Black Dragon Description

The Black Dragons were the Amur River Society (Kokuryu-kai) in 1930s and 1940s Japan. The Black Dragons were ultranationalists heavily involved in the conquest of China, and as spies and fifth columnists subverting nations targeted for conquest. The Black Dragons were active up and down the Pacific Coast of North and South America. In the United States, Black Dragons were a concern to Lieutenant Commander K.D. Ringle of U.S. Navy Intelligence and other security officials. On December 7, 1942, Black Dragons led Banzai! cheers at the U.S. Manzanar Relocation Center on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor in 1941. The Black Dragons led and fomented riots and carried out acts of violence at Manzanar, Tule Lake Segregation Center, and other sites where Japanese enemy aliens and Americans of Japanese ancestry were located. The Black Dragons and other ultranationalist organizations provided the nucleus for the formation of the postwar Yakuza organized crime syndicates. A number of Black Dragon members were in the Japanese government and many were charged as war criminals in 1945.

Black Dragon Personalities

  • Ryohei Uchida: Founder of the Black Dragons
  • Koki Hirota
  • Black Dragons and Japan's Annexation of Korea

  • According to several sources, Black Dragons conspired with Korean dissidents to assassinate Korea's Queen Min in 1895.
  • Japan's Secret Societies and Ultranationalist Societies

  • Japanese Ultranationalist Organizations and Secret Societies, 1895-1945
  • Black Dragons and Pearl Harbor

  • Violet Sweet Haven wrote: "The signal for war in the Pacific was given on August 26, 1941, at a session of the Black Dragon Society in Tokyo."

    Black Dragons in the Movies

  • The Black Dragons captured the public imagination in the 1930s and 1940s. One movie starred that sinister reliable, Bela Lugosi in the role of a Nazi surgeon transforming six Japanese agents with plastic surgery. See Internet Movie Database: Black Dragons (1942).
  • The film G-men vs. the Black Dragon is about American, British and Chinese secret agents who battle the Japanese Black Dragon Society. See Internet Movie Database: G-men vs. the Black Dragon (1943).
  • Another film about the mysterious Black Dragon, which was edited from the title previously mentioned, is Black Dragon of Manzanar (1966), a movie made for television.
  • A documentary film, Justice Under the Sun: Japanese War Crime Trials, noted that unlike the Nazi Gestapo, the Black Dragons were not prosecuted for war crimes under The International Military Tribunal for the Far East. While the Gestapo was clearly an arm of official Nazi government terror, the Black Dragons were a secret society with political aims. Many of its members served in both industry and government including diplomatic posts and bureaucratic and military roles such as the Kempei Tai secret political police. (See Japanese War Crime Trials.) The veiled relationship of secret societies such as Black Dragon to government and business exemplifies a Japanese social phenomena often described as Japan, Inc.

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