Wataru Kaji

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Wataru Kaji in 1952

Wataru Kaji (鹿地 亘 Kaji Wataru?, 1903–1982)[1] was a Japanese proletarian writer who joined the Chinese Resistance against the Empire of Japan during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Early life[edit]

Wataru Kaji was born in Kyushu in 1903 to a prosperous family. After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University, Kaji joined the Workers and Peasants Party. His activities brought him to the attention of the authorities, where he was imprisoned multiple times.

He fled to China in January 1936, disguised as a samurai actor in a traveling drama company. He arrived in Shanghai. During his time in the city, he married anti-fascist Yuki Ikeda. [2]Kaji studied and translated the works of Lu Xun.[3][4] He also worked and was a part of Hu Feng's circle in the late 1930s.[5]

Joining the Chinese resistance[edit]

Kaji went to Wuhan in March 1938 at the invitation of Chen Cheng, who learned about him from the writer Guo Moruo and politician Zhou Enlai.[6] He joined the Kuomintang and began an anti-war and antifascist campaign. In 1939 he organized the Japanese Soldiers Antiwar League, which was disbanded by the KMT for fear that it had communist sympathies.[7]

After the KMT dissolved Kaji's propaganda group, Kaji kept a small research office. He occupied his time writing and collecting documents pertaining to the war. Over time, he became well known with the American Office of Strategic Services, and the Office of War Information, being interviewed by Nisei soldiers Koji Ariyoshi, of the Dixie Mission and Karl Yoneda, of the MIS.[8]

Kaji's relationship with Chiang Kai-shek was troubled due to his anti-communist stance. Kaji also had a troubled relationship with his colleague, Kazuo Aoyama. Dai Li's Agents would shadow Kaji wherever he went.[9] Kaji worked with the United States Office of Strategic Services in the later stages of the war.[10]

He and his wife met journalist Edgar Snow.[11]

Post-war kidnapping[edit]

Kaji was kidnapped in 1951 by Major General Charles A. Willoughby's G-2 (U.S Army Intelligence) which was under the command of General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan. Kaji was handed over to the Central Intelligence Agency, a successor to the Office of Strategic Services. Kaji was held incommunicado for more than a year, and allegedly tortured. He was suspected of being a Soviet spy. It was known as the "Kaji Affair", and when the affair came to light, the Japanese were outraged because Kaji's detention lasted past April 1952, when Japanese sovereignty was restored. The press also discovered a Japanese espionage group also aided in the kidnapping of Kaji. It was one of several groups operating under Willoughby and G-2, and was named for its principal officer, ex-Colonel of the Imperial Japanese Army Takushiro Hattori, a former aid to Japanese Imperial General Hideki Tojo.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Library of Congress Name Authority File. Accessed 19 January 2014
  2. ^ https://archive.org/stream/dilemmainjapan035095mbp#page/n163/mode/2up Schools for Anti-Fascists
  3. ^ Imperial Eclipse: Japan's Strategic Thinking about Continental Asia before ...By Yukiko Koshiro Chapter 3 Page 100
  4. ^ Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations ... By Karen Laura Thornber Page 75
  5. ^ Literary Societies of Republican Chinaedited by Michel Hockx, Kirk A. Denton Chapter 13 Page 458
  6. ^ Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations ... By Karen Laura Thornber Page 75
  7. ^ Imperial Eclipse: Japan's Strategic Thinking about Continental Asia before ... By Yukiko Koshiro Page 100
  8. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=vA7NBGiSBjIC&pg=PA142&lpg=PA142&dq=Several+months+later,+Kaji+helped+to+organize+study+groups+focusing+on+analyzing+conditions+in+Japan,+and+studying+the+Japanese+military.&source=bl&ots=c1wwNmNJg-&sig=DOdRLchJs-SxFdboMgUeIehGxKk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=FIoyU4L0Gc3yoATIxYGQAg&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Several%20months%20later%2C%20Kaji%20helped%20to%20organize%20study%20groups%20focusing%20on%20analyzing%20conditions%20in%20Japan%2C%20and%20studying%20the%20Japanese%20military.&f=false The Thought War: Japanese Imperial PropagandaBy Barak Kushner Page 142-143
  9. ^ From Kona to Yenan: The Political Memoirs of Koji Ariyoshi By Koji Ariyoshi Page 105-107
  10. ^ "Japan". Asian Studies. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  11. ^ From Vagabond to Journalist: Edgar Snow in Asia, 1928-1941 By Robert M. Farnsworth Page 326 -327
  12. ^ Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld By David E. Kaplan, Alec Dubro Page 47