May 15 Incident
In March 1932, in the 'League of Blood Incident', Inoue's group only managed to kill former Finance Minister and head of the Rikken Minseito, Inoue Junnosuke, and Director-General of Mitsui Holding Company, Takuma Dan.
IncidentOn May 15, 1932, the naval officers, aided by Army cadets, and right-wing civilian elements (including Shūmei Ōkawa, Mitsuru Tōyama, and Kosaburo Tachibana) staged their own attempt to complete what had been started in the League of Blood Incident.
Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi was shot by eleven young Naval officers (most were just turning twenty years of age) in the Prime Minister's residence. Inukai's last words were roughly If I could speak, you would understand (話せば分かる, hanaseba wakaru ) to which his killers replied Dialogue is useless (問答無用, mondō muyō ). The original assassination plan had included killing the English film star Charlie Chaplin- who had arrived in Japan on May 14 1932 - at a reception for Chaplin, planned by Prime Minister Tsuyoshi. "These activists, eager to ingest a nativist Yamato spirit into politics, recognised the charged political nature of mass culture"; Chaplin's murder would facilitate war with the U.S., and anxiety in Japan, and lead on to "restoration"-in the name of the emperor.  When the prime minister was killed, his son Inukai Takeru was watching a sumo wrestling match with Charlie Chaplin, which probably saved both their lives.
The insurgents also attacked the residence of Makino Nobuaki, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, the residence and office of Kimmochi Saionji, head of the Rikken Seiyukai political party, and tossed hand-grenades into Mitsubishi Bank headquarters in Tokyo, and several electrical transformer substations.
Aside from the murder of the Prime Minister, the attempted coup d'état came to nothing, and the rebellion as a whole proved a failure. The participants took a taxi to the police headquarters and surrendered themselves to the Kempeitai without a struggle.
ConsequencesThe eleven murderers of Prime Minister Inukai were court-martialed; however, before the end of their trial a petition arrived at court containing over 350,000 signatures in blood, which had been signed by sympathizers around the country to plead for a lenient sentence. During the proceedings, the accused used the trial as a platform to proclaim their loyalty to the Emperor and to arouse popular sympathy by appealing for reforms of the government and economy. In addition to the petition, the court also received a request from eleven youths in Niigata, asking that they be executed in place of the Navy officers, and sending eleven severed fingers to the court as a gesture of their sincerity.
Punishment handed by the court was extremely light, and there was little doubt in the Japanese press that the murderers of Prime Minister Inukai would be released in a couple of years, if not sooner. Failure to severely punish the plotters in the May 15 Incident further eroded the rule of law and the power of the democratic government in Japan to confront the military. Indirectly, it led to the February 26 Incident and the increasing rise of Japanese militarism.
- Tolland, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945
- Erotic Grotesque Nonsense:The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times, p.1 - Miriam Silverberg, 2006 Univ of California Press.
- Spector, Eagle Against the Sun. pp.36
- Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan
- Beasley, W.G. (2000). The Rise of Modern Japan, 3rd Edition: Political, Economic, and Social Change since 1850. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23373-6.
- Borkwith, Mark (1989). Pacific Century: The Emergence of Modern Pacific Asia. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3471-3.
- Oka, Yoshitake (1984). Five Political Leaders of Modern Japan: Ito Hirobumi, Okuma Shigenobu, Hara Takashi, Inukai Tsuyoshi, and Saionji Kimmochi. University of Tokyo Press. ISBN 0-86008-379-9.
- Sims, Richard (2001). Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation 1868-2000. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23915-7.
- Spector, Ronald (1985). Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan. Vintage. ISBN 0-394-74101-3.
- Toland, John (2003 reprint). The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945. Modern Library. ISBN 0-8129-6858-1.
Charlie Chaplin was one of the biggest stars of his day. He was popular in different countries and traveled to many of them. He was seen in the company of world leaders.
Here we see Charlie Chaplin with his servant Kono in Japan. Kono was himself Japanese.
Black Dragon Society
HistoryUchida Ryohei, and was descended from the Genyōsha. (Uchida was a follower of Genyōsha founder Mitsuru Toyama.) Its name is derived from the Amur River, called Heilongjiang or "Black Dragon River" in Chinese (黑龍江?), read as Kokuryū-kō in Japanese. Its public goal was to support efforts to drive the Russian Empire out of east Asia, south of the Amur River.
The Kokuryūkai initially made strenuous efforts to distance itself from the criminal elements of its predecessor, the Genyōsha. As a result, its membership included Cabinet Ministers and high-ranking military officers as well as professional secret agents. However, as time passed, it found the use of criminal activities to be a convenient "means to an end" for many of its operations.
The Society published a journal, and operated an espionage training school, from which it dispatched agents to gather intelligence on Russian activities in Russia, Manchuria, Korea and China. It also pressured Japanese politicians to adopt a strong foreign policy. The Kokuryukai also supported Pan-Asianism, and lent financial support to revolutionaries such as Sun Yat-sen, and Emilio Aguinaldo.
