to
withdraw troops from southern Indochina at once wasn't enough; Hull
wanted all troops withdrawn at once from Indochina and China. An

What particularly infuriated every man in the room was the categoric
demand to quit all of China. Manchuria had been won at the cost of
considerable sweat and blood. Its loss would mean economic disaster.
What right did the wealthy Americans have to make such a demand? What
nation with any honor would submit?

Hull's proposal was the result of impatience and indignation but the
passage that most incensed the Japanese had been tragically
misunderstood. To Hull, the word "China" did not include Manchuria and
he had no intention of demanding that the Japanese pull out of that
territory. Back in April he had assured Nomura that there was no need
to discuss recognition of Manchukuo until a basic agreement had been
reached, and he imagined that the issue was disposed of. To the
Japanese, however, the Hull note had to be taken at face value. After
all, the Americans had hardened their position on a number of issues
since the days of the Draft Understanding.

The American reply should have been clear on this point; at the very
least, the Japanese reaction would have been far less bitter. The
exception of Manchuria would not have made the Hull note acceptable as
it stood, but it might have enabled Togo to persuade the militarists
that negotiations should be continued; it could very well have forced a
postponement of the November 30 deadline Thus it was that two great
nations who shared a fear of a Communist-dominated Asia were set on a
collision course. Who was to blame-the United States or Japan? The
latter was almost solely responsible for bringing herself to the road
of war with America through the seizure of Manchuria, the invasion of
China, the atrocities committed against the Chinese people, and the
drive to the south. But this course of aggression had been the
inevitable result of the West's efforts to eliminate Japan as an
economic rival after World War I, the Great Depression, her population
explosion, and the necessity to find new resources and markets to
continue as a first-rate power. Added to all this were the unique and
undefined position of the Emperor, the explosive role of all of the men
at the liaison conference, from Tojo to Togo, believed that Hull's
reference to "China" included Manchuria. In 1967 a number of Tojo's
close associates were asked what might have happened if Hull had
clarified that point. Kenryo Sato, learning the truth for the first
time, slapped his forehead and said, "If we had only known!" Very
excitedly he added, "If you had said you recognized Manchukuo, we'd
have accepted!" Suzuki, Kaya and Hoshino would not go that far. Kaya,
now a leading politician, said, "If the note had excluded Manchukuo,
the decision to wage war or not would have been rediscussed at great
length. There'd have been heated arguments at liaison conferences over
whether we should withdraw at once from North China in spite of the
threat of Communism." At least, said Suzuki, Pearl Harbor would have
been prevented.

"There might have been a change of government." gekokujo, and the
threat of Communism from both Russia and Mao Tse-tung which had
developed into paranoiac fear.

Americans, too, suffered from paranoiac fear, theirs of the "yellow
peril," and yet, oddly, they had no apprehensions about Japan as a
military foe and reveled in stories of Nipponese ineptitude. According
to one story going around Washington, the British had built warships
for Japan so top-heavy that they would capsize in the first battle. The
Japanese air force was also generally ridiculed, its pilots regarded as
bespectacled bunglers, more to be laughed at than dreaded. Perhaps this
sense of superiority subconsciously tempted some American leaders,
including Roosevelt, to drive the Japanese to the limit of their

How could a nation rich in resources and land, and free from fear of
attack, understand the position of a tiny, crowded island empire with
almost no natural resources, which was constantly in danger of attack
from a ruthless neighbor, the Soviet Union? America herself had,
moreover, contributed to the atmosphere of hate and distrust by
excluding the Japanese from immigration and, in effect, flaunting a
racial and color prejudice that justifiably infuriated the proud
Nipponese. America should also have perceived and admitted the
hypocrisy of taking such a moral stand on the four principles Her ally,
Britain, certainly did not observe them in India or Burma, nor did she
herself in Central America where "gunboat diplomacy" was still
upholding the Monroe Doctrine. Her self-righteousness was also
self-serving; what was morality at the top became self-interest at the

Finally, America made a grave diplomatic blunder by allowing an issue
not vital to her basic interests-the welfare of China-to become, at the
last moment, the keystone of her foreign policy. Until that summer
America had had two limited aims in the Far East: to drive a wedge
between Japan and Hitler, and to thwart Japan's southward thrust. She
could easily have attained both these objectives but instead made an
issue out of no issue at all, the Tripartite Morality is an unstable
commodity in international relations. The same America that took a
no-compromise stand on behalf of the sanctity of agreements,
maintenance of the status quo in the Orient, and the territorial
integrity of China, reversed herself a few years later at Yalta by
promising Russia territory in the Far East as an inducement to join the
war in the Pacific. A rapprochement with Japan in 1941 would
admittedly have meant American abandonment and betrayal of Nationalist
China. Yet it might have led to a more stable non-Communist China in
the long run. Pact, and insisted on the liberation of China. For this
last unattainable goal America's diplomats were forcing an early war
that her own militarists were hoping to avoid-a war, paradoxically, she
was in no position to wage. America could not throw the weight of her
strength against Japan to liberate China, nor had she ever intended to
do so. Her major enemy was Hitler. Instead of frankly informing
Chiang Kai-shek of this, she had yielded to his urgings and pressed the
policy that led to war in the Far East-and the virtual abandonment of
China. More important, by equating Japan with Nazi Germany, her
diplomats had maneuvered their nation into two completely different
wars, one in Europe against Fascism, and one in the Orient that was
linked with the aspirations of all Asians for freedom from the white
man's bondage.

There were no heroes or villains on either side. Roosevelt, for all
his shortcomings, was a man of broad vision and humanity; the Emperor
was a man of honor and peace. Both were limited-one by the bulky
machinery of a great democracy and the other by training, custom and
the restrictions of his rule. Caught up in a medieval system, the
Japanese militarists were driven primarily by dedication to their
country They wanted power for it, not war profits for themselves; Tojo
himself lived on a modest scale. Prince Konoye's weaknesses came
largely from the vulnerable position of a premier in Japan, but by the
end of his second cabinet he had transformed his natural tendency for
indecisiveness into a show of purpose and courage which continued until
his downfall. Even Matsuoka was no villain. Despite his vanity and
eccentricities this man of ability sincerely thought he was working for
the peace of the world when he saddled Japan with the Tripartite Pact;
and he wrecked the negotiations in Washington out of egotism, not

Nor were Stimson and Hull villains, though the latter, with his
all-or-nothing attitude, had committed one of the most fatal mistakes a
diplomat could make-driven his opponents into a corner with no chance
to save face and given them no option to capitulation but war.

The villain was the times. Japan and America would never have come to
the brink of war except for the social and economic eruption of Europe
after World War I and the rise After his trial Tojo admitted the
independence of the Supreme Command had led to Japan's ruin.

"We should have risen above the system we inherited, but we did not. It
was the men who were to blame.... Especially myself." of two great
revolutionary ideologies-Communism and Fascism. These two sweeping
forces, working sometimes in tandem and sometimes at odds, ultimately
brought about the tragedy of November 26. America certainly would
never have risked going to war solely for the sake of China. It was
the fear that Japan in partnership with Hitler and Mussolini would
conquer the world that drove America to risk all. And the ultimate
tragedy was that Japan had joined up with Hitler mainly because she
feared the Anglo-Saxon nations were isolating her; hers was a marriage
in name only.

A war that need not have been fought was about to be fought because of
mutual misunderstanding, language difficulties, and mistranslations as
well as Japanese opportunism, gekokujo, irrationality, honor, pride and
fear-and American racial prejudice, distrust, ignorance of the Orient,
rigidity, self-righteousness, honor, national pride and fear.

Perhaps these were essentially the answers to Handel's question: "Why
do the nations so furiously rage together?" In any case, American had
made a grave mistake that would cost her dearly for decades to come. If
Hull had sent a conciliatory answer to Proposal B, the Japanese
(according to surviving Cabinet members) would have either come to some
agreement with America or, at the least, been forced to spend several
weeks in debate. And this hiatus would in turn have compelled
postponement of their deadline for attack until the spring of 1942
because of weather conditions. By this time it would have been obvious
that Moscow would stand, and the Japanese would have been eager to make
almost any concessions to avoid going into a desperate war with an ally
which now faced inevitable defeat. If no agreement had been reached,
America would have gained precious time to strengthen the Philippines
with more bombers and reinforcements. Nor would there have been such a
debacle at Pearl Harbor. There is little likelihood that the
implausible series of chances and coincidences that brought about the
December 7 disaster could have been repeated.

6 Operation Z

In early summer of 1939 when the Army was urging closer ties with
Germany and Italy, Navy Minister Mitsumasa Yonai and his deputy had
opposed any pact. The Army was sure that by conquering all Europe,
Hitler would be in a position to help Japan settle the China Incident.
But Admiral Yonai and his deputy were convinced that a war between
England and Germany would be a prolonged affair. Eventually America
would get into it, Germany would wind up the loser, and if Japan had a
treaty with Hitler, she would find herself fighting the United States
all alone.

The Navy Vice Minister was even more outspoken than his chief, publicly
predicting that Japan would be defeated in any war with the United
States. He was only five feet three inches tall (the exact height of
the legendary Admiral Togo), but gave an impression of size with his
broad shoulders and barrel chest. He was Admiral Yamamoto and his
first name, Isoroku (meaning "fifty-six"), was the age of his
schoolmaster father at the time he was born. He had enlisted in the
Navy "so I could return Admiral Perry's visit," and subsequently lived
in America-at Harvard as a student and in Washington as naval attache.
Consequently he had sounded the warning of her industrial strength so
often and so persuasively that Yonai, fearing that Yamamoto might be
assassinated by ultra nationalists sent him to sea in August 1939 as
commander of Combined Fleet.

The basic strategical plans of Japan's admirals in the thirties had
been to let her enemy, America, sortie from Pearl Harbor to make the
initial attack: as the Americans proceeded they would be harassed by
submarines while the Japanese fleet simply waited in their own
territory. By the time the forces met in Japanese waters, the
Americans would be so weakened by losses that they could be defeated in
one great surface battle somewhere west of Iwo Jima and Saipan.

Once Yamamoto assumed command of the fleet, however, he extended the
theoretical battle line to the Marshall Islands, which, together with
the Carolines, had been turned over to Japan as mandates after World
War I and constituted her possessions farthest east in the Pacific.
Then in 1940, while witnessing the remarkable achievements of
carrier-based planes in the spring fleet maneuvers, he turned to his
chief of staff, Rear Admiral Shigeru Fukudome, as they paced the deck
of the flagship Nagato and said, "I think an attack on Hawaii may be
possible now that our air training has turned out so successfully." In
one sudden crushing blow the American fleet at Pearl Harbor would be
crippled, and before it could be rebuilt Japan would have seized
Southeast Asia with all its resources The idea for a surprise attack
was based on the tactics of his hero, Admiral Togo, who had, without
any declaration of war, assaulted the Second Russian Pacific Squadron
at Port Arthur in 1904 with torpedo boats while its commander, an
Admiral Stark, was at a party. The Russians never recovered from this
loss-two battleships and a number of cruisers-and the following year
almost their entire fleet was destroyed in the Battle of Tsushima
during which, incidentally, young Ensign Yamamoto lost two fingers on
his left hand.

(The concept of achieving decisive victory by one surprise blow lay
deep in the Japanese character. Their favorite literary form was the
haiku, a poem combining sensual imagery and intuitive evocation in a
brief seventeen syllables; a rapier thrust that expressed, with
discipline, the illumination sought in the Japanese form of Buddhism.
Similarly, the outcome in judo, sumo [wrestling] and kendo [fencing
with bamboo staves], after long preliminaries, was settled by a sudden
stroke.) Yamamoto was not the only one thinking seriously of an It is
intriguing to speculate on the inspiration for Yamamoto's plan for an
attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1921 a book entitled Sea Power in the
Pacific was published in the United States, written by Hector C.
Bywater, naval correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph. Four
years later, part of this book was expanded into a novel under the
title The Great Pacific War. In it, Bywater described a Japanese
surprise attack on the U. S. Asiatic Fleet in Pearl Harbor, with
simultaneous assaults on Guam and the Philippines, and with landings on
Luzon at Lingayen Gulf and Lamon Bay. The Navy General Staff in Tokyo,
which had had Sea Power in the Pacific translated and distributed among
top naval officers, also adopted The Great Pacific War for the
curriculum at the Naval War College.

At the time The Great Pacific War was published, Yamamoto was serving
as naval attache in Washington. In September 1925 the New York Times
Book Review featured the book on page one, under the headline If War
Comes in the Pacific. Undoubtedly Yamamoto, an obsessive student of
naval affairs, had the book called to his attention. air attack on
Pearl Harbor. In Tokyo, Commander Kazunari Miyo, the aviation
operations officer of the Navy General Staff, was trying to convince
his chiefs that the way to beat a powerful enemy like America was to
force her into a decisive battle as soon as possible. This could be
done by using giant six- to eight-engine aircraft in a number of
bombing raids on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. The Americans would
either have to flee to the mainland or come out and fight near the
Marshalls on Japanese terms.

Although the idea was never seriously considered by Miyo's superiors,
the discussion at naval headquarters might have been overheard. On
January 27, 1941, Dr. Ricardo Rivera Schreiber, the Peruvian envoy in
Tokyo, told a friend, First Secretary Edward S. Crocker of the American
embassy, of a rumor that the Japanese intended to make a "surprise mass
attack on Pearl Harbor" with all their strength. Crocker passed this
on to Ambassador Grew, who cabled Washington. The message was routed
to Naval Intelligence, which reported that "based on known data
regarding the present disposition and employment of Japanese Naval and
Army forces, no move against Pearl Harbor appears imminent or planned
for the foreseeable future."

At that moment Yamamoto was already moving forward. On February 1 he
wrote an unofficial letter to Rear Admiral Takijiro Onishi, chief of
staff of the Eleventh Air Fleet, outlining his plan and asking Onishi
to carry out a secret study of its feasibility. Onishi turned to his
friend and subordinate, Commander Minoru Genda, one of the Navy's most
promising officers, whose influence extended far beyond his rank-in
China his brilliant innovations in mass long-range fighter operations
had won him fame. Now he was asked to study the Yamamoto plan. After
ten days he presented his conclusions: the attack on Pearl Harbor would
be difficult to mount, and risky, but contained "a reasonable chance of
success Onishi forwarded this report to Yamamoto, along with his own
deductions. The admiral was by then discussing The main source of this
information is Minoru Genda, whose testimony was inconsistent. He was
questioned on November 28, 1945, by Captain Payton Harrison, USNR, with
Douglas Wada interpreting. Captain Harrison conducted several more
interrogations, and Genda also made a deposition for the defense in the
Tokyo trials. Each time the facts varied: the Pearl Harbor attack was
conceived in February 1 in a conversation with Admiral Onishi; then, it
was outlined in a letter from Yamamoto to Onishi, but he gave three
different dates-January 27, February 1 and February 10. the attack with
his own operations officer, Captain Kameto Kuroshima, a brilliant
eccentric who would absentmindedly roam the flagship in kimono leaving
a trail of cigarette ashes behind him. Orderlies referred to him as
"the foggy staff officer." Kuroshima closeted himself in his cabin for
several days and finally emerged in a cloud of garlic, incense and
cigarette smoke with a detailed plan entitled Operation Kuroshima.*
Success rested on two precarious assumptions: that the Pacific Fleet
(the United States Fleet had been so renamed on February 1) would be
anchored at Pearl Harbor at the time of attack; and that a great
carrier force could be moved halfway across the Pacific Ocean without
being detected. Only a gambler would embark on such a venture and
Yamamoto was certainly this. He was an expert at bridge and poker, as
well as at shogi (Japanese chess). Once an American asked him how he
had learned bridge so quickly.

"If I can keep five thousand ideographs in my mind," he explained, "it
is not hard to keep in mind fifty-two cards." He often told Commander
Yasuji Watanabe, perhaps his favorite staff officer, that gambling-half
calculation, half luck-played a major role in his thinking. As for the
Hawaii attack, it was dangerous but the odds were too good not to

"If we fail," he said fatalistically, "we'd better give up the war."

Two days after sending the letter to Onishi, Yamamoto outlined the plan
to Captain Kanji Ogawa of Naval Intelligence, requesting that he
collect as much data as possible about Hawaii. Although Ogawa already
had a small group of spies in the islands-a timid German named Otto
KUhn who needed money, a Buddhist priest and two Nisei-they merely
provided unimportant bits of information. He decided to send in a
naval intelligence expert who had already been selected and prepared
for such a mission, even though an amputated finger made him readily
identifiable. Takeo Yoshikawa was a twenty-nine-year-old ensign from
Section 5, the American desk. He was slender, good-looking and
appeared younger than his years.

Yoshikawa had attended the Naval Academy at Etajima, where he was a
swimming champion (before graduating, every cadet was required to swim
the ten miles of cold, jellyfish-ridden waters from the famed shrine at
Miyajima to Etajima) and won fourth rank at kendo. He was a unique
After the war, shortly before his death, Kuroshima told Miyo, "The
Pearl Harbor attack was my idea." scholar. While his mates crammed
for exams, he studied Zen Buddhism to attain spiritual discipline.
Even so, he graduated on schedule and after a term as code officer on a
cruiser, attended torpedo, gunnery and aviation schools. Heavy
drinking, however, led to stomach trouble and temporary retirement from
the service. He returned as a Reserve officer in Naval Intelligence.
At first he served in the British section, then was transferred to the
American section, where he sifted through a mountain of material that
had accumulated, familiarized himself with ship movements and memorized
various types of naval equipment.

In the spring of 1940 he was asked by his section chief, Captain
Takeuchi, if he would volunteer to serve in Hawaii as a secret agent.
He would get no espionage training, not even a single manual, and would
in effect be on his own. Yoshikawa accepted and turned into a
civilian, assuming the cover name of Tadashi Morimura. In preparation
for his role as consular official, he let his hair grow and began to
study international law and English at Nippon University. He passed
the diplomatic exams and divided his time between the Foreign Ministry,
where he did research on American politics and economy, and Section

By the time Admiral Yamamoto made his request for additional Hawaiian
intelligence it was spring of 1941, and Yoshikawa was ready. On March
20 he boarded the liner Nitta-maru at Yokohama. A week later he
arrived in Honolulu, keyed up at the thought of pitting himself against
the U. S. Navy. Consul General Nagao Kita greeted him cordially and
the following night took him to the Shunchoro, a Japanese restaurant
located on a hill overlooking Pearl Harbor. The proprietress, Namiko
Fujiwara, came from Yoshikawa's own prefecture, Ehime. She told him
she had five geishas, trained in Japan. The assignment would not be a
dull one.

Yoshikawa got a salary of $150 a month, as well as $600 for six months'
expenses. He began operations, improvising his own methods. First he
made a grand tour of all the main islands, followed by two auto trips
around Oahu, and then an air junket over Oahu wearing a loud aloha
shirt like any other tourist and accompanied by a pretty geisha. After
a second tour of the islands he was sure there were no naval ships
except at Pearl Harbor and decided to concentrate on Oahu. Twice a
week he took a six-hour drive around the island and visited the Pearl
Harbor area every day. As a rule, he would simply gaze at it from the
crest of a hill, but several times he got inside the gates. Once,
armed with alunch box, he followed a group of laborers and spent the
day wandering around without being questioned; he tapped a big oil tank
to see how much was inside and discovered that full tanks usually
leaked and could easily be detected from outside the fence. Another
time he persuaded a hostess at an officers club to hire him as a
kitchen helper at a big party, but all he learned was how Americans
wash dishes.

The large Japanese community was no help at all. Yo-shikawa sounded
out many individuals, usually over drinks at the consulate, but
discovered that almost all considered themselves loyal Americans; to
Yoshikawa it didn't make sense to be American while worshiping at
Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and contributing generously to the
Imperial Army's relief fund. One old man did promise to set fire to a
sugarcane field in case of war and talked freely of all the guns he'd
seen, but Yoshikawa discounted the man's reports when he began
describing one on top of Diamond Head as "big as a temple bell."

Gossiping with American sailors was just as fruitless. They talked a
lot without saying a thing. What information he got was by simple,
unexciting methods. He sat on a tatami in the Shunchoro with the
geishas-sometimes Shimeko, sometimes Marichiyo-and drew diagrams of the
ships in the sprawling harbor below. On his regular drives he usually
took a girl-a geisha or one of the maids at the consulate-because
guards stopped him if he was alone.

Once he taxied up to Hickam Field, the big Army Air Corps bomber base
near Pearl Harbor. At the gate he told the guard he was meeting an
American officer and was waved on. As the cab slowly cruised around
the base, Yoshikawa made mental notes of the number of hangars and
planes, and the length of the two main runways. He also attended an
air show at Wheeler Field, a fighter air base in the center of Oahu. He
sat on the grass with other spectators watching P-40 fighter pilots do
aerobatics; several swooped through an open hangar. He made no notes,
but memorized the number of planes and pilots, hangars, barracks and
soldiers. He never photographed anything, depending instead on his
"camera eyes."

Once a week he submitted a report to Kita, who sent his chauffeur with
the coded messages to the Mackay cable office in Honolulu. Within a
month Yoshikawa was sure he was being "tailed" by the FBI in a black
car with radio antenna. Kita warned him to be more careful but
Yoshikawastubbornly continued his routine; before long the two men
found themselves quarreling almost every day.


By April the Pearl Harbor plan had a new name- Operation Z, in honor of
the famed Z signal given by Admiral Togo at Tsushima: on this one
battle rests the fate OF OUR NATION. LET EVERY MAN DO HIS UTMOST. Now
it was time to turn it over to those who would have to put it into
effect-the First Air Fleet.

On April 10 Rear Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka was made chief of staff of
the First Air Fleet. He was sturdy and energetic, with a candid face.
His father had been a business executive, but young Kusaka's calling
was the sea. After graduation from the Naval Academy in 1913 he spent
most of his time in naval aviation, once crossing the Pacific in the
Graf Zeppelin as an observer. He captained two carriers, Hosho and
Akagi, and before coming to Tokyo, commanded the 24th Air Squadron in

After reporting to the Navy General Staff, the forty-eight-year-old
admiral was brought to the office of a former classmate at the Naval
War College, Admiral Shigeru Fukudome, the then chief of the Operations

"Take a look at this," Fukudome told his colleague and held out a sheaf
of papers written in pen. A glance through the pages made it clear to
Kusaka that the writing was Onishi's.

"This is supposed to be an operational plan," he said, "but we can't
use it in a real fight."

"This is merely a proposal. Nothing has been decided yet. In case of
war, we need a practicable plan from you. Make it work."

