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Black Ocean Society

The Black Dragon Society was the successor to the Black Ocean Society that became too notorious for it's actions. Through the last half of the nineteenth century Japanese nationalists in politics, the military and society formed societies dedicated to Japanese nationalism or advancement. Membership often overlapped, and some societies such as the Black Ocean and the Black Dragon were not afraid to use force to achieve their political aims.

Following defeat in the Second World War, Japan went through a degree of re-education, though not to the extent as Western Germany. Organisations such as the Black Dragons became embarrassing and ceased to spoken about even though they had had large memberships spanning society; the Black Dragon's membership was 10,000 at it's height of popularity. Nationalism moved onto other forms of expression such as new religions or politics. The Dragons were able to make sure that the trust funds and fortunes of the zaibatsu, the pre-war merchant houses, were unaffected by war reparations; and encouraged the zaibatsu to modernise using American aid so that they developed into the present day keiretsu.

Japanese nationalism has always been guided by shadowy forces preferring to remain in the background. The Black Ocean Society and other militarist secret societies were guided by these forces, as the Black Ocean later guided the Black Dragons. The shadowy force behind the secret societies, the politics and the power-plays since the nineteenth century is the Order of the Green Dragon. For much of their history the Green Dragons have been an obscure and ostensibly Buddhist monastic sect, rumoured to be great Zen masters with powers to see the future. The Order has guided Japanese expansion since the Americans forced Japan to open up to the outside world in 1854.

This secret society, dreaded in Japan and without by those who learned of its existence, was ostensibly founded in 1901 by Ryochei Uchida, a protege of Mitsuru Toyama, one of the nation's most powerful men. Many years earlier Toyama had organized all criminal activities in Japan, becoming the country's crime overlord through his own secret society, Genoyosha. Though Genoyosha was fundamentally a monopoly on all criminal activities, it also sponsored Japanese militeristic aims in Manchuria

Wanting to have an organization wholly devoted to Japanese domination of Manchuria and, subsequently, China, Toyama created the Black Dragon Society through his front man, Uchida. The credo of the Black Dragons was to foster a hatred for the white race and advance at any cost the cause of what it called Pan-Asianism, a term that veiled its true aims, the conquest of Manchuria, then China.

Following the deliberate, insidious plan mapped out by Toyama, the Black Dragons carefully selected from its bulging ranks the best candidates for higher military and political offices. Once entrenched, these Black Dragons began to spread their gospel of conquest through the Japanese Army and in the hierarchy of political administrations. The monarchy took no position regarding the Society, giving it sideways recognition. Japanese emperors, however, were then as they are today sacrosanct for in the predominately Shinto religion of Japan, the emperor is a physical god on earth in human form. His edict is final and to defy the emperor is to defile Shintoism and face eternal damnation.

The defeat of Czarist forces in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 inspired the Society to energetically lobby for a Strike North posture. The Black Dragons urged Japanese militarists to attack the Russians in Siberia, then move southward into Manchuria. The Society's very name was chosen by Toyama to symbolize its goals, taken from the Amur River which was also called the Black Dragon River, which separates Siberia from Manchuria.

The undoing of the Manchu Dynasty of China was brought about by the Black Dragons who hoodwinked insurgent Chinese leaders into believing that its aims were universally beneficial to all Asiatics. The Society actually financed the Chinese revolutionaries, advancing great sums of money to Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-Shek, who formed the Chinese Kuomintang Party and their republican theories of government in the Tokyo offices of the Black Dragon Society in 1905. The Black Dragons continued to finance the Kuomintang leaders until the Manchus were overthrown in 1911.

Huge amounts of money were available to the Black Dragons through their complete control of all illegal operations in Japan, partcularly their monopoly on the opium trade. Much of the opium distributed throughout the world came from China and, through its financing of the Chinese revolutionaries, the Black Dragons were repaid by the Kuomintang, which allowed the Black Dragons to control the flow of Chinese opium.

