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Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold Asia Japan Sterling Seagrave Verso Revised edition

10th December 2012 History Books 36 Comments

The Seagraves, bestselling authors (Lords of the Rim, etc.), contend that Japan systematically looted the entire continent of Asia during WWII, seizing billions in precious metals, gems and artworks. Further, according to the authors, from war’s end to the present, the looted treasure, used by President Truman to create a secret slush fund to fight communism, has had a malignant effect on American and Asian politics. The Seagraves assert that the Japanese imperial family, along with Ferdinand Marcos, every American president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, and numerous sinister figures on the American hard right have been tainted and in many cases utterly corrupted by the loot. Postwar efforts to recover and exploit the treasure, according to the Seagraves, involved murders, dishonest deals and cover-ups. Readers who want to examine the full range of sources for this controversial account are referred in the book to the authors’ Web site, where two CDs containing “more than 900 megabytes” of supporting documentation are available. But a paradox affecting conspiracy histories such as this one is the authors’ frequent insistence that the malefactors have suppressed relevant evidence. Conceptual difficulties of this sort make it impossible for the lay reader to judge this book’s credibility, even while one is swept up in the high-intensity story the Seagraves tell. FYI: The authors claim that in consequence of their revealing the existence of the slush fund and its resulting “global network of corruption,” they have received “veiled death threats.”
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Announcing they might be murdered for writing this book, the Seagraves proceed to tell an involved story about Japanese plunder from World War II that, never returned to its rightful owners, underwrites political slush funds and other financial legerdemain conducted by American and Japanese power brokers. According to the cognoscenti, some of the boodle is called the M-Fund, after the initial of a Douglas MacArthur crony who set it up; the gold behind it, in turn, was secreted in the Philippines under the supervision of the imperial Japanese family. The Seagraves, reputable authors of East Asian histories, advance considerable sourcing for their claims, some of which, however, rely precariously on the word of single individuals, while others are anonymous. It is, therefore, a challenge for the reader to decide what’s true here, such as the authors’ explosive assertion that Richard Nixon exchanged a political promise (returning Okinawa to Japan) for money from the M-Fund. In any event, the Seagraves’ tale of treasure hunting, war crimes, and skulduggery will prompt some head scratching. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Drawing on a vast range of original documents and thousands of hours of interviews, Gold Warrior exposes one of the great state secrets of the twentieth century.

In 1945, US intelligence officers in manila discovered that the Japanese had hidden large quantities of gold bullion and other looted treasure in the Philippines. President Truman decided to recover the gold but to keep its riches secret. These, combined with Japanese treasure recovered during the US occupation, and with recovered Nazi loot, would create a worldwide American political action fund to fight communism. This ‘Black Gold’ gave Washington virtually limitless, unaccountable funds, providing an asset base to reinforce the treasuries of America’s allies, to bribe political and military leaders, and to manipulate elections in foreign countries for more than fifty years.

Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold

The Yamato Dynasty: The Secret History of Japan’s Imperial Family

Most Westerners will know next to nothing of the Yamato, Japan’s current imperial family. Neither do most Japanese. Much of Japan’s modern history has been erased from postwar textbooks, and a whole generation has grown up knowing nothing of the Rape of Nanking, Pearl Harbor, the Second World War death camps, and countless other atrocities. All that remains are Hiroshima and Nagasaki, symbols of Japan’s eternal innocence.

Sterling and Peggy Seagrave correct these falsehoods and expose the collusion and corruption that have been at the heart of the postwar Japanese economic miracle. And far from being a symbolic reminder of an ancient past, as the Japanese royal family is sometimes portrayed, the authors point out that it has been at the epicenter of venality and cruelty. Prince Chichibu, Emperor Hirohito’s brother, turns out to have masterminded Golden Lily, the systematic looting of every country Japan occupied in the prewar years. Prince Yasuhiko was the brains behind the Rape of Nanking. And dear old Hirohito was so hands-on during the war that he could have halted Pearl Harbor. Moreover, the royal family was so comfortably in bed with the zaibatsu, the corporate ruling elite, that it made a fortune out of the war while the rest of the nation starved.

That none of this has come out before is only partly due to Japanese revisionism. We, too, have to share the blame. We had the evidence to try some of the imperial family as war criminals, but we chose not to. The Seagraves’ book makes uncomfortable reading for all concerned. –John Crace, –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

In The Yamato Dynasty, Sterling Seagrave, who divulged the secrets of Mao Tse-tung and the ruthlessness of Chiang Kai-shek in the New York Times bestseller The Soong Dynasty, and his wife and longtime collaborator, Peggy, present the controversial, never-before-told history of the worlds longest-reigning dynastythe Japanese imperial familyfrom its nineteenth-century origins through today. In the first collective biography of both the men and women of the Yamato Dynasty, the Seagraves take a controversial, comprehensive look at a family history that crosses two world wars, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the American occupation of Japan, and Japans subsequent phoenix-like rise from the ashes of the Second World War. The Yamato Dynasty tells the story of the powerful men who have stood behind the screenthe shoguns and financiers controlling the throne from the shadowstaking readers behind the walls of privilege and tradition and revealing, in uncompromising detail, the true nature of a dynasty shrouded in myth and legend

The Yamato Dynasty: The Secret History of Japan’s Imperial Family

  • 36 responses to "Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold Asia Japan Sterling Seagrave Verso Revised edition"

  • jill cue
    4:41 on December 10th, 2012
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    In 1947, Gen. Douglas MacArthur ordered the immediate termination of all investigations of Japanese war crimes and the immediate suspension of the arrest of any suspected war criminals.

    In June 2000, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) said, “You mean our federal government can just say, ‘To hell with you, Bataan Death Marchers, and you people who were mistreated (by the Japanese), we are just going to waive all your rights.’”

    As disturbing and painful as it may be to read, this is a book all victims of the Japanese, and their next of kins, must read. It’s documentation and research is beyond reproach. For many of us, this book will be our ‘fall from innocence’, if that is still possible.

    Fred Baldassarre
    Son of a Bataan Survivor

  • Bobbi Linkemer
    5:03 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    How much control (or lack thereof) did the Emperor have over the Imperial Army during WWII? How did MacArthur manage (or mismanage) his tenure as commander in chief in Japan? If you have already decided how you want to answer these questions, perhaps you can skip this book. But, if you want to look at history from another angle, this is a must read. The Japanese will find this book more controversial than M. Crichton’s Rising Sun, but so be it. I am a teacher in Japan and know first hand that many Japanese lack knowledge of their own history. This will not be the last Japanese history book I will ever read, however, as the study of history is a never-ending process.

  • cruising along
    6:55 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    If you’ve read Sterling Seagrave’s past work, you probably know what to expect: an expose that takes no prisoners. In this case, he examines the trail of gold and valuables stolen from the Asian continent before and during WWII, and later confiscarted by the United States under Eisenhower (and others).

    Like all Seagrave’s histories, it reads with an authoritative tone of indignation and resignation, and aims to shatter preconceived notions about recent Asian history. Often, the narrative is so sad that one must take pause before the next shoe drops.

    At the same time, this is “popular history,” with more flair than footnotes. Those wanting a more rigorous historical apprach may be annoyed from time to time. Conversely, this makes for riveting reading. Although it doesn’t have all the validation you’d want, there’s enough very specific information to give the reader a new take on the period and the players in the sad drama.

    The critical reader will find much of interest..

  • Chuck Chass
    8:08 on December 10th, 2012
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    This another of Seagrave’s entertaining reads, awesome in conjuring up images of lust for power, greed, evil, diabolical cabals, and corrupt government. Their were some errors I believe in detailing the size of the various hoards of gold, diamonds, silver etc. and the names are sometimes a little off but otherwise this was a wonderful book for a long weekend. Some of the other readers were more critical but I know from personal experience that there is a lot here that is right on the money and should not be dismissed so lightly.

  • batfink
    10:18 on December 10th, 2012
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    I don’t know what angers me more: the absolutely startling facts unraveled in this book, or the sad reality that such jaw-dropping research is at a sub-15000 ranking in terms of sales on Amazon and has garnered only 3 reviews.

    I happened to buy this book perchance while casually browsing the non-fic section at an airport. Now I recall my hair standing on its end as I read it on my flight. The only other book I recall seething with anger with while reading was “The Rape of Nanking”.

    “Gold Warriors” is more than a nail in the coffin of Japan’s “serious, sober and deliberate” plundering of Asia’s treasure from 1895 until 1945, and its collusion after the war with American officials to recover and use the loot as a secret political action slush fund to denounce communism. It is in fact a journey into the darkest recesses of history and the human soul.

    The authors are not afraid to name names, and the excruciatingly detailed research is a marvel. The sheer scale and limits of the underlying deceit are mind blowing.

    Some very minor observations. The authors may know their Philippines well, but their statements on Japan could be corrected. The book has some minor errors (that I could figure out) —

    (1) The Japanese ship they repeatedly call the “Huzi” should actually be “Fuji”
    (2) The important Japanese Sea port is “Maizuru” not “Maisaru”
    (3) “Tairiki” is not a Japanese word: they probably meant “Tairiku Ronin”, i.e., a Continental adventurer (in reference to Chinese carpetbaggers)
    (4) Their mysterious “Lord Ichivara” should most likely be “Ishihara” (Ichivara is somewhat implausible)

    Anyway, these are minor cavils. I highly recommend this book for any one interested in the shenanigans of power, it will leave you aghast. If this piques your interest, click over to the website and download two CD full of documents etc.

  • jon law
    13:42 on December 10th, 2012
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    This is an intriguing, often mesmerizing, account of the secret history of Japan’s Yamato Dynasty, from the decade prior to the Meiji Restoration to the present. The Seagraves must be commended for their scholarship, if not perhaps, for their writing (Although the writing is good, it never rises to the literary eloquence shown by distinguished historians such as Herbert Bix and John Dower.). However, this book raises many questions regarding the conduct of individual family members before, during, and immediately after World War II, which should be addressed by the likes of Herbert Bix and John Dower. It is certainly a provocative look at Japan’s royal family – and indeed, of Japanese government – since the end of the American occupation. Hopefully this is the first of many books which will address the Yamato Dynasty’s culpability in planning and conducting the Pacific War during World War II.

  • Crystal Mclain
    14:55 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I don’t know a great deal about Japanese history, but this book had me hooked from the first pages describing Hirohito’s meeting with MacArthur. There’s all kinds of intrigue here, from what goes on behind the palace walls to the questionable dealings of American government officials and Japanese power-elite. But more than that, the book really makes clear how Japan came to be the economic dynamo that it is today. The Seagraves are such good storytellers that I sometimes forgot I was reading a history–Let’s just put it this way, I bought the book yesterday and did not stop reading until this afternoon–couldn’t put it down.

  • Shaina Stokel
    16:16 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Well now, I’ve heard many stories about Japan before, during, and after WWII, but this is the first one claiming GOLD (and tons of it… yes, tons) were shipped to first Japan, and then later stockpiled in the Phillipines due to US Submarines blockading off any shipping to Japan.

    General MacArthur, Herbert Hoover, the OSS (later CIA), President Marcos, and the US Republican Party were all hauling off their share of the gold bars too? Is this why MacArthur did not say anything more about becoming the Republican Party nominee for the 1948 Presidential Election?

    Maybe there are tons of Gold Bars in Japan, the Phillipines, and MacArthur’s personal bank account, but I think we need to reserve making a decision until more evidence is forthcoming.

    And by the way, Bergamini (“JAPAN’S IMPERIAL CONSPIRACY”) reported that MacArthur left the Phillipines by PT Boat… NOT submarine. So that contradiction needs to be straightened out too.

    The one area I most enjoyed reading were the sections covering Japan’s “INVISIBLE MEN”. Who were (are) they, and how they fit into this puzzle makes for even more interesting reading.

    In spite of some questionable issues, I still think this book is worth reading. Make your list of events to get to the bottom of, and hopefully, one day, the truth shall finally emerge…

  • Test-name
    17:45 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Fascinating and controversial. The Yamamoto dynasty gave me an insight into imperial Japan that is rarely out there for the average person. Today is December 7, 2011, Pearl Harbor Day. Many Americans were killed, many Japanese were killed. The book shed light on the fallacies of keeping corrupt people in government and allowing a ruling oligarchy to suspend civil rights of people in attempt to keep and control their positions of power; i.e. Emperor Hirohito and the earlier emperors of Japan. The book opened my eyes and is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the Nippon society as it was and what it has evolved to. The book most likely would be banned in Japan but a must read in America. I would give it 10 stars plus a rising sun.

  • Blake C. Hendrickson
    18:32 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I had heard rumors that Allied (primarily American) forces had
    overrun and discovered huge quantities of Nazi, and in this
    case, Japanese seized riches, and had always wanted a
    documentary of this.
    Wow–by page 4, even with my preconceived expectations, my
    jaw had dropped. These events have shaped dramatically
    the world we live in. There is so much unexplained even
    now, but this book is a step forward. If power corrupts,
    and absolute power corrupts absolutely, try power with
    limitless funding.

  • Mark Song
    20:12 on December 10th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book was a bit depressing in its depiction of the corruption of politicians, bankers, military personnel, and federal officers. But it was also an exciting, adventuresome read about the treasure hunt aspect.

    Raised intriguing questions about monetary policy vs. the gold standard, and highlighted the inconsistency between our treaties with Germany and Japan.

    The reason I am rating 4 stars instead of 5 is that I think they authors/editors should have put a little more effort into integrating some of the CD-ROM content into the book. The main part of the book is just under 250 pages, with zero diagrams or pictures, followed by 80+ pages of end-notes and bibliography. (The 4-page index is barely worth mentioning except to note that it is incomplete and has errors.) Since I checked out the book from the public library, I did not have access to the CD-ROM, so I would have appreciated at least a few diagrams interspersed along with the text.

  • Truthiness
    22:51 on December 10th, 2012
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    I read this book after reading “The Emperor’s General” by James Webb, a great story which gave me some context for the McArthur element in this book. “The Yamato Dynasty” seemed at first to be more historical documentary than story, but having read the first book, I was hooked, and couldn’t put it down. I used to skip the bits in the Economist magazine about Japan’s economic situation, but this book puts the influences on the economy into fascinating context, and has made me much more interested in what’s going on now. It’s full of bizarre and amazing little facts that made me want constantly to read bits aloud to whoever was nearby. I would recommend this book to anyone.

  • EuroD
    1:16 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Many argue certain “truths” as you call them. The truths deemed so by personal prejudice and slant? For who did you choose to believe?

    It is true that Hirohito was rescued from a War Criminal Fate, which he more than justly deserved. By who?????
    It is true that “truths”, records, are extremely scarce from that particular part of WWII, because the ‘innocent’ Hirohito knew to tell his fellow murderers to destroy them before anyone could get to them.
    Is is true that the real “truths” there are the true flesh and blood survivors.
    It is true that all citizens of the Dutch East Indies were, not only physically tormented, but their possessions plundered, including their bank accounts, and jewelry. And it wasn’t 14k junk.
    It is true that they have asked, and no one cares, all these years, what happened to those things.
    It is true that there are a group of American South East Asia POW’s who are called “The Bataan Bastards”.
    It is true that they are called that because they were, and still are, abandoned. And I bet that when they are all gone (on), there will be those who argue whether they told the truth.
    It is true that they too ask, “When are we going to be compensated?”
    With all these truths, and many more left out, why should I wonder for one moment, whether a person capable of known, and unknown, atrocities isn’t also capable of wearing the ‘wrong’ uniform for some other sick reason.
    Anyway, a crime(s) is committed and it has, and is, poo-pood away.
    Those who can hear did hear already, and those who don’t, well……

  • Jesse Morris
    2:56 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    The Washington Post called this book “laughably ignorant,” but it’s a delightful read. Conspiracy buffs will love it, especially those who believe in a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy of Republicans bent on twisting history to their own money-grubbing advantage.

    The history of the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa emperors up to 1945 isn’t bad, as opposed what follows. The Seagraves have a knack for making individuals and situations come alive. They also have a knack for getting things wrong: MacArthur escaped from Corregidor by PT boat, not submarine; Japan had army and navy air forces, not a distinct “Japanese Air Force”; the great fire raid on Tokyo featured incendiary bombs, not napalm, and it killed about half the 200,000 cited by the Seagraves; in 1948 Edward Lansdale was a major, not a general….

    More ominously, for a book that purports to give the inside scoop on the Emperor System, the Seagraves don’t read Japanese and rarely if ever had translations made. For the first half of the book, I read the copious notes along with the text, and found no instance in which the Seagraves refer to a Japanese text. I can’t be sure of this because I gave up this practice when I realized that the really interesting stuff was never supported by a source I knew and trusted.

    Golden Lily, for example: as the Seagraves tell the story, Japan looted the nations it conquered, hid the treasure in caves in caves and sunken ships, and used it to enrich the emperor, bribe MacArthur and Herbert Hoover, finance the country’s postwar expansion, and fund the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Evidently the Seagraves came across some (uncited) informant, then spun a book around this germ of a story, using whatever English-language sources they could find.

    Read it by all means, but don’t take it too seriously.

  • coyotefugly
    5:08 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    For all the problems with sources, names, and places, the thesis is supported enough to be believable. My own reference is 5 years in Manila with the US Embassy from 1986 to 1991. So many holes were dug all over the Philippines during this time that the energy could have rebuilt the entire infrastructure of Luzon. Some were pathetic efforts at spending someones else’s money for a fantasy. Some were closely held and no one ever heard much about the results, which adds to the continuing mystery of the story.

