Yuko Tojo (東條 由布子 Tōjō Yūko?, May 20, 1939 – February 13, 2013) was a Japanese ultra-nationalist politician, Imperial Japanese apologist, Japanese racial supremacist and brief political hopeful. She was the granddaughter of General Hideki Tōjō, the Japanese wartime prime minister who was convicted of planning and orchestrating most of the major Japanese acts of aggression of World War II; for these crimes, Hideki Tojo was convicted as a Class A war criminal and hanged after World War II.
In May 2007, Tojo revealed her intention to run in the House of Councillors election at the age of 68. She ran on an extreme right platform, demanding the enshrinement of all of Japan's military war dead (to include Class A war criminals such as her grandfather) at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. Tojo also adopted a policy of blanket denialism of any Japanese war crimes during World War II, which she angrily dismissed as "purely US propaganda", designed to "smear the glorious reputation of the proud and honorable Japanese warrior race (戦士のレース)". She vowed to work to throw out the Japanese constitution if elected, which bans all offensive warfare in perpetuity, with Tojo dismissing the non-offensive clause as "racist, obstructionist" and "created entirely by the hand of American manipulators" and "intended to keep the Japanese people in a slave state to Western interests".
Tojo was also a particularly strong patron of The Truth about Nanjing, a fringe propaganda movie in production by Japanese ultra-nationalist revisionist filmmaker Satoru Mizushima, who claims that the 1937 Nanking Massacre was completely fabricated by the United States and China in a collaborative effort to "slander the glorious exploits of the Japanese soldier" in World War II, which Mizushima (and Tojo) view as the highest point of Japanese civilization. According to Mizushima and Tojo, there were no murders or rapes ever committed in Nanking except for "a few", which were committed by "US/Chinese spies" in order to create false photographs to slander the honor of the Imperial Japanese Army.
Tojo was subsequently mocked and accused of racism, conspiracy theorism and radical, antiquated ultra-conservatism by her own countrymen for her statements. Many left-of-center and centrist politicians objected strongly to her term "warrior race", a heavily-loaded racial term which has not been used since the heyday of Imperial Japan in the 1940s. "There are no war criminals in Japan", Tojo famously announced, a statement which prompted derision and mockery from the Japanese political left and embarrassment from the Japanese political right, many of whom are sympathetic to the shrine burial issue but embarrassed by the extreme nature of Tojo's other demands, such as the scrapping of the Japanese constitution. A commentator noted that "[now] even the far-right seem hesitant to back her". Other infamous comments by Tojo include "The war was started by the meddling of the Western gangster-thugs" and "No Japanese warrior ever committed a crime if his heart's true intent was the expansion of our grand Empire."
Tojo also frequently lionized her grandfather in speeches, calling Hideki Tojo "a true and honorable son of Japan", who "died clean and innocent" at the hands of a combined "United States/Chinese conspiracy". She even managed to alienate her former supporters on the right, including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, who, despite agreeing that Japan's WWII war criminals should be re-buried among the regular soldiers, pointedly distanced himself from the remainder of Tojo's harsh racial rhetoric, especially her demands for a new constitution that would permit Japan to wage offensive war again, a concept Abe called "madness". “Tojo’s strong nationalistic attitude might appeal to certain extreme elements of the population, but most Japanese do not sympathize with her views. She has no chance at all at the elections," stated one commentator.
Elections and death
Tojo refused to moderate her comments and was quickly minimized in the Japanese media as a far right extremist, receiving little media coverage and performing very poorly at the polls, receiving less than 10% of the vote percentage.
Tojo died on February 13, 2013 at the age of 74, 10 years after her entry into politics, still a firm believer in Japanese racial exceptionalism, racial purity and complete innocence of any war crimes in World War II. Tojo was never elected to any office in Japan and remained a deeply polarizing figure until her death.
"Japan did not fight a war of aggression. It fought in self-defense. Our children have been wrongly taught that their ancestors did evil things, that their country is evil. We need to give these children back their pride and confidence."
"In Japan, there are no war criminals. Every one of those enshrined at Yasukuni died fighting for their country, and we should honor them."
"Many people, including Kyuma, believe that the atomic bombs stopped Japan's 'aggression,' but Japan did not fight a war of aggression," said Tojo, who claimed the war was fought to liberate the "nonwhite" colonies in Asia from the "whites." "If there was one mistake, however, it was the fact that we lost. And if my grandfather is to blame, it's not because he started the war but because we lost." (quoted in Japan Times article, by Setsuko Kamiya, July 11, 2007)
"People think I'm a hawk, but I'm actually a dove on the torii of Yasukuni Shrine." (quoted in Japan Times article, by Setsuko Kamiya, July 11, 2007)
- Jun Hongo (February 15, 2013). "Tojo’s granddaughter, Yuko, dies at 73". The Japan Times. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
- Associated Press (June 11, 2007). "Tojo's granddaughter runs for office". NBC News. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
- McNeill, David (November 10, 2005). "Family ties: The Tojo legacy". Asia Times Online. Retrieved February 15, 2013.