The Manchus has energetically attempted to suppress the opium trade in China, inflicting death sentences upon major growers and peddlers. The elimination of the dynasty accomplished several ends, all desired by the Society: The Kuomintang took power, the opium trade again flourished to enrich the coffers of the Chinese revolutionaries and their backers, the Black Dragons. The establishment of the Chinese revolutionaries indebted Sun-Yat Sen and Chiang Kai-shek to the Society, and, Toyama was convinced, they could be manipulated into offering little or no defense of Manchuria against invading Japanese forces.

Toyama and Uchida had been clever in dealing with the Chinese leaders. The Society was known to the Chinese revolutionaries as a criminal organization, not one of a political nature. Sun-Yat Sen and Chiang Kai-shek believed that the Black Dragons were only concerned with acquiring the lucrative opium trade. Once their revolution was successful, the Chinese leaders secretly concluded, they would stamp out the opium trade themselves.

Meanwhile, the Black Dragons conducted a ruthless purge of anyone inside Japan who opposed their plans of conquest. The Society had spies everywhere gathering information on Japan's military leaders and politicians. The Black Dragons received an indifferent reception from Director Abe of Japan's Political Affairs Bureau of the Foreign Office when it asked for his support in attacking Russia. Society assassins then murdered Abe on September 5, 1913.

A short time later Japan's foreign minister, Count Kato Takaakira, was attacked by a Black Dragon assassin but survived. Though not tried for the attempted murder, Uchida spent eighteen months in prison before being released. In 1923, the catastrophic earthquake that shook Japan resulted in devastating fires that all but gutted Tokyo. Toyama and the Black Dragons quickly spread the word that Koreans, whom the Society hated, had set the fires following the quake.

Mobs attacked Koreans on every street, killing hundreds. The Society used this gruesome spectacle in an attempt to convince the military that the Japanese people universally desired war with Korea and Russia. By 1932, the Black Dragons had enough power to insist that the army adopt its Strike North policy. To that end, Japanese troops invaded northern Manchuria, taking the railway center at Harbin, then moving inland to occupy most of Manchurian province of Jehol by March 1933.

By the mid-1930s, Emperor Hirohito sided with the militarists who advocated a Strike South policy, and the Japanese abandoned the long-sought Black Dragon goal of attacking Russia. Instead, Japanese armies swarmed into mainland China and throughout the South Pacific to confront Great Britain and the United States in an all-out war that ended with Japan's utter defeat. Throughout the war the Black Dragon influence declined. The Society all but went out of existence when Toyama finally died in 1944. It lingers today as an loose affiliate to the vast Japanese criminal society known as Yakuza.

The Kokuryu-kai or more popularly the Black Dragon Society, back in the days of the Second World War, was the unacceptable face of Japanese nationalism. The Black Dragons schemed and murdered their way across Japan, China, Korea and South East Asia in pursuit of Greater Japan, even infiltrating the United Sates in order to achieve their aims. Today, the term "Black Dragon" is a lazy journalist's label, like "Nazi"; applied to elderly or dodgy individuals for publicly known right-wing opinions or actions.

Some dubious politicians are willing to pray at Shinto shrines dedicated to the war dead, or accept campaign contributions and votes from the Yakuza, but the modern consensus is that other than the occasional doomsday cult, organised Japanese fascism on the scale of the Black Dragons either died at the end of the Second World War or has faded away every year with encroaching death or infirmity of those involved.

In 1945, the Dragons shrank back into the shadows, giving up a few hot-headed scapegoats to the Allied War Crimes investigators and trading Unit 731's more mundane medical experiment results with the Americans in return for immunity from investigation and prosecution. The esoteric Unit 831 and it's archives and collection of wonders plundered from Asia was mothballed for future use. The Dragons took their time to regroup and instead of fading away the Dragons became a loosely organised conspiracy that has transcended Japan and the Far East and spread world-wide, settling around the pressure points of the modern financial, commercial and political world.

Jay Robert Nash. Spies: A Narrative Encyclopedia of Dirty Tricks and Double Dealing from Biblical Times to Today . M. Evans and Company, Inc., New York. 1997.

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