    I have never heard directly about some of the things written by Sterling, but enough of the other things to accept that it will be a long time, likely long after my time, that the massive amount of classified records that exist are able to be released about this story.

    My interest in the general topic started while accompanying a group of VIP’s on a visit to Corregidor. The museum there was built by the US and contained a photo of crewmen loading gold bars onto the USS Trout, as discussed in the book. The gold and other valuables were from banks and the Philippine Treasury that were transferred to Corregidor with MacArthur. My own research on this part of the story is that the Trout transferred the gold to the cruiser USS Detroit in Honolulu. The Detroit took it to San Francisco where it was taken by train to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Tongue-in-cheek, I am certain there was complete and accurate accounting and records for each transfer. At this point the ownership of the gold and valuables is a little unclear. Some sources indicate that approximately $30 million was transferred to MacArthur in the late 50′s as payment for services as Commander of Philippine forces and as USAFE Commander. Despite diligent searches of available records I have not been able to discern where or when any of the remainder was returned to the Philippines.

    The other sources not discussed by Sterling is the very active Navy communications intelligence program. The Navy produced valuable information about ship movements and locations that included names, cargos, port calls, etc. There were active sites in Cavite, Corregidor, China, Guam, and Honolulu. Of course, these resources went to Australia with MacArthur. I am convinced that when these records are able to be released they will confirm, or deny, many of the statements in the book.

    The research for the book is astounding. My comment is that there is probably ten times as much information not released, than Sterling was able to locate for his book.

  • Golden
    7:20 on December 11th, 2012
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    The Seagraves’ outstanding works on Japan (The Yamato Dynasty, Gold Warriors) have not only attracted hit and run reviews, but the Seagraves themselves have endured personal wire-taps and death threats for their trouble.

    When does a supposedly poorly researched book result in death threats? (See The Rape of Nanking, by the late Iris Chang; Dark Alliance, by the late Gary Webb, etc.) Is The Yamato Dynasty a book that no library should buy? Maybe it’s simply one that the public simply must not read.

    It’s required reading, in fact, for anyone interested in how the one-party Japanese state came into being, perpetually mired by corruption, incompetence, and cronyism; how more than a dozen Asian countries were looted by Japan from 1895 to 1945; how upon learning of the immense treasure from OSS/CIA uber-spook Edward Geary Lansdale, President Truman decided to keep the matter secret. Rather than returning the money to improverished nations as partial war reparation for years of genocide, torture, and slave labor, instead Truman, MacArthur and Co. created a bottomless, covert political action slush-fund. Yes, every U.S. president since Truman is implicated in this documented and verifiable cover-up. Marginalizing this fact as fodder for “conspiracy buffs” misses the point, and helps perpetuate the fraud.

    Specifically, YD traces the confluence of interests among Japanese corporate cartels, the royal family, the court, and Genro (ministers and handlers) from the Meiji period through the end of the Pacific war. Although a handful of militarist war-criminals took the fall for Hirohito and the sponsors of the Heavenly Throne (Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo and Yasuda, as well as newcomer Nissan), the Seagraves show in stark relief the nature and background of today’s inept and unapologizing LDP-controlled Japanese government, and its support and collusion from covert elements among America’s government and far-right.

  • Mickeystoys
    9:56 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted corporations the right to donate unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns, it is more important than ever before to know which companies were founded on slave labor, which companies are wholly foreign-owned, which companies are CIA fronts, and which companies have access to secret slush funds for the purpose of influencing elections.

    Even more importantly, everyone should know how far our government will go to keep these slush funds secret, as documented by the court records of the Schlei case and recounted by the Seagraves. Nobody has to rely on the documentation provided by the authors–court records are public and anyone can research them. Think of the book itself as a treasure map–a map of buried secrets–and dig them up for yourself.

  • the obama way
    11:32 on December 11th, 2012
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    “The Yamato Dynasty”, Sterling & Peggy Seagrave’s expose on the role of the Imperial Family in Japanese society since the Meiji Restoration is written in a style more resembling a political thriller than history. Sure, the mafia-like grip of Japan’s all-powerful financial and business oligarchy over the nation’s wealth and economy and the Imperial Family’s collusion in willingly playing the part of a stooge in return for a lifetime of comfort and wealth with America’s secret backing is a shocking eye opener for readers who know little of Japan’s history. Reading the book helps us understand why the Japanese economy remains moribund and in a state of paralysis since the bubble burst in the early 90s. Genuine reform cannot take place because the oligarchs and political leaders pulling the strings will never act against their own interests. Neither will the bureaucracy which feeds from it. A truly damning appraisal of the state of Japan as a nation. Yet, I had difficulty accepting all of the Seagraves’ account of it as history because of their highly controversial if not downright sensational style in telling it. If history were written and taught this way in school, you’d have no problems filling up the class. Don’t get me wrong. The book makes for rivetting reading. It is absolutely unputdownable. Nevertheless, historians might react with horror at some of the gross oversimplication of the truth as told by the Seagraves. It is not difficult to imagine that that they might call into question the source and accuracy of some of the information used in the book. The Seagraves’ monochrome/black and white portrayal of the wide cast of characters also turns history into faction, if not soap opera. I enjoyed ‘The Yamato Dynasty” tremendously and would recommend it without hesitation to others. But I would be cautious in reading it as history. Better to judge it as a dramatised story of the Japanese imperial family in the post-Meiji era.

