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The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II Hardcover – May, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In all the literature of the Holocaust and of World War II, the story of the European Jews who fled across the world to the unlikely haven of Japan has remained untold -- until now. The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story Of The Japanese And The Jews During World War Two is a powerful narrative which follows a group of these refugees throughout their journey across Stalin's Russia, their experiences in Japan, and their struggle for survival in an Asian ghetto. Interwoven with this moving saga are the details of an astounding top-secret plan to create an "Israel in Asia" under Japanese control by offering displaced European Jews a safe haven in Manchuria in return for the financial and technical skills they would bring to this outpost of the Japanese Empire. Although this so-called "Fugu Plan" would founder with Japan's entry into the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Italy in 1940, its legacy, as the Holocaust swept over Europe, was the survival of thousands of Jews issued Japanese transit visas and given wartime refuge in Asia. That they survived at all is testimony to the courage of many individuals, both Japanese and Jews, whose stories are told here -- and to the seeds planted by the unlikely vision embodied in The Fugu Plan. An important and vital addition to the Judaic studies collection about an almost unknown aspect of the holocaust experience. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer began his rabbinic career in 1962 as a U.S. Air Force chaplain stationed in southern Japan. In 1968, he returned to serve as rabbi of the one-thousand-member Jewish Community of Japan, a post he held until 1976; he remains Lifetime Honorary Rabbi of the community. He also served on the Federation of Jewish Communities of Southeast Asia and the Far East and as Founding Board Member of the Sino-Judaic Institute. Consummate storyteller Rabbi Tokayer contributed seven articles on rabbinics and the Orient for the Encyclopedia Judaica; authored twenty books in Japanese on Judaica and Japan; and coauthored (with Mary Swartz) The Fugu Plan The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews during World War II.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Gefen Publishing House; 1st Gefen Ed edition (May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652293296
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652293299
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on April 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This interesting work sheds light on the obscure and often times hope inspiring story of the Jews who escaped from Eastern Europe and found their way to safety in Shanghai, Kobe and Harbin in Japan China and Japan. This is part history and part inspirational story, combining the stories of a large number of refugees into a number of long biographical sketches. The story is sweeping, from the ghettos of Lithuania as the storm clouds of Nazism blow across Europe, to a history of the Jews of the far east.

Probably the strongest part of the text, from a historical sense, is the history of far eastern Jewry and the Jewish settlements, however improbably, in Shanghai, China, Harbin in Manchuria and Kobe, Japan. In addition to Tientsin these were the major Jewish communities in Asia. Most of their residents were Russian Jews who had accepted Tsarist offers of freedom of religion to settle in Manchuria when the Russian owned Port Arthur, before 1905. The other communities were more diverse. As war gathered the Japanese high command and its `Jewish experts' embarked on a radical plan of settling Jews, who because of the `Protocols' were perceived as both the controllers of Communism and Capitalism, in Japanese imperial territory and thus enriching Japan through the assets and know how of the European Jews.

The story gets more complicated and has some problems in blending this with the stories of individual refugees and their reconstructed adventures and interactions. Nevertheless the story of the Japanese imperial obsession with Judaism and Japanese anti-Semitism is fascinating, as if the `Fugu plan' to resettle the Jews. There is much new material in this important text, including the Kogan papers and information about the saving of the Mir Yeshiva is fascinating. An important book to the history of the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Seth J. Frantzman
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This is a story I never heard about, before. That is actually saying a lot because I have read so many war stories about Jews during the Second World War! I got turned on to this book by my husband who had just finished reading it!
We truly do NOT share the same interest in the reading material. WOW! An exception to the rule!

There was everything anyone needs to keep actively interested in this novel. Hope, sadness, strategic evidence to preserve life without abandoning others as well as the opposite...and self preservation!
Historical fact, mostly unknown to the average reader or US citizenry is reason enough to read this uniqe work. It is well written and a fast read. I took a long walk after completeing the book so I could just think and smile.

My regard for the Japanese people has been cemented in "precious stone". .
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After I went to a presentation about Japanese Consul Sugihara and how he, in violation of instructions from his home gvt, kept issuing transit visas to 6,000 Jews from Lithuania and Poland during WWII I became fascinated by how these refugees fared in his home country. Shortly afterwards I was traveling to Shanghai where I was going to visit the old Jewish ghetto, so my interest in the connection between that and the Japanese grew. I was pleased to find this book that very clearly explains the background to Japanese policy vis-a-vis the Jews and how its politicians dealt with the German pressure of rounding up the refugees. Well-written, well-researched. A "must" for anyone interested in this period of our history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book some twenty years ago and since having lived in Tokyo for a number of years it was a subject of great interest to me.
This is a heartwarming story of courage and compassion by the Japanese Consul Sugihara in Kovno, Latvia. Sugihara uses the samauri maxim "even a hunter cannot kill a bird which flies to him for refuge" as justification for his actions against the commands of his superior at the Foreign Ministry. Thus begins the journey and salvation for thousands of Jews fleeing Europe in 1939.
This is a story you will not forget, it will come to haunt you again and again and one you will wish to share with friends.
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I had previously heard about this book from my brother in law who spent the war in the Shanghai Ghetto-although he was not one of the Russian, Polish or Lithuanian Jews who also lived there. I was intrigued by the idea that the Japanese who were Hitler's allies would consider setting up a Manchurian semi-autonomous 'colony' run by the very same European Jews that Hitler was trying to destroy.

Although the book did provide insight into the relative lack of Japanese anti-semitism, I was a little disappointed in that the Fugu plan itself was covered very lightly. It was used as a backdrop to tell the story of the refugees and their privations and concerns as they made their way across Russia to Japan-and ultimately to Shanghai.

The story did a good job of recounting the little known facts of this 'migration' from Eastern Europe to Shangai-and by using the lives of individual families and their experiences to fill out the skeleton of these bare facts, the reader became 'personally' involved in the experiences of these migrants.

i was hoping to read more about the fugu plan itself-and to find out how close it had come to actual implemenation. It would have been interesting to hear about German/Japanese interaction on the idea.
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