This photo was taken by AP Photo photog Charles Gorry (Ref #: PA.8689560), and I found it on some traveling photo article about rare photos.
Perhaps better known to the world as Tojo (surname), he was the face of ultimate evil whenever people discussed Japan during WWII.
Tojo Hideki (東條 英機) was born on December 30, 1884 and wore many hats during his career, most notably as a general of the Imperial Army, leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, and Prime Minister of Japan, the 40th, between October 17, 1941-July 22, 1944.
You'll notice that he was the PM at the time when Japan pearl harbored the U.S. into joining the war, and had apparently been planning for just such an attack even before he entered office.
When the war concluded, Allied forces led by the U.S. issued orders for Tojo's arrest as the first of some 40 alleged war criminals.
Upon arrival at Tojo's home in Setagaya in Tokyo to present the arrest warrant, Tojo, with the US military police surrounding his home, shot himself in the heart… but missed, actually hitting his stomach instead.
Except… he didn't die from the gunshot wound.
After the Military Press burst into the room after hearing the shot, The New York Times reporter George Jones followed, as did a pair of Japanese reporters… it was they who recorded the following… later translated into English… though… I suppose it all depends on whether or not they were telling the truth about what Tojo said exactly.
Tojo said: "I am very sorry it is taking me so long to die. The Greater East Asia War was justified and righteous. I am very sorry for the nation and all the races of the Greater Asiatic powers. I wait for the righteous judgment of history. I wished to commit suicide but sometimes that fails."
As you can see from the photo, people aren't really rushing around trying to help save Tojo… in fact, it was about two hours later that the Military Police and a doctor went to look after Tojo, as it appeared he just wasn't joint to die fast enough.
So… in true oxymoron justice, they arrest Tojo, have him sent to a US Army hospital where emergency surgery was performed, and after recovering enough, he was sent to Sugamo Prison to await his trial.
Here's a story… while at the prison, he was given a new set of dentures made by an American dentist. Legend has it that drilled into the teeth in Morse Code was the rallying cry "Remember Pearl Harbor:"
Did that really happen? Apparently so, as Jack Mallory recently came forth to discus his private little joke… or rather the media caught on in 1999 (again).
|Jack Mallory in 2012.|
The military procedure for dental appliances was to engrave the name, rank, and serial number of the individual on the dentures themselves, Mallory said in a 1999 interview.
Doing his duty to create necessary dentures for Tojo in 1946, his work buddies told him he should instead write "Remember Pearl Harbor" on the teeth… so he did.
But rather than risk having it be easily discovered, we did it in Morse Code, drilling dots and dashes…
.-. . -- . -- -... . .-. .--. . .- .-. .-.. .... .- .-. -... --- .-. -
His roommate Dr. George Foster also aware of what he had done. Foster had initially examined Tojo's teeth, easily determining dentures were required.
Dr. George Foster (left) examines Tojo's teeth (middle), with unidentified US military personnel on right. Photo via the Chico News & Review.
Tojo wore the dentures and used them every single day, and was quite happy with the work Mallory had performed on his behalf.
Still… secrets have a way of getting out, and when US Armed Forces radio station in Tokyo, WVTR, reported the story, Mallory was asked to remove the evidence, as this sort of public embarrassment wouldn't look good on the U.S. trying to encourage Japan to be good little global citizens with America as its master.
So, on February 14, 1947, Mallory and Foster drove a Jeep to Sugayama Prison, talked to a prison guard Foster knew and went in to see Tojo, waking him up to ask for his dentures… which he gave up willingly.
Taking the dentures, Mallory ground the etched message out of the teeth and gave them back to Tojo, who didn't question anything, seeing as how he was a prisoner, and it is suspected he never learned the truth of his dentures.
Sentenced to death for Japanese war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Tojo was hanged on December 23, 1948.
The oxymoron? Saving a man's life only to take it later.
Still… in this blog we have a photo I bet most of you have never seen before… and a story you could really sink your teeth into.
And that's the tooth,