  • tantrum
    13:08 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    A prospective reader of this book could be confused by the variety of reviews available at this page, so let me add my voice to the cacaphony. The book covers the history of the Yamato dynasty during the twentieth century. It has had the misfortune to appear about the same time as the works of several renowned scholars who tackled similar material, e.g. Herbert Bix and John Dower, and their fame has dulled the luster of the Seagraves’ book. The Yamato Dynasty is gossipy, full of inuendo, contains numerous minor errors of fact, and a paucity of Japanese primary sources. I must disagree with Daniel Ford; this book is not a rant about “right wing Republican” conspiracies… but parts of it are written in a style more in keeping with (sensational) journalism than with the drier academic style of a Peter Duus or Hebert Bix. The book is easy to read, then, but is it worth reading? Perhaps it is. It was recommended to me by several Japanese scholars, and I can see what attracted them: the ground it covers is not so different from what Dower and Bix cover, and even Iris Chang, and the Seagraves conclusions are not so different from theirs. Not bad when you consider that this book was published before those of Dower and Bix. It may be that in some ways, the Seagraves see the big picture just a little bit better than either Dower or Bix ( please see reviews for Herbert Bix and John Dower if you are not familiar with their work). Herbert Bix sees the Showa Emperor as being responsible for all things in Japan; the Seagraves put him in perspective. Dower lumps all Japanese officers together and absolves everyone else in Japan of responsibility for the war; the Seagraves see the situation as more ambiguous. Their depiction of the tensions in the officer class before the war is written in annoyingly breathless prose , but it is basically sound and quite succint. So the answer is… maybe you should judge for yourself. The book is certainly brief enough.

  • Zezinho
    15:45 on December 11th, 2012
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    Absolutely astonishing book – and while one fellow above bashed the supporting references, I note that he didn’t delve into the 2 CDs of supporting material (such as scans of maps made by the Japanese military showing where the gold was hidden in the Phillipines & all the boobytraps).

    A lot of this makes sense, intuitively. For example, where in the heck did Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos get all of that wealth? I’ve read that they “looted the Phillipine people” – hello? Where did the Phillipine people get billions of dollars (American) to loot in the first place?

    Secondly, if you read more about how the world’s economy was changed fundamentally after World War II, this book provides some missing pieces. It’s a brilliant strategy, really – the USA essentially cornering the market on gold, forcing the rest of the world to adopt gold (and pegging it to the dollar) as the new standard, and thus, you are left with (for all practical purposes) endless funds for covert wars against Communist/ leftist regimes.

    Why people are shocked by this is puzzling. In the 1950′s and 1960′s it wasn’t considered any sort of problem to be meddling in the world’s politics; and the history of US involvement repressing elections in Latin America is well documented. And we won’t even get into some of the covert actions (like Iran-Contra) that we KNOW about, so an educated student of history has to assume there are far more details than we have even been told.

    Back to the book, the story about how Nixon eventually surrenders control of the secret gold to the Japanese power structure in exchange for covert funds for his presidential campaign sure sounds like the Nixon we are all familiar with.

    This is an extraordinary book, one can only wonder how many more details will surface in upcoming years…

  • Daniel
    17:35 on December 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    A Hong Kong reader attacks this book and claims it is all fiction. This reader also claims that the portrait on the cover is of Pu Yi rather than Hirohito. Nonsense! The cover is a portrait of Hirohito when he made a state visit to Britain as a young man. The clever retouching is by Random House artist Roberto Vicq de Cumptich. As to credibility, here’s what scholar Dr. Stephen Large of Cambridge University wrote in his review for the Japanese magazine INSIGHT: “[Seagrave] tells us much about the many men at court who manipulated the imperial family to their own political ends. Another valuable contribution is his reconstruction of the little known ‘Quaker network’…[and] how this network assisted the efforts of Bonner Fellers, Herbert Hoover and others, to maintain Hirohito on the throne after the War. In all these respects, Seagrave adds to our understanding of the imperial family… Similarly, his book is worth reading for what it says about ‘Golden Lily’: the imperial army’s systematic looting of wartime Asia, and efforts to hide the loot in Swiss bank accounts, caves, and ships which were deliberately sunk…” etc. Sterling Seagrave (the co-author)

  • Pearl Hsia
    19:43 on December 11th, 2012
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    I bought this book to confirm my earlier suspicions about Japans’ real objective in WWII. I was not disappointed and indeed believe it had nothing to do with empire building or being threathened but plain and simple LOOTING. I find that the imperial family of Japan is just a tool used by the political parties to pursue their goals even to this day.
    One should also read “Gold Warriors” by Sterling Seagrave for a broader understanding of how I have arrived at this conclusion. To confirm the real objective of Japan, then to find out that the United States of America and their CIA took advantage of the situation by recovering the looted treasure from the Philippines and used it to rebuild Japan after the war, instead of returning it to the counties they were looted from, is appaling. Makes you wonder where America’s real interest are which requires more reading into U.S. investments in Japan prior to the war.

  • Anthony Bloch
    22:36 on December 11th, 2012
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    I have lived in Japan for over 40 years but learned more from reading this book than from living there. It contains a great deal of information not previously made public. I first went to Japan at the end of the post WWII occupation, but was shocked by much of the information in this book, most of all by the release of Japanese from war crime trials after a substantial gift to the American marines. Another surprise was the extent of Quaker influence in modern Japan. I grew up in China and enjoyed “The Soong Dynasty” years ago. “The Yamato Dynasty” is even better.

  • Craig Boyce
    0:34 on December 12th, 2012
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    Other reviewers have already praised this book and written the same opinions that I have but nevertheless I am tossing in my own kudos for this amazing, well-researched piece of work. But to add weight to what the other reviewers have written I would also want to add that what makes this book extremely credible (however “incredible” it may read), the eventual reader ought to know that there are 15 pages in the bibliography section and the Annotations section is 75 pages long; serious resarch! That section begins with the the following two sentences: “The purpose of this book is to reveal why so little is known about Japan’s industrial-scale looting of Asia, and the devious role Washington played in the cover-up that continues to this day. Many people will be shocked and dismayed by our revelations…”.
    One small example, as a westerner living and presently working in Japan, was to read that in one of my favorite places I enjoy paddling my sea-kayak, the island of Sadogashima, has a popular tourist site which consists of visiting the centuries-old gold mines. During the war it was operated by Mitsubishi which employed slave labor, including American POWs, and that as the war came to an end, to hide everything, the soldiers guarding the mines took all 387 American POWs to mine shafts deep below the earth and detonated explosives thus entombing them alive.
    Also useful for those readers wishing to verify certain sources, or simply curious, is a CD available through a website mentioned at the book’s beginning, at the cost of $20 (there was no return address and the postmark was from Germany).

  • McCain=WW
    2:22 on December 12th, 2012
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    The Yamato Dynasty brilliantly and painstakingly describes Hirohito’s Golden Lily project. As the war progressed, the emperor ran low on funds. One day a kuromaku recommended he organize an asset-stripping plan for occupied countries, rather than letting the commanders continue to randomly loot and pocket the spoils. The Japanese had financial needs _ didn’t all conquerors? World War II cost plenty. Fortunately, Hirohito’s glamorous brother, Chichibu Yamato, realized the vanquished countries teemed with gold and treasure; he delighted in taking charge of an operation codenamed Golden Lily. The emperor trusted his Chichibu-san, unlike his other brothers. Chichibu pretended to need medical leave from the army owing to tuberculosis, claimed he repaired to a sanitarium near Mt. Fuji, where his wife assisted in nursing him back to health. His people prayed for his recovery, bowing before flickering candles and bowls of billowing incense. He walked in the dust of ancient roads in occupied China and Southeast Asia, his piglet hands clutching at every piece of gold he found. Some were large, for example a dozen solid gold Buddhas, each weighing over a ton. He collected fine Asian art, and he appreciated jewelry, though not as much as his brother the Emperor. Chichibu gathered up the bounty and sent it off on fake hospital ships to various locations. With his cultivated taste and love of souvenirs, he did save some pretty jewels for his wife and daughters, not to mention a few objects to freshen up his palace.
    His belief in the sacred also motivated him to collect religious artifacts for the emperor. Hirohito responded to esthetics, or so he said, provided the objects were fabricated from gold or jade and encrusted with precious gems. He favored Shakyamunis, (Buddha, the lion of the Shakya tribe), Padmapanis, (queens of heaven), Tao-tieh (tiger-god) masks, and dragons. In time Chichibu seized so much treasure, it became physically impossible to move it to Japan, so he conscientiously stashed it in the Philippines, hiding it in over two hundred church vaults, bunkers, and underground tunnels. The hills were alive with the sound of coins clinking. In Ipoh, Malaysia, Chichibu melted gold and created bars of bullion bearing the stamp of the Golden Lily logo he helped design. The bounty still lurks in caves, and every so often, someone discovers a bit of it. A recently unearthed solid gold Philippine Buddha weighing close to a ton reportedly resides in a Zurich vault.
    - Ann Seymour, author of “I’ve Always Loved You”

  • Switcher
    5:07 on December 12th, 2012
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    This book blames Gen. Douglas MacArthur for failing to reconstruct Japan during the occupation. According to the authors, Herbert Hoover and officials from J. P. Morgan & Co. prevailed on MacArthur to co-opt prosecution of war criminals and Japanese industrialists because Morgan & Co. wanted Japan to repay its pre-war loans. In return, MacArthur was to have financial backing for a run at the Presidency. The author accounts for the Emperor’s rehabilitation on similar gounds and accuses the Imperial family of profiting from the looting of China, Souheast Asia and other territories occupied by Japan during the Pacific war. He attributes the speed of Japan’s post-war recovery to the availability of looted assets for recapitalization. He provides an extensive narrative on the history of Japan’s Imperial dynasties. And they explain why Japan has never fully compensated its victims for war crimes. This book will change your opinion about the way Japan, Inc. does business and is essential for that reason alone. It’s an easy read in a style that belies its gravitas. And it will make you wonder where disinformation is coming from, from the author or his critics, and why.

  • Blaz Valentinuzzi
    6:44 on December 12th, 2012
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    I must honestly say that, as a student of history and government, I was completely taken aback by the contents of this book. I have always approached the study of history with an open mind and a willingness to embrace all sides and perspectives in an equal & non-judgemental approach. However, this book has stirred my emotions greatly and has shown me that history, as I have come to know it, is littered with false pretense and gross ammounts of misinformation. After reading this novel I began to question all that I had learned about Japan, US foregin policy, and the definition of “democracy” as I have come to know it. There exists in theory “two sides to every arguement”, but (as this book will show to those fortunate enough to read it) the truth of the matter is that for every arguement, and every piece of history, there are only two sides that are shown to us – with countless other facts hidden until someone is brave enough to share them with the world, and help shed some light on the history that truely exists…

  • realitywatch
    9:30 on December 12th, 2012
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    I am a bit puzzled by this book. As the bibliography shows, most of it is not new and has been documented by other writers, but the Seagraves should be commended for writing this history in a very compelling and interesting way. They document most of their facts well and relate them to an extensive bibliography. What disturbs me is that the parts of the story that are new are not nearly so well sourced. For example, on page 295 the Seagraves write: ‘Documents also show that one of the big gold-bullion accounts set up by Santa Romana was in the name of General Douglas MacArthur. Other documents indicate that gold bullion worth $100 million was placed in the account of Herbert Hoover.?E This is astonishing news. So I looked in the book notes to find out where it came from, but there was no reference. The documents are not reproduced and there is no further explanation of them. What are they? Where are they? What do they say? Also puzzling is the lack of a single named Japanese source, either verbal or written. The only exception is where the Seagraves reproduce quotes from someone else’s research, such as Ian Neary (p.358) The Seagraves say they did their research in California, Virginia, Washington, France and England (p. xvii) but they do not mention that they ever went to Japan (which could explain some elemental mistakes in the book.) So just how did they interview these numerous Japanese eye-witnesses to operation Golden Lily? Since they clearly do not speak Japanese (again, obvious from the book) where is the acknowledgement to their Japanese interpreter and translator? All this made it difficult to trust the book. Some ‘facts’ were patently absurd and show a poor knowledge of Japan. Just a couple of examples: ‘No young Japanese woman can refuse to become Empress’ (p. 301) — In fact, many women did turn the Crown Prince down, which is why Naruhito had such a hard time finding a bride. Yamaguchi prefecture . . .is famous as the home base of one of Japan’s biggest underworld organizations, the Yamaguchi Gumi (sic)’ (p.219) — This is laughable. Nearly everyone in Japan knows that the Yamaguchi-gumi’s home base is Kobe. If the Seagraves really wanted this book to make a splash they would have stopped peppering their story with ‘documents show . . .?Eand provided us with copies of the documents so we could judge for ourselves. Still, a well-written yarn if you don’t take it too literally.

