Did Japan in WW2 ever try to contact Native Americans?

Dec 2014
1,082
Europe
I know the story about the Nazis trying to contact certain Native American groups to try and win them over against the US government, but did Japan ever make similar efforts? Unlike Germany, Japan actually fought on American soil in the Aleutians Campaign, and I'm wondering if the Japanese ever tried to win over indigenous Aleuts or any other natives from the western part of the US through propaganda or (in the case of the Aleuts) military allies like Japan had from locals in occupied places like Burma or China?
 
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Oct 2015
1,007
Virginia
The total native Aleut population of Attu in 1942 was 45; the only occupants of Kiska were a small contingent of US troops operating a weather station.

Regimes like the Nazis and Japanese militarists, that advocated racism and ethnocentricity, would not seem to be well positioned to appeal to ethnic minorities. Success they may have had among Indonesians, Burmese, Cossaks, Turkomen et al were probably related to anti-colonialism or Stalinist purges. The Japanese had little success appealing to Philippene nationalism, nor did the Germans effectively use Ukranian nationalism.
 
Dec 2014
1,082
Europe
Native Americans as well as almost all Americans at the time were against the Axis Powers and fought for the US. The fracturing along racial lines is a new phenomenon.
The US was quite fractured along racial lines during the WW2 era. There were certainly many discontented members of racial minorities in the country, which led later to such events as the Civil Rights Movement. Organisations like the US Marines didn't even let blacks serve in mixed units alongside whites initially. There were groups like the American Indian Federation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Federation) who had some notable bad feeling toward the US Government based on it's treatment of their people. I know the Germans thought about playing off tensions between Natives and whites based on the past history of US Government persecution of Natives, so I was wondering if the Japanese ever made similar attempts, regardless of how successful.

The total native Aleut population of Attu in 1942 was 45; the only occupants of Kiska were a small contingent of US troops operating a weather station.
Would this have anything to do with the large internment of native Aleutians by the US government during the war? Was that carried out because the government had some fears about potential supporters among Aleutians for the Japanese, or just under the pretense of their safety?

I certainly know that in the Aleut Restitution Act of 1988 the US government made apologies for the suffering and deaths inflicted on Aleuts who were interned. I wondered whether this relocation might have done anything to sway opinions of remaining Aleuts in Japanese occupied areas (if there were any) against the US government.

Regimes like the Nazis and Japanese militarists, that advocated racism and ethnocentricity, would not seem to be well positioned to appeal to ethnic minorities. Success they may have had among Indonesians, Burmese, Cossaks, Turkomen et al were probably related to anti-colonialism or Stalinist purges. The Japanese had little success appealing to Philippene nationalism, nor did the Germans effectively use Ukranian nationalism.
And yet the Germans still tried to win over Native Americans. I was just wondering whether there are any records of the Japanese ever making similar attempts, regardless of actual success.
 
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Dec 2014
1,082
Europe
The Aleuts that survived the Japanese invasion of Attu were shipped back to Japan as PoW's along with the personnel manning the weather station on Kiska.
Alaska's World War II civilian POWs recall their 'lost village' of Attu - Alaska Dispatch News
Thanks, that was very interesting to read! From that article it seems that while the Japanese didn't have any particular malice toward the Aleuts, they also didn't really bother with trying to recruit them as allies.
 
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Lawnmowerman

Ad Honorem
Mar 2010
9,842


Turns out the Nazi's were able to recruit this Native American Basketball team.


(Joking they just had the misfortune to choose the Swastika as their symbol)
 
Oct 2015
1,007
Virginia
Nearly 1000 Aleuts were re-located to camps Eastern Alaska during the war, supposedly to get them out of the war zone, not because they were suspected of disloyalty. Unfortunately the conditions in the camps were poor due to failures of the Interior Department and Territorial government, and when the people were allowed to return to their homes, they found them in ruins...a sad story that resulted in the 1988 act.

I can find no evidence that the Japanese ever tried to infiltrate the Japanese-American population of the US or Hawaii, let alone any other American ethnic minority. Maybe such 5th column activity didnt fit into the samurai mystique?
 
Apr 2016
134
Alabama


Turns out the Nazi's were able to recruit this Native American Basketball team.


(Joking they just had the misfortune to choose the Swastika as their symbol)
The Swastika has been a symbol of of Native Americans long before the Spanish started to explore the Americans. It was just that it became the symbol of the Nazi's and all they had done before and during the war. Now a days you see Native American youth defying their council elders and wearing those symbols, which is quite admirable that they show their heritage pride. I wonder how people would have acted if the Nazi's had used the Star of David instead of the swastika.
 

Lawnmowerman

Ad Honorem
Mar 2010
9,842
Quite humourlessly the Lafayette Escadrille (American pilots fighting for France in WWI) chose the Swastika as their symbol. Leading to some rather confusing photos.

(For the uneducated masses - not anyone on this forum surely)



Their squadron insignia



And insignia again with the Swastika made to look slightly less Swastikay???