Kusaka took a train south to Hiroshima, where he reported to his new
chief, Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, on board the flagship Akagi. Nagumo
was short, slight. A torpedo expert, he knew little of aviation, and
told Kusaka he would have to be responsible for Operation Z. Kusaka was
no flier, either; he considered himself "an aviation broker." The
details would have to be drawn up by men with intimate knowledge of
flying, so he summoned the senior staff officer, Commander Tamotsu
Oishi, and the aviation staff officer, Commander Minoru Genda. The
latter, of course, knew all about Pearl Harbor, but kept it to himself
when Kusaka told the two to draw up a complete, workable plan. The more
Kusaka studied the project the more he doubted its feasibilities: it
was too risky, and defeat in such an initial battle would mean losing
the war. As Operation Z developed, so did Kusaka's concern. He
visited Admiral Onishi late in June and pointed out the flaws in the
plan so persuasively that Onishi finally conceded it was too much of a

Kusaka suggested that they go to Yamamoto.

"You were the one who started this argument," said Onishi.

"You tell him."

Kusaka returned to Akagi, got permission from his commander to see
Yamamoto, and took a launch to Nagato, the flagship of the Combined
Fleet. The plan was too speculative, he said, and summed up all his

Yamamoto took Kusaka's criticisms good-naturedly.

"You just call it speculative because I play poker and mahjong, but
actually it isn't." These words ended the interview, but not Kusaka's
anxiety. Downcast, he was walking toward the gangway when he felt a
tap on his shoulder. It was Yamamoto.

"I understand why you object, but the Pearl Harbor attack is a decision
I made as commander in chief. Therefore I'd appreciate it if you will
stop arguing and from now on make every effort to carry out my
decision. If in the future you should have any objections from other
people, I'll back you up."

Oishi worked out the overall plan and Genda studied the techniques of
air attack-he had been thinking of a concentrated carrier strike since
watching an American newsreel in 1940-while Kusaka himself devoted his
energies to the aspect he felt was the most vulnerable: bringing the
Striking Force within air range of Pearl Harbor without being
discovered. It seemed an impossible task. Japanese ships were faster
than American, but at the expense of armor and cruising range. The
ships in the Striking Force, except the new carriers Shokaku and
Zuikaku, simply did not have the fuel capacity to approach Pearl
Harbor. How would he be able to refuel on the run?
There was also the element of surprise. What course would ensure it?
He called in Lieutenant Commander Toshisaburo Sasabe, the staff
navigation expert, and told him to study the nationalities and types of
ships which had crossed the Pacific during the past ten years. Sasabe
reported that no ships traveled at latitude 40 degrees north during
November and December because of rough seas. The first thing that came
to Kusaka's mind when he read Sasabe's report was the surprise attack
made by Yoshitsune Minamoto in the twelfth centuryr upon the enemy's
supposedly impregnable castle; Minamoto had gained access by launching
an assault from a completely unexpected quarter Kusaka could do the
same thing by striking at Pearl Harbor from the north; the U. S. fleet
usually held maneuvers southwest of Hawaii, on the assumption that any
attack would come from the Japanese base on the Marshall Islands. The
one drawback-and it was a considerable one-was the problem of refueling
his ships in the rough seas, but Kusaka dismissed it at once; he would
overcome that problem by discipline and training.

The precise course to the launching site now had to be worked out. On
the basis of information from Hawaii, Kusaka expected U. S. Navy flying
boats to patrol an area five hundred miles out of Pearl Harbor while
other PBY's covered five hundred miles south of Dutch Harbor in the
Aleutians. The Striking Force, he concluded, would have to navigate
undetected through this neglected part of the ocean by heading almost
due east to a point approximately eight hundred miles north of Pearl
Harbor. Here, the day before the attack, the ships would refuel for
the last time and at dark steam south toward their target. At first
light the planes would take off.

Ordinarily the training and operation of planes was the responsibility
of each carrier's captain or squadron commander, but this attack had to
be coordinated by a single flight commander. The man selected was the
squadron leader on Akagi, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, whose fly ins skill
was exceeded by his ability to lead. A thirty-nine-year-old veteran of
the China War, he had already logged 3,000 hours in the air. Not all
of the carrier captains could accept Fuchida's commanding their planes,
however, and it took Kusaka himself to bring them into line.

The primary target, according to Genda's plan, was Battleship Row, the
two lines of battleships moored off Ford Island in the middle of Pearl
Harbor. First, torpedo planes would swoop down and launch their cargo
at the outside row, then the inside line would be attacked by
high-level (horizontal) and dive bombers.

Kusaka didn't believe this second assault could succeed without an
accurate bombsight-the Japanese knew of America's Norden bombsight but
had been unable to acquire "This battle, fought on February 7, 1184,
followed by a sea victory a year later, decided the struggle between
the Minamoto and Taira clans for domination of Japan. the plans-or a
bomb capable of piercing a battleship's thick armor without detonating.
The answer to the first problem was constant practice with the erratic
Type 97 bombsight, a copy of a German model; for the second, Genda,
Fuchida and the engineers finally hit upon a simple solution:
reconstruct battleship shells into bombs, with their outer faces so
reinforced that they would not explode on impact.

Not until the outbreak of hostilities in Europe had the Japanese Army
General Staff thought in terms of a major war. Previously their
operations had been limited to the Asian continent, but once England
became one of the belligerents, they made preparations for action
against her and possibly America. They dispatched one of their
shrewdest officers, Major Kumao Imoto, to investigate the strategic
feasibilities of Southeast Asia. He worked his way from Hong Kong to
Hanoi, Saigon and on to Singapore. Upon his return he drafted invasion
plans for both Hong Kong and Singapore.

The following year other officers went farther south to probe possible
invasions of Java, Sumatra and the Philippines. But the plans that
evolved were vague and no practical spy network was ever established. A
scattering of Japanese nationals and retired officers was willing to
serve on a volunteer basis, and there was some help from natives. Many
Filipinos still carried bitter memories of Emilio Aguinaldo's
unsuccessful but heroic attempt to overthrow American rule around the
turn of the century, and in British and Dutch territories the vast
majority was in favor of an overthrow of white domination.

In December 1940-about the same time Yamamoto was seriously pondering
the attack on Pearl Harbor-three divisions in China were ordered to
start training for operations in the tropics. A special unit, the
Formosan Army Research Department, was established to collect all data
on tropical warfare in Southeast Asia within a period of six months. It
was a small group, commanded by a Colonel Yoshihide Hayashi, but the
driving force was provided by the controversial Colonel Masanobu Tsuji,
who made a commonplace of eccentricity; once he had burned down a
geisha house filled with fellow officers in a fit of moral indignation.
With his roundish face, bald head and small, blinking eyes, he looked
like the typical staff officer, but his brilliant maverick spirit
inspired fanatic devotion in the younger staff officers. They revered
him as Japan's "God of Operations," the hope of the Orient. Some of
his superiors, however, had grave reservations. General Hitoshi
Imamura, one of the most respected figures in the Army, saw the genius
in Tsuji-but also the madman. A number of his peers, such as Colonel
Takeo Imai, regarded him as a clever, fanatic idealist with a one-track
mind who thought, like the legendary Kanji Ishihara, that he alone was
right, Tsuji was, in fact, a protege of Ishihara's. He, too, was
determined to make Manchuria into a Buddhist paradise of five
nationalities living in harmony, but he wanted to go much further; he
dreamed of making Asia one great brotherhood, an Asia for the Asians.

Yoshio Kodama (who would be inveigled by Tsuji to plan to assassinate
Prince Konoye by dynamite) first met him at the Nanking Army
headquarters. He had a letter to Tsuji from Ishihara, and was told by
Colonel Imai, "Oh, that crazy man lives in a filthy little room behind
the stable." Kodama asked Tsuji why he lived alone in such squalor.

"These headquarters officers are all rotten," Tsuji answered with

"They are only working for their medals. Every night they go to
parties and play with geishas. Since the China Incident, all the
military have gone bad. They hate me because I know all this and speak
out." He did more than speak. He turned one fellow staff officer over
to the kempeitai for "corruption," who then committed suicide.

On January 1, 1941, this colorful figure found himself in
Formosa-exiled there, according to rumor, by Tojo, who had always
opposed Ishihara-and involved in a seemingly useless project. Instead
of feeling sorry for himself, he threw himself wholeheartedly into his
personal assignment, the Malayan campaign. Within two months, through
various sources, he learned that the island of Singapore, connected to
the tip end of the Malay Peninsula by a 1,100-yard-long causeway, was a
fortress impregnable from the sea but practically defenseless from an
attack in the rear.

One of Tsuji's chief assistants was a fellow eccentric, Captain
Shigeharu Asaeda, an agile, muscular six-footer of twenty-nine. He had
always wanted to be an engineer, but since his father was poor, he had
drifted into the Military Academy because it was free. After
graduating from the War College, he fought in China so recklessly that
Tsuji sought him out. The two took to each other at once, for both
burned with the same idealism and spirit of adventure. When Asaeda was
transferred to a desk job in the War Ministry he became so bored that
he abandoned not only the Army but his wife and family as well. He
disguised himself in civilian clothes, took a new name, wrote a letter
informing his wife and parents that he was "going to commit suicide in
the Inland Sea," and left Tokyo. He was actually off to join the
Indonesian fight against Dutch colonialism.

On his way south he asked Tsuji for help. Though Tsuji promised to
keep his friend's whereabouts a secret, within hours a disgruntled
Asaeda was on his way back to Japan under guard. He expected to be
court-martialed, but the Army, which did not want the public treated to
a scandal, simply retired him from the service; perhaps his heroism in
China tempered a harsher sentence. In any case, he again left his
family and returned to Formosa to confront the man who had betrayed
him. Such was the force of Tsuji's personality that Asaeda found
himself volunteering as a secret agent. He was to assemble firsthand
information on Burma, Malaya and Thailand. With fanatic intensity
Asaeda immersed himself in round-the-clock studies of the language and
geography of each country he was to infiltrate.

About the time Yoshikawa began operations in Hawaii, Asaeda set off for
Thailand pretending to be an agricultural engineer. Judicious bribes
enabled him to photograph key areas; and talks with hundreds of
natives, some of high rank, convinced him that Thailand was the best
springboard for operations against Burma, and could be taken over

The Burman border was closely guarded by the British, but after several
months he managed to slip through and collect the material Tsuji
wanted. By the time he returned to Formosa he had discovered terrain
and climate peculiarities that changed the accepted theories of
tropical warfare.

In June, secret maneuvers were held on Japanese-controlled Hainan-a
large island just off southern China in the Gulf of Tonkin-under the
supervision of Hayashi and Tsuji. New concepts, based on information
from Asaeda and research in Formosa, were tested. It had been regarded
as suicidal to send transports jammed with men and horses through the
suffocating heat of the tropics. Tsuji was certain it was solely a
matter of training and discipline. His method of proof was uniquely
his own. He packed thousands of fully equipped soldiers into the
sweltering holds of ships, three to a tatami (a mat about six by three
feet), and kept them there for a week in temperatures up to 120 degrees
with little water. These wilted men, along with horses and heavy
equipment, were successfully landed on open beaches under the worst
(simulated) circumstances. A final mock landing was made under combat
conditions by a battalion of infantry, a battery of artillery and a
company of engineers. Now all that was needed was accurate information
about the terrain and tides of the invasion beaches. To get this,
Tsuji sent his one-man spy ring, the ubiquitous Asaeda, into Malaya

Though the Navy had always opposed a drive to the south on the grounds
that it would lead to a clash with America, Admiral Nagano had
submitted an official proposal in mid-June advocating an advance into
southern Indochina whether it would take force or not. As it happened,
no force was needed against the Vichy government, but the act led to
the freezing of Japan's assets in the United States and made war
against the West appear inevitable. At first Army Chief of Staff
Sugiyama disapproved plans to prepare operations at once to seize
Southeast Asia but on August 23 he succumbed to pressure.

There was similar resistance in the Navy high command to Operation Z,
led by the chief of the Operations Section, Captain Sadatoshi Tomioka.
Late that summer he debated the risks involved with Yamamoto's "foggy
staff officer," Captain Kuroshima. Tomioka charged that the southern
campaign was being short-changed; too much was being thrown into
Operation Z, which might be a totally wasted effort. What if the
attack planes found Pearl Harbor empty? His blood was as hot as
Kuroshima's and their differences almost led to a fistfight but they
parted friends, with the latter beginning to doubt his own arguments.

Yamamoto had no doubts whatsoever and the opposition from Tokyo made
him more steadfast. One day he remarked to his chess partner,
Watanabe, "I will just have to resign." Watanabe grinned. But this
was not a passing mood. The admiral had made up his mind to use the
threat of resignation as a last resort.

Training for the air attack on Pearl Harbor continued at an accelerated
pace on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four major islands, famed
for its active volcanoes, men of warlike spirit, and pornography.
Except for those involved in the planning, no one, not even the
captains of the carriers, knew what the target would be. The fighter
pilots at Saeki Air Base only knew they were being prepared for some
great air assault involving all the fighter planes of four carriers.
The dive bombers were located some 150 miles down the coast at Tominaka
Air Base. Here the men were specializing in night attacks and
accuracy, using as targets towed rafts which made a heavy wake. The
other fliers were near the mouth of Kagoshima Bay in the south. They
had to double as high-level and torpedo bombers. Torpedo practice was
more exhilarating, for they had instructions to do what almost every
pilot longed to do-buzz civilians and stunt around buildings. Each
plane had a crew of three: pilot, observer (who also acted as
bombardier) and radioman (who doubled as gunner). It would fly over a
mountain some 5,000 feet high behind Kagoshima City, then zoom down,
playing tag with the Yamagataya Department Store and the railroad
station and dodging between telephone poles and smokestacks before
suddenly dropping to an altitude of 25 feet when it reached the piers.
Here the observer pulled a toggle which supposedly launched a torpedo
at a breakwater (Battleship Row) about three hundred yards away. Then
the plane made a sharp right turn to avoid slamming into Mount
Sakurajima, an active volcano on a little island in the bay, and
continued, skimming the water, scaring the wits out of every
fishing-boat skipper who had the misfortune to be nearby. It was great
fun and it was legal. But the people of Kagoshima made numerous
complaints. Couldn't the Navy control its young hotheads who were
practically tearing the roof off the Hirano restaurant just to impress
the geishas?

Genda had picked Kagoshima City-home of the lusty hero, Saigo*-because
it presented most of the problems the torpedo bombers would have to
face at Pearl Harbor. They would have to fly over a number of
smokestacks and buildings, just as at Kagoshima City, and then drop
down at suddenly reduced speed to launch their torpedoes at Battleship
Row from an extremely low altitude. The reason why Genda insisted that
they practice at such a suicidal height was that the waters of Pearl
Harbor were shallow, and if dropped from the usual height, a torpedo
would plow straight into the bottom. But even a drop from 25 feet
would not solve the problem and Genda was deviling the experts at
Yokosuka Naval Base to come up with a shallow-running torpedo.

Several hundred miles to the northeast on the rugged, spectacularly
beautiful coast of Shikoku Island, a detachment Taka mori Saigo, the
prototype of the Japanese man of action, led the Satsuma Rebellion in
1877 against the Meiji government. Though one of Japan's great heroes,
the people failed to respond to his call for revolt. His statue,
standing in Kagoshima, is still a shrine of Japanese seishtn (spirit).
of Navy men was carrying out another phase of Operation Z that
completely mystified the inhabitants of Mitsukue. Every morning a
dozen spirited young ensigns sailed Out into Mitsukue Bay in fishing
boats towing canvas-covered cigar-shaped objects about eighty feet
long. Late in the afternoon the boats, mysterious canvas-covered
objects and all, would return and the ensigns congregate at the Iwamiya
Inn for dinner.

The canvas-draped objects were two midget submarines which their pilots
were slipping through the mouth of Mitsukue Bay in a mock torpedo
attack on American warships, but even their instructors did not know
this was supposed to be Pearl Harbor.

On September 2 all fleet commanders and their key staff officers, as
well as important personnel from Combined Fleet, the Navy General Staff
and the Naval Ministry (about forty in all), gathered at the Naval War
College in Meguro, a suburb of Tokyo, to conduct final tabletop
maneuvers in the presence of several Army observers who had just been
advised of Pearl Harbor. There were two general problems to be solved:
first, to work out final details for a successful surprise attack on
Pearl Harbor; and, second, to make a detailed schedule, from the naval
point of view, for occupying Malaya, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, the
Philippines, the Solomons and the central Pacific islands, including
ultimately Hawaii.

Umpires were selected from the Navy General Staff and Navy Ministry and
the rest were divided into three teams. Yamamoto himself led the
N-team (Nippon); Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo of the Second Fleet led
the E-team (England) ; and Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi the A-team
(America). On September 5-the day before the Emperor recited his
grandfather's poem-the war games got under way. Yamamoto set his
Striking Force on its way to Hawaii over the huge game board, but
before the carriers reached launching position, Takahashi's "American"
search planes from Pearl Harbor had discovered them. With the surprise
element gone, a third of Yamamoto's planes were shot down and two
carriers sunk. Despite these "losses," Yamamoto's plan was not dropped
lest he make good his threat to resign and because Hitler's attack on
Russia had made the Japanese position in Manchuria more secure.

Within a week the Navy planners completed a staff study setting
November 16 as X-Day (their D-Day). An officer handed over about a
hundred mimeographed copies of the forty-page study to Yeoman Second
Class Mitsuharu Noda, a staff clerk on Nagato, and simply told him to
take them to the flagship anchored off Kure. Each copy was in a black
manila folder; curious, Noda glanced through one. It opened with the
words: "Japan is declaring war on the United States, Great Britain (and
the Netherlands)." Fascinated, he read the details of an attack on
Pearl Harbor, complete with charts and codes.

Noda and an assistant wrapped the studies into four bundles and
clambered aboard a train at Tokyo station. They spent that night on a
third-class sleeper to Kure, using the bundles as head and foot

The study called for four carriers and thus brought protests from every
staff officer in Combined Fleet and the Striking Force. At least six
carriers were needed. Kusaka alone, however, was willing to do more
than register a formal request for another two ships. He flew to Tokyo
to fight for his convictions. After a day of frustrating argument with
the Navy General Staff, he sent a telegram direct to Yamamoto, without
consulting anyone, complaining about the lack of support from Combined

Kusaka's efforts were in vain and, moreover, his was the painful task
of deciding which two carriers to leave behind. He selected the two
smallest-Soryu and Hiryu. Their commander was an old friend, Tamon
Yamaguchi, whose temper was only matched by his courage. Kusaka asked
Genda to transmit the unwelcome information in person, but he showed
such reluctance that the admiral summoned Yamaguchi to Akagi.

The volatile Yamaguchi, a Princeton man, seemed to accept the decision,
and sought solace in sake. He downed half a dozen shots and then,
before Kusaka could stop him, charged into Admiral Nagumo's private
office with a bellow. Such behavior was not unique in the Japanese
Navy on this level, and Nagumo tried to calm him by saying that
although Soryu and Hiryu had to be left behind, their well-trained
crews could be switched to Shokaku and Zuikaku. This still left
Yamaguchi out of the battle and he shouted, "I insist on taking Hiryu
and Soryu!" The burly Yamaguchi lunged at Nagumo from behind and
hooked the little admiral in a headlock.

Kusaka appeared in the doorway.

"What's going on?" He tugged at Yamaguchi's arm.

Nagumo, face red but composed, said, "I'm good at judo so I can handle
a drunk like this. Don't worry." He struggled to get free. Yamaguchi
squeezed tighter. Nagumo got redder. Finally Kusaka got a headlock on
Yamaguchi, pried him loose, pushed him into the next room and said, "Do
what you like in here."

Yamaguchi's anger dissipated. A cherubic smile appeared on his round
face and he began prancing around the room singing "Tokyo Ondo," a
popular song.

The wrestling match brought no repercussions-or results- but a few days
later Yamamoto himself got the two carriers reinstated with a phone
call to Tokyo.

Several weeks later Kusaka summoned all carrier captains and their
chief aviation officers to Akagi. He told them about Pearl Harbor and
ordered targets changed from moving to stationary. At Tominaka Air
Base a large rock fifteen feet in diameter was painted white, replacing
the towed raft as a target. Lieutenant Heijiro Abe, who commanded ten
high-level bombers, made an outline in lime of a battleship on a beach
at Kagoshima Bay and told his men to drop their dummy bombs on it. Only
he knew it was the outline of the battleship California.

Thanks to all the weeks of arduous practice, the bombing results were
remarkable, with scores as high as eighty percent. But they had been
achieved at a price; chickens were refusing to lay eggs because of the
almost constant roar of planes.


On the evening of September 24 the Mackay cable office delivered a
coded radiogram to Consul General Kita in Honolulu. It was a message
from Captain Ogawa ordering future reports on Pearl Harbor to be keyed
to five subareas: area a: the waters between ford island and the
arsenal. area b: waters adjacent to but south and west of ford island.
area c: east loch. area d: middle loch. area e: west loch and the

Kita passed this on to Yoshikawa, who made several tours of all areas
and four days later cabled back a list of warships at anchor. It
included a battleship, heavy and light cruisers, destroyers, and
submarines-but no carriers.

Another Navy agent was at work in Mexico City, but his cover was in
grave danger of being exposed. CommanderTsunezo Wachi had been posing
for the past year as assistant naval attache. He was the chief of "L,"
Japan's largest overseas espionage ring, and his primary mission was to
intercept messages of the U. S. fleet in the Atlantic. He soon broke
the simple American code and was sending accurate reports to Tokyo on
all naval movements in the Atlantic.

As a sideline he was buying mercury-he had already picked up some two
thousand 90-lb. bottles-through a Mexican general. Since mercury was
on the embargo list, these bottles had to be secreted in big drums, the
top half containing bronze scrap. Late in September, however, one
bottle was broken while its drum was being loaded onto a Japanese ship,
and the mercury spilled out. Wachi's espionage career would have ended
but he had smuggled in a big bundle of $1,000 bills for just such an
emergency. His contact, an influential Mexican banker, promised to
suppress the story and gave him a list of officials to be paid
off-$100,000 was written opposite the name of the President of

Wachi paid willingly, for he was on the verge of a major espionage
breakthrough. A cashiered American Army major was already on his
payroll at $2,000 a month. The disgruntled major, using the code name
of Sutton, had given Wachi detailed reports of all naval shipping
through the Panama Canal which he knew were accurate from his own
intercepts. Once war broke out, Wachi planned to send Sutton to
Washington, where he still had a number of friends in high places, as
well as access to the Army-Navy Club. On October 22-five days after
the Emperor had ordered Tojo to form a new cabinet-Colonel Tsuji
himself went on an espionage mission. Captain Asaeda had brought him
information about the beaches and tides of Malaya, but he | wanted
to take a look for himself and persuaded Captain Ikeda, commander of a
reconnaissance squadron, to fly him over the peninsula. At dawn the
two men took off from Saigon, the new headquarters of the invasion
forces, in an unmarked, unarmed twin-engine plane with fuel for five
hours. Tsuji was wearing an air force uniform in case they were forced
down in British territory.