During the Russo-Japanese War, annexation of Korea and Siberian Intervention, the Imperial Japanese Army made use of the Kokuryūkai network for espionage, sabotage and assassination. They organized Manchurian guerrillas against the Russians from the Chinese warlords and bandit chieftains in the region, the most important being Marshal Chang Tso-lin. The Black Dragons waged a very successful psychological warfare campaign in conjunction with the Japanese military, spreading disinformation and propaganda throughout the region. They also acted as interpreters for the Japanese army.
The Kokuryūkai assisted the Japanese spy, Colonel Motojiro Akashi. Akashi, who was not directly a member of the Black Dragons, ran successful operations in China, Manchuria, Siberia and established contacts throughout the Muslim world. These contacts in Central Asia were maintained through World War II. The Black Dragons also formed close contact and even alliances with Buddhist sects throughout Asia.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Kokuryūkai evolved into more of a mainstream political organization, and publicly attacked liberal and leftist thought. Although it never had more than several dozen members at any one time during this period, the close ties of its membership to leading members of the government, military and powerful business leaders gave it a power and influence far greater than most other ultranationalist groups.
Initially directed only against Russia, in the 1930s, the Kokuryūkai expanded its activities around the world, and stationed agents in such diverse places as Ethiopia, Turkey, Morocco, throughout southeast Asia and South America, as well as Europe and the United States.
Activities in the United StatesThe organization was mentioned as an influence on the black nationalist organizations which were convicted of sedition in 1942, most notably Mittie Maud Lena Gordon's Peace Movement for Ethiopia. The other two organizations said to be influenced were the Brotherhood of Liberty for the Black People of America and the Nation of Islam.
On March 27, 1942, FBI agents arrested members of the Black Dragon Society in the San Joaquin Valley, California.
In the Manzanar Internment Camp a small group of pro-Imperial Japan flew Black Dragon flags and intimidated other Japanese inmates.
The Kokuryūkai was officially disbanded by order of the American Occupation authorities in 1946. According to Brian Daizen Victoria's book, Zen War Stories, the Black Dragon Society was reconstituted in 1961 as the Black Dragon Club (Kokuryū-Kurabu.) The Club never had more than 150 members to succeed in the goals of the former Black Dragon Society.
In popular cultureAgents of the Black Dragon Society appeared in the 1938 French film The Shanghai Drama directed by the celebrated Georg Wilhelm Pabst.
Black Dragons appeared as villains in two Sam Katzman 1942 Monogram Pictures releases Black Dragons and Let's Get Tough! as well as a Republic Pictures film serial G-Men vs the Black Dragon that was turned into a Century 66 made for TV movie The Black Dragon of Manzanar. The Black Dragons also appeared as villains in 1942 American comic books published by DC Comics.
In Max Brooks' book The Zombie Survival Guide, the Black Dragons are portrayed as a unit of World War II Japanese military. He asserts that this group was responsible for attempting to create a zombie army by breeding and training the undead in an operation known as Project Cherry Blossom.
They also appear as henchmen to the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond novel You Only Live Twice.
The Black Dragon Society appears in the Thomas Pynchon novel Against the Day.
In the fictional Battletech universe the Black Dragon Society comes out as a Draconis Combine extremist group.
The Black Dragon Society appeared in the movie Bloodsport, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as the hosts of the illegal tournament in which Frank Dux fought.
The Black Dragon appeared as the antagonists in the 1995 televised version of Fist of Fury.
- Time Magazine article
- 1942 World War II Chronology
- p.172 Burton, Jeffery F. Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites University of Washington Press, 2002
- pp 161-162 Inada, Lawson Fusao & the California Historical Society Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience Heyday, 2000
- Victoria, Brian Daizen Zen War Stories Routledge Curson 2003 p.61
- The Encyclopedia of Espionage by Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen (ISBN 0-517-20269-7)
- Deacon, Richard: A History of the Japanese Secret Service, Berkley Publishing Company, New York, 1983, ISBN 0-425-07458-7
- Jacob, Frank: Die Thule-Gesellschaft und die Kokuryûkai: Geheimgesellschaften im global-historischen Vergleich, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, 2012, ISBN 978-3826049095
- Jacob, Frank (Ed.): Geheimgesellschaften: Kulturhistorische Sozialstudien: Secret Societies: Comparative Studies in Culture, Society and History, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2012, ISBN 978-3826049088
The Black Dragon Society took it's name from the Black Dragon river, here called the Amur.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE BLACK DRAGON
BLACK DRAGONS starred Bela Lugosi and featured Bernard Gorcey in a small role. Bernard Gorcey had also appeared in THE GREAT DICTATOR with Charlie Chaplin, another World War II related story ( Chaplin played Hitler ).
From the 1942 Bela Lugosi movie BLACK DRAGONS
Anna Mae Wong and Black Dragon
Charlie Chaplin home movies from 1932, filmed in Java and Balli.
PRELUDE TO WAR ( Frank Capra documentary on the origins of the second World War ):
The Movie BLACK DRAGONS is a fictional story involving the Black Dragon Society.
Black Dragons Rounded Up By FBI March 31, 1942:
Charlie Chaplin ( Official Site ):
Hollywood In It's Heyday:
Japan History - Rise of the nationalists:
Japan Scraps Naval Treaty To Expand Navy:
Sinking Of The USS Panay: