Nobutaka Shioden

Antisemitism in Japan

With only a small and relatively obscure Jewish population, Japan had no traditional antisemitism until Nazi ideology and propaganda influenced a small number of Japanese. While antisemitism did not become a widespread phenomenon in the country, it persists even today, taking a form of subculture. Antisemitic and conspiracist books and pamphlets are sold in major bookstores , and anti-semitic themes enter the popular culture and even affect the educated academic community.

Current antisemitism in Japan includes many elements of the occult and intellectual play. To the background, many Japanese like plot theories (plots by Jews, plots by government,SGI,the act of ghosts, devils).

Historical and modern examples of antisemitism in Japan

In 1918 , the Japanese army sent troops to Siberia and made contact with the White movement. The White army soldiers had The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Japanese soldiers found out about antisemitism. They translated the book and it was spread. The Japanese army researched "the plot of the Jews," and discovered nothing. For good management of Manchuria, the Japanese government helped many Jews.

In 1936, lieutenant general Shioden Nobutaka (四王天延孝), translated the Protocols into Japanese. Shioden became a believer in a Jewish conspiracy while he was studying in France. According to Dr. David Kranzler, "The key to the distinction between the Japanese and the European form of antisemitism seems to lie in the long Christian tradition of identifying the Jew with the Devil, the Antichrist or someone otherwise beyond redemption ... The Japanese lacked this Christian image of the Jew and brought to their reading of the Protocols a totally different perspective. The Christian tried to solve the problem of the Jew by eliminating him; the Japanese tried to harness his alleged immense wealth and power to Japan's advantage." (Japanese, Nazis & Jews: The Jewish Refugee Community in Shanghai, 1938-1945 by David Kranzler. p.207)

During the war, Yamanaka Minetaro (山中峯太郎), a juvenile novelist, wrote stories in which Japanese heroes knock down Jewish conspirators.

The end of 20th, Many books about "Plot of Jews" or "The theory that Japanese and Jews have common ancestry" were sold. The theories and explanations for the alleged Jewish control of the world were circulated. There were high elements of the occult and intellectual play, and gossip. Such books are called tondemo books.

In 1973 , a book named "ノストラダムスの大予言" (Nostradamus no daiyogen; "The Great Prophecy of Nostradamus") became one of the best sellers. This book is based on The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The author, Goto Ben (五島勉), is from a traditional Russian Orthodox family.

In 1979 , a book named "日本人に謝りたい あるユダヤ人の懺悔" (Nihonjin ni ayamaritai - Aru yudayajin no zange; "I'd like to apologize to the Japanese - A Jewish elder's confession") was published. The author of this book, モルデカイ・モーゼ (Mordecai Mose), called himself a rabbi, but actually that was a pseudonym of the self-styled translator of this book, Kubota Masao (久保田政男). In this book, Kubota spread the rumor that Enola Gay means "Kill the Emperor" in Yiddish. This rumor is groundless, but anti-Semites in Japan still support it.

In 1984 , a book named "世界を動かすユダヤ・パワーの秘密" (Sekai wo ugokasu yudaya pawah no himitsu; "Secrets of the Jewish power which controls the world") was published. This book is based on Jewish conspiracy theory. The author, Saito Eizaburo (斉藤栄三郎), was a member of the House of Councillors.   

In 1986 , a book named "ユダヤが解ると世界が見えてくる" (Yudaya ga wakaruto sekai ga mietekuru; "To watch Jews is to see the world clearly") became one of Japan's best sellers. This book is also based on The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and the author, Uno Masami (宇野正美), still insists that the Ashkenazim are "fake Jews", and that the Zionists are controlling the world. According to him, the Japanese are the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, so Japanese will defeat "fake Jews" someday, he says.

In 1986 , a book named "これからの10年間 ユダヤ・プロトコール超裏読み術―あなたに起こるショッキングな現実" (Korekara no 10 nenkan: Yudaya protocol cho urayomi jutu - Anata ni okoru shocking na genjitsu; "The forthcoming 10 years: How to read Jewish protocol inside out - Shocking realities that happen to you") also became one of Japan's best sellers. The author, Yajima Kinji (矢島鈞次), was an economist, and a professor at Aoyama Gakuin University.

In 1987 , a magazine named "歴史読本" (Rekishi dokuhon; "The history magazine") featured articles titled "世界、謎のユダヤ" (Sekai, nazo no yudaya; "The world, mysterious Jews"), and insisted that the Watergate scandal and the Lockheed scandal were Jewish conspiracies. It is reported that Tanaka Kakuei (田中角栄) said "Yudaya ni yarareta, yudaya ni ki wo tsukero (I've been taken in by Jews, be wary of Jews)", when he was released on bail.

In 1995 , a magazine named Marco Polo (マルコポーロ) carried a Holocaust denial article by a doctor, Nishioka Masanori (西岡昌紀). The Simon Wiesenthal Center protested against this article, so the publisher apologized deeply, and discontinued the magazine.

Aum Shinrikyo (オウム真理教), a controversial Buddhist religious group, also distributed conspiracy theories to attract the Japanese readers as part of their recruitment efforts in 1992-1995. Some argue that Goto Ben's books had reportedly had influences on Aum Shinrikyo publications of this time. It is reported that Murai Hideo (村井秀夫), one of the leaders of Aum Shinrikyo, uttered "Yudaya ni yarareta (Jews got me)." when he was stabbed to death. Later Aum abandoned the populist writings and changed their name to Aleph, a first letter of Hebrew alphabet.

Nowadays, Ota Ryu (太田龍), an ex-Trotskyist, is one of the leading propagandists for Jewish conspiracy theory. He has translated the books of Eustace Mullins into Japanese.

Tondemo Bon

Anti-semitic books are usually regarded as a type of "Tondemo Bon" (トンデモ本, dodgy/outrageous books), which covers a very wide range of occultist subjects, such as UFO's and psychic power, and generally taken very lightly.


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