"Jewish peril" bestsellers in Japan

By William Wetherall

A version of this article appeared as
"The anti-Semitic book boom:
It damages Japan's reputation in the World" in
The Japan Times, 9 September 1987, p. 16 (Focus)

The world is full of anti-Japanese Jews, most of them Americans, according to Masami Uno, a Japanese neo-nationalist in the guise of a doomsday Biblical prophet. Uno's popular books and lectures warn of Jewish designs on a world in which Japan would be only a factory and its streets would be swarming with black rapists.

Dozens of books with Jewish themes, many of them alleging a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, have appeared in Japan in recent years. Uno's bestsellers are getting the most attention because they appeal to the racialistic bottom denominator of Japan's "intelligent society" by blaming Japan's real and imagined economic, political, and social problems on alien forces symbolized by the Jews.

About one percent of Japan's 122 million population have paid an average \750 (US$5.00) to read Uno's books. How many Japanese agree with him is perhaps less important than why they are turning to such books in the first place.

Uno is both capitalizing on and contributing to the chronic zenophobia and accute anxiety in Japanese attitudes toward western reactions to Japan's economic success. In this sense his books are a Japanese outbreak of the universal disease of the mind called paranoid escape.

But few Japanese intellectuals are criticizing them, and most are overlooking their pernicious racialism and nationalism.

Uno's cries of "Jewish peril" to stimulate Japanese patriotism are hardly new. Russian-style anti-Semitism took root in Japan in the early 1920s. Nazi ideology thrived beside Yamatoism in the 1930s and early 1940s, during Japan's alliance with Germany, when all Japanese, including colonial minorities like Koreans and Taiwanese, were taught to believe that the majority "Yamato race" was spiritually superior to other peoples. But there was never a holocaust in the Japanese Empire, which accepted thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe.

Japanese interest in the Jews went into hibernation after World War II. It stirred again in the early 1970s with bestsellers like The Japanese and the Jews by Shichihei Yamamoto alias Isaiah Ben-Dasan, a prolific writer of Nihonjinron, those ideological discourses on "Japaneseness" which help nurture popular nationalism in Japan. And it fully reawakened in the 1980s, with books like The secret of the Jewish power that moves the world by Eizaburo Saito, a prewar educated journalist, TV commentator and scholar who has been a Liberal Democratic Party member of Japan's Upper House since 1974.

Born in 1942 and raised in Osaka, Uno is a relative latecomer to anti-Semitism. A degree in economics qualified him to teach geography and history in a public high school until 1975. Through teaching, he concluded that the Old Testament is the key to understanding the complexity of the world. He quit teaching to found the Middle East Problems Research Center, which publishes a monthly international journal as an alternative to what he considers a Jewish-dominated world information order.

Uno turned to "Jewish peril" books after half a dozen volumes on Biblical prophecy. His first two Jewish books blame the Jews for the global and national doom which their titles predict. Understand Judea and the world will come into view (A scenario for the 'final economic war' of 1990) came out in April last year. Understand Judea and Japan will come into view (When Judea takes possession of a 'hollowed Japan') followed in November.

Uno's third book, The day the dollar becomes paper (Now is the time to study Jewish wisdom), was published this May. He wrote it while aware that foreign and Japanese critics were calling the first two books "anti-Semitic"--a label which the third book tries to reject with a title which appears to admire Judaic ideals by deeming them worthy of study. But the third book continues to blame the Jews for the world's and Japan's problems. And much more clearly than the first two books, it shows Uno's true neo-nationalistic colors.

"The time has come [for Japan] to regain [its] self-confidence," he concludes. "The time has come [for we Japanese] to advocate what is advantageous to [our] minzoku [literally "ethnic group" or "race"]. If Japan does not stand up with self-confidence [and defend its monoraciality], then I can firmly state that there is absolutely nothing for [Japan] to do but perish."

Uno believes that the Jews do what he claims they do because their religious beliefs and ethnic experiences compell them to make the world safe for them to rule as God's chosen race.

Jews around the world form a "phantom state" [urakokka] led by "the powers that be" who manipulate the world's economy with "international Jewish capital". They plan to rule the world by controlling information, oil, grains, money, IBM, and militarily powerful countries like the United States, and even the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. They already run the world's biggest oil and grain majors, and the most influential news agencies and banks, and they control the U.S. government and key American multinationals like IBM.

Marco Polo was Jew. Columbus was a Jew. And Japan's history with the west is a history of relations with Jews, according to Uno.

All the Dutch traders at Hirado near Nakasaki during the isolationist Tokugawa period (1600-1868) were Jews. Matthew Perry, the U.S. commodore whose black ships forced Japan to open its ports to American traders in 1853-1854, was a Jew. Most of the foreigners who came to Japan to instruct Japanese in modern technology were Jews.

The global depression triggered by the stock market crash of 1929 was precipitated by Jews. World War II was started by Jews like Franklin Roosevelt, who provoked Japan into firing the first shot.

Douglas MacArthur's staff, which oversaw the reconstruction of Japan after World War II, was dominated by Jews who were determined to prevent the "Japanese race" from ever rising again. They hung wartime leaders like Hideki Tojo after finding them guilty of capital crimes; they wrote a constitution which gives sovereignty to the people instead of to the emperor, prohibits war, and guarantees basic human freedoms and rights; and they carried out economic and social policies designed to undermine Japanese strength in the future, like zaibatsu dissolution, women's suffrage, agricultural reform, educational reform, and labor union organization.

The ethnic starch was taken out of public education to ensure that children would not take pride in their national anthem or flag. They were taught the victors' version of history to keep them ignorant of the true causes of the war and guilty about the past.

Until the 1960s, the U.S. was run mainly by WASPS (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Now it is in the hands of people like the Rockefellers, who Uno calls Jews in the guise of WASPS. He defines a Jew as anyone who embraces the Old Testament spirit of revenge and who wants to punish Confucian Japan for its past and present nationalism.

The same Jews who fomented the oil crisis of 1973-1974 are behind the recent escalation of the yen against the dollar, as a means of reducing Japanese winnings in the trade war. Uno holds that the U.S.-Japan trade problem is really a confrontation between Japan and Judea, between Confucianism and the Old Testament.

Uno says that Jewish thought is based on eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth thinking, and that the Jews maintain their ethnic identity by constantly avenging their historical persecutors. He believes that this Old Testament idea of revenge is shared by all Middle East, European and American people. Japanese, though, are purportedly taught to let bygones be bygones, to forgive and forget, according to Confucian teachings, which Uno states are shared by most Asians. So east and west are like water and oil.

Uno's racialism closely resembles the Yamatoist beliefs that are alive and well in the minds of some of Japan's most prominent politicians and intellectuals. Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone has expressed his beliefs in the superiority of Japanese spirituality and morality and of Japan's monoethnic social policies. And he has been encouraged in his historical and cultural thinking by scholars who have curried his friendship to get his nod for the building of a government-run International Research Center For Japanese Studies. With such a mix of political and academic cement in its foundation, the center is ideally positioned for use as a forum to create and promote official "orthodoxy" in scholarly opinion about Japan.

Uno believes that Jewish "internationalization" will destroy Japan as a "monoracial state" [tan'itsu minzoku kokka]. And so Japanese must reassert their racial ethnicity in order to protect their gene pools.

The Jews took their first revenge against Germany by dividing Germany and splitting Berlin as a hostage, Uno claims. Then they began supplying a labor-short West Germany with Turkish immigrant workers and refugees, who have ten kids instead of two, so that Germany will gradually become a country of Turks.

Germany cannot get rid of its immigrant labor because the Jews control the mass media, and the mass media constantly reminds the world of what the Nazis did to the Jews, to ensure that the Teutonic race which slaughtered them will never again rise.

Uno claims that the Jews are now doing the same to Japan. Jewish American lawyers and businessmen are rushing to Tokyo to buy up Japanese companies and ensure that Japan never gains control of the world's finances but continues to be a mere factory. The world's Jews have decided to make Singapore the only financial center in Asia, Uno argues, because it is centrally located, and it is on the equator and thus ideally situated to communicate with satellites.

U.S. Ambassador Mike Mansfield and most other U.S. embassy and consular officials in Japan are "of course" Jews. Practically all foreign teachers of English in Japan are Jews whose mission is to soften Japan's ethnic defenses by inculcating the minds of their students with "international" thinking.

All this is part of a Jewish plot to bring blacks, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans into Japan's labor force, Uno states in his second book, which he was writing last September when Prime Minister Nakasone said that the United States is less "intelligent" than Japan because it has many blacks and Hispanics. Uno warned that blacks in Japan have already begun raping Japanese women with impunity, as in the 1986 case of a woman who claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by the sons of an African ambassador protected by diplomatic imunity.

Uno's zenophobia has shortened his memory of the 1981 case of the Japanese student in Paris who shot a Dutch woman then ate her flesh. By 1985, the student was walking the streets of Japan a free man.

Books allegeding a "Jewish conspiracy" against Japan are proving a menace for Jews in the country. Two Ultra-rightist groups, The Federation of Natural Socialists and The Racial Thought Study Group, have wired swastika posters to downtown Tokyo utility poles. They blame the Jews for Japan's soaring land prices and demand that Japan be protected from an inflow of other races.

In June, the Jewish Community of Japan, in Tokyo, received a prank call from children who called Jews "garbage" and ordered them out of Buddhist Japan. Rabbi Michael J. Schudrich also said that the callers threatened to burn down the building.

Criticism has been sparse and mixed. In a book published this April, economic affairs critic Masahiro Miyazaki mocks Uno's titles in If you worry about Judea the world will never come into view. In this first book-length refutation of Uno's "Jewish peril" thesis, Miyazaki insists that there will be no depression and that Japan will avoid industrial hollowing. He even predicts that, in the 1990s, Japan will surmount the effects of the higher yen and enjoy new prosperity.

Miyazaki worries that Japanese are becoming the protagonists of conspiracy theories being advanced in other countries. He thus devotes the last part of his book to the "yellow peril" in the United States that resulted in Asian-exclusion laws and discrimination against Americans of Japanese descent before and during the Pacific War. And he reviews recent anti-Japanese books in English which expound a Japanese conspiracy, like Marvin J. Wolf's remarkably "Unoesque" The Japanese Conspiracy (The Plot to Dominate Industry Worldwide--and How to Deal with it), published in 1983 and now out in paperback.

The late international problems critic Masao Kubota also took Uno to task for his anti-Semitism in a book posthumously published this April called The ambition of the Rockefeller empire to manipulate Judea (The final scenario to control the world's economy is completed). Kubota joined the "Jewish problem" debate in Japan during the 1970s, and was a pro-Soviet critic of the Freemasons.

Kubota contended that the Rockefellers were the real conspirators, and that they dominate the private Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). He predicted that the war to end all wars would be fought between the Rockefellers and Israel. He even suggested that Uno's anti-Semitic books are a Rockefeller plot to cause friction between Japan and the United States because Japan was a threat to Rockefeller interests.

But Kubota's book was actually "ghosted" by Fumitaka Saeki. His widow said that Saeki distorted Kubota's views. But Saeki wrote in his epilogue that Karel G. van Wolferen's essay "The Japan Problem" in the 1986/1987 winter issue of Foreign Affairs, CFR's authoritative journal, "may be called a Rockefeller declaration of war against Japan." Van Wolferen is the Japan-based East Asia correspondent for the Dutch daily NRC Handelsbland. His cogent analysis of why U.S.-Japan relations are in serious trouble concludes that "the world needs a different kind of discipline" such as "an international division of labor"--the antithesis of "Rockefeller" laissez faire capitalism.

Critic-at-large Shuichi Kato links Japan's current flirtation with anti-Semitism to racial prejudice. He feels that the anti-Semitism is an outlet for a kind of frustration and sense of persecution vis-a-vis the United States, and is thus a substitute for Anti-Americanism.

Kato contends that anti-Japanese acts in the United States have engendered in Japanese a victim mentality which manifests in anti-Semitism "not simply because a conspiracy theory is convenient, but because it cannot manifest as anti-Americanism." He concludes that anti-Semitism is probably just a passing fad, but that preciptating factors like trade friction and racialism will not easily go away.

Profit may have been behind Seibu Department Store's decision to cancel a forum by Uno it had scheduled at the Hotel Okura in June this year. Or perhaps it was social consciousness that motivated the store to honor a request by The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in the U.S. to revoke its plans to sponsor Uno's lecture.

Either way, Uno was not allowed his chance to answer the question: "Are Jews the key to solving the world's problems?"

This raises the issue of whether censorship is the way to deal with opinions one may not like. Free speech is endangered when the intellectual marketplace is subject to "silent" forces like money or threats of violence. Some landlords have refused to rent meeting space to the Japan Teachers Union because they fear negative publicity from demonstrations and other disruptions by right-wing groups.

Uno's books have brought Japan unwanted negative publicity, some of it undeserved. This bothers Miyazaki, who laments how Uno's books are causing the rest of the world to doubt Japan's intelligence, as Newsweek did when it observed that "if the Japanese could fall for one of the oldest canards in Western culture, perhaps they're not as shrewd as the rest of the world thinks" (23 March 1987).

"There are countries in the world that are jealous of Japan's success and are repeating untoward lies that militarism is reviving," Miyazaki writes. In conclusion he advocates that prejudice, myth and legend be cut away so that only the cold facts are left. But in all of his concern for the "ever mounting danger to [our] ancestorland" invited by ignornace, misinformation and distortion, he fails, as does even Kato, to note the real danger in Uno's appeal: his Nazi-like use of anti-Semitism to arouse zenophobic Yamatoist sentiments.

The popularity of Uno's books and the scarcity of cogent criticism could be cited as evidence of Japan's intellectual poverty. "Uno's books are primitive," concluded Columbia University anthropologist Herbert Passin in a Japanese magazine article. "The fact that such books are being read will affect Japan's reputation. It would be too bad if [people in other countries were to think]: 'Understand Uno and Japan will come into view'."

William Wetherall is a free-lance writer who specializes in mental health, ethnic minorities, early history and popular culture. He has a PhD in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and did his dissertation research at the National Institute of Mental Health in Japan as a Fulbright and Japan Foundation fellow.