Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

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sailorsam
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Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by sailorsam » 13 May 2021 03:01

I remember reading in re; Pearl Harbor, that the US parked a lot of its warplanes together in the middle of the tarmac to help protect from sabotage, presumably from Japanese agents in Hawaii.

was there much of an espionage presence there? I can find next to nothing about this subject.

I've also heard rumors of Japanese Army units in Mexico between the wars. Apparently this really happened, sort of?
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 May 2021 05:15

Short answer is no, no, no, and no for the rest of it. The Japanese did develop some spies, the Naval officer who observed USN fleet and Base operations at PH is a example. There were a few others. The Germans took a much greater effort to develop both spies and sabotage agents in the US. But, no one ever proposed expelling my father & his cousins from the Army, or sending the 10,000,000+ German-Amercans to relocation camps. A few known nazis in the US were detained, & some of those actively trying to spy were rounded up. Germany tried to run a network in the US out of Mexico. I an unsure a specific history of this has been written. Farrago 'Game of Foxes' cited some Abwher records about the German effort.
sailorsam wrote:
13 May 2021 03:01
I've also heard rumors of Japanese Army units in Mexico between the wars. Apparently this really happened, sort of?
There were Japanese standard issue military attaches to the embassy. Maybe some Japanese Army officers were taken on as advisors to the Mexican Army. But the two had very different military traditions. so how much good this would have done the Mexicans I can't say. Where the rumors seem to start is a Japanese proposal to lease and develop a empty bay on Mexicos west coast This in the very early 20th Century, before the Panama canal project turned from failure to success. Included in the project would have been a berth for servicing Japanese warships showing the flag in the Americas. The US full of the Monroe Doctrine were having none of it & negotiations with the Sovereign State of Mexico ceased.

Peru was the hotbed of Japanese activity with ahetfy immigrant population & economic investment.

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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by sailorsam » 14 May 2021 17:12

thanks for response
had no idea about Peru connection with Japan.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 14 May 2021 17:38

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... arbor.html

There were two active Japanese spies and one German agent on Oahu. Yoshikawa Takao and his immediate boss, a IJN Lt. whose name I never remember. The German, Otto Kuhn, was to send information if the Japanese were unable to transmit or otherwise send messages (i.e., under close surveillance) Kuhn had a few test runs IIRC, but was never activated.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by LineDoggie » 15 May 2021 00:12

sailorsam wrote:
14 May 2021 17:12
thanks for response
had no idea about Peru connection with Japan.
We(USA) also threatened Peru and other Central American nations to turn over Japanese living there to be interned in the USA

https://web.archive.org/web/20040921075 ... ndouts.pdf

Interestingly Japan had Spies who were Caucasians

Yeoman Harry Thompson USN arrested in 1936

British lord Semphill, who was allowed to retire

Captain Pat Heenan indian army who was allegedly shot by redcaps as Singapore fell

LtCdr John Farnsworth USN got 11 years in 1936
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by sailorsam » 16 May 2021 00:42

thanks Pointer and Doggie for responses

I wonder if it were feasible to radio messages all the way to Japan?
would have been clever to have a boat halfway to receive and pass on.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 16 May 2021 02:15

sailorsam wrote:
16 May 2021 00:42
thanks Pointer and Doggie for responses

I wonder if it were feasible to radio messages all the way to Japan?
would have been clever to have a boat halfway to receive and pass on.
When the atmospherics were good you could get European radio stations in Australia.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 16 May 2021 02:17

sailorsam wrote:
16 May 2021 00:42
thanks Pointer and Doggie for responses

I wonder if it were feasible to radio messages all the way to Japan?
would have been clever to have a boat halfway to receive and pass on.
Oh, and the FBI tracked suspicious radio transmissions prior to the raid. The Japanese could send telegrams in code, it was legit then.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 May 2021 13:45

sailorsam wrote:
16 May 2021 00:42
thanks Pointer and Doggie for responses

I wonder if it were feasible to radio messages all the way to Japan?
would have been clever to have a boat halfway to receive and pass on.
With a sensitive enough receiver. The Japanese Navy signals intel. was able to often intercept low powered radio transmissions between ships in a squadron or TF. When the carrier Hornet Joined the TF for the Tokyo raid north of Hawaii, a intercept station in Japan picked up transmissions between the Hornets destroyers. That led to some speculation what the escorts habitually associated with the Hornet were doing headed north into the Pacific.

Alternatively a powerful enough transmitter.

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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 16 May 2021 14:11

And on the US side transmission from ships routinely assigned to Japanese carriers was detected from Johnston Island, SW of Hawaii IIRC. This lead to the supposition that the raiders had come from the south. Enterprise was dispatched in that direction and so missed possible contact with six enemy carriers.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by Takao » 16 May 2021 22:30

OpanaPointer wrote:
16 May 2021 14:11
And on the US side transmission from ships routinely assigned to Japanese carriers was detected from Johnston Island, SW of Hawaii IIRC. This lead to the supposition that the raiders had come from the south. Enterprise was dispatched in that direction and so missed possible contact with six enemy carriers.
The transmissions were from lost Japanese aircraft.

The direction finding was done by the secondary DF site at Heeia, the main DF site at Lualualei had gone out of commission. Heeia provided two bearings(main & reciprocal). Without another station to triangulate, the Navy chose the reciprocal bearing that was South.

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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 17 May 2021 00:08

And the Army didn't bother reporting the Opana contact until after lunch.

But the bearing reinforced detection from a few days earlier, IIRC.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by sailorsam » 19 May 2021 20:28

thanks for responses

I know the Germans had an active espionage network in North and South America. for technical reasons they often used the South America radio operators to transmit their messages; apparently the radio signals traveled better north/south.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 19 May 2021 23:57

sailorsam wrote:
19 May 2021 20:28
thanks for responses

I know the Germans had an active espionage network in North and South America. for technical reasons they often used the South America radio operators to transmit their messages; apparently the radio signals traveled better north/south.
They traveled better at night, solar interference was reduced. So when both parties were in the dark comms was more efficient.
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Re: Japanese Espionage in USA Before/During WWII

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 May 2021 19:46

sailorsam wrote:
19 May 2021 20:28
thanks for responses

I know the Germans had an active espionage network in North and South America. for technical reasons they often used the South America radio operators to transmit their messages; apparently the radio signals traveled better north/south.
They routinely us Embassy communications, radio, telegraph, and sealed diplomatic pouch. Usually encrypted in various diplomatic and military codes/encryption. The Brits from 1939 set up a extensive counter espionage system to penetrate and monitor all that. During 1941 there were under the table efforts to coordinate the separate US and Brit operations. By 1943 the two systems were about as well integrated as any ally could be.

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