- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; 1 edition (July 16, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1574884433
- ISBN-13: 978-1574884432
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,009,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Shadow Warriors of Nakano: A History of the Imperial Japanese Army's Elite Intelligence School Hardcover – July 16, 2002
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"Extensively researched and superbly presented . . . a uniquely valuable addition to World War II Pacific theater military studies collections." --The Bookwatch
About the Author
A former CIA analyst and Asia expert, Stephen C. Mercado lives in the Washington, D.C., area. His articles have appeared in Intelligence and National Security, International Journal of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence, and Studies in Intelligence.
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Top customer reviews
This well paced book brings to light the training of Nippon spies and their influence in numerous countries prior to and during WWII. A fascinating look at the intensity and thoroughness of the Japanese world of espionage. Great research and really gives one an insight into a little discussed portion of history which had an immense impact during WWII. Orchids of War
This book is important and necessary for us to understand the workings of Japanese military intelligence during the second world war. There are precious few works on Axis intelligence, although some have come to light recently. As for Japanese intelligence efforts, these are poorly and thinly documented at best, notwithstanding the evidence obtained before various war crimes tribunals. Mercado seeks to correct this by describing the training of Japan's second bureau, and the exploits of its officers upon leaving its school at Nakano.
With this before him, Mercado could have produced the seminal work on the subject, but somewhat missed his opportunity. Let me start with my complaints about the book.
The author could have made a more thorough job of providing a history of Japanese espionage, which had a long domestic history during the Shogunate. This was not done, nor did he adequately explain the contribution of the French military to the organisation of the Japanese Army, and its intelligence service in particular.
My other criticism is that while Mercado has done a good job of explaining how the Nakano school was established, and introducing some of its key instructors, he does little to exlain the curriculum in great depth. This would have been important to understand what really was taught, and the impact of the instruction upon the the school's graduates, as well as Japanese intelligence gathering across the Pacific theatre.
Having said all of that, I should also praise the book for its strengths, of which there are many. First, and foremost, this book is the only work in English attempted on the Nakano school. To achieve this, Mercado used his own experience as an intelligence analyst and "Japanese hand" as well as extensive interviews with veterans, and research in the Japanese language press.
Mercado also traces many of the graduates of Nakano after graduation, and describes their contribution to the Japanese war effort, including their part in the expression of Indian nationalism prior to Independence.
More important than all of this, the author explains what happened to the "Shadow Warriors" after the end of the war, how many were taken on board by the Americans, and the important role they played in winning the Korean War. Others went into business or politics, and drew upon their networks to create the modern Japan we see today.
For its strengths, I would like to give this book five stars, but for its flaws I cannot. I only trust the author will do a second and more thorough edition so that achievements of Japan's shadow warriors are properly recorded for posterity.
The story of the Nakano School's graduates is an interesting one and their field operations were fascinating. Those familiar with the hidebound reputation of Imperial Japanese Army officers during the war will find the creative and independent Nakano-trained intelligence officers and their work to be fascinating. In many ways, one gets the feeling that the harsh, brutal and inflexible militancy of their own Army was a greater opponent than the enemy! These excellent soldiers were involved in everything from spying to propaganda to the nationalist subversion of Allied colonial holdings.
Mercado then goes on to follow the Nakano graduates into the post-war world, including their very important role in Occupied Japan, their work with the Americans during the Cold War, and other noteworthy endeavors. Judging from their wartime performance and their post-war success, one could truly say that the Nakano graduates represented some of the best and brightest of their generation.
The book makes for fascinating reading, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested either in intelligence, military history or Japan in general. The only reason why I cannot give it four stars is because I found the editing to be sloppy in spots.