Why do the Japanese continue to fight? They are tired and hungry; the Tokyo Shimbun urges all Japanese to “learn to eat weeds”. Yet if the war continues they must learn to eat cinders and ashes. What holds them in this hopeless conflict? Any motives of greed or glory must by now have vanished in the smoke of their burning cities. They do not even hate. What is it then? The frenzied fear of inhuman reprisals? Perhaps. They have been told that the Americans plan to castrate all the Japanese males and turn the women over to negroes. The desperate courage of the cornered rat? Perhaps. There is a certain stubbornness, a dark tenacity, in the human will that refuses to accept defeat. Blind obedience to the God-Emperor? Perhaps this above all. “Duty is as heavy as a mountain, death as light as a feather.” A slim gambler’s chance that one more try will turn their luck? That also. These days, tensed uneasily for the invasion of the homeland that will surely come, the Japanese are told insistently that this time victory, victory in the last battle, which is all that counts, is sure to be theirs.
Typical of this line of propaganda with which the Japanese are doped is a [illegible] by Rear-Admiral Etsuzo Kurihara, assistant chief of intelligence section of imperial headquarters, to the students of the Kunitachi higher communications school. Its translation was carried by the Okuyama Service yesterday.
“You probably want to know if Japan can win the war,” started out the rear-admiral. “The answer is: we shall win without fail. At present a small country, Japan, is fighting virtually the whole world with the exception of the Soviet Union. This is no easy task. You may think that Japan cannot win under such conditions. But I shall tell you how we can absolutely win this war.”
The rear-admiral then argued that the United States could not end the war by bombing alone; the mainland of Japan would have to be invaded. What did that mean? It meant that the U.S.A. would have to mobilize a tremendous army, possibly three and half million men, and an even vaster fleet to transport, supply, and protect the landing of these men. All this huge machinery of invasion would constitute an easy target for the Japanese special attack corps. To take the small island of Okinawa the U.S.A., said Kurihara, had sacrificed 1,500 warcraft and 80,000 men. Yet Okinawa had been “at a considerable distance” from Japan’s air bases. What damage then could be worked at closer range!
Indeed, added the rear-admiral, “it is easy to consider that in the coming decisive battle our side will be able to mobilize forces several times greater than the enemy’s. For the first time we shall have [illegible] superior forces to deal with a numerically inferior enemy. So it will be all right for our side.” Nor was that all. It was even to be expected, said Kurihara, “that if some remnants of the enemy forces succeed in landing, they will be unbalanced forces. They might have to land without tanks or their tanks might have to land without oil.”
And what about the effect of this on the U.S.A.? “The U.S.A. is not fighting an easy war,” Kurihara assured his “deeply impressed” audience. “The Americans want to end this war quickly. They are a calculating people. They will soon start counting up their money. For the Americans this is not a war for self-preservation and even the rich Americans will think a war-cost of 150 million yen a day a little excessive and unprofitable, whether they win the war or not. Moreover, in view of their national character, there is no saying what unforeseen events may occur if the war drags on.”
How different the people of the Yamato race! “Once,” confessed the rear-admiral, “I thought that if Tokyo was hardly damaged by bombings, the regular mind would be disturbed and martial law would have to be proclaimed. But actually there have been no disturbances. I consider that a proof of what a fine people we are. Our people may have petty complaints and grievances but they are bearing them. They are a great race. This great race cannot lose the war.”
Thus, frightened into desperation, blinded by fanaticism, [illegible] with superstitions and fanciful hopes of victory, the Japanese fight on. [illegible] “a little while longer”. They must learn to “hate the enemy.” They must learn also “eat weeds”. They are “a great race” and in the defense of “the holy state, the imperial land, the land of the gods” they cannot lose.