They traversed the Gulf of Siam and two hours later could see the
eastern coastline of Malaya stretched out clearly in front of them. On
the left was Kota Bharu, the northernmost town of British-held Malaya,
and on the right. Pattani and Singora, two Thai coastal towns. They
flew directly over Singora and its pitiful airstrip. There were rubber
plantation son either side of the main road. One good battalion, Tsuji
figured, could seize the airfield and use it as a base of operations.
He excitedly took a picture.

Next they turned toward the west coast of Malaya. Rain had lowered the
visibility, so Tsuji told Ikeda to drop to 6,500 feet. Suddenly they
saw a large air base through the haze. Tsuji shouted that it was Alor
Star, a British base, and Ikeda pulled up into the storm and headed
south. They flew over two equally impressive British aerodromes,
turned back north and saw clearly two more fields, just as large. Tsuji
was stunned. A small Japanese base at Singora would be helpless in the
face of air attacks from such modern installations. Alor Star itself,
as well as Kota Bharu, would have to be seized at "any sacrifice"
within hours after the first landings.

They landed at Saigon with ten minutes of fuel left.

"I saw all I wanted to see," Tsuji told the pilot, "and now I know we
will win."

Still in air force uniform, Tsuji reported his findings to the Army
commander and his staff, and new operations were devised which called
for simultaneous landings of the 5th Division (at Singora and Pattani)
and part of the 18th (at Kota Bharu); the 5th Division would seize the
strategic bridge over the Perak River and occupy the Alor Star air base
while the men of the 18th Division, after taking Kota Bharu and its
field, would push south down the east coast.

Tsuji knew that it would be almost impossible to get the Army General
Staff to accept such a radically different plan without loss of face,
so he flew to Tokyo in order to present it in person. But even the
remarkable Tsuji could not have succeeded without the help of an old
friend, Colonel Ta-kushiro Hattori, recently promoted to chief of the
Operations Section of the Army General Staff. Hattori was not only
stirred by Tsuji's daring flight but convinced his solution alone would
work. Against considerable opposition, Hattori persuaded Army Chief of
Staff Sugiyama to approve the Tsuji proposal.

In Hawaii, the regular diplomatic courier had just arrived with a
package of $100 bills and instructions to deliver the money to a German
on the payroll, Otto Kiihn. An acquaintance of Himmler, who didn't
like him, he had quit the Nazi party and come to Hawaii. Here he had
lost his capital in a furniture venture and was now living off
espionage and the profits from his wife's beauty salon. As yet he had
done little for the Japanese except boast of his contacts. Consul
General Kita wrote "Kalama" on a sheet of paper, tore it in half
through the word and sent one of the pieces to Kiihn. Then he summoned
Yoshikawa, gave him the other half, and asked him to take it "to a Germ
an-American who will carry on espionage when we all leave Hawaii."

Yoshikawa was reluctant-he knew nothing about any German and didn't
want to act as a messenger boy-but Kita insisted. He went over to the
safe and brought out the package, wrapped in newspapers, which
contained $14,000 and a message.

"Show your half of the paper to the German; if he has the other half,
give him the money." Yoshikawa was also to get an answer to the

Not long before sunset on October 28 Yoshikawa, wearing green pants and
an aloha shirt, strode out the front gate of the consulate and into a
waiting taxicab. After climbing Diamond Head, it proceeded up the east
coast for several minutes. About a mile from Kuhn's house Yoshikawa
dismissed the cab and sauntered down the road until he came to the
right address, a large house with a spacious courtyard. Yoshikawa
knocked at the kitchen door, but no one answered. He went inside,
calling, "Hello ... hello?" He waited for ten minutes; then, out of
nowhere, a man appeared. He was in his early forties.

"Otto Kiihn?"

The man nodded, but in case it was an FBI agent, Yoshikawa
inconspicuously slid his half of the paper onto the edge of a table.
The other turned pale and started to tremble but drew out a piece of
paper. Still without saying a word, Yoshikawa matched the two
pieces-"Kalama." He followed the equally silent Kiihn out the back
door to an open-air summer house, a Hawaiian-style gazebo. Here he
handed over the bundle and told Kiihn there was a message inside. Kiihn
fumbled with the package until he found unsigned instructions
requesting a test with a shortwave transmitter. Using the call letter
EXEX on frequency 11980, Kiihn was to get in touch with station JHP at
0100 Pacific standard time on November 3 and at 0530 on November 5.

Yoshikawa asked for a reply and for the first time Kiihn spoke.

"I'll give the consul general an answer in two or three days," he said
in a high, shaky, almost inaudible voice, then wrote down on a piece of
paper that he could not make the test. He sealed the note in an
envelope and handed it to Yoshikawa.

It was dusk by the time Yoshikawa reached the highway, half expecting
some FBI man to jump out at him. He caught a taxi and, with relief,
headed back for the consulate.

Two more secret agents were on their way to Oahu aboard the liner
Taiyo-maru. One was Commander Toshihide Maejima, a submarine expert,
disguised as a ship doctor. The other was the assistant purser, Takao
Suzuki. Only the ship's captain and purser knew he was Suguru Suzuki,
the youngest lieutenant commander in the Navy and an aviation expert.
He was the son of a general and nephew of a famous admiral, the Grand
Chamberlain Kantaro Suzuki, who had escaped assassination so narrowly
during the 2/26 Incident. His primary mission was to determine the
exact positions of the targets, what types of bombs should be used, a
possible emergency landing site and-most important-whether the Lahaina
harbor on the island of Maui was still a base for U. S. naval ships. If
so, a large number of planes would have to be diverted from the attack
on Pearl Harbor. And he had been told to study sea and weather
conditions on the trip to Honolulu. Taiyo-maru was going out of its
way to track the exact course that Nagumo's Striking Force was
scheduled to take.

The American passengers aboard were comfortable in spite of the heavy
seas, but most of them, like Carl Sipple and his wife, felt ill at
ease. The Sipples had left Japan with their two small children because
of the growing international tension. Their uneasiness increased as
day after day passed without an announcement of the ship's position.
Considering how windy and cold it was and how low the sun stood above
the horizon, they guessed they were far north of the usual shipping
lane, and there was no trace of other vessels. Were they being taken
to another port? The Sipples tried to send a radiogram to friends in
Honolulu, but no messages could be dispatched. Taiyo-maru was on radio

Before dawn of November 1 the ship finally approached Oahu. Sipple
went up on deck to get a glimpse of Diamond Head and at first light saw
a small white launch in the ship's wake. Fighter planes circled above,
then swooped so low that the passengers could exchange waves with the

Suzuki was on the bridge, scanning the mouth of Pearl Harbor with
binoculars. It was barely wide enough for one big ship to slip
through. Just after six o'clock a launch load of U. S. Marines boarded
and stonily stood guard at the bridge and engine room. Suzuki guessed
they were there to prevent any attempt to sink the ship at the entrance
to Pearl Harbor.

He accosted the group of port officials, including sever alU S. Navy
officers, who came aboard to pilot the ship into Honolulu, and
offhandedly asked how deep the water was, and if there were any mines.
The answers came readily. Over drinks at the ship's bar he also
learned there was a steel net across the mouth of the harbor which
opened and closed automatically, and that the whirling gadget on the
mast of a nearby British warship was something called radar.

But the rest of his mission could not be carried out. Kita sent a
staff member with a warning that it would be wiser if the two agents
stayed aboard the ship. Suzuki industriously made up a list of
ninety-seven questions. He was told the answers would be brought back
before the ship left.

The questionnaire was turned over to Yoshikawa.

"On what day of the week are the greatest number of ships in the
harbor?" That was easy-Sunday.

"Are there any large flying boats on patrol?" That too was easy-the
big PBY's went out every morning and evening.

"Where do the ships that leave the harbor go, and why?" He had no
idea, but surmised from the ships' speed and the time they were gone
that they traveled some five hundred miles for maneuvers.

"Is there an antisubmarine net at the mouth of Pearl Harbor? If so,
describe." He had only heard there was but decided to find out for
himself. Wearing his sporty outfit of the usual green trousers and
aloha shirt and carrying a bamboo fishing pole, he walked down the
highway past Hickam Field, then crossed a barren area toward the mouth
of Pearl Harbor, ready to pose as a Filipino if caught. He walked into
a small woods next to some naval buildings and almost blundered into
sailors hanging up wet laundry. He hid in the brush until sunset. He
thought briefly of committing suicide if he was apprehended, but
decided to just say, "I give up," and to hell with it.

At dusk he crept to the entrance of the harbor. He heard voices and
froze until there was silence. Then he lowered himself gently into the
water, and quietly fluttering his legs, swam fifty yards into the
channel. He groped with his feet. Nothing. He dived for the net but
was so excited that he had only enough breath to go down a few yards.
Five more times he dived. Still nothing. He swam back to shore. These
were his most anxious moments as an agent, and in the end he had
nothing positive to report.

On Taiyo-maru, Suzuki spent hours observing and taking pictures of the
Pearl Harbor entrance and the adjoining Hickam Field. During the next
few days various consular employees carrying newspapers walked past the
Marinesguarding Taiyo-maru. Inside the newspapers was the information
Suzuki wanted.

By November 5, the day of departure, he knew the thickness of both the
concrete roofs of the hangars at Hickam Field and the armor of the
battleships, and had pictures of Pearl Harbor taken from surrounding
hills, as well as recent aerial photographs. He summarized all he
could on a single sheet of paper and hid it. His mission was completed
at three o'clock in the afternoon, when the final courier came aboard
ship just prior to sailing time with a locked diplomatic pouch
containing Yoshikawa's latest findings and the most accurate maps.


Off Kyushu a large crate was brought aboard Nagumo's flagship, Akagi,
and carried to Kusaka's office. Inside was a seven-foot square mock-up
of Oahu. For the next few days Genda, the planner, and Fuchida, the
leader, memorized every feature of the terrain.

The Combined Fleet moved from its regular base off Sakurajima, the
beautiful little island two hours' sail south of Hiroshima, into Bungo
Strait, where it posed as the U. S. Pacific Fleet. Nagumo's carriers
moved to within two hundred miles of the "Americans" and launched dive
bombers and their fighter escort, followed by high-level and torpedo
bombers. The planes assembled without an intercom system, by means of
signals chalked on slates and held up in the cockpits.

The ultimate technical problem-a suitable torpedo-had finally been
solved by Captain Fumio Aiko, a torpedo expert at Yokosuka. He made
wooden fins from aerial stabilizers and fitted them on torpedoes. After
scores of tests in Kagoshima Bay, 80 percent of the torpedoes ran
shallow enough for the Pearl Harbor waters. Now the problem was to
manufacture the improvised fins in time for the attack.

All objections within the Navy to Operation Z ended on November 3 when
Yamamoto and his key staff officers flew to Tokyo to see Nagano. At
the end of the discussion the Chief of Staff sighed and said, "As for
the Pearl Harbor attack, my judgment is not always good, because I'm
old. So I will have to trust yours."

Two days later Yamamoto issued "Combined Fleet Top Secret Operation
Order No. 1," a bulky 151-page document. It outlined naval strategy
for the first phase of hostilities covering not only Pearl Harbor but
more or less simultaneous assaults on Malaya, the Philippines, Guam,
Wake, Hong Kong and the South Seas.

Yamamoto then assembled all squadron leaders to his flagship and told
them about Pearl Harbor.* "This time," he said, "you must not think
lightly of your enemy. America is not an ordinary foe and will never
fall short as one."

On November 6 General Count Hisaichi Terauchi took command of Southern
Army, which was made up of four armies. He was to seize all American,
Dutch and British possessions in the "southern area" as soon as
possible. After simultaneous attacks on Malaya and the Philippines,
Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita (pronounced Yamashta) would take
Malaya and Singapore with the 25th Army. Lieutenant General Masahara
Homma, an amateur playwright and leader of the pro-British-American
minority in the Army, was to conquer the Philippines with the 14th
Army. General Tsukada, who had represented the Army at so many stormy
liaison conferences, was made Terauchi's chief of staff. Many officers
at Army General Staff headquarters watched him leave Tokyo with
foreboding. Now who could control the tempestuous younger officers?

Within twenty-four hours Yamamoto issued his second secret order
setting the tentative date to start hostilities as December 8. Two
factors had determined the choice: there would be a full moon, which
would facilitate launching from the carriers, and it would be Sunday
(December 7) in Hawaii. From Yoshikawa's reports it had been
established that the Pacific Fleet usually entered Pearl Harbor on a
Friday and left the following Monday.

On November 10 Admiral Nagumo put Yamamoto's plan into effect by
issuing his first operational order. There was an understanding that
if diplomatic negotiations with America were successfully concluded
even at the very last moment, the attack on Pearl Harbor would be
called off and the Striking Force returned to a rendezvous point at
latitude 42 degrees north by longitude 170 degrees east, where it would
stay in a state of readiness until further instructions. The six
carriers were stripped of personal belongings and "Lieutenant Commander
Shigeru Itaya, who would command all the fighter squadrons, was the
only fighter squadron leader present. The others had already been
informed of Pearl Harbor by Genda. He told them it would have to be a
one-way mission but when they vowed to kill the men who had made such a
plan, he promised to get it changed. unnecessary equipment and loaded
with extra jerricans and drums of oil. All ships were under tight
security. Usually when a fleet left Japan it was stocked with tropical
clothing and special food for southern climates. This time the sailors
would need foul-weather clothing, antifreeze grease, special
weatherproof gun tarpaulins and other equipment for the cold, and
Kusaka hoped it could all be collected without arousing suspicions.

On November 16 the Pearl Harbor Carrier Striking Force (Kido Butai)
gathered at the mouth of the Inland Sea. It was a formidable armada:
six carriers; two fast battleships with 14-inch guns, Hiei and
Kirishima; two heavy cruisers, Tone and Chikuma; a light cruiser; eight
destroyers; and a train of three oilers and a supply ship. Two of the
carriers, Akagi (Red Castle) and Kaga (Increased Joy), had been
converted from a battle cruiser and a battleship and displaced more
than 30,000 tons. Hirya (Flying Dragon) and Soryu (Green Dragon) were
only 18,000 tons, but of more modern design. Shokaku (Soaring Crane)
and Zuikaku (Happy Crane) were the newest and largest, 826 feet long,
almost exactly the same size as America's most formidable carrier,
Enterprise. The six carriers held 360 planes: 81 fighters, 135 dive
bombers, 104 high-level (horizontal) bombers and 40 torpedo bombers,
which had only thirty-torpedoes fitted with the new fins. The
remaining hundred would not be ready for more than a week and Kido
Butai would have to start without them.

Late the following afternoon Yamamoto visited Akagi to wish Nagumo and
key personnel good luck. Fuchida thought the admiral looked grim as he
warned of the strongest foe in their history, but later at a farewell
party in the wardroom Yamamoto's confidence was infectious. He said,
"I think this operation will be successful," and a rousing toast was
drunk to the Emperor.

Soon after dark Akagi slowly steamed out of Saeki Bay flanked by two
destroyers. Her lights were out and crystals had been temporarily
removed from the communications equipment to ensure radio silence. But
the ships left behind in the Inland Sea were ready to set up a large
volume of radio communication to mislead enemy listeners.

On the quarterdeck of Nagato, hands behind his back, Yamamoto paced
back and forth, stopping every so often to stare at the dim shape of
the departing carrier. Confident as he was of Operation Z, he still
dreaded war with America.

"What a strange position I find myself in now," he had recently written
an Academy classmate, "having to make a decision diametrically opposed
to my personal opinion, with no choice but to push full speed in
pursuance of that decision. Is that, too, fate? And what a bad start
we've made ..."

One by one, at irregular intervals, other ships in the Striking Force
weighed anchor and headed on separate courses for a rendezvous some
thousand miles north of Tokyo. It would have been too obvious to set
sail directly en masse for Oahu. Instead Kido Butai would reassemble
at Etorofu Island in the Kuriles which possessed a large deep bay,
rough in summer but strangely calm in winter. The island was an ideal
clandestine rallying point. Its single village comprised three
dwellings, a small concrete pier, a post office and a wireless station.
To be on the safe side, the gunboat Kunajiri was already impounding
outgoing mail and telegrams, while patrol boats rounded up any
fisherman in Hitokappu Bay.

Kaga was the last carrier still left in the Inland Sea. It was being
loaded with the final modified torpedoes. Once the ship got under way
the captain gathered the entire crew on deck to announce that they were
heading for Hitokappu Bay and then Pearl Harbor-where Yoshikawa was
watching a large battleship enter the harbor along with eight
destroyers. Already at anchor were five heavy cruisers and one
Enterprise-class carrier.

Taiyo-maru was docking in Yokohama. The vital information Suguru
Suzuki needed was still locked in the diplomatic pouch. And now he had
to turn it over to a Foreign Ministry representative. Empty-handed, he
took the train to Tokyo, where Admiral Nagano ordered him to leave at
once for Hitokappu Bay with the latest information from Hawaii. But
the pouch had been lost in transit. The Foreign Ministry officials
knew nothing about it, neither could they locate it, and Suzuki was
forced to head north on the battleship Hid, bringing only a single
sheet of paper which contained his own summary of the missing
information and a sketch of Pearl Harbor made from memory.

Urgent though his mission was, it took him four days to reach Kido
Butai. He learned that the missing diplomatic pouch had finally been
found in Tokyo, only to disappear again. The courier plane with the
pouch aboard, sent out two days earlier, had not yet arrived and Suzuki
had to brief Genda, Kusaka and other staff officers on the basis of his
page of notes. He described Hickam and Wheeler fields in detail and
said there were 350 Army planes on Oahu.* No one at the Japanese
consulate had seen any ships at Lahaina and he had confirmed this on
the voyage back to Japan over drinks from half a dozen returning

On Akagi, ship captains and their executive officers were given the
course. One of the captains wanted to know what to do if he ran into a
Soviet merchant ship out of Vladivostok.

"Sink it," was the answer.

"Sink anything flying any flag."

In the late afternoon on November 25 more than five hundred flying
officers from all the carriers jammed into Akagi's aviation-crew
quarters, which had been stripped of bunks and tables. Nagumo outlined
the attack. It was the first time most of them had heard the words
Pearl Harbor. As the admiral spoke, excitement mounted and when he
ended with a "Good fight and good luck!" there was a deafening

When the noise died down, Genda and Fuchida detailed the attack on the
Pearl Harbor mock-up. Each flier was given pictures of American
warships and islands near Oahu which could be used for forced landings;
friendly submarines would be at marked positions to pick them up.

It had grown so dark and the seas were so rough that many of the fliers
could not get back to their own ships. That night, the eve of
departure, there was a giant sake party aboard Akagi. But the
commander in chief was in no mood for celebration. For a man of
courage, Nagumo was a compulsive worrier and the past week he had been
telling his chief of staff over and over, "I wonder if it will go
well," and Kusaka would invariably reply, "Daijobu"-"Don't worry."

But Nagumo could not be reassured. Long after midnight he got out of
bed and ordered his aide to rouse Lieutenant Commander Suguru Suzuki.
Still in sleeping kimono, he apologized for waking Suzuki, but
something bothered him.

"You're absolutely certain no one sighted the Pacific Fleet in

"Yes, Admiral."

"Is there any possibility the Pacific Fleet might assemble in

Most of his information was fairly correct except for this figure.
There were 231 (Army) planes in all the Hawaiian islands.

The courier plane with the vital information arrived several hours
after the Striking Force departed. Suzuki had remained behind and he
ordered the pilot to give chase and drop the material on Akagi. But
the plane ran into a local snowstorm and had to turn back. "None."

Nagumo seemed to relax. He nodded his thanks. Suzuki retired,
grateful and moved that he had been able to calm his commander's

The morning of the twenty-sixth dawned bright and clear with unusually
high pressure for this time of year. The seas had calmed. It seemed a
good omen; but just as the fleet was weighing anchor, one of the giant
screws of Akagi got fouled in wire, and a sailor fell into the icy
waters of Hitokappu Bay.

Half an hour late, the armada finally got under way, except for the man
overboard who could not be found. There was a feeling of excitement
and purpose on every ship and as they filed past Etorofu, fringed with
its usual veil of mist, the heavy cruisers and battleships test-fired
their guns by throwing live rounds into a hillside of the island. The
sound of the guns and the splashes of snow bursting on the hill like
huge white flowers stirred the men.

In Washington, Hull's uncompromising note was being typed out for
Ambassadors Kurusu and Nomura.

7 "This War May Come Quicker Than Anyone Dreams'

On the morning after Hull sent the note, Secretary of War Henry Stimson
phoned him to ask whether he had dispatched the modus Vivendi to Japan.
The Secretary of State replied, "I have washed my hands of it and it is
now in the hands of you and Knox-the Army and the Navy."

Stimson called Roosevelt and expressed concern about reports that a
large Japanese expeditionary force was moving out of Shanghai for the
south. Shouldn't a final alert be sent to Lieutenant General Douglas
MacArthur, commander of the United States Army Forces in the Far East
USAF FE in the Philippines advising him to be "on the qui Vive for any
attack"? The President thought it was a good idea, and at nine-thirty
Stimson summoned to his office Brigadier General Leonard T. Gerow,
chief of the General Staff Operations Division as well as Secretary of
the Navy Frank Knox and Admiral Harold ("Betty") Stark, the Chief of
Naval Operations.

Once more the military urged that a crisis be postponed as long as
possible. Stimson said that he also would be "glad to have time," and
thought Stark was being "as usual, a little bit timid and cautious"
when it came to a real crisis, but he "didn't want it at any cost of
humility on the part of the United States or of reopening the thing
which would show a weakness on our part."

The war warning they finally radioed to MacArthur read:









A similar message was sent to General Walter C. Short, commander of the
Hawaiian Department of the Army, but it also ordered him to do nothing
"to alarm civil population or disclose intent General Short took the
entire warning to mean he should institute a sabotage alert. He
informed Washington of this but apparently nobody there read his reply
carefully. He was never told he had missed the import of the

Admiral Stark wrote his own message to the naval commanders in the
Pacific-Admiral Thomas C. Hart in the Philippines and Admiral Husband
E. Kimmel in Hawaii. It was clear and to the point:






The Army Pearl Harbor Board later sarcastically referred to this as the



Despite these alerts, the negotiations continued in name. That same
day Kurusu and Nomura called on the President. Roosevelt said he still
hadn't given up hope for a peaceful settlement. But the recent
occupation of Indochina, troop movements to the south and hostile talk
from Japan all had had "the effect of a cold bath on the United States
Government and people."

Just before midnight Kurusu phoned Tokyo, using a clumsy voice code
that wouldn't have deceived a layman. The negotiations, for example,
were "marriage proposal"; Roosevelt was "Miss Kimiko"; a critical turn
was the "birth of a child." For seven minutes Kurusu talked to
Kumaichi Yama-moto, chief of the American Bureau in the Foreign
Ministry, as American intelligence recorded every word He asked how
things were in Japan.

"Does it seem as if a child might be born?"

"Yes," Yamamoto replied firmly, "the birth of the child seems

"... In which direction ..." Kurusu hesitated, realizing he was not
using the code.

"Is it to be a boy or a girl?"

Yamamoto laughed, then caught on.

"Oh, it's to be a strong healthy boy.... The matrimonial question, that
is, the matter pertaining to arranging a marriage-don't break them

"Not break them? You mean talks?" asked the befuddled Kurusu.

"Oh, my," he said helplessly and added with a resigned laugh, "Well,
I'll do what I can." He paused.

"Please read carefully what Miss Kimiko had to say as contained in
today's telegram.... They want to keep carrying on the matrimonial
question. They do. In the meantime we're faced with the excitement of
having a child born. On top of that Tokugawa [the Japanese Army] is
really champing at the bit, isn't he? Tokugawa is, isn't he?" He
laughed nervously.

"That's why I doubt if anything can be done."

Yamamoto said he didn't think it was as bad as all that.

"Well, we can't sell a mountain [Well, we can't yield]."

The U.S. translation is the only source available. No Japanese record
could be found, and both Yamamoto and Kurusu are dead. "Oh, sure, I
know that. That isn't even a debatable question any more."

"Well, then, although we can't yield, we'll give you some kind of a
reply to that telegram."

"In any event," Kurusu went on, "Miss Kimiko is leaving town tomorrow,
and will remain in the country until Wednesday."

"Will you please continue to do your best?"

"Oh, yes. I'll do my best. And Nomura's doing everything too."
Yamamoto asked if the talks that day with Miss Kimiko contained
anything of interest.

"No, nothing of particular interest, except that it is quite clear now
that southward-ah ..."-Kurusu began to flounder again-"the south-the
south matter is having considerable effect."

"I see. Well, then, good-bye."

"Good-bye," said the relieved Kurusu.

The next day Magic uncovered even more important information from an
intercepted message to Consul General Kita sent from Tokyo nine days
earlier: In case of emergency (danger of cutting off our diplomatic
relations), and the cutting off of international communications, the
following warning will be added in the middle of the daily
Japanese-language shortwave news broadcast:

(1) In case of Japan-U. S. relations in danger: higashi no kaze ame
least wind, rain] (2) Japan-USSR. relations: kita no kaze kumori
[north wind, cloudy] (3) Japan-British relations: nis hi no kaze hare
[west wind, clear] This signal will be given in the middle and at the
end as a weather forecast and each sentence will be repeated twice.
When this is heard, please destroy all code papers, etc. This is as
yet to be a completely secret arrangement.

This "winds" message created a turmoil in Washington. Alarmed
intelligence officers made arrangements to monitor around the clock all
future Japanese newscasts for the key phrases, unaware that a packet of
untranslated intercepts could instantly have unmasked the attack on
Pearl Harbor. Yoshikawa's espionage reports were piling up in the busy
translators' "Incoming" baskets-too low on the priority list for even a
cursory examination.

That same morning-it was November 28-Stimson burst into Roosevelt's
bedroom, finding the President still in bed but in conference, with
more news of the southbound Japanese expedition. Stimson wanted to
attack it with Philippine based B-17's but Roosevelt would not be
panicked, and when he met a few hours later with the War Council it was
agreed that there should be no precipitous countermeasures. Japan
would only be warned that "we should have to fight" once her troops
reached a certain point. It was also decided to have the President
send a personal message to the Emperor expressing a desire for peace
and a warning that war was bound to come if Japan persisted in her

It was a good idea and the Emperor would have been receptive. He had
just requested the jushin to re-examine the entire situation and report
back to him. The former prime ministers-Prince Konoye was the
eighth-had not been involved in the previous decisions and would have a
more objective viewpoint. Marquis Kido, the Privy Seal, had wanted the
meeting conducted in the presence of His Majesty, but Prime Minister
Tojo refused on the grounds that the jushin had no legal function. A
compromise was reached: after the meeting the senior statesmen would
lunch with the Emperor and express their opinions.

The next morning at nine-thirty, November 29, they met in the Imperial
Court Room with Tojo, four of his Cabinet ministers and Privy Council
President Hara. It was more of an informal discussion than a
conference; there was no presiding officer and no decision was to be
made. Baron Reijiro Wakatsuki, long an opponent of militarism, wanted
to know more about the deadline for negotiations.

"Does this mean there is no room for further talk?"

Foreign Minister Togo said there was "no use going any further," and
Tojo felt there was "no hope for diplomatic dealings." From now on
diplomacy should solely be used "to facilitate operations."

"Are we to go to war upon abandoning negotiations?" insisted

"Until today we have tried our best to reach a diplomatic solution,"
Tojo said, "conducting ourselves with extreme prudence. But now we
don't have to be ashamed of mobilizing military force as a dignified
and just action."

This did not satisfy the baron. Like Kido, he thought that gashin-shot
an (enduring hard times) would be better for Japan than war.

What if we resorted to gashin-shot an and still ended up in war? asked
General Suzuki.

"Then we wouldn't have a chance in the world of winning it."

This prompted so many questions from Wakatsuki that Tojo impatiently

"Please trust what we say. Wecan occupy the sphere [Southeast Asia]
and get enough oil. In three years we can gradually expand our sphere.
As for aircraft oil, we can somehow manage; as for iron and steel, last
year's production was four million seven hundred and sixty thousand
tons. We can increase this after three years."

"I don't understand what I've heard so far," Admiral Keisuke Okada
interjected, taking up the questioning. What about the European war,
for example?

"We are going hand in hand with Italy and Germany, with whom we have a
treaty," Tojo replied. This was a strategic necessity that would
enable Japan to move west and join up with Hitler's forces.

"We must crush England." India would be an objective on the way.

"Then we'll carry out Near East joint operations in line with the
German-Soviet war."

Okada didn't think this grandiose plan would work, nor would expansion
to Southeast Asia bring any increase in production.

"Shipping of materials back home will get tight. After three years, I
couldn't even dream of production. What are you going to do about raw

These were realistic fears but Tojo's response was brusque.

"The question of resources is precarious, but we can manage. All other
things being equal, I think we can get along. Please trust us."

"Very doubtful," Okada remarked.

"You can go on building up armament plants, but how are you going to
get hold of raw materials? It is not an easy task. We'll soon run out
of natural resources."

"We will go on a priority principle."

Okada turned his attack in a new direction and asked if the Navy was
good enough to beat America.

Tojo, who had still to get a positive answer from the Navy, said that
Japan, by taking strategic points one by one, was preparing for a long
war and would emerge victorious.

"So far so good," Okada said wryly.

"But there are many xyz's. With the U. S. building program as it is at
present, don't you think there is some danger?"

"Everything is being taken into consideration," said the exasperated
Tojo and lost his composure.

"Suppose we don't fight. What would be the result? We just can't bow
to England and the United States. We've lost one hundred and sixty
thousand lives so far in the China Incident. Now more than two million
people are suffering. No more suffering! If we go on like this for a
few years, we'll lose our chance to fight. We're already losing
valuable time for operations!"

But Okada was not to be cowed and became openly sarcastic

"We're trying to come to an amicable settlement with America so we can
redeem the blood being shed every moment! We're building up the
Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere just for this purpose. We
import great quantities of rice from these countries, yet they are
still poverty-stricken! We want to take care of these people. Labor
and shipping is short, and to make them happy we must make sacrifices.
Buying materials there by Army scrip is simple injustice."

Tojo ignored the mockery.

"That all depends on how we appeal to the people's feelings," he

"We must make good use of native organizations. At first the people
will find life difficult but very soon they will get on well."

It was past noon and the meeting was adjourned for lunch with the
Emperor. Afterward everyone, including His Majesty and Kido, moved to
the Imperial Chamber. The Emperor said.

"We're going through very difficult times, aren't we?" It was a polite
invitation to speak out.

"We don't have to worry about the spiritual strength of our people,"
said Baron Wakatsuki, "but we must carefully study whether or not we
have the material resources to carry out a long war. This morning we
listened to the government explanations, but I'm still concerned."

Tojo reminded the Emperor that what had been said was based on the
unanimous views of the Cabinet and the Supreme Command.

"I've also been listening to the government explanations, and I too am
not yet convinced," said Okada.

Neither was Prince Konoye.
"I wonder if it is necessary to resort immediately to war even if the
negotiations have broken down. I feel we might find a solution and
still keep the status quo. In other words, to remain in the condition
of gashin-shot an

Nor was Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai.

"I'm not able to express a concrete opinion, since I don't have the
background. But if you'll forgive the slang, I'm afraid that by trying
to avoid jirihin [slow poverty] we'll end up in dokahin [instant

Only two jushin generals, Nobuyuki Abe and Senjuro Hayashi, put their
complete trust in the Tojo government. It appeared the session was
over, but Wakatsuki wanted to bring up still another point. Tojo tried
to stop him but the baron would not be silenced.

"If our very existence is at stake, we should go to war even in the
face of possible defeat and a scorching of our land, but to push a
national policy for an ideal-for instance, the establishment of the
Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere or the stabilization of East
Asia- and to spend our national strength shackled by such ideals, that
is indeed dangerous. And I'd like you all to think it over."

Stubbornly, Tojo reiterated that the whole matter had been discussed
for hours on end at liaison conferences. They had explored in detail
whether Japan could get the necessary supplies for a long war, and when
and how the war, once started, could be brought to an end. The first
aspect depended on the outcome of the initial stage of the conflict,
and the second might be resolved through the mediation of the Soviet
Union or the Vatican.

In the face of almost universal disapproval Tojo had not wavered, and
Kido-who had not uttered a word, but taken voluminous notes-realized
the situation was "beyond control." The influence of the Throne had
failed. War was inevitable and the rise or fall of Japan was in the
hands of the gods.

It was already four o'clock but Tojo's day was by no means over. He
immediately convened the 74th Liaison Conference, and it was agreed to
warn Hitler and Mussolini that the Japanese-American negotiations were
certain to be broken off and that there was imminent danger of war.

Foreign Minister Togo asked Navy Chief of Staff Nagano what the zero
hour was. Finance Minister Kaya also had to know; once hostilities
started, the stock market would drop precipitously. Only with the
knowledge of the exact hour could he prevent a crash.

"Well, then," said the reluctant Nagano, "I'll tell you. The zero hour
is ..."-he lowered his voice-"... December 8." This was news even to
General Tojo.* "There is still time, so you'd better come up with the
kind of diplomacy that will help us win the war."

"I understand," said Togo.

"But can't we tell our representatives [Kurusu and Nomura] that we've
made up our minds? We've told the attaches lin Washington], haven't

"We haven't told the naval attache," Nagano answered.

Togo wondered why Nagano was acting so suspiciously.

He knew about the combined Army and Navy operations in the Philippines
and Malaya, but it was not until the following day that he learned of
Pearl Harbor, and even then he was given no operational details. None
of the civilian members of the Cabinet or high court officials, like
Kido, yet had an inkling of the main target-nor would they be told.
"We can't go on keeping our diplomats in the dark, can we?" Nagano
finally had to answer.

"We're going to make a surprise attack," he said. His deputy, Vice
Admiral Seiichi Ito, explained that the Navy wanted the negotiations
with America left hanging until hostilities had begun so the initial
attack would be a complete surprise.

Togo restrained himself. He was quite calm when he said that Japan
would lose international good faith unless she made a proper
notification of her intent. But his self-control gave way, and he
began to stutter that the Navy plan was "entirely un permissible being
in contravention of accepted procedure." It was unthinkable for Japan
"to commit irresponsible acts which would be hurtful to the national
honor and prestige."

Someone remarked, "This is one occasion when the entire population of
Japan will have to be like Kuranosuke Oishi." Oishi was the leader of
the forty-seven ronin who pretended to be a dissolute drunk.

Togo said he had a previous engagement, suggested the meeting adjourn
and shot back his chair. As he was rising, Ito asked a favor for the
Navy; if prior notification had to be given, couldn't it go to
Ambassador Grew rather than to Hull?

Togo answered with a brusque "No!" and shouldered his way out of the
room. He went directly to his office and composed cables to Berlin and
Rome which were dispatched late that night. The one to Ambassador
Hiroshi Oshima revealed that the negotiations had failed.













Curiously, Togo did not order Oshima to ask for a German declaration of
war in case Japan and America fought. He did summon Ambassador Ott. If
worse came to worst, would Germany come to Japan's assistance? Ott
answered without hesitation: We will give you all possible help.

The message to Oshima was intercepted by Magic and passed on to
Roosevelt. Equally alarming was a United Press dispatch in the New
York Times from Tokyo that Sunday morning, November 30: Prime Minister
Tojo had just made a provocative speech declaring that Chiang Kai-shek
was "dancing to the tune of American and British Communism because the
United States and Britain desire to fish in troubled waters" and stir
up Asians one against the other.

"This is the stock in trade of Britain and the United States and
therefore we must purge this sort of action with a vengeance." Japan
was determined to co-ordinate all Asians "so that a chorus of victory
may go up in the camp of justice as speedily as possible," and nothing
be allowed "to interfere with this sphere because this sphere was
decreed by Providence."

It was a speech that Togo had never made, or even read, let alone
approved. Someone else had written it and it had been read at a
meeting commemorating the first anniversary of the Sino-Japanese Basic
Treaty. Its belligerency had been exaggerated by poor translation. The
expression "we must purge this sort of action with a vengeance," for
example, should have read, "this sort of practice must be stopped."

There was also an item in the Times indicating that the President might
curtail his Thanksgiving holiday at Warm Springs, Georgia; and late
that night Kurusu again phoned Kumaichi Yamamoto in Tokyo.

"The President is returning tomorrow!" he said.

"He is hurrying home "Is there any special significance to this?"

"The newspapers have made much of the Premier's speech, and it is
having strong repercussions here."

"Is that so?" Yamamoto didn't know what Kurusu was talking about.

"Yes, it was a drastic statement he made. The newspapers carried large
headlines over it; and the President seems to be returning because of
it. There no doubt are other reasons, but this is the reason the
newspapers are giving." Kurusu was "This dialogue is taken from the
Magic translation, "a preliminary condensed version" of the
eight-minute conversation. disturbed and showed it.

"Unless greater caution is exercised in speeches by the Premier and
others, it puts us in a very difficult position ..."

"We are being careful."

"We here are doing our best, but these reports are seized upon by the
correspondents and the worst features enlarged upon. Please caution
the Premier, the Foreign Minister, and others. Tell the Foreign
Minister that we had expected to hear something different, some good
work, but instead we get this [the "Tojo" speech]." Kurusu paused,
then asked, "Are the Japanese-American negotiations to continue?"

"Yes." :

Irritated, Kurusu said, "You were very urgent about them I before,
weren't you; but now you want them to stretch out." He did not know
that the negotiations were now to be used solely to mask the Pearl
Harbor raid but he was getting suspicious and just recently had mused
to Masuo Kato of the j Domei News Agency, "Am I being used as a smoke
screen?" He began to scold Yamamoto.

"Both the Premier and the Foreign Minister will need to change the tone
of their speeches! Do you understand? Please, all, use more
discretion." The Emperor's official sanction was the last formal step
before war. At five minutes after two on Monday, December 1, the
imperial conference was opened in Room One East of the Palace in the
usual formal style. Face stern and voice clipped, Prime Minister Tojo
announced that Japan could not submit to American demands to quit China
and nullify the Tripartite Pact, or her very existence would be in

"Matters have reached the point where Japan must begin war with the
United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands to preserve her

After Tojo detailed the long, tedious history of the American-Japanese
negotiations, Admiral Nagano rose and spiritedly declared that the
officers and men of the Army and Navy were "burning with a desire to
serve their Emperor and their country even at the cost of their lives."
This was followed by dissertations on problems ranging from public
morale, emergency precautions and food supplies to the nation's economy
and finance.

The Emperor, on his dais, sat passive and silent. Occasionally he
nodded and seemed to be in an excellent mood. Sugiyama was "awed and
deeply moved by His Majesty's graceful humor," but Finance Minister Kaya
thought it was obvious he did not want war.

Privy Council President Hara began to ask questions and the last were
the most unsettling.

"What will happen in case of air raids? ... What will we do if a great
fire should break out in Tokyo? Do you have a plan for this?"

General Teiichi Suzuki said that there would be simple shelters for
those who remained in the city. The reply was unsatisfactory, but even
Hara found this no reason to make any more concessions to America.

"The United States is acting in a conceited, stubborn and disrespectful
manner," he said.

"If we give in, we'd surrender in one stroke what we won in the
Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars as well as the Manchurian
Incident. We cannot do this."

Tojo himself summed up what they all felt. The Japanese Empire stood
at the threshold of glory or collapse.

"We tremble with awe in the presence of His Majesty.... If his Majesty
decides on war, we will all do our best to repay our obligations to him
by bringing the government and the military closer than ever together,
resolving that a united nation will go on to victory, making every
effort to achieve our national purposes and thereby putting at ease His
Majesty's mind."

There was nothing else to do but bow to the Emperor, who then, silent,
without expression, left the room. Those remaining signed the
documents proposing war, which were delivered to the Emperor. For some
time he pondered the matter until he felt assured that the decision to
initiate hostilities was not being pushed through by a few aggressive
military men. He told Kido that Hull's demands were too humiliating.
He had already defied tradition and training by insisting on a return
to "blank paper," and could do no more. He affixed his seal to the
historic papers. The decision for war was formally sanctioned In
January 1946 the Emperor broke his silence about these events in a rare
display of confidence to his Grand Chamberlain, Hisanori Fujita:
"Naturally, war should never be allowed. In this case, too, I tried to
think of everything, some way to avoid it. I exhausted every means
within my power. However, my utmost endeavor was to no avail, and we
plunged into war at the end. It was truly regrettable.... "The Emperor
of a constitutional state is not permitted to express himself freely in
speech and action and is not allowed to willfully interfere with a
minister's authority invested in him by the Constitution.

"Consequently, when a certain decision is brought to me for approval,
whether it concerns internal affairs, diplomacy or military matters,
there is nothing I can do but give my approval as long as it has been
In one week the simultaneous attacks would begin, and their success
depended entirely on the element of surprise. But late that night a
cable arrived from China with news that the secret was in jeopardy. It
was from General Tsutomu Sakai, commander of the 23rd Army, which was
poised near Canton to seize Hong Kong. A transport plane bound for
Canton had crashed in Chinese-held territory, and one of its passengers
was Major Tomozuki Sugisaka, a courier carrying the secret orders
concerning the surprise attacks.

There was alarm at Army General Staff headquarters. The Navy was
summoned to an emergency meeting. Had Major Sugisaka had time to
destroy the secret documents before the crash? Had the papers burned
in the crash itself? Or were they already being rushed to Chiang
Kai-shek, who would undoubtedly pass them on to Roosevelt? Should
Operation Z be canceled?

The next morning these apprehensions seemed to be confirmed: a
reconnaissance plane had sighted the wreckage of a big Army transport
in a Nationalist stronghold about fifty miles northeast of Canton.
According to the pilot, "the scene of the crash was already surrounded
by the Chinese who were swarming like ants."

Still in suspense, Nagano and Sugiyama drove to the Palace to inform
the Emperor of the exact date of attack. They told him that December 8
would be December 7 in Hawaii, a day of rest with most of the warships
at anchor. The moon would also be in the right phase for launching the
attack, since it would shine "from midnight to about sunrise." Nagano
respectfully requested the Emperor to give his sanction to issuance of
orders fixing December 8 as X-Day. His Majesty, without hesitation,
approved reached by lawful procedure, even if I consider the decision
extremely undesirable ...

"If I turned down a decision on my own accord, what would happen? The
Emperor could not maintain his position of responsibility if a decision
which had been reached by due process based on the Constitution could
be either approved or rejected by the Emperor at his discretion. It
would be the same thing as if the Emperor had destroyed the
Constitution. Such an attitude is taboo for the Emperor of a
constitutional state." ("I believe," Fujita observed, "that His
Majesty was talking abstractly about the prewar imperial conferences
and so forth.") After the Tokyo trial U. S. Chief Prosecutor Joseph
Keenan met the Emperor, who reportedly told him he didn't know Pearl
Harbor was going to be bombed. From available evidence, however, it is
evident heAt two o'clock that afternoon Sugiyama sent a cable of two
words to General Terauchi, commander of Southern Army: in node
yamagata. This was code for "The date for commencing operations
[hinode] will be December 8 [yamagata]."

Three and a half hours later Yamamoto sent a slightly longer cable in a
new code to the Pearl Harbor Striking Force: niitaka-yama no bore
[Climb Mount Niitaka*] 1208. This meant: "Attack as planned on
December 8."

Kido Butai was cruising eastward at a modest 14 knots to conserve fuel,
advancing in ring formation with three submarines ahead scouting for
neutral merchant ships which, if found, were to be boarded and seized.
A chance encounter with the U. S. Pacific Fleet, however, could not be
handled so easily. This awkward possibility was discussed time and
again, and once the irrepressible Yamaguchi half jokingly suggested,
"Fire a salute, shout "Sayonara!" and go back home." The remark
brought laughter, but Kusaka thought, What else could we do? We're not
yet at war.

The "Climb Mount Niitaka" message gave Kusaka a welcome sense of
commitment. He felt as if a tremendous burden had been lifted from his
back. They would launch one overwhelming attack and disappear. It was
like ma mono (devil), a tactic in kendo: one surprise thrust, then fall
back like the wind. Still, there was always the chance that as they
neared Pearl Harbor some American patrol plane would spot Kido Butai
before the launching. In that case Kusaka was prepared to change
tactics-to attack in full strength even though surprise had been

The weather was the calmest it had been in the past ten years and
refueling was no problem. Nagumo ordered all ship captains to travel
without lights-and to inform their entire crews of Operation Z. That
night a spirit of intense, subdued excitement swept from ship to ship
did know and approve of Operation Z. It is also well documented that he
issued explicit directives to give America due notice before the

Mount Niitaka on Formosa was, at 13,599 feet (1,211 feet higher than
Mount Fuji), the highest peak in the Japanese Empire.

* "Commander Naohiro Sata, Kaga's Chief Aviation Officer, however, was
openly critical of the entire operation. He told a group of pilots,
"Here we are heading out into the North Pacific where not even a bird
flies." What Japan needed was oil and that was far to the south.

"Therefore, it is the height of stupidity to attack Pearl Harbor."
Back home that evening, the headline of the Japan Times & Advertiser

Japan Will Renew Efforts to Reach U. S. Understanding.


Hours after Kido Butai had left the icy waters of Hitokappu Bay,
Lieutenant Commander Wilfred J. Holmes, whose job it was to plot
Japanese ship movements, reported to his superior in the Navy's
Communications Intelligence Unit in Pearl Harbor that the six enemy
carriers were "in home waters." After that, however, Holmes admitted
he had lost track of them. Day after day there was "no information"
about the carriers.

lieutenant Commander Edward T. Layton, Admiral Kim-me's fleet
intelligence officer, relayed this information to his chief on December
2. If it disturbed Kimmel he didn't show it; in fact, he jokingly
asked, "Do you mean to say that they could be rounding Diamond Head
this minute and you wouldn't know?"

"I hope they would be sighted by now, sir."

A few miles away, in Honolulu, Consul General Kita had just received a
message from Tokyo:







This message, which would have meant a warning of attack on Pearl
Harbor to anybody reading it, was intercepted in Hawaii and passed on
the cryptographers in Washington for decoding, but since it concerned
Hawaii and had nothing to do with diplomacy, its low priority sent it
to the bottom of somebody's basket. Another important intercept
consigned to a similar fate back in September-the one dividing Pearl
Harbor into five subareas-had finally been translated, but Brigadier
General Sherman Miles, chief of Military Intelligence, regarded it as a
naval message of nor concern to the Army while Lieutenant Commander
Alvin D. Kramer, chief of the Naval Intelligence Translation Branch,
marked it with a single asterisk, for "Interesting," rather than two,
for "Urgent." As far as Kramer was concerned, it was merely "an
attempt on the part of the Japanese diplomatic service to simplify

Bernard Baruch, Roosevelt's unofficial adviser and Churchill's close
friend, was in his Washington hotel room talking with Raoul Desvernine,
an attorney representing the Mitsui combine. The lawyer said that
Special Envoy Saburo Kurusu wanted to get a message directly to the
President without going through Hull. Would Baruch help? Baruch
passed on the request to Major General Edwin ("Pa") Watson, one of
Roosevelt's secretaries. Watson phoned back to say the President
refused to meet Kurusu without Hull but saw no objection to Baruch's
finding out what the message was.

The next day, December 3, Baruch met Desvernine and Kurusu at the
Mayflower Hotel. The Japanese ambassador vowed that he, the people of
Japan and the Emperor all wanted peace but that the military leaders
"were sitting with a loaded gun in each hand ... determined to shoot."
War could be averted if he could talk to the President, without the
"hostile and untrusting" Hull, and tell him he could thwart the
Japanese military by appealing directly and personally to the Emperor,
who would then ask Roosevelt to mediate a settlement between Japan and
China. The important thing, said Kurusu, was to keep the conversations
going and this could best be done if Roosevelt sent a personal
representative such as Harry Hopkins to Japan.

Although Baruch didn't think the proposals were "anything into which
anybody could put their teeth," he promised to relay the information to
the White House.

Another emissary of peace-Dr. E. Stanley Jones, a prominent Methodist
missionary-was trying to present a similar suggestion to the President.
He phoned his secretary, Marvin Mcintyre, with a request to see the
President on a matter he could not put on paper: a plan (inspired by
Hidenari Terasaki, an offical at the Japanese embassy) to avert war by
a personal cable from Roosevelt to the Emperor. Mcintyre told him to
be at the East Gate of the White House in twenty minutes. A guide
would take him through a secret entrance to the President's office so
he wouldn't have "to run a barrage of reporters."

Roosevelt told Jones he'd already been considering a letter to the

"But I've hesitated to do it, for I don't want to hurt the Japanese
envoys here at Washington by going over their heads to the Emperor."

"That is the point on which I have come," said Jones. The idea had
originated with Kurusu and Nomura themselves.

"They asked me to ask you to send the cable. But they also said there
could be no record, for if it were known that they had gone over the
heads of the Japanese government to the Emperor, their own heads
wouldn't be worth much."

"Well, that cleans my slate," said the President.

"I can do it."

Jones cautioned him not to send it through the Foreign Ministry but
directly to the Emperor, otherwise it would never reach him.

"I don't know the mechanics of it, but this is what they told me."

"I'm thinking out loud," Roosevelt mused.

"I can't go down to the cable office and say I want to send a cable
from the President of the United States to the Emperor of Japan. But I
could sent it to Grew." He could take it directly to His Majesty.

"And if I don't hear within twenty-four hours-I have learned how to do
some things-I'll give it to the newspapers and force a reply."

As Jones was leaving he asked the President never to mention Mr.
Terasaki, who had come up with the idea.

"His secret is safe," Roosevelt promised.

The message would probably have been sent that day if it hadn't been
for Hull. Still suspicious, he argued that an appeal to the Emperor
should be a last-minute resort; besides, His Majesty was a mere
figurehead under the thumb of Tojo's Cabinet, and a message by-passing
its members would not only be resented but would be regarded as a sign
of weakness.

Hull's suspicions were borne out by an intercepted dispatch from Tokyo.
It ordered the embassy on Massachusetts Avenue to burn all but three
codes and to destroy one of the two "B" code machines. An Army
intelligence officer, sent to reconnoiter the embassy, found employees
burning papers in the backyard. Chief of Military Intelligence Sherman
Miles and his Far Eastern Section chief, Colonel Rufus S. Bratton,
concluded that "at the least a break in diplomatic relations and
probably war" was imminent.

On the other side of the world General Tomoyuki Ya-mash ita was reading
the attack order to division and detachment commanders and staff
officers. They listened attentively aware that Japan's destiny was at
stake. There were tears on almost every face.

Three landings would be made at dawn of December 8 01 the east coast of
the Malay Peninsula near the border. Two were in Thai territory,
Pattani and Singora, and one ii Malaya, Kota Bharu. Inspired by a
dream, Colonel Tsuj intended to take over neutral Thailand with a
modern version of the Trojan Horse. A thousand Japanese in Thai
uniform! would come ashore near Singora and round up cafe and
dance-hall girls as a cover. They would then commandeej twenty or
thirty buses, get aboard with the girls, and drive merrily down to the
Malay border. Waving Thai flags with one hand and Union Jacks with the
other, they would shout in English, "Japanese soldier is frightful!"
and "Hurrah for the English!" In the boisterous confusion, Tsuji was
sure the border guards would let his soldiers cross into Malaya.

At dawn the next morning, December 4, a convoy of twenty-six transport
ships left the island of Hainan, off the southernmost coast of China,
and bore south toward the Malay Peninsula. Colonel Tsuji stood on the
bridge of the Army transport Ryujo-maru and watched a deep-red sun rise
in the east as the moon, looking like a tray, vanished in the west.
Tsuji visualized the faces of his mother, wife and children. Except
for the reassuring throb of engines, there wasn't a sound on the ship.
All was peaceful.

Early that afternoon a liaison conference was convened to discuss the
delivery date of the final note to Hull. Vice Admiral Seiichi Ito had
no objections if it was handed over at 12:30 p.m." December 7,
Washington time. Both Tojo and Togo were concerned that the note be
presented before the attack. Ito assured them on that score, and the
time was approved.

There was to be no simple declaration of war, as Togo wanted, merely a
notice terminating the negotiations; the draft he presented reflected
the common bitterness and righteous indignation felt after receipt of
the Hull note and declared that Japan had been patient in its attempt
to conciliate.

"On the other hand, the American Government, always holding fast to
theories in disregard of realities, and refusing to yield an inch on
its impractical principles, caused undue delay in the negotiations." It
concluded that Japan regretfully was forced to announce "that in view
of the attitude of the American Government it must be concluded that it
is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations."
Someone expressed the unrealistic hope that room be left for further
negotiations. But the others realized this was, in truth, a
declaration of war and that time had run out.

That day the Japanese fleet code was changed as a last-minute
precaution. It blinded American naval intelligence, which no longer
had any idea where the six carriers were and would need some time to
break the new code. Kido Butai was already more than a third of the
way to Hawaii, leaving behind it no telltale path of refuse. All
garbage was stored away, and empty oil cans were crushed and piled on
the decks. By late morning the final major re servicing point was
reached-42 degrees north and 170 degrees east-and all ships were
refueled. Earlier this could be accomplished at a maximum speed of 9
knots, but by now everyone was so adept it was done at 12. With the
Striking Force loaded to capacity, all supply ships turned back except
for three, which would make the final refueling in forty-eight hours.

That afternoon came the first alarm, a cable in the new code from
Yamamoto: a radio message had been intercepted which had probably
originated from an enemy submarine in their vicinity. Kusaka queried
all his ship captains but no one had intercepted any unexplained
message. Undeterred, the Striking Force turned southeast, maintaining
speed despite heavy fog. For the fliers belowdecks the waiting seemed
interminable. They busied themselves with painting, drawing and kendo,
and at least one began writing a book. Fighter pilot Yoshio Shiga had
produced eight watercolors of a temple and invited the officers on Kaga
to a private showing. He felt sheepish displaying "such unserious work
at such a serious time," but was certain that he would not be alive to
exhibit them later. It had been weeks since the last maneuvers and
many fliers feared they would lose their touch. Pilots sat in their
planes to keep the feel of the controls; bombardiers gazed intently
through bombsights. Only gunners had actual practice; they shot at

The next day, December 5, Vice Admiral Ito called on. Togo at the
Foreign Ministry and said the notification should be presented to Hull
at 1 p.m." Washington time, a half-hour later than previously
requested. Why the delay? Togo asked. I miscalculated, was the
reply. Togo asked how much time there would be between notification
and attack. Ito refused to give the exact moment of attack on the
grounds of "operational secrecy," but assured the Foreign Minister
thatr there would be sufficient time. As he was leaving, Ito
reiterated his warning not to cable the notification too early.

It was raining in Oahu. A small Piper Cub dawdled over Pearl Harbor
with Yoshikawa on his last "sightseeing" flight. He had received an
urgent cable that morning from Tokyo requesting "a comprehensive report
on the American fleet." After landing, he made a final tour of Pearl
City, confirming what he had seen from the air, and then cabled



The message was intercepted by Magic but the Yamamoto luck held. Once
again, it was placed in a "Hold" basket.


Tokyo newspapers such as the Asahi Shimbun continued to accuse the West
of preparing for war. On December 6 the headlines read:

U. S. Uselessly Extending Talks. Has No Intention of Compromise With
Japan U. S. Leaders Discuss Policy For Japan But No Change Seen in
Their Dogmatic Views Thailand in Agony For Neutrality Scandalous
Encirclement of Japan, Trampling on Japan's Peaceful Intentions. Four
Nations Simultaneously Start Military Preparations Otto Tolischus
cabled the New York Times his impressions of the approaching crisis.
Most Japanese, he wrote, refused to believe they were facing war with
four nations simultaneously, . but their instinctive hopes are daily
contradicted by the evidence of their senses. They listen to alarming
statements by the highest Government officials about the greatest
crisis Japan has ever faced in her 2,600-year history. They are called
to mass meetings to hear denunciations of the enemy, and they read a
steady war clamor in the press. They see air shelters and water
reservoirs being built everywhere in preparation for aid raids. They
are being drilled in air raid defense, especially in fighting fires,
the greatest dread of Japanese cities. Finally, they see taxes and
prices rising. They know that all these things are not done for fun,
and that war, real war, which only a short time ago seemed so far away,
is rapidly stretching out its fiery arms toward Nippon, land of the

The people do not want war, but neither do they want to give up he
fruits of the war they have been fighting, which has cost them such a
lot of blood and treasure. They have been told that this war is war of
self-defense, to obtain elbow-room for the Japanese people, crowded
into a few small islands with few national resources, and to liberate
one thousand million of Oriental peoples from exploitation by the white
races.... It would be a great mistake to assume that the Japanese are
so war-weary that they would be reluctant to fight if war really came
to their land, or that their war potential is as small or as straitened
as the outward picture might suggest. As members of a divine family
state, in which patriotism and religion merge, they not merely say, "My
country, right or wrong!" but they are convinced with all the fervor
of religious faith that their country is right, whatever mistakes in
tactics individual statesmen may take.

In Manila, Admiral Thomas Hart, commander of the Asiatic Fleet,
predicted hostilities might begin at any moment. His inadequate
fleet-one heavy cruiser, one light cruiser, thirteen World War I
four-stack destroyers and twenty-nine submarines-was as ready for
battle as it ever could be; ammunition was in the racks and warheads
were on the torpedoes.

Unidentified aircraft had been reported the past three nights over
nearby Clark Field, the main bomber base, but General MacArthur refused
to be panicked. That afternoon he and Hart conferred with a visitor
from Singapore, Vice-Admiral Sir Tom Phillips, commander of the British
Far Eastern Fleet. A Japanese convoy sighted off Indochina near the
Gulf of Siam was subsequently lost in a fog. Was it heading for a
direct attack on Malaya and Singapore or merely landing in Thailand?

MacArthur reassuringly remarked that by April he would have a trained
army of 200,000 men, and a powerful air force of 256 bombers and 195
fighter planes.

"Doug, that is just dandy," Hart interposed.

"But how defensible are we right now?" The answer was painfully
obvious While MacArthur had about 130,000 men in uniform, almost
100,000 of these were poorly equipped Philippine Army divisions with a
few months' training in close-order drill. About the only thing they
could do well was salute. His air force was also inadequate. There
were 35 Flying Fortresses and 107 P-40's.

After the conference Phillips-nicknamed "Tom Thumb" because of his
stature; he was an inch shorter than Napoleon- made one specific
request of Hart. He wanted four destroyers to accompany his fleet,
which included the battle cruiser Repulse and the battleship Prince of
Wales, on a sortie from Singapore up the east coast of Malaya as a
countermove to the advancing convoy. No sooner had Hart agreed to send
four of his own overage destroyers than a messenger arrived with a
dispatch for Phillips: Singapore-based planes had again spotted the
Japanese armada off the Thai coast.

"Admiral," Hart said to Phillips, "when did you say you were flying
back to Singapore?"

"I'm taking off tomorrow morning."

"If you want to be there when the war starts, I suggest you take off
right now."

That afternoon the final draft of the notification to Hull, together
with general instructions for the Japanese embassy in Washington, was
turned over to Kazuji Kameyama, chief of the Foreign Ministry's Cable
Section. He was told to cable the instructions so they would arrive
about 8 a.m." December 6, Washington time. This would be followed an
hour later by the first thirteen parts of the notification-in English
to prevent mistranslation. For security purposes the final part, the
fourteenth, which would break off diplomatic negotiations, should not
arrive until 4 or 5 a.m. on December 7.

Communications to Washington were generally good and never took more
than an hour. Allowing additional time for further messages of
correction and unforeseen difficulties, Kameyama sent the instructions
and the first thirteen parts to the Central Telegraph Office at 8:30
p.m. Forty minutes later the instructions were cabled to Washington,
and an hour after that, the first thirteen parts were on their way.

Kameyama went home well satisfied that the messages would surely arrive
long before the deadline. The next afternoon he would send the crucial
fourteenth part, followed half an hour later by a final cable
instructing Kurusu and Nomura to deliver all fourteen parts to Hull at
1 p.m. on December 7, Washington time. Kido Butai, completely blacked
out, was speeding southeast at 20 knots through gales and high seas.
Several of the exhausted lookouts had already been swept overboard and
the fog was so thick that it was often impossible to see the ship
ahead. But in spite of this and constant changes in course, the
warships were still maintaining good formation.

Never before had the Japanese military custom of using Tokyo, not
local, time been much of a problem, since cruises had invariably been
to north or south in approximately the same time zone. Now it was
disconcerting to find light at night and darkness in the day. The
clock had to be forgotten and meals served according to the sun.

Alarms were keeping Nagumo in a state of anxiety that day. First came
a report from Tokyo that a Russian ship was in the area. Six fighter
planes on the decks of Kaga were warmed up and their pilots given
orders to stand by, but nothing was sighted and the planes never took
off. After dark a general alarm sounded on the flagship when someone
noticed a light soaring overhead. Men ran to their battle stations and
antiaircraft batteries of several ships zeroed in on the mysterious
light. It was an illuminated balloon sent up by Kaga itself to
determine wind direction.

Before retiring, Kusaka tried to reassure his commander with another

"I envy your optimism," said Nagumo with a sigh.


In Washington it was still Saturday, December 6, and there was concern
among officials over a detailed British Admiralty report that a
Japanese fleet of thirty-five transports, eight cruisers and twenty
destroyers was moving directly toward the Malay Peninsula.* At his
daily top-level naval meeting, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox asked,
"Gentlemen, are they going to hit us?"

Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, regarded as Admi*Some attention was
diverted by a bitter political controversy involving treason. Several
anti-Roosevelt Army officers had stolen top-secret documents revealing
America's war plans and turned them over to three isolationist
newspapers-the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and the
Washington Times-Herald-which simultaneously published these secrets on
December 4 in an effort to prove that Roosevelt was a warmonger.
Admiral Stark's spokesman, said, "No, Mr. Secretary. They are going
to hit the British. They are not ready for us yet." There was no
dissenting voice.

The Navy's Cryptographic Section was getting ready to relax for the
weekend. Most of the staff would leave at noon. One translator, Mrs.
Dorothy Edgers, with time on her hands, began sifting through
untranslated Magic intercepts of low priority-those involving Hawaii
that had been piling up. She'd only been on the job a few weeks and
was still fascinated by everything around her. One message from Tokyo
to Consul General Kita in Honolulu, dated December 2, asked about ship
movements, antitorpedo nets and barrage balloons at Pearl Harbor.
Intrigued, she picked up another, dated December 3, from Kita to Tokyo.
She became excited as she read a lengthy report from Yoshikawa
describing in detail how Otto Kiihn would transmit information about
the fleet in Pearl Harbor to Japanese ships lying off Oahu by putting
lights in windows, burning garbage as a smoke signal or placing want
ads on the radio.

Suspicions aroused, she passed on the messages to Chief Ship's Clerk H.
L. Bryant, but he said she could never translate the long intercept by
noon and to let it ride until Monday. Mrs. Edgers refused to be put
off and worked overtime, finishing the translation at 3 p.m. Just then
Lieutenant Commander Alvin Kramer, chief of the Translation Branch,
checked in for duty but instead of sharing her excitement, he merely
criticized her work and began editing it. Finally he put it aside,
telling her to run along; they could finish editing the long message
sometime the next week. When Mrs. Edgers protested, Kramer said,
"We'll get back to this piece on Monday," and once more discovery of
Operation Z was narrowly averted At the Japanese embassy on
Massachusetts Avenue the telegram of instructions (in Japanese) and the
first thirteen parts of the long message to Hull (in English) had both
come in. Late in the afternoon the cipher staff quit work to attend a
farewell party for an embassy official who was being transferred to
South America. They had only completed about eight parts.

First Secretary Katsuzo Okumura was personally typing out the
deciphered parts which were too secret for any office * After the war
Colonel Rufus Bratton of Army Intelligence declared: "If we had gotten
that message [on December 6] ... the whole picture might have been
different." typist to handle. When he finished he went to the
basement playroom to relax. Two correspondents were playing ping-pong
and one, Masuo Kato, came over to query Okumura about the liner
Tatsuta-maru, which had left Yokohama five days earlier and was due to
reach Los Angeles on the fourteenth.

"I'll bet you a dollar the liner never gets here," said Okumura

President Roosevelt-perhaps influenced by Dr. Jones or Baruch or
both-had finally made up his mind to send a personal message to the
Emperor. Drafted by the White House, it reminded the Emperor that
almost a century previously another President of the United States,
Millard Fill-more, had sent a personal message to the Emperor of Japan
offering friendship. After years of peace, war threatened because of
the Japanese occupation of southern Indochina, and the people of the
Philippines, Malaya, Thailand and the Dutch Indies now feared they too
would be taken over.

None of the peoples whom I have spoken of above can sit either
indefinitely or permanently on a keg of dynamite.

There is absolutely no thought on the part of the United States of
invading Indochina if every Japanese soldier or sailor were to be
withdrawn therefrom.

I think that we can obtain the same assurance from the Governments of
the East Indies, the Governments of Malaya and the Government of
Thailand. I would even undertake to ask for the same assurance on the
part of the Government of China. Thus a withdrawal of the Japanese
forces from Indo-China would result in the assurance of peace
throughout the whole of the South Pacific area.

I address myself to Your Majesty at this moment in the fervent hope
that Your Majesty may, as I am doing, give thought in this definite
emergency to ways of dispelling the dark clouds. I am confident that
both of us, for the sake of the peoples not only of our own great
countries but for the sake of humanity in neighboring territories, have
a sacred duty to restore traditional amity and prevent further death
and destruction in the world.

He signed the letter "Franklin D. Roosevelt" and sent it to Hull along
with a handwritten note:

Dear Cordell: Shoot this to Grew-I think can go in gray code- saves
time-I don't mind if it gets picked up.

F.DJLr At about 7:40 p.m. the State Department announced to the press
that the President was sending a personal message to the Emperor, and
the message itself was dispatched.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson was still in town at Woodley, his estate
above Rock Creek Valley. He had decided not to go to Long Island for
the weekend, since, as he wrote in his diary, the "atmosphere indicated
that something was going to happen."

The U. S. Navy cryptographers were more industrious than the cipher
staff at the Japanese embassy and by 8:30 p.m. all thirteen parts of
the Togo message were typed and ready for distribution. Realizing how
important it was, Commander Kramer began phoning those who should get

"I have something important that I believe you should see at once," he
told Navy Secretary Knox; he also called the Director of Naval
Intelligence, the Director of the War Plans Division and the White
House. One man on his list couldn't be reached-Admiral "Betty" Stark
was not at his quarters on Observatory Circle.

A little after 9 p.m. Kramer left his office and was driven by his wife
to the White House grounds. In the mailroom of the office building
near the White House he handed over a locked letter pouch containing a
copy of the message to the man on duty, Lieutenant Robert Lester

Schulz brought the pouch to the President's study, where Roosevelt was
sitting at his desk talking to Harry Hopkins. After Roosevelt read the
thirteen parts he silently handed the papers to his adviser. When
Hopkins finished reading, Roosevelt said, "This means war."

While Schulz waited they talked about the crisis.

"Since war is undoubtedly going to come at the convenience of the
Japanese," said Hopkins, "it's too bad we can't strike the first

"No, we can't do that. We are a democracy and a peaceful people."
Roosevelt raised his voice.

