el cid again
Yamashita's Gold is a legend like the legend of Eldorado. Most experts believe it is just fiction.
Yamashita did become known as the Tiger of Malaya. He led the forces that captured the Malaya Peninsula and Singapore. He later had a falling out with the high command and was sent to Manchuko for the rest of the war. He was tried and convicted of war crimes after the war for the behavior of his troops in the Malaya Campaign.
The legend is that his army gathered together a large treasure from looted banks, churches, etc. during the campaign. That treasure was collected in the Philippines awaiting shipment back to Japan. When US subs began preying on Japanese merchant ships, the treasure remained there and was eventually hidden somewhere in the PI. Legend has it that the treasure is still hidden somewhere in the PI. All the people who knew where it was either died during the war, or were executed after the war. The story is that there are tons of gold there.
There are some logical inconsistencies with the legend. If they were concerned with the safety of treasure ships back to Japan, they could have flown the treasure in numerous aircraft to Formosa, then mainland China, and finally to Japan. There also is not much evidence that there was much in the way of valuables in Malaya to loot. There was probably some small amounts of gold in churches, and larger banks may have had some in their vaults, but it wasn't exactly a storehouse of gold. There was also a pretty large gap between when the conquests in the SRA ended and when US subs started taking a serious toll of ships in the waters around Japan. The stories leave the question unanswered why the treasure wasn't transported in 1942 if it existed.
There may have been some small looted treasure from Japanese conquests, but we're not talking about anything approaching what the Spanish found in the New World, or any other huge treasure haul. It's also likely that whatever was looted was melted down, became other things, and is currently in circulation around the world.
General Yamashita was the only great captain the IJA produced in the WWII period. He is also sometimes called "the Rommel of Japan" because he was
popular with his enemies. This dated from an early period when he commanded a division in China, and surprised the Chinese with his conduct. In Malaya,
when his controversial chief of staff caught some looters, he dressed them - and their division commander - down in public - and administraed punishment
as we might - refusing his chief of staff's preference to shoot them. So his humanitarian principles cut both ways, for both sides.
Yamashita holds a unique status in US legal history. He was tried and convicted of war crimes by a peculiar military court appointed by Mac - one
that accepted hearsay evidence - and used an informer for the Japanese as its sole damning witness. Further, the US defense team proved he had
no power to control events because of actions we had taken - preventing him from having command and control except where he was at. They took
the case to the US Supreme Court. The court found it had no jurisdiction in a military case in a war zone during a shooting war - the CIC of the zone
had all power
BUT the court was so offended, they ruled on the case anyway - even though it had no effect - other than (a) to let Yamashita know while alive they
did not consider him a criminal and (b) to set the historical record strait. No other time in history has the court ruled on the merits of a case in which
it had no jurisdiction. And THIS is the SAME court that upheld Executive Order 1066 - twice - it was NOT pro Japanese (not even if US citizens)..
So lets not bad mouth the one commander that should be rendered honors. At least IMHO.
< Message edited by el cid again -- 4/2/2012 6:18:00 AM >