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Koreshige Inuzuka papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2003.464.1

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    Collection of documents, correspondence, and photographs relating to the experiences of Koreshige Inuzuka who was in charge of the Bureau of Jewish Refugee Affairs in Shanghai.
    inclusive:  circa 1930-circa 1965
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    Collection Creator
    Koreshige Inuzuka
    Koreshige Inuzuka was born on July 11, 1890, in Tokyo, Japan, to a former samurai retainer and his wife. He completed school and entered the Naval Academy in 1909. During World War 1 (1914-1918), Koreshige served in the Mediterranean. In 1918, while enrolled at the Naval College, he was sent to the Tokyo school of Foreign Language to study French. He graduated in 1920. He joined Japan’s Siberian Expedition and was stationed near Vladivostok, Soviet Union (now Russia). Koreshige became interested in Jewish studies after being exposed to the western concept of the “Jewish problem” for the first time. After encountering anti-Semitic propaganda and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Koreshige and an army colonel named Yasue Norihiro both began to study the “Jewish problem” in depth. The Protocols falsely stated that Jews had access to a vast international power network and both men believed the claims, which drove them to research Jewish affairs. Later, Koreshige married and the couple had a daughter.

    During the late 1920s, the military took control of Japan’s foreign policy. This allowed Koreshige’s research to be supported once it came to the attention of the navy. In 1928, he was appointed to serve as naval attaché to the Japanese embassy in Paris, where he was secretly ordered to observe the “Jewish problem” and report his findings. He collected as much observed and written material as he could regarding both Jewish affairs and rising anti-Semitism. In September 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria, leading to war between Imperial Japan and the Republic of China. The international community was unsure how to respond and pushed for enforcement of the pro-peace Kellogg-Briand Pact. The United States also passed the Stimson Doctrine, a non-recognition doctrine aimed at the Japanese. In 1932, Japan attacked Shanghai, which was home to many international settlements in China and represented an attack on international concessions. In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. The regime enacted anti-Jewish laws, which restricted the daily lives of Jews and forced many to consider emigration. While many Jews looked to the west and Palestine, others looked to China and the Soviet Union in the east, where Jewish enclaves had been tolerated to varying degrees.

    In 1934, Koreshige returned to Tokyo, where he was promoted to Captain transferred to the intelligence branch of the Naval General Staff. He managed propaganda, counterespionage, and Jewish research. Both Koreshige and his army counterpart, Yasue, were deeply anti-Semitic and produced several publications reflecting their views under their real names as well as pseudonyms. Koreshige gave speeches about how invasive the Jewish problem was and that as a group, they had to be dealt with carefully. Both men proposed establishing a larger Jewish settlement in Japanese territory to attract European Jews, and travelled to Jewish communities around the world to gain support. They hoped to exploit what they perceived as the Jewish community’s international power and garner their support in the service of Japan’s war in East Asia while alleviating international pressure against Japan’s war efforts. In 1937, Japan ousted the Chinese Nationalist government and occupied Shanghai, China, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese war. Koreshige and Yasue, considered the Japanese military’s “Jewish experts,” established many pro-Jewish policies in the city. Koreshige believed the Jews should be welcomed while still ensuring that they were carefully controlled by the Japanese government. He likened the situation to eating fugu, a blowfish that can kill a person if not prepared correctly with great care, and his approach came to be called the Fugu Plan. Yasue sought to win support and capital from foreign Jews by supporting the Jewish refugees in Shanghai. In 1938, following the 5 Ministers’ conference, their beliefs became the official Jewish policy for Japan.

    Between November 1938 and August 1939, approximately 20,000 European refugees, predominately Jews, fleeing the Anschluss in Austria and the Kristallnacht pogrom in German occupied regions, arrived in Shanghai and settled in the Hongkou district. Shanghai was considered an open city and had no passport control or required papers to gain admittance. This made it a popular option for many Jews who had citizenship from countries with low immigration quotas to western nations or could not secure visas for other reasons. In 1939, Koreshige became the head of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s Advisory Bureau on Jewish Affairs and facilitated the resettlement of thousands of Jews. Under his guidance the Jewish refugees in Shanghai were treated relatively well, though the community was carefully monitored and new immigration was strictly controlled. Eventually immigration was stopped in order to ensure that those already living in the Hongkou district were not suffering due to a strain on their resources. These refugees received support from the city’s existing Jewish community as well as from Jewish organizations in the United States.

    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, prompting France and Great Britain to declare war. In September 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, solidifying their military alliance. Pro-German factions in the Japanese military and government changed the policies governing Jewish refugees in Shanghai, making them far more restrictive. In 1941, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States presented Koreshige with an inscribed, silver cigarette case to express their thanks for his help rescuing Jews and offering them refuge. On December 7, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, prompting the United States to declare war. This led to a withdrawal of US support for Jews in Shanghai, and reduced the value of the community as a resource in the eyes of many Japanese officials. In 1943, the Japanese military forced Jewish refugees into ghettos within the Hongkou district and Koreshige was transferred to Manila, Philippines. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. On September 2, Japan surrendered. When Koreshige was supposed to be tried as a war criminal he presented the cigarette case given to him by the American rabbis as evidence of his actions and was released. In 1952, Koreshige founded the Japan-Israel Association and served as the first president. In 1965, aged 75, Koreshige died in Japan.

    Physical Details

    Japanese English
    1 box

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Shanghai (China)

    Administrative Notes

    The papers were acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003.
    Record last modified:
    2023-09-08 09:07:56
    This page:

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