"But we have a good record." He reached for the phone to call Stark,
but when told he was at the National Theater, hung up and said, "I'll
call Betty later; I don't want to cause public alarm by having him
paged in a theater."

Stark was taking a rare night off. He was watching the perennial
Student Prince, but it made so little impression on him that later he
couldn't even remember where he'd been on the night of December 6. War
was imminent but what puzzled him was where the Japanese would strike.
The troop convoy heading into the Gulf of Siam suggested Singapore,but
it could be the Philippines or the Panama Canal. In any case he didn't
have to worry about Hawaii. The Joint Army-Navy Hawaiian Defense Plan
for protection of Pearl Harbor against a surprise air attack was so
good that he had sent it to all his district commanders as a model.

General Sherman Miles, chief of Military Intelligence, happened to be
at a dinner party given by Captain Theodore S. Wilkinson, the Director
of Naval Intelligence, and he too read the thirteen parts. But to
Miles they had "little military significance" and he was not
particularly apprehensive. He phoned Colonel Bratton, his Far Eastern
expert, and told him there was "no reason for alerting or waking up"
General Marshall, who was spending a quiet evening at his quarters in
Fort Myers with his wife. Miles went off to bed so unconcerned he
didn't plan to go to his office the next morning.

It was past midnight, the first minutes of December 7. Some high
officials were still awake, wondering when the Japanese would jump-and
where. Not one-Roosevelt, Hull, Stimson, Knox, Marshall or
Stark-expected it could be Pearl Harbor.

In Oahu it was still early Saturday evening. Like Marshall and Stark,
the Army and Navy commanders of Hawaii had no worry of an air attack on
Pearl Harbor. General Walter Short was on the lanai of his home at
Fort Shatter holding an emergency meeting with his intelligence and
counterintelligence officers. They were discussing the transcript of a
telephone conversation monitored by the FBI from a local Japanese
dentist to a Tokyo paper. Its editor had a strange curiosity about
Hawaii: planes, searchlights, weather, even the flowers. Had the
dentist-correspondent's remark that the hibiscus and poinsettia were in
bloom any significance? Was it some code?

For almost an hour the general's wife had been waiting impatiently
outside in a car, and at last Short told his visitors that nothing
could be done until morning and joined his wife. It was fifteen miles
to the Schofield Barracks Officers Club, which was putting on a special
benefit show that Saturday night. They would have to hurry.

Admiral Kimmel was trying to relax at a private dinner party at
Honolulu's "House Without a Key," but he was a dynamic, dedicated man
who was only content when working. At nine-thirty he excused himself
after drinking his usual single cocktail. He wanted to get to bed. He
was to play golf in the morning with General Short, which belied the
gossipr that they were not on speaking terms. It would be one of the
rare Sundays the admiral didn't spend at his desk.

Both Kimmel and Short were of the opinion that constant alerts were
unnecessary. Warnings from Washington had not specifically implied any
air attack on Pearl Harbor even as a remote possibility. Kimmel was
prepared for submarine attacks; Short was ready for saboteurs. Neither
had been significantly concerned by reports that the Japanese consulate
in Honolulu had been burning papers the past two days and the Joint
Army-Navy Hawaiian Defense Plan-the one so admired by "Betty" Stark-was
not in effect on the night of December 6. In fact, normal peace-time
liberty had been granted to men and officers that evening.

Only routine and limited air patrols were planned for the next morning;
and aircraft batteries in the Pearl Harbor area were lightly manned.
Most of the men aboard the ninety-four ships moored in the harbor,
except the watch crews, were getting ready for bed. It was just
another lazy, uneventful tropical evening.

The FBI agents who had so assiduously been tracking the innocent
dentist still had no suspicion that a minor official at the Japanese
consulate, Tadashi Morimura, was actually an Imperial Navy secret agent
named Yoshikawa. That night he was working late at the consulate on
his final report. He had already cabled Tokyo a few hours earlier that
he did not believe the battleships had antitorpedo nets and there was
no barrage-balloon equipment near Pearl Harbor.








Now he was at his desk writing that the following ships had just been
observed at anchor: nine battleships, three light cruisers, three
submarine tenders and seventeen destroyers, as well as four light
cruisers and two destroyers at docks. Then he added that the heavy
cruiser and carriers had left port and that it appeared "no air
reconnaissance is being conducted by the fleet arm." He buzzed for the
radio-room code clerk, gave him the message and went for a stroll
around the spacious consulate grounds. In the distance he could see a
bright haze over Pearl Harbor but could hear no patrol planes. He went
off to bed.

Tatsuta-maru, the passenger ship en route to Los Angeles, was still
steaming on its course northwest of Hawaii. In the morning, to the
puzzlement and concern of its passengers, it would swing around and
head back home. First Secretary Okumura was going to win his dollar
bet with correspondent Kato.

In Manila, it was late afternoon of December 7. It had been a hot,
clear day. Here apprehension was greater than in either Washington or
Hawaii, for the Philippines could be a battlefront any minute.
Unidentified aircraft were again reported over Clark Field.

That night the 27th Bombardment Group was giving a mammoth welcome
party at the Manila Hotel in honor of Major General Lewis H. Brereton,
commander of MacArthur's recently established Far East Air Force. It
was a gala affair long to be remembered as "the best entertainment this
side of Minsky's." But the guest of honor's mind was on war and his
sadly inadequate air force. During the party Admiral Hart's chief of
staff told him, "It's only a question of days or perhaps hours until
the shooting starts," and a moment later MacArthur's chief of staff
said the War Department believed hostilities might begin at any time.

As a precaution Brereton phoned his own chief of staff and told him to
put all airfields on combat alert. Fortunately heavy air
reinforcements were on the way. One convoy, carrying fifty-two dive
bombers and two regiments of artillery as well as ammunition, was due
January 4. In addition, thirty Flying Fortresses would arrive in a few
days and almost double his puny force. Twelve had already taken off
from California and would land at Hickam Field, next door to Pearl
Harbor, soon after dawn.

At Clark Field, fifty air miles to the northwest, sixteen Flying
Fortresses were lined up ready for flight. The wide field, rimmed by a
few trees and waist-high cogon grass, was honeycombed with revetments,
foxholes and slit trenches. To the northeast, cone-shaped Mount
Ararat, named after the final resting place of Noah's Ark, rose
dramatically out of the plains, weird and unworldly in the moonlight.

In a nearby barracks Staff Sergeant Frank Trammell was trying to
contact his wife Norma in San Bernardino, California by ham radio. It
was queer. The air was dead. All he could raise was a city he was
forbidden to talk to- Singapore.

This 220-square-mile island was sixteen hundred miles to the the
southwest, about the same distance and direction as a flight from New
York to New Orleans. It was the keystone of the Allied defense system
in Asia and if it fell, not only Malaya but all of the rich Dutch East
Indies with its oil, tin and rubber would be lost.

That night the probing fingers of searchlights lit the sky above
Singapore. Great 15-inch guns protected its sea approaches. And in
the sprawling naval base-a labor of twenty years at the cost of
.60,000,000-were moored the two mighty warships so feared by Council
President Hara- Repulse and Prince of Wales.

The code warning "Raffles" had just been signaled throughout the
Malayan Command, and British, Australian and Indian soldiers were
standing to arms, prepared and confident. Singapore was an impregnable

About 1,650 miles to the north-northeast was Great Britain's other
fortress in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong. This island was just a few
minutes' ride by ferry from the mainland of southern China. Its 11,319
defenders were on the alert.

By midnight the spacious harbor-except for its usual patchy regatta of
ketches, pr oas junks and sampans-was almost empty. The previous
night, pages had ranged the bars and ballrooms of hotels telling all
officers and men of the merchant marine to report to their ships. The
announcement about the Japanese convoy in the Gulf of Siam signified
one thing alone in Hong Kong: the balloon had gone up. But, like
Singapore, Hong Kong was ready and confident.

From Washington to Hong Kong it was expected that Japan would probably
strike in hours. But in many places "readiness" was merely a word. Few
were actually prepared for the brutal reality of war. And not one was
yet aware of the detailed, ingenious Japanese plan of attack which was
about to be loosed from Pearl Harbor to Singapore.

It had been a bright, warm, pleasant Sunday in Tokyo, but to Otto
Tolischus it was "ominously quiet" and everyone in Japan "seemed to be
waiting for something." He spent most of the day at his typewriter
working on an article about Ambassador Grew for the New York Times
Magazine. Theold cry against "foreign barbarians," he wrote, was being
revived now that the Japanese had learned all they could from the
Occident about warfare. As a result the long-predicted war between the
white and yellow races in general, and war between Japan and the United
States in particular, has become an imminent possibility, and whether
it shall become a grim reality is now the great issue being decided in
Tokyo and Washington.

Tolischus read over what he had written. It sounded a little strong,
but he decided to let it stand and sent it by messenger to Grew for

It was not the imminence of war but the possible discovery of the
secret attacks which concerned Japan's leaders that Sunday. Just
before noon a cable reported that the convoy heading for the Malay
Peninsula across the Gulf of Siam had been sighted by a British flying
boat. A few minutes later it was learned that an Army fighter pilot
had shot down the British plane. But had the flying boat had time to
radio back the information Roosevelt's personal bid for peace-his
letter to the Emperor-reached Tokyo at noon; however, a recent general
directive would automatically hold it up for ten hours. The previous
day Lieutenant Colonel Morio Tomura of the Army General Staff had
phoned his friend Tateki Shirao, the censor of the Ministry of
Communications, instructing him to delay all foreign cables on an
alternating schedule of ten hours one day, five hours the next. Sunday,
December 7, happened to be the day scheduled for ten hours.
Ambassador Grew first heard of the message from the daily San Francisco
news broadcast but didn't receive it until ten-thirty in the evening
despite its triple priority stamp. He was justifiably annoyed. It was
fifteen minutes past midnight when Grew, decoded message in hand,
arrived at Togo's official residence. He told the Foreign Minister
that he had a personal message from Roosevelt to the Emperor and read
it aloud.

Togo promised "to study the document" and "present the They must also
have been jolted by an article by a retired admiral in Saturday night's
edition of the Japan Times & Advertiser. The author boasted that U. S.
naval authorities were "apparently talking in delirium when they say it
is improbable for Japan to extend its activities to Hawaii, and that
such an attempt is bound to end in failure." matter to the Throne."
As soon as Grew left, Togo phoned Imperial Household Minister Tsuneo
Matsudaira and asked if the Emperor could be disturbed at such a late
hour. He was told to call Kido, since a message from the President was
political, not ceremonial. Togo phoned the Privy Seal at his home in
Alaska. Kido said that under these circumstances His Majesty could be
roused "even in the dead of night," and promised to leave for the
Palace at once.

Togo drove to the Prime Minister's official residence. Does the
message contain any concessions? was Tojo's first question. The
answer was no.

"Well, then, nothing can be done, can it?" Tojo remarked, but had no
objection to Togo taking the letter to the Emperor. Together the two
worked out a reply, which amounted to a polite refusal, and Togo got up
to leave.

"It's a pity to run around disturbing people in the middle of the
night," he joked.

"It's a good thing the telegram arrived late," said Tojo, and he was
probably being facetious.

"If it had come a day or two earlier we would have had more of a

Togo found Kido waiting for him at the Palace.

"There's no use, is there?" said the privy Seal upon learning what was
in the message.

"What's Tojo's opinion?"

"The same as yours."


About the time Grew received the Roosevelt telegram, Commander Kramer
was at his office in the Navy Department reading the fourteenth part of
the message to Hull breaking off negotiations. It was 8 a.m." December
7, in Washington.

The entire fourteen parts were assembled, put in folders, and once more
Kramer began his delivery rounds. By 10:20 he was back in his own
office. Another important message was on the desk. It was the
telegram from Togo to Nomura marked urgent-very important, ordering the
admiral to submit the entire message to Hull at 1 p.m.

While it was being put in folders Kramer hastily made a time-zone
circle and discovered that 1 p.m. would be 7:30 a.m. in Hawaii. Having
spent two years at Pearl Harbor, he knew this was the normal time for
the piping of the crew to Sunday breakfast-a very quiet time indeed.
Disturbed, he headed down the corridors of the sprawling Navy Building
for Admiral Stark's office. On Massachusetts Avenue the Japanese were
in a state approaching disorder. The cipher staff had returned to work
after the farewell party and numerous sake toasts to finish the
thirteen parts before midnight, then waited impatiently hour after hour
for the final part. Finally at dawn everybody but a duty officer went
home. About an hour later a bundle of cables arrived. One was Part
Fourteen, sent from Tokyo by both Mackay and RCA and marked very
important in plain English.

The duty officer called his colleague, but it was almost 10 a.m. before
the cipher crew was back on the job, grumbling about lost sleep. In
the meantime First Secretary Okumura was slowly, laboriously tapping
away at a typewriter in an attempt to get a clean copy of the message.
But he was an amateur typist, and though he had been laboring for two
hours, he was far from finished.

It wasn't until 10:30 that Nomura was reading the decoded instructions
to hand the entire message to Hull at 1 p.m. He hadn't yet read the
fourteenth part, which had arrived three and a half hours earlier but
was yet to be deciphered. He hastily phoned Hull's office to set up
the appointment. Sorry, was the reply, Secretary Hull had a luncheon

"It is a matter of extreme importance," the admiral said urgently-and
if not Hull, how about his undersecretary? After a pause he was told
that Hull himself would be available.

A few minutes later Okumura finally finished his bumbling typing of the
first thirteen parts, but the eleven pages of typescript were so full
of erasures that he decided it would never do as an official Japanese
document. He started to redo the whole thing, this time with the
assistance of another amateur typist, a junior interpreter. Despite
everything, Okumura felt sure that he could finish the entire document
in time for the one o'clock appointment.

When Nomura was calling Hull, young Kramer stepped into Stark's office.
The admiral, who had just returned from a leisurely walk around the
grounds and greenhouses of his quarters, was engrossed in the
fourteen-part message. While waiting in the outer office, Kramer
pointed out to a colleague the possible significance of the one o'clock
time with reference to Hawaii.

At last Stark finished the long message and then read the "one o'clock"

"Why don't you pick up the telephone and call Admiral Kimmel?" an
intelligence man suggested. Stark reached for the phone but decided
his "war warning' of November 27 was enough to keep everyone on his
toes. Besides, a raid on Pearl Harbor seemed most unlikely. He said
he'd rather call the President and dialed the White House. The
President's line was busy.
Even the fourteenth part had failed to alarm Colonel Bratton, but a
glance at the "one o'clock" note sent him into "frenzied" action.
Convinced that "the Japanese were going to attack some American
installation," he literally ran to his chief's office. General Miles
was at home. So was Marshall. Without going through channels, Bratton
phoned Marshall's quarters just across the Potomac. An orderly,
Sergeant Aquirre, said the Chief of Staff had just left for his Sunday
horseback ride.

Marshall had risen as usual at 6:30 a.m. but dawdled over breakfast
with his wife, their first together in a week. They lived a restful,
rather monastic life, since he had already collapsed twice from ill

"I cannot allow myself to get angry, that would be fatal-it is too
exhausting," he had recently told Mrs. Marshall.

"My brain must be kept clear."

Unaware of the message which had meant "war" to the President the night
before, he was heading at a lively gait toward the government
experimental farm, the site of the future Pentagon Building. Ordinarily
he rode for about an hour, but this time he took longer while Aquirre
was searching for him in vain. By the time Marshall returned home to
get the sergeant's message, it was 10:25. He phoned Bratton, but the
latter was so circumspect in explaining the "most important message"
that the Chief of Staff didn't realize its urgency. Marshall showered,
sent for his limousine parked across the river at the Munitions
Building and wasn't at his desk until a few minutes after 11 o'clock.
He methodically read through the entire message, as unimpressed as
Bratton. But, like Bratton, he was jolted by the implications of the
"one o'clock" note. Using a yellow pad, he hastily jotted down a
dispatch to his Pacific commanders:

The Japanese are presenting at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today what
amounts to an ultimatum. Also they are under orders to destroy their
code machine immediately.

Just what significance the hour set may have we do not know, but be on
the alert accordingly.

He phoned Stark.

"What do you think about sending the information concerning the time of
presentation to the Pacific commanders?" "We've sent them so much
already, I hesitate to send any more. A new one will be merely

Marshall hung up. Moments later the phone rang.

"George," Stark began in a concerned voice, "there might be some
peculiar significance in the Japanese ambassador calling on Hull at one
p.m. I'll go along with you in sending that information to the
Pacific." He offered the Navy's transmission facilities, which he
said, were very fast in emergencies.

"No, thanks, Betty, I feel I can get it through quickly enough."

"George, will you include instructions to your people to inform their
naval opposites?"

Marshall said he would, and added a sentence to that effect on the
yellow sheet. He marked it "First Priority-Secret," and ordered it
rushed to the Message Center for transmission to the Panama Canal, the
Philippines, Hawaii and San Francisco, in that order of priority.
Concerned about time, he sent an officer several times to find out how
long it would take to deliver the message.

"It's already in the works. Will take maybe thirty to forty minutes to
be delivered" was the reassuring answer from Colonel Edward French,
chief of Traffic Operations. Marshall didn't consider using the direct
scrambler telephone, since it could be easily tapped and the Japanese
might deduce that their "unbreakable" code had been broken.

The message was enciphered and a few minutes after 12 noon in
Washington, the commanders in San Francisco, the Panama Canal and the
Philippines were warned. But Hawaii could not be raised because of
atmospheric conditions. There was still, of course, the Navy's direct
radio communications to Hawaii, but for some reason Colonel French
eschewed the "very fast" facilities of the rival service for Western
Union, which didn't have a direct line to Honolulu. The message wasn't
even marked "Urgent."

The Combined Fleet, at anchor off the beautiful little islet
Hashirajima, was on the alert, ready to sail from the Inland Sea to the
aid of Kido Butai if necessary. Yamamoto had already issued his final
order, an exact duplicate of Admiral Togo's message at Tsushima.

On Nagato there was a calm sense of watchful waiting. The earlier
concern about the discovery of the Malay convoy was obviously
groundless. As usual Yamamoto played Japanese chess with Commander
Yasuji Watanabe. His mind was on the match and he won three of the
five games. Afterward both men bathed and returned to the staff room.
Then Yamamoto retired to his own cabin, where he composed a waka, a
thirty-one-syllable poem:

It is my sole wish to serve the Emperor as His shield I will not spare
my honor or my life.

There were, in fact, two Japanese forces approaching Pearl Harbor. The
second was a fleet of submarines. Eleven boats had taken the
great-circle route and were converging on Oahu-four northeast of the
island and seven in the channel between Oahu and Molokai. Nine others
had come from the Marshalls and seven of these were lying just south of
Oahu while the other two were nearing Maui to discover if the American
fleet could possibly be at Lahaina.

Five other submarines, the Special Attack Unit, had surfaced under
cover of darkness and had silently approached Pearl Harbor from the
southwest. Each carried piggyback a midget two-man submarine
seventy-nine feet long, which could travel at the remarkable speed of
20 knots submerged. The midgets were to steal into the channel, lie in
wait off Battleship Row until the air attack started, then surface and
launch their twin torpedoes at some capital ship. At first Yamamoto
had canceled the raid on the grounds that it was suicidal. He finally
relented when assured that every attempt would be made to recover the

Just before 11 p.m." December 6, local time, the mother ships had
stopped about eight miles off Pearl Harbor, and the tricky launching
process began. Those on the decks of the submarines could see bright
lights along the shore and even pick out neon signs on Waikiki Beach.
Across the water came faint sounds of jazz. Minutes later four of the
midgets were launched, but the fifth's gyrocompass would not work. It
could not be repaired, but the two-man crew insisted on carrying out
their mission. They climbed into their tiny boat. The mother ship
dived, the securing clamps were cast off, and the midget started slowly
for Pearl Harbor.

Kido Butai was racing full steam at 24 knots toward the launching
point, two hundred miles north of Pearl Harbor. The men were at
general quarters; the gun crews ready to fire at anything in sight. The
pilots and crews had been routed from their bunks at 3:30 a.m."
December 7, Hawaiian time. They had already written last letters and
left in their lockers fingernail clippings and snips of hair for their
families. They put on clean mawashi (loincloths) and "thousand-stitch"
belts For breakfast they were served an extra treat, red rice and tai,
a red snapper eaten at times of celebration.

The ships were rolling so badly that some waves swept onto | the decks
of the carriers. Because of this, the torpedo pilots were told they
could not go in the first attack but must wait for the second, when it
would be completely light. To no avail the pilots grumbled that after
all their hard training they could take off in the predawn murk, no
matter how rough the seas were.

Nagumo was still concerned about Lahaina, despite reas- j surance from
a submarine on the spot and a message from Combined Fleet that the
Pacific Fleet, except for the carriers, was at Pearl Harbor. He
ordered search planes to make a last-minute reconnaissance. An hour
before first light Chikuma and Tone-the two heavy cruisers leading the
fleet, and only 150 miles from Pearl Harbor-each catapulted a pair of
seaplanes into the light wind. Two of the planes started for Lahaina,
two for Pearl Harbor. Their instructions were to get to their
destinations half an hour before the attack and radio back reports on
clouds, the speed and direction of the wind, and most important, where
the Pacific Fleet really was.

Some 6,600 miles to the west, a large convoy was closing in on the
Malay Peninsula in three sections. The main force, fourteen ships,
headed for Singora. To its left, three ships approached Pattani.
Farther to the left, another three transports were bound for Kota
Bharu; they were the first to reach their destination, and at midnight,
Tokyo time, they dropped anchor just off the city. There was a moon,
but fortunately for the invaders it was covered by clouds. There was
little pitch and roll, and everything augured well for an easy landing.
Then, at 1:15 a.m." the transports' naval escort began bombarding the
coast, the signal for the landing.

The war in the Pacific had started by mistake. It was only 5:45 A.M.
in Hawaii. Originally Genda and Commander Miyo of the Navy General
Staff had agreed to hit Pearl *A bellyband worn as a good-luck charm.
Mothers, wives or sisters would stand on street corners and ask
passers-by to add their stitch to the belt until it had one thousand.
This meant each belt contained a thousand prayers for good luck and a
good fight. Harbor just before dawn. But so many pilots complained of
the hazard in taking off in the pitch-dark that at the last moment
Genda delayed the first strike by about two hours. Miyo had not
learned of this until several days after Kido Butai left Hitokappu Bay
and took it upon himself to remain silent because a change in schedule
at that stage might not reach all commands. He accepted the entire
responsibility for his decision and did not even tell Vice Admiral Ito
that an attack might very well come in the Malay Peninsula ahead of

"I was resigned to leave our fate to Heaven."

And so the Kota Bharu force began the war between East and West,
between white and yellow, two hours and fifteen minutes before the
first bombs were scheduled to drop on Hawaii. The question was: Would
the British report the attack in time to alert Pearl Harbor?

At the first shot of war the carriers of Kido Butai had just slipped
across the launching point and were not quite two hundred miles north
of Pearl Harbor. The first faint light of day glimmered in the east.
Pilots and flight crews strapped themselves into their planes; motors
roared. In the sky were patches of clouds. Long heavy swells rolled
the ships from 12 to 15 degrees. Maneuvers were usually canceled when
swells exceeded 5 degrees, but today there could be no postponement.

Admiral Kusaka ordered the Z flag raised above Akagi. This was an
exact copy of the one Togo had used at Tsushima, but in the intervening
years it had become an ordinary tactical signal. Kusaka was sure that
every man in the Striking Force would realize its symbolic
significance, but several staff officers, including Genda, protested
when they saw it go up. It would cause confusion. Reluctantly Kusaka
revoked the command and ordered another flag raised that vaguely
resembled Togo's signal.

The minute the sailors of Kaga saw the Z flag they excitedly hoisted
their own. It was going to be another Tsushima! Then, inexplicably,
Akagi's flag fluttered down, and with it some of their enthusiasm.

On the decks of the six carriers, the planes of the first wave were
lined up, with forty-three fighter planes in the van, followed by
forty-nine high-level and fifty-one dive bombers, and forty torpedo
planes in the rear-at the last moment it was decided to let them risk
takeoff in the predawn gloom.

At the head of Kaga's fighters was Lieutenant (s.g.) Yo-shio Shiga, the
amateur painter. He was champing, hoping to be the first to take off.
He beckoned to one of his ground-crew men and told him to yank out the
chocks at his own command-not to wait, as usual, for the flagman's

On the bridge Chief Aviation Officer Naohiro Sata told the carrier
captain, "Planes are ready," and the skipper turned Kaga into the wind.
A triangular pennant with a white circle on a red background was run
halfway up the mast of the command ship, Akagi. In this position, the
aviation flag meant "Get ready for takeoff." Then it was hoisted to
the top of the mast. Commander Sata was watching it from Kaga; when it
was lowered he would give a hand signal to drop Kaga's aviation flag.

Lieutenant Shiga was not watching his own carrier's flag. He had his
eyes glued on Akagi's. It dropped. He shouted, "Remove chocks!" and
roared down the runway. Kaga's captain was leaning out a window,
expecting to see the usual courtesy salute, but Shiga was too intent on
getting into the air before anyone else. His Type Zero* plunged off
the deck, dropped precipitously to within 15 feet of the sea. He
turned left and climbed, noticing with dismay that the first fighter
pilot on Akagi, Lieutenant Commander Shigeru Itaya, had beaten him by a
few seconds. He had not waited for his flagman either. Shiga took his
time in the turn so that his squadron could catch up, then joined
Itaya, who was commanding all the fighters. They streaked south in
loose formation like a flock of swallows.

Behind them the high-level medium bombers were taking off. Squadron
leader Heijiro Abe was in the first Mitsubishi to leave Soryu. Contrary
to American practice, he was not the pilot but the
navigator-bombardier. Concerned about the roll and pitch of the
carrier, he looked back anxiously into the dimness as the others
followed. To his relief all his planes were soon in a precise V
formation behind the fighters. Next the Aichi Type 99 dive bombers got
off the runway and joined up.

The takeoff of the Nakajima Type 97 torpedo bombers was the most
hazardous, and putting them in the initial wave while it was still
partially dark was a gamble. The first off Hiryu was squadron leader
Hirata Matsumura. When he plunged from the deck it was like being
sucked into a dark pit. He fought his way up to 500 feet and was
immediately engulfed in dense clouds. He broke through into the open,
The name came from the date of the plane's origin, 1940, the 2,600th
year of Japanese recorded history. then veered left. Once his men had
collected, he met the Soryu torpedo planes, and together they tagged
after the Akagi and Kaga planes at 13,000 feet. The entire launching
had taken no more than fifteen minutes-a record-and a single aircraft,
a Zero fighter, had crashed.

Up ahead, Shiga looked back upon a great straggling formation. Never
before had he seen so many planes. Half an hour after the takeoff a
huge, brilliant sun rose to the left. It was the first time Juzo Mori,
a young torpedo pilot-son of a farmer-had ever seen a sunrise from the
air. The planes ahead were etched in black silhouette against the red,
and it was such a romantic, incongruous sight that he could not believe
he was heading for Japan's most important battle. To Lieutenant
Matsumura, the sunrise was a sacred sight; it marked the dawn of a new

In Pearl Harbor it was 6:30 a.m. The antitorpedo net across the
entrance to Pearl Harbor was open for an approaching vessel, the target
ship Antares. Outside the entrance to the harbor Lieutenant William
Outerbridge, the young skipper of the destroyer Ward, had just been
roused from his bunk, and wearing glasses and a Japanese kimono, was
peering off the port bow at Antares in the murky light. It was towing
a raft into Pearl Harbor. Outerbridge saw something else following. It
looked like a submarine's conning tower.

"Go to general quarters," he shouted. Just then Antares blinkered
confirmation: "Small sub 1,500 yards off starboard quarter."

Ward closed to a hundred yards and fired Number 1 gun at point-blank
range. It missed. Number 3 gun fired, hit the conning tower and the
midget began to sink. While the crew was still cheering, Outerbridge
shouted, "Drop depth charges!" The destroyer's whistle blasted four
times and four charges rolled off the stern.

At 6:51 a.m. Outerbridge radioed the 14th Naval District:


defensive area. Then, deciding this message wasn't strong enough, sent
another two minutes later: we have attacked



Because of delay in decoding, the second message didn't reach Admiral
Kimmers chief of staff, Captain John B. Earle, until 7:12 a.m. A few
minutes later Admiral Claude C. Bloch read it and said, "What do you
know about it?" Earle was dubious.

"We get so many of these false sightings. We can't go off

Block saw his point. In the past few months there'd been a dozen such
sub warnings-all false.

"Ask this to be verified."

At almost this same moment another warning was being reported to the
Army-and also discounted-from the Opana outpost at Kahuku Point on the
northern tip of Oahu. Private George Elliott, Jr." of the 515th
Signal Aircraft Warning Service, a recent transfer from the Air Corps,
had seen a large blip on his radar unit at 7:06 a.m. He called over
Private Joseph Lockard, who had much more experience. It was the
largest group Lockard had ever seen on the oscilloscope and looked like
two main pulses. He figured something had gone wrong with the machine,
but after a check agreed with Elliott that it was really a large flight
of planes.

By now Elliott had located the blip on the plotting board: 137 miles to
the north, 3 degrees east. He was so excited that he suggested they
call the Information Center at Fort Shafter. At first Lockard was
reluctant but finally let his assistant make the call. The switchboard
operator at the Information Center could find no one on duty except a
pilot named Kermit Tyler. When told that the blips were getting bigger
and that the planes were now only ninety miles from Oahu, Tyler said,
"Don't worry about it," and hung up-the blips must represent the flight
of Flying Fortresses coming in from the mainland or planes from a

In Washington it was 12:30 p.m. and Nomura was frantic. In thirty
minutes he was to see Hull, and the fourteenth part of the note had
just been deciphered and turned over to Okumura for typing This
harried man and his inept assistant were still punching away at the
first thirteen parts. The confusion had been compounded when two
"correction" messages were received: one amending a single word, and
the other announcing that a sentence had been dropped in transmission.
The first meant the retyping of one page, and the second, two pages.

As the minutes ticked away, Nomura returned to the doorway again and
again, pleading with Okumura and his helper to hurry. The pressure
created more mistakes. Already it was obvious that the envoys would be
at least an hour late.

A Japanese float plane from Tone was above Lahaina Roads and another
from Chikuma was almost directly over Pearl Harbor. No one on the
ground noticed either plane. Nor was any communications man listening
when the plane over Lahaina radioed back to Kido Butai in simple code
at exactly 7:35 a.m.:

enemy's fleet not at lahaina 0305. A moment later came another:

enemy's fleet in pearl harbor.

This was about "the most delightful message" Kusaka had ever received.
Right on its heels came a third report: there were some clouds over
Oahu, but the sky over Pearl Harbor was "absolutely clear."

Togo had just arrived at the Palace grounds. Stars shone brilliantly.
It was going to be a fine day. The Foreign Minister was immediately
ushered into the Emperor's presence. It was almost at the exact moment
Nomura and Kurusu were supposed to see Hull. Togo read Roosevelt's
message and the proposed draft of the Emperor's reply. The Emperor
approved the reply, and his countenance, Togo thought, reflected "a
noble feeling of brotherhood with all peoples."

The spacious plaza outside the Sakashita Gate was deserted, and as Togo
drove away, the sole noise in the city was the crunching of gravel
under the car tires. His mind was far away: in a few minutes one of
the most momentous days in the history of the world would begin.



8 "I Shall Never Look Back" 1.

The first Zeros approached the northern tip of Oahu, Kahuku Point, at
7:48 a.m. Through clouds below him Lieutenant Yoshio Shiga, leader of
the Kaga fighters, could barely make out a jut of land and a rim of
white surf. A moment later he saw Fuchida's high-level command bomber
and awaited a blue flare, the attack signal for the fighter planes,
which were without radios. Those in the bombers were tuned in to a
local Honolulu station. They heard the haunting strains of a Japanese

Banks of cumulus clouds clung to the peaks of the mountain ranges east
and west of Pearl Harbor, but over the great naval base, lying in a
valley between, the clouds were scattered. The sun shone brightly, its
slanting rays giving the cane fields a deep-green hue. The waters of
Pearl Harbor- originally named Wai Momi, "water of pearl"-glimmered a
brilliant blue. Several civilian planes were lazily circling over the
area, but of all the Oahu-based Army planes, not one was airborne. They
were tightly bunched together, wing to wing, for security against
saboteurs at Hickam, Bellows and Wheeler fields. So were the Marines
planes at Ewa Field. The only American military planes in the air were
seven Navy PBY's on patrol many miles to the southwest.

Antiaircraft defense was also off-guard. Three quarters of the 780 AA
guns on the ships in Pearl Harbor were unmanned, and only four of the
Army's 31 AA batteries were in position-and their ready ammunition had
been returned to depots after practice, since it was "apt to
disintegrate and get dusty."

Upon reaching Kahuku Point, Fuchida's plane-he was the observer-began
circling around the west coast of Oahu to approach Pearl Harbor. At
exactly 7:49 A.M. Fuchida radioed back to Kido Butai in Morse code: to
... to ... to ... This represented the first syllable of Totsugeki!
(Charge!) and meant: "First wave attacking." As Fuchida neared the
target, he was faced with a tactical decision. If in his judgment the
Americans were completely surprised, the torpedo planes would streak
directly for Battleship Row; if not, the fighters would first have to
eliminate any interceptors. The sky ahead was empty and peaceful.
Before long, Pearl Harbor-legendary abode of the shark goddess
Kaahupahau- was spread out below like a huge relief map. It looked
exactly as he had imagined. Still not a single fighter climbed up to
challenge, neither was there one mushroom puff of AA fire. It was

At 7:53 a.m. he radioed to Nagumo tora, tora, tora! The repeated code
word, meaning "tiger," stood for "We have succeeded in surprise
attack." He set off one blue flare to signal that surprise had been
achieved. The nearest fighter squadron leader failed to waggle his
wings in acknowledgment and Fuchida fired a second flare. Shiga, who
was some distance to the rear, thought this was the two-flare signal
indicating that surprise had not been achieved and that he was to head
directly for Hickam Field to clear the skies there of enemy
interceptors. He shot through Kola Kola Pass, signaling the others
with his right hand to get into attack formation. The leader of the
fifty-one dive bombers, Lieutenant Commander Kakuichi Takahashi, also
misinterpreted the second flare and veered off to knock out the AA guns
protecting Pearl Harbor.

But the torpedo bombers were heading straight for their targets.
Lieutenant Commander Shigeharu Murata had not been confused by the
second flare, and radioed his forty bombers to proceed as planned. By
the time he saw the mix-up, so many torpedo planes were in attack
formation that he decided to go ahead with the strike on Battleship

The torpedo planes from Soryu were cutting directly across the island
through Kola Kola Pass behind Shiga's fighters, and Lieutenant Mori
could make out slit trenches in the mountain slopes. They're ready for
us! he thought with a start. As he emerged from the pass he swooped
down at 130 knots, just clearing the barracks and hangars of Wheeler
Field. Scanning the runway, he guessed there were two hundred fighters
packed in neat rows. He was stunned. He hastily calculated that with
at least five airfields on Oahu,there would be a thousand enemy
fighters His machine-gunner began strafing the parked planes-probably
the first shots fired that morning-and then Mori made for Pearl

Royal Vitousek, a Honolulu lawyer, and his seventeen-year-old son
Martin were circling the island in the family Aeronca when they saw two
Japanese fighter planes- undoubtedly Shiga's-approaching. Vitousek
dived under the raiders and headed for his home field to make a report.
He prayed the Japanese would ignore his little plane. Shiga kept
zigzagging toward Pearl Harbor. It reminded him of a Japanese box
garden. The American ships looked bluish white, unlike the gloomy gray
of Japanese warships. How beautiful, he thought, like peace itself. In
seconds he was past Pearl Harbor and over his target, Hickam Field.
There wasn't a single enemy fighter in the air or taking off. The
attack was a surprise! He looked around. Where were the torpedo
bombers? Now was the time to strike.

Just then a dive bomber roared down on Ford Island, loosed a bomb and
zoomed up. A cloud of heavy black smoke billowed out of a hangar. It
would obscure nearby Battleship Row by the time the torpedo bombers got
there, and Shiga thought angrily, What is that crazy helldiver doing To
the west he saw a lazy line of torpedo planes. Why were they coming in
so slowly? Like children trotting to school. They approached the big
battleships moored along the southeast side of Ford Island. This was
Battleship Row, seven warships anchored together in two rows-five on
the inside, two on the outside. The line of planes dumped their
torpedoes like "dragonflies dropping their eggs" and arced away. There
was a pause. Then a jarring explosion. The battleship Oklahoma
shuddered. In seconds two more torpedoes tore into her side and she
took a list of about 30 degrees.

The next group of torpedo planes was Lieutenant Mat-sumura's, from
Hiryu. His first view of Pearl Harbor was a forest of masts against
the garish rising sun. They'd made it!

"Look for carriers!" he called through the voice tube to his observer.
He dropped to 150 feet over a field of waving To Lieutenant Mori, "all
planes looked like fighters." There were 231 Army planes of all types
on Oahu, and 88 of these were under repair.

The Japanese Navy pilots were so impressed by an American movie, Hell
Divers, starring Clark Gable, that they had adopted the name. sugar
cane. Helldivers were plunging down on Ford Island through clouds of

"Bakayaro!" he muttered. How could they make such a mistake and
obscure the main targets! Half a dozen planes converged on a big ship
that looked like a carrier on the northwest side of Ford Island.

"Damn fools," he repeated.

"Who can they be?" Before takeoff he had warned his men to leave this
one alone. It was merely the thirty-three-year-old target ship Utah,
her stripped decks covered with planks.

He circled out above the sea and turned back over Hickam at 500 feet so
he could come in on Battleship Row. His path cut across a long line of
torpedo planes from Kaga and Akagi-several were ablaze from enemy fire
but continued on to ram their targets. He'd have done the same thing,
he thought, as he skimmed through towering fountains of water. He went
down to less than 100 feet and started a run on one of the ships in the
outside row-it was West Virginia. Usually the pilot alone released the
torpedo, but today, to make doubly sure, most navigator-bombardiers
were also pushing their release buttons.

"Yoi [Ready]," he called over the tube. Then: "Tel" (Fire!) As the
torpedo was launched, he pulled the stick back sharply.

"Is the torpedo running straight?" he called to the navigator. He was
afraid it might dig into the mud.

Matsumura pushed in the throttle, but instead of making the standard
left turn, climbed to the right. He kept looking back to keep his
torpedo in view. In the oily water he saw American sailors; they
seemed to be crawling in glue. He banked further and saw a column of
water geyser from West Virginia.

This one moment was worth all the hard months of training.

"Take a picture!" he shouted to the navigator, who thought he said
"Fire!" and ordered the machine-gunner to open up.

"Did you get the picture?" asked Matsumura. Without comment the
navigator took a picture-of someone else's column of water.

Lieutenant Mori, who had swept directly across Oahu, was still looking
for a target. He hedgehopped over Ford Island, but finding only a
cruiser on the other side, made a semicircle and came back just above
the waves toward California at the southern end of Battleship Row. At
the last moment a breakwater loomed between him and the target. He
climbed, circling over Utah, which looked as if it had been twisted in
two, again went down to 15 feet and came at Californiafrom a different
angle. His radioman-gunner took a picture of the torpedo explosion as
Mori prepared to make his left circle to the assembly point. But his
path was barred by a heavy pillar of smoke at the end of Ford Island
and he was forced to bank right directly into the oncoming torpedo
planes from Akagi and Kaga; he narrowly missed collision and his plane
rocked from the turbulence. Bullets ripped through Mori's plane "like
hornets." One set the navigator's cushion on fire, another grazed the
hand of the machine-gunner, but none hit the fuel tanks.

The high-level bombers were going after the inner row of battleships
and anything else that looked tempting. The battleships were obscured
by smoke at first, but on the second pass the first five Soryu planes
were able to unload their 1,760-lb. bombs on the badly listing
Oklahoma. Squadron leader Heijiro Abe snapped a picture as his bomb
smashed between two gun turrets, penetrated into an ammunition room and
exploded. Great tongues of flame blasted out of half a dozen holes in
the ship. A flood of tears obscured Abe's vision. He was ready to


Vitousek landed his Aeronca a quarter of an hour after the encounter
with the two Zeros and phoned Army and Air Corps duty officers that he
had seen Japs over Oahu. Nobody would believe him or even send out an

The first bombs had already hit Wheeler Field a few minutes earlier,
shortly after 7:50 a.m. Second Lieutenant Robert Overstreet of the
696th Aviation Ordnance Company, asleep in the two-story wooden BOQ
(bachelor officers quarters), was awakened by a deep rumble. He
thought it was an earthquake until he heard a voice shouting, "Looks
like Jap planes!" and someone else saying, "Hell, no, it's just a Navy

Then Overstreet's door opened and a friend looked in, face white and
lips trembling: "I think Japs are attacking!" Over-street peered out
the window and saw olive-drab planes overhead. One roared by so close
that he could see the pilot and a rear gunner. On the fuselage and
wing tips were flaming-red suns. He finished dressing on the run and
outside the barracks came upon a group of fighter pilots.

"We've got to get down to the line and tag some of those bastards,"
Lieutenant Harry Brown shouted. But the closelyr grouped planes on the
ramp were already on fire.

"Let's go to Haleiwa," he said. This was an auxiliary sod field on the
north coast, where a few P-40's and P-36's were kept. Brown and
several other fighter pilots piled into his new Ford convertible and
careened off. Lieutenants George Welch and Kenneth Taylor were right
behind in another car.

As bombs continued to fall, Overstreet pushed his way through a crowd
milling in confusion toward the permanent quarters area. Brigadier
General Howard C. Davidson, the fighter commandant, and Colonel William
Flood, the base commander, were standing in pajamas by their front
doors, staring up in the sky, faces aghast.

"Where's our Navy?" Flood muttered.

"Where're our fighters?"

"General, we'd better get out of here!" Overstreet shouted.

"Those planes have tail gunners." At that moment Davidson noticed to
his horror that his ten-year-old twin daughters were roaming the lawn,
picking up empty Japanese cartridges as if it were an Easter egg hunt.
Davidson and his wife rounded up their children; then he set off for
the ramp to get some of his planes in the air. But those salvaged from
the flames had no ammunition and the ordnance building, containing a
million rounds of machine-gun ammunition, was ablaze. All at once the
big hangar was racked by salvos that sounded like an endless string of
giant firecrackers.

Fifteen miles to the south, at Hickam Field, two aircraft mechanics
were walking toward the flight line. Jesse Gaines and Ted Conway had
gotten up early to get a look at the B-17's due from the States. They'd
never seen a Flying Fortress. At 7:55 a V formation of planes appeared
in the west. As they began to peel off, Conway said, "We're going to
have an air show." Then Gaines noticed something fall from the first
plane and guessed it was a wheel.

"Wheel, hell-they're Japs!" cried Conway.

As Gaines said, "You're crazy," a bomb exploded among the closely
packed planes. The two started for the three-storied barracks, "Hickam
Hotel." Gaines saw some gas drums and ducked behind them for
protection. He felt something kick him in the rear.

"Don't you know better than that?" a grizzled sergeant barked.

"Those damn drums are full!" Gaines headed for the ramp. Looking up,
he saw bombs wobble down, each one aimed directly at him. He scrambled
in terror, first one way, then another.

Colonel James Mollison, chief of staff of the Hawaiian Air Force, was
shaving when he heard the first bombs fall. Hedashed to his office and
phoned Colonel Walter C. Phillips, General Short's chief of staff, that
the Japanese were attacking.

"Jimmy, you're out of your mind," said Phillips.

"Are you drunk? Wake up!" Mollison held up the receiver so that
Phillips could hear the explosions. Phillips was convinced, in fact

"I'll tell you what," he shouted.

"I will send you over a liaison officer immediately." Then the ceiling
crashed all around Mollison.

Two miles to the north, in the center of Pearl Harbor, the first bomb
was falling on the naval air station at Ford Island. From his seat in
a parked PBY, Ordnanceman Third Class Donald Briggs decided a plane
from the carrier Enterprise had spun in. Then the ground erupted all
around him as a dozen more explosions followed in rapid succession.

In the first few minutes the Navy bases at Kaneohe and Ford Island, and
the Army bases at Wheeler, Bellows and Hickam, as well as the lone
Marine base, Ewa, were crippled. Not a single Navy fighter and only
some thirty Army Air Corps fighters managed to get into the air.

A moment after the first bomb fell, the Pearl Harbor signal tower
alerted Kimmel's headquarters by phone. Three minutes later Rear
Admiral Patrick Bellinger broadcast from Ford Island:


At 8 a.m. Kimmel radioed Washington, Admiral Hart and all forces at
sea: air raid on pearl harbor, this is no drill. Even as these
messages were going out, flames and billows of black smoke were rising
from Pearl Harbor.

Not far from Battleship Row, Boatswain's Mate Graff of the oil tanker
Ramapo scrambled down the ladder into the crew's quarters and yelled,
"The Japs are bombing Pearl Harbor!" His shipmates looked at him as if
he were joking as usual, and when he said, "No fooling," someone gave a
Bronx cheer.

"No crap. Get your asses up on deck!" Yeoman C. O. Lines clambered
topside to the fantail just in time to hear a dull explosion and see a
plane dive toward California, the first of the seven big vessels in
Battleship Row.

Above her, in tandem formation, were Maryland and Oklahoma. A torpedo
couldn't hit Maryland because she was berthed inboard, next to Ford
Island. But the outboard ship, Oklahoma, was hit by four torpedoes
within a minute. As she listed to port, Commander Jesse Kenworthy,
senior officerr aboard, ordered the ship abandoned over the starboard
side. Inexorably the ship settled, its starboard propeller out of the
water. Below, more than four hundred officers and men were trapped
alive in the rapidly filling compartments. Next in Battleship Row came
Tennessee and West Virginia. Like Maryland, Tennessee was inboard and
protected from torpedo attack. On West Virginia's battle conning
tower, Captain Mervyn Bennion doubled up. A fragment, probably from an
armor-piercing bomb that had just hit the nearby Tennessee, had torn
into his stomach. Lieutenant Commander T. T. Beattie, the ship's
navigator, loosened the skipper's collar and sent for a pharmacist's
mate. Bennion knew he was dying, but his concern was how the ship was
being fought. Fires swept toward the bridge.

Next in line came Arizona and the repair ship Vestal. The torpedo
planes had missed Arizona, but a few minutes later high-level bombers
found her with five bombs. One of these plunged through the forecastle
into the fuel-storage areas, starting a fire. About sixteen hundred
pounds of black powder, the most dangerous of all explosives, were
stored here, against regulations. Suddenly the volatile stuff
exploded, igniting hundreds of tons of smokeless powder in the forward

Arizona erupted like a volcano. Those on nearby ships saw her leap
halfway out of the water and break in two. Within nine minutes the two
fragments of the great 32,600-ton ship settled in the mud as sheets of
flame and clouds of black smoke boiled above her wreckage. It didn't
seem possible that a single one of the more than fifteen hundred men
aboard could have survived. Ahead was the last ship in Battleship Row,
Nevada. She was down several feet by the head from a torpedo in her
port bow and a bomb in the quarterdeck.

All along Battleship Row, men were jumping overboard and trying to swim
the short distance to Ford Island. But the surface was coated with a
layer of oil, six inches deep in some places, and this finally burst
into flames, killing most of those in the water.

On the other side of Ford Island, torpedo bombers were Still assaulting
one of the least important ships in the harbor- the ancient target ship
Utah. At 8:12 a.m. she rolled over, keel sticking out of the water.
Men on Ford Island could hear a faint knocking inside the hull.

Only one ship in the entire harbor was under way. This was the
destroyer Helm, scurrying at 27 knots through the channel toward the
mouth of the harbor and the relative safety of open water. The
antitorpedo net, opened hours earlier for Condor, was still
unaccountably agape, and the Japanese midget submarine with the faulty
gyrocompass was trying to stab its way blindly into this opening and go
after a battleship. The commander, Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, surfaced to
get his bearings. Ahead were columns of black smoke.

"The air raid!" he called to his aide.

"Wonderful! Look at that smoke. Enemy ships burning. We must do our
best too, and we will."

At 8:15 he saw Helm knife out of the harbor, but he held his fire. His
two torpedoes were marked for bigger game. He submerged and again
aimed blindly at the harbor mouth. He hit a reef, backed away, tried
again. This time he ran up so far on the reef that his conning tower
struck out of the water. An explosion shook the little boat violently.
Something hit his head and he blacked out. When he came to, the tiny
inner chamber was filled with acrid white smoke. He felt dizzy, sick.
He reversed his engine. The boat refused to budge. On his stomach, he
wormed his way up the narrow forward passage to begin the agonizing job
of transferring 11-lb. ballast weights to the stern. At last he felt
the submarine stir.

Helm continued to fire at the midget as it slid off the coral and
vanished beneath the surface, small jap sub trying to penetrate
channel, radioed the destroyer.

Inside the harbor, another midget was slowly rising to the surface just
west of Ford Island. It was sighted at 8:30 and several ships opened
fire. The midget launched her two torpedoes, one detonating against a
dock, the other against the shore. Then the destroyer Monaghan rammed
into the midget and dropped depth charges over the spot where it had

Fighter pilot Shiga and his squadron of Zeros were lagging 8,000 feet
above Hickam, waiting for enemy fighters to come up, but the only
American plane in sight was a little yellow ship flying over the sea
just east of the field. Shiga ignored it. Moments later he saw six
huge four-engine planes coming in for a landing at Hickam.

They were the first of the dozen Flying Fortresses from California. At
the sight of the high-flying Zeros, Major Truman Landon, the squadron
commander, thought, Here comes the U. S. Air Corps out to greet us.
Then came the distant blinking of machine guns, and a voice shouted
over the intercom, "Damn it, those are Japs!" Landon's planes
scattered One started north for Bellows while the rest hastily made
for Hickam. Four of them landed safely, but one was shot in half by
ground troops as it touched down.

Shiga and his men strafed Hickam in single file, raking a long line of
parked planes, then hedgehopped for the sea to avoid AA fire. They
turned and swept back. To Shiga's surprise, not one of the planes just
strafed was burning. If they had been Japanese they would all be on
fire. After three passes at Hickam, Shiga decided to hit Ford Island,
but since it was covered with smoke, he led his men to the Marine field
near Barbers Point, to the southwest. They left most of the parked
fighters in flames.

The torpedo bombers were already droning away from Pearl Harbor.
Lieutenant Mori had been driven off course by AA fire after hitting
California and found himself over Honolulu. He banked away from this
forbidden civilian area and headed for the assembly point. Just off
the mouth of Pearl Harbor, his navigator said, "Mori-san, some
strange-looking plane is on our tail." He turned and saw a little
yellow biplane tagging along behind.

"Scare it away," he told the radioman-gunner, who loosed a warning

After Lieutenant Matsumura hit West Virginia he too flew south just in
time to see Helm fire at Sakamaki's midget sub. He started for the
destroyer, then remembered he had no torpedo. He saw a big passenger
plane (it was one of the Flying Fortresses) and bore in so his
machine-gunner could knock it down. It was too fast and Matsumura gave
up the chase. He told the radioman-gunner to report the attack and got
the sheepish answer, "I can't. I shot off our antenna."

One plane alone circled above Pearl Harbor. It was Fuchida assessing
the damage. Battleship Row was a holocaust; every battleship still
afloat was burning.

Now from the east a second wave of raiders-eighty dive bombers,
fifty-four high-level bombers and thirty-six fighters- approached Oahu.
At 8:55 a.m. Lieutenant Commander Shigekazu Shimazaki gave the signal
for attack and the 170 planes shot over the mountains east of Honolulu
and headed for Battleship Row and Drydock No. 1, where the eighth
battleship, Pennsylvania, was berthed.

A principal target was Nevada, moving slowly past Arizona, which still
belched huge tongues of flame. Gun crews shielded ammo from the
intense heat with their own bodies. Already suffering from one torpedo
hit, Nevada drew up to the toppled Oklahoma. Several men stood up on
the sides of that ship and cheered as Nevada made for open water.
Butthe attackers were finding the range, and six bombs hit within a few
minutes. The bridge and fore structure of the battleship erupted in
flames. Nevada turned to port, and with the help of two tugs, was
beached not far from Pennsylvania's drydock.

To the southeast the second group of six Flying Fortresses approached
Waikiki Beach, and Captain Richard Carmichael the squadron commander,
began pointing out the sights to his co-pilot. He thought the planes
ahead were part of some Navy maneuver until he saw flames and smoke at
Hickam. Anxiously he called the tower for permission to land.

"Land from west to east," said Major Gordon Blake.

"Use caution. The field is under attack."

As Carmichael lowered his wheels he became the target of violent AA
fire from below. He broke off his approach and turned north to
Wheeler. This field, too, was under heavy attack, and he had to make
for Haleiwa. It was twelve hundred feet long, and by the time the
mammoth B-17 skidded to a stop he had used every foot of it. All six
of his planes landed safely: two at Haleiwa, one at Kahuku Golf Course
and three at Hickam. When his first Flying Fortress touched down at
Hickam, two sprucely dressed captains stepped out.

"Get your ammo, load up and get ready to go!" shouted someone. The
captains stammered that they were in no shape for battle. All their
guns were packed in cosmolene and would take hours to clean.

At Wheeler the men were still groggy from the first attack when the
second hit. Lieutenant Overstreet began arguing with a sergeant from
the Base Ordnance Office about rifles and pistols.

"I doubt if I'm authorized to give you any without a hand receipt,"
said the reluctant sergeant above the din of exploding bombs.

"Hell, man, this is war!" Overstreet yelled. He got the guns.

At Ford Island all the Navy planes had been destroyed or were
inoperable. With little else to do, six pilots hid behind palm trees
to take pot shots at the invaders with their pistols.

The Army fighter pilots had some success; they shot down eleven
Japanese. The two lieutenants from Wheeler-Kenneth Taylor and George
Welch-accounted for seven of these.

The citizens of Honolulu were more reluctant than the military to
believe that war had come to Hawaii. They ignored the noise; it was
either maneuvers or practice firing of the giant coastal defense
batteries at Fort DeRussy near Waikiki Beach. Edgar Rice Burroughs,
author of he Tarzan stories, did not interrupt breakfast with his son
at the Ni-umalu Hotel. Afterward they played tennis with two Navy
wives, still unaware that the war had started a few miles away.

At his Waikiki apartment Robert Trumbull, city editor of the Honolulu
Advertiser, was awakened by the telephone. His wife, Jean, answered it
and came back half puzzled, half amused. A friend had called to say
that from his vantage point on a hill it looked as if Pearl Harbor was
being bombed "for real," and Trumbull as a newspaperman might know
something about it.

"It's just another maneuver," said Trumbull. No sooner had he hung up
than Ray Coll, his editor, called to say there was a reported raid on
Pearl Harbor and to get down to the office at once. Incredulous,
Trumbull hung up and phoned one of the best-informed reporters in town,
who said, "What's the boss been drinking?"

Trumbull wasn't convinced until he heard Webley Edwards of station KGMB
say, "The island is under attack! I repeat, the island is under
attack! This is the real McCoy!" At his office Trumbull checked the
flood of reports (all false) of sabotage by local Japanese: an arrow
was cut out of a sugar-cane field pointing to Pearl Harbor; a
high-powered radio transmitter was found in a gym owned by a

Trumbull dialed the number of the residence of the governor of Hawaii.
To his amazement Joseph Poindexter, the seventy-two-year-old governor,
answered himself. He didn't know a thing about any attack, and in a
skeptical but polite tone asked for details.

At 9:45 a.m. the skies above the smoke bound harbor were all at once
empty. The stench of burning oil was overwhelming. Arizona, Oklahoma
and California were sunk at their berths. West Virginia, aboil with
flames, was sinking. Nevada was aground. The other three
battleships-Maryland, Tennessee and dry docked Pennsylvania-were all

In Honolulu the secret agent Takeo Yoshikawa had been eating breakfast
when the windows started to rattle and several pictures dropped to the
floor. He went into his backyard and looked up in the sky. There was
a plane with Japanese markings. They did it! he told himself. This
is just about perfect with so many ships in the harbor.

He clapped his hands and rushed to the back door of Consul General
Kita's official residence.

"Mr. Kita!" he called. "They've done it!" Kita came out and said,
"I just heard "East wind, rain' on the shortwave This meant, of course,
that Japanese-American diplomatic relations were in danger of

"There's no mistake."

The two stood looking up at the dense black clouds rising over Pearl
Harbor. Tears in their eyes, they clasped hands. Finally Kita said,
"They've done it at last. Good job, Mori-mura."

Yoshikawa locked himself and a clerk in the code room and set about
burning code books in a washtub. Within ten minutes there was a loud
knocking. Someone shouted, "Open the door!" It was the FBI, alerted
by the smoke.

The door caved in and half a dozen armed men burst in and began
stamping on the burning code books.

"Good-bye to the days of my youth-forever," whispered Yoshikawa. He
walked out into the yard to watch the tiny planes above Pearl Harbor.
The other members of the consulate were being rounded up and kept in
the office, but nobody paid any attention to the secret agent. He
returned to the office, found it locked and suggested to an FBI man
that he be incarcerated with the others.

"Who are you?"

"Morimura, an official."

"Get in," said the FBI man.

In Honolulu, few doubted any longer that it was war. Sixty-eight
civilians lay dead. A single Japanese bomb had hit the city. The
forty-nine other explosions were caused by Although both U. S. Army and
naval intelligence were supposed to be monitoring Japanese shortwave
newscasts around the clock for just such a "winds" message, this one
was not intercepted. Neither was an RCA telegram that Kita had
received from Tokyo at 3:20 that morning which, decoded, read:
relations strained between japan and the

The so-called "winds" code is still shrouded in mystery. Commander
Laurence F. Safford, chief of the Communication Security Section,
testified that he had received an intercepted "execute" of the "winds"
code on December 4 or 5 in a Japanese weather broadcast indicating "War
with the United States, war with Great Britain, peace with Russia." He
showed the intercept to Kramer, who also believed it was a genuine
execute but changed his mind when he testified because of evidence from
MacArthur interrogations of Japanese who denied sending out any execute
message. Their testimony must be discounted, however, since they also
denied even setting up the "winds" code. Neither the original nor any
copy of the "execute" teletype could be found in Navy files, and some
critics of the Roosevelt Administration still maintain they were
purposely destroyed to discredit the possibility that an execute was
ever sent. spent AA shells improperly fused. Still, there was no
panic. At the height of the attack Hawaiian girls in hula skirts
appeared as usual at the Pan American dock, arms loaded with leis to
bid aloha to departing Clipper passengers. They had to be told it was
the end of traditional ceremony for a long, long time.


Yamamoto and his staff aboard the flagship Nagato, anchored off
Hashirajima, had all been awake since 2 a.m." an hour before the
scheduled attack. They set around in silence, time and again getting
up to examine a large chart. Chief Steward Omi passed around tea and
cakes to relieve the tension. All at once a voice called excitedly
over the voice tube, "We have succeeded in surprise attack!" It was
the chief code officer in the message room and by a "skip" due to
atmospheric conditions, he had just heard Fuchida signal, "tora, tora,

The staff officers shook hands, bursting with elation and relief after
their prolonged anxiety. Yamamoto tried to hide his emotions, but
Watanabe could see that he, too, was excited. Omi brought out sake and
surume (dried squid) to celebrate, and numerous toasts were tossed
down. Every few minutes the voice tube would repeat triumphant reports
from the attacking planes and frantic American messages: "All ships
clear Pearl Harbor"; "This is no drill"; "This is the real McCoy."

Yamamoto gave orders to leave for Hawaii after dawn so that the
Combined Fleet could support Kido Butai in case of a U. S. attack.

In Tokyo a relay of Fuchida's first signal, the tactical order to
attack, was picked up at the message room of Navy General Staff
headquarters. The code officer phoned the operations room and said,
"The commander of Akagi is repeating 'to' over and over." It wasn't in
the code book and he had no idea what it meant. Commander Miyo spoke
up and said he had originated that code long ago as squadron leader on

"They're doing fine," he said.

"It means 'charge."" It was the first good moment Miyo had had since
hearing the report that the Malay invasion had jumped the schedule. A
few minutes later the second message came in-this one in the code book:
tora, tora, tora. The first planes found their way back to the
carriers at 10 A.m. The weather worsened and a number of planes crashed
on the pitching decks. As Matsumura's tail hook caught the landing
wire on Hiryu he felt a surge of joy. He'd never expected to come back
and there he was, alive!

Fuchida returned about an hour later and was greeted by an exultant
Genda; then he went to the bridge and reported to Nagumo and Kusaka
that at least two battleships had been sunk and four seriously damaged.
He begged the admirals to launch another attack at once and this time
concentrate on the oil tanks. American air power had been smashed, he
assured them, and the second attack would just have antiaircraft fire
to contend with.

Kusaka considered Fuchida's suggestion. His volatile friend Admiral
Yamaguchi had already signaled that Soryu and Hiryu were prepared to
launch another attack, and Kaga's captain, at the urging of Commander
Sata, also recommended a strike against installations and fuel tanks.
The oil was an alluring target, but Kusaka believed a commander should
not be obsessed by such temptations. The second attack would surely be
no surprise; and no matter what Fuchida thought, the bulk of their
planes would probably be shot down by AA fire. More important, the
task force itself would be placed in jeopardy. Kido Butai was the
heart of the Japanese Navy and should not be risked. From the
beginning he had wanted to deliver a swift thrust and return like the

"We should retire as planned," Kusaka advised Nagumo, who nodded.

A staff officer suggested that they try to locate and sink the American
carriers. Opinion on the bridge was divided "There will be no more
attacks of any kind," said Kusaka.

"We will withdraw Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox was at his office in
the Navy Department on Constitution Avenue. It was long past noon, and
he was getting hungry. He was about to or dei lunch when Admiral Stark
burst in with Kimmel's "This is no drill" message.

"My God, this can't be true!" Knox exclaimed.

"This must mean the Philippines."

Some accounts state that Fuchida and Genda repeatedly plea de with
Nagumo to return. In an interview in 1966, Admiral Kusaki recalled
that they merely suggested a second attack and that his word: "We will
withdraw" ended the discussion; thereafter no one expressed a forceful
opinion. Stark assured him grimly it did mean Pearl Harbor, and Knox
picked up the phone with a direct connection to the White House. It
was 1:47 p.m. Roosevelt was lunching at his desk in the Oval Office
with Harry Hopkins. Knox read the dispatch.

"There must be some mistake," said Hopkins. He was sure "Japan would
not attack in Honolulu" but Roosevelt thought the report was probably
true and said, "It's just the kind of unexpected thing the Japanese
would do." He talked at some length of his efforts to complete his
administration without war, finally remarked somberly, "If this report
is true, it takes the matter entirely out of my hands."

At 2:05 p.m. Roosevelt phoned Hull and in steady but clipped tones
passed on the news. Hull told him that Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu
had just arrived and were in the Diplomatic Reception Room. Roosevelt
advised him to receive them, but not to mention that he knew about
Pearl Harbor. He should be formal, cool and "bow them out." Then the
President called Secretary of War Henry Stimson, who was lunching at
home, and excitedly asked if he had heard what had happened.

"Well," Stimson replied, "I have heard the telegrams which have been
coming in about the Japanese advances in the Gulf of Siam."

"Oh, no, I don't mean that," said Roosevelt.

"They have attacked Hawaii! They are now bombing Hawaii!"

Stimson replaced the receiver. Well, that was an excitement indeed, he
told himself. His immediate feeling was one of "relief that the
indecision was over and that a crisis had come in a way which would
unite all our people."

At the State Department, Hull turned to Joseph Ballantine and said,
"The President has an unconfirmed report that the Japanese have
attacked Pearl Harbor. The Japanese ambassadors are waiting to see me.
I know what they want. They are going to turn us down on our note of
November 26. Perhaps they want to tell us that war has been declared.
I am rather inclined not to see them." Finally he decided to take
Roosevelt's advice and admit the envoys. Besides, there was "one
chance out of a hundred" that the report wasn't true.

In the waiting room the anxious Nomura was still breathing heavily
after the race from the embassy. He was already more than an hour late
and knew the fourteen-part message contained several minor
typographical errors. Okumura had wanted to retype the entire message
but Nomura had impatiently snatched it away from him. He still hadn't
had time to read it carefully.

At 2:20 p.m. Kurusu and Nomura were finally ushered into Hull's office.
The Secretary of State greeted them coolly, refusing to shake hands. He
didn't invite them to sit down.

"I was instructed to hand this reply to you at one p.m.," said the
admiral apologetically, holding out the note.

Hull's face was stern.

"Why should it be handed to me at one p.m.?"

"I do not know the reason," Nomura replied truthfully, puzzled that his
friend should be so upset just because he and Kurusu were late.

Hull seized the note and pretended to glance through it. Ordinarily
his speech was slow and gentle, but now the words tumbled out headlong
as he assailed them bitterly, "I must say that in all my conversations
with you during the last nine months I have never uttered one word of
untruth. This is borne out absolutely by the record. In all my fifty
years of public service I have never seen a document that was more
crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions-infamous falsehoods
and distortions on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today
that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them."

Nomura started to say something, but Hull raised his hand and dismissed
them by a curt nod toward the door. Still bewildered, the admiral
approached Hull, said farewell and held out his hand. This time the
Secretary of State shook it, but as the two Japanese turned and walked
out, heads down, Hull, reverting to his Tennessee vocabulary, was heard
to mutter, "Scoundrels and piss-ants!"

At the embassy Okumura told them, "Our planes have bombed Pearl
Harbor!" Military Attache Isoda, eyes filled with tears, approached
Nomura and sadly said it was regrettable that things "had come to such
a pass" despite the admiral's efforts.

"But, alas, this is Fate." Nomura was too deeply moved to be consoled,
particularly by an Army man.

At the Navy Department, Admiral Stark had already sent a message to all
commanders in the Pacific area and Panama:


japan. A few doors away, Knox was on the phone with Pearl Harbor,
talking to the commandant of the 14th Naval District, Admiral Claude C.
Bloch, who described the damage he could see through his window.

"Oklahoma's badly bit. Also Arizona. But Pennsylvania and Tennessee
are only superficially damaged, and we can raise California without too
much trouble. Fortunately, there's no damage to the Navy Yard and oil

The Giants-Dodgers football fans at their radios were the first of the
American public to learn of the attack. At 2:26 p.m. station WOR
interrupted its broadcast of the game with the initial news flash.
There was no announcement at the Polo Grounds itself, where Brooklyn
had just scored the game's first touchdown, but there was astir of
curiosity when Colonel William J. Donovan was paged by Washington over
the PA system. He headed the Office of the Coordination of
Information, an intelligence organization.

Another announcement came just before the 3 o'clock broadcast of the
New York Philharmonic concert. In Washington, Rear Admiral Chester W.
Nimitz, chief of the Bureau of Navigation, was settling down to enjoy
the Artur Rodzinski concert over CBS. When the broadcast was
interrupted, he shot out of his chair and was on his way to the Navy

A few blocks away Masuo Kato of Domei heard the news over a taxicab

"God damn Japan," said the driver.

"We'll lick the hell out of those bastards now." In New York, radio
station WQXR hastily switched its Gilbert and Sullivan program from The
Mikado to HMS. Pinafore "in honor of the Royal Navy." And on the
banks of the Potomac someone cut down one of the cherry trees donated
years before by Japan. This sense of outrage was shared by a large
group of Nisei living in the Manhattan area. Without delay the Tozai
(East-West) Club of New York dispatched a telegram to Roosevelt:


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