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The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II By Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz
There was one nation that did treat the Jews as if they were powerful and rich. The Japanese... More Below
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The Fugu Plan
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The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II
Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz
Some of the events related in 'The Fugu Plan' have been made into a Japanese opera, 'White Nights of Love.'
'White Nights of Love,' composed by Japanese musician Toshi Ichiyanagi and librettist Takashi Tsujii, premiered in Yokahama, Japan in premiered in February, 2006.
If someone who is rich and powerful comes to you for a favor, you don’t persecute him – you help him. Having such a person indebted to you is a great insurance policy.
There was one nation that did treat the Jews as if they were powerful and rich. The Japanese never had much exposure to Jews, and knew very little about them. In 1919 Japan fought alongside the anti-Semitic White Russians against the Communists. At that time the White Russians introduced the Japanese to the book, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The Japanese studied the book and, according to all accounts, naively believed its propaganda. Their reaction was immediate and forceful – they formulated a plan to encourage Jewish settlement and investment into Manchuria. People with such wealth and power as the Jews possess, the Japanese determined, are exactly the type of people with whom we want to do business!
The Japanese called their plan for Jewish settlement “The Fugu Plan.” The “fugu” is a highly poisonous blowfish. After the toxin-containing organs are painstakingly removed, it is used as a food in Japan, and is considered an exquisite delicacy. If it is not prepared carefully, however, its poison can kill a person.
The Japanese saw the Jews as a nation with highly valuable potential, but, as with the fugu, in order to take advantage of that potential, they had to be extremely careful. Otherwise, the Japanese thought, the plan would backfire and the Jews would annihilate Japan with their awesome power.
The Japanese were allies of the Nazis, yet they allowed thousands of European refugees – including the entire Mirrer Yeshivah – to enter Shanghai and Kobe during World War II. They welcomed these Jews into their country, not because they bore any great love for the Jews, but because they believed that Jews had access to enormous resources and amazingly influential power, which could greatly benefit Japan. If anti-Semites truly believe that Jews rule the world, why don’t they all relate to Jews like the Japanese did? The fact that Jews are generally treated as outcasts proves that people do not really believe that Jews are anywhere near as wealthy or powerful as they claim. It proves that anti-Semites do not take their own propaganda seriously.
Details of the “Fugu Plan,” revealed in secret documents of the Japanese foreign ministry and interviews with former high Tokyo officials. Under the plan, the Jews were to build the wilderness region into an independent state, turn it into a buffer against the Soviet Union and attract American sympathy and investments, thereby strengthening what was called Japan’s “greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere.” Wolf Blitzer
Here is a spectacular plot for a motion picture: the dramatic escape across Asia, the intrigue of Jewish leaders with the Japanese and with the Nazi “Butcher of Warsaw,” who followed them to Shanghai.
Rabbi Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz met in Japan, laboriously pieced together this wonderful saga, and wrote it with the verve of a thriller, which it is. Raymond A. Sokolov, New York Times
Between 1934 and 1940 a secret policy was devised in the highest councils of the Japanese government. If it had succeeded, it might have saved a million Jews from the Holocaust and even prevented the war between Japan and the United States. This policy was the Fugu Plan – Tokyo’s idea of enrolling the talents and skills of European Jewry, plus the capital, influence, and sympathy of American Jewry, in the building of Japan’s 20th-Century empire, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. This is the only book on the subject, written by a rabbi who served in Japan and based on interviews and documents hitherto unknown. It is a fascinating and intriguing story, well written and supplemented by photos. Jehuda Reinharz, Library Journal
Abstract: It's quite incredible the safe haven Japan was prepared to offer the Jews in the 1930s when they needed it most. Tokayer – as rabbi of Tokyo's Jewish community – was involved in the Fugu Plan, hence he has a lot of direct understanding about its variables. Unfortunately, the Japanese didn't quite understand the Jews so well or the 'importance of Jews, as economic factors and policy shapers in the Western world.' Tokayer points to some of the possible reasons why the Fugu Plan never materialized. The Japanese wanted to save the Jews from Hitler and in return build their own world empire. It was the Jews who they felt were best equipped to help them achieve domination of world trade. The Fugu Plan intended to bring these Jews to the sparse land they had conquered but couldn't bring their own people to so they could have experts in various fields including industry, manufacturing, factories, international trade, etc. But the Fugu Plan was destroyed by the militarists. Objective:To describe the elements contained in the Japanese-Jewish Fugu Plan. Comments:The book has been out of print for a long time and this untold story makes a fascinating and important contribution to world Jewish history. Use:For Holocaust studies.