  • bijan
    10:27 on December 12th, 2012
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    This book is an excellant read. i found it hard to put down. It was a little difficult keeping that many new names straight, but worth it.

    Let us not the debate the truth of the context. After all, is not truth in the eye of the beholder?

    (and no one will be able to prove or dis-prove most of this anyway so why argue)

  • John Deen
    11:04 on December 12th, 2012
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    A partir de mes nombreuses conversations entre 1980 et 1990 avec Kuniko TSUTSUMI fille de Yasujiro TSUTSUMI, avec laquelle je vivais à cette époque, tout ce qui concerne les relations de la famille impériale avec les Tsutsumi et le groupe SEIBU, tel que c’est relaté par cet ouvrage est exact.

  • Lena Kavhovsky
    14:36 on December 12th, 2012
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    There was a quarrel in these reviews about the gentleman shown on the dust jacket of Yamato Dynasty, with one reviewer claiming it was not Hirohito but the former “boy emperor,” later Emperor Pu Yi of Manchukuo (best known as the hero of the film The Last Emperor).

    Well, I just now picked up a copy of Kempeitai by the British author Ramond Lamont-Brown, and the identical photograph (in black & white) appears on page 59, and captioned “His Imperial Majesty, Pu Yi, Emperor of China, 1908-12″

    Of course, Lamont-Brown could be mistaken, but I am inclined to think that it was the publishers of Yamato Dynasty who made the howler. After all, the photo doesn’t even look like Hirohito as an adult.

  • TJ Parker
    16:11 on December 12th, 2012
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    “Gold Warriors” recounts Japan’s criminal looting of Asia between 1895-1945, the subsequent recovery of the treasure and how the loot was used. It filled in many blanks for me, such as why so few of Japan’s wartime leaders were tried for war crimes and more importantly, how the criminal Hirohito and others in Japan’s Imperial family avoided trial and execution. The Seagraves also make a convincing case for several important points:

    - Japan was not an impoverished country at the end of WWII, but rather, was far better off than when the war began because of the looted treasure held by war criminal who escaped trial;
    - its 50-year pillaging of Asia went far beyond government and cultural treasure, and included centuries of wealth earned by criminal gangs, expatriate Chinese, etc.;
    - a large source of unvouchered funds, i.e., Japanese war loot, was available for the post-war U.S. struggle against Communism;
    - the Marcos’ wealth came not from looting their own people but recovery of Japanese war loot stashed in their country;
    - the close connections between the Yakuza, Japanese military and industry during the war, and their subsequent morphing into the Liberal Democratic Party;
    - the extensive involvement of the Imperial family in planning, executing and documenting the pillaging of Asia, and the subsequent collusion by MacArthur and the U.S. government in hiding this fact, in exchange for a share of the spoils; and
    - the shocking but previously well known abuse of Allied POWs and civilians by the Japanese Imperial family and military during the war.

    As compelling as the Seagraves’ account is, there are several poorly documented facts that detract from the above, such as reference to the San Francisco earthquake and fire of “1907″ (last time I checked, it occurred in 1906); to New York Senator “Anthony” D’Amotto and several place names in Japan that are incorrect.

    More incredible and unsubstantiated are the authors claims that Marcos’ built two large underground vaults to hold 200,000 and 500,000 metric tonnes of gold that were subsequently filled, and frequent reference to deposits of 10,000 or so tonnes of gold in a bank here, or another deposit there. Japan undoubtedly stole vast quantities of treasure during the war but the amounts claimed by the Seagraves defy credibility. They would far exceed the total estimated production of gold in world history, reasonably estimated to be ~ 150,000 tonnes. Further, the authors frequently mention that only some of the treasure sites have been discovered in the Phillipines, with many as yet unrecovered. And, what about Japanese war loot hidden in Indonesia or taken back to Japan? That vast quantities were stolen and hidden by the criminals behind Japan’s war effort is beyond question, but the amounts claimed by the Seagraves’ defy credibility.

    Another example is the numerous reference to “tonnes of platinum” included among the Japanese war booty. This is highly dubious, as Asia is not a major platinum producing region, and the two major sources of platinum before WWII – South Africa and Russia – had not produced more than a few metric tonnes. Again, the Seagraves’ assertions lack credibility.

    The most egregious example of the Seagraves’ unsupported assertions is that the US decided to conceal the vast quantities of gold discovered at the end of the war because it would have caused the value of the dollar and other currencies “to collapse”. The Seagraves are good storytellers, but poor economists. An increase in the US supply of gold at the end of the war would have caused the value of the dollar to rise, not collapse. Further, had large quantities of gold been added to “official supplies” it would have caused price levels to fall and as a result, another bout of deflation. The US would have wanted to avoid this at all costs, given the pre-war Depression and skewing of post-war monetary policy toward an inflationary bias.

    The Seagraves put forth an excellent thesis, but would do themselves and their readers a large favor by re-releasing this book without the factual errors and better documentation of their fantastic claims about the quantities of platinum and gold looted by Japan. Telling readers on practically every other page that the information is available on their CDs as additional materials is a poor substitute for a well documented book.

  • Javier Hodson
    18:24 on December 12th, 2012
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    This book is earth-shattering and faith-shaking, a well-documented tale of deceit at the highest levels of the US government. So controversial and potentially explosive are the findings of this book, to wit, that the White House recovered most of the Nazi and Japanese loot and created a secret slush fund for covert political operations world-wide, that the authors go the extra mile and offer, at a nominal price, two CD-ROMS containing 60,000 pages of supporting documentation including the Japanese treasure maps used by the US to recover the gold and other valuables.

    Major players include Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon, both Allen and John Foster Dulles, Douglas MacArthur, John McCloy, and the famous unconventional warrior Edward Lansdale. What we learn from this book is that those writing about “blowback” (the consequences of unwise US actions) have barely scratched the surface. What we learn is that rather than truly seeking to help the Japanese, Chinese, and other looted nations recover in the aftermath of WWII, the most senior leaders of the US government, no doubt with the best of intentions, actually conspired with Nazi bankers and the Japanese imperial family to create a Black Eagle Trust controlled by a very select hand-picked cabal in Washington.

    Originally used to fight communism, the Black Eagle Trust, according to the authors and as thoroughly documented by the book and the two CD-ROMS (which I am happy to have in hand), quickly became a global slush fund used to bribe national leaders and manipulate elections around the world. This fund remains in existence today, making the Swiss Holocaust funds seem like loose-change. According to the authors, major banks are “addicted” to the funds and would face collapse if public investigations resulted in a forced return of this gold and related certificates to the rightful owners.

    The authors have produced a magnificent work of both scholarship and investigative journalism. They document the extent of Japanese looting of Korea (beginning in 1895) and China as well as the other countries in the “co-prosperity sphere.” They document the manner in which Japan hid most of the gold in the Philippines (some in Indonesia), and were forced to leave it there from 1943 onwards, when US submarine interdiction became too effective to risk shipments homeward.

    I found the level of detail in this book to be quite gripping. The ingenious nature of the Japanese burial sites, with caverns below the more obvious tunnels, with sea-water protection, with maps created in reverse–and the in-bred cruelty of the Japanese, thinking nothing of burying all of the US and other national slave labor *and the Japanese engineers* alive as the final stage of protecting the looted treasure, leave one stunned.

    The authors document the central role played by Lansdale in recognizing the opportunity and then briefing MacArthur and then President Truman. According to the authors, the architects of the Black Eagle Trust were three advisors to President’s Roosevelt’s Secretary of War, Henry Stimson: John McCloy (later head of the World Bank), Robert Lovett (later Secretary of Defense), and Robert Anderson (later Secretary of the Treasury). They made the case to Roosevelt, and presumably to Truman after Roosevelt died, that it would be impractical to return the looted gold to the rightful owners, in part because many of the looted countries were now under Soviet control.

    The authors, who conducted many interviews in support of the work, including interviews of former CIA deputy director Ray Cline, who they say was involved with Lansdale and the gold in the 1940′s and remained involved with the black gold through the 1980′s, provide copies of documents showing the redirection of the looted gold to 176 bank accounts in 42 countries. The gold was then used to support the creation of gold bearer certificates that were in turned used to bribe the most senior officials around the world.

    The authors tell a shocking tale of how quickly MacArthur chose to collaborate with the very leadership of Japan that declared war on the USA and was responsible for genocide and looting in Asia on a scale rarely achieved by anyone else. Bringing the story up to date, the authors show how prior attempts to investigate the Black Eagle Trust have led to the ruin of individuals such as Norbert Schlei, at one time deputy attorney general to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. While I have no direct knowledge and cannot be certain myself, I believe the authors have provided a sufficiently compelling case to warrant an international investigation concurrently with a General Accounting Office investigation to be chartered by Congress with unlimited supeona powers specifically directed against classified personalities and archives.

    If this story is true, and I personally think that it is, then the US government, in active collusion with the very people the American people fought to defeat in WWII, has been guilty of fraud and depravity on a global scale and against the best interests of both the American people, and the against the rightful owners of the looted gold and other treasures. The authors may well have uncovered the last really big secret of the post-WW II era, and in so doing, opened the way for a restoration of the balance of power among diverse nations, and a sharp delimitation of the abuses that appear to characterize American leadership when it thinks it can rely on secret gold and stolen oil to engage in imperial adventures and domestic improprieties. As an American citizen and voter, and as a person of faith who believes that we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us, I find this book to be shocking, credible, and a basis for popular outrage and demands for truth and reconciliation.

  • David Chen
    21:57 on December 12th, 2012
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    Tightly written and easy to read. Interesting subject, though not quite that secret. It is good to have a basic history of the Japanese Imperial family. And it is interesting to see the interaction with American public persons. MacArthur: He grew up in a log cabin out West, surrounded by hostile Indians. Maybe that gave him an inferiority complex. Churchill and Roosevelt conniving to get the US actively into a war the people did not really want. FDR as Secretary of the Navy after World War I, assessing the military situation in the Pacific: When the Japanese attack, it will be at Pearl Harbor.

    The book is a nice read but, please, do not take it as documented history.

  • derekd
    22:12 on December 12th, 2012
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    1. Everything you read is a lie.
    2. Everything you hear is a lie
    3. Everything you see is a lie.
    4. Everything you say is a lie.
    5. Same goes for everybody else.
    6. Use your brain. Ferret out your own truth. But most important: listen to everybody else.
    7. Apply these rules to this book.
    8. Although apparently unfootnoted and undocumented for the most part, some part of it is undoubtedly true. Find it.

  • Byron Milton
    23:07 on December 12th, 2012
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    I though I knew a lot about Japan, Hirohito, and WWII, but this book was full of eye-opening surprises and behind the scenes details I had not come across before.

    Atrocities are common in war time. Invaders, conquerers, and even liberators, almost always steal the treasure of the vanquished. The US took tons of Nazi gold and made no effort to give any of it back from the victims. So, we should not be surprised the US also partnered with Japan, to help Hirohito off the hook, and for a big share of the stolen loot: Billions of dollars in gold, diamonds…

    Want to understand Japan’s economic miracle? Where did they get the cash?

    Want to better understand why that coward MacArthur (yea yeah, I know, he supposed to be a hero) conspired to let so many Japanese war criminals escape punishment?

    Read this book.

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