A Terror Campaign to Ram a Crazy Belief Down the Throats of Japanese Immigrants
Those labeled “Defeatists” by Shindo Renmei tended to be the better off and better educated immigrants. They had better access to information, and could differentiate between reliable and unreliable news. However, even those innocent of Shindo Renmei’s fanaticism were terrorized to toe the group’s line, or at least stay silent. By war’s end, Shindo Renmei had about 50,000 followers. They went on a buying spree that emptied local shops of red and white cloth to make Japanese flags, intended to welcome Brazil’s new overlords. The situation was further complicated by the circulation of fake Japanese newspapers and magazines. The fake media included articles about Japan’s “great victory”; the arrival of Japanese occupation troops in America; photographs of President Truman bowing to Emperor Hirohito; and coverage of the trial of General Douglas MacArthur for war crimes.
Charlatans who peddled that drivel sold duped Japanese immigrants land in the “conquered territories”. Those who doubted Japan’s victory were silenced. In 1946, Japan’s postwar government prepared documents for distribution in Brazil, outlining reality and declaring that Japan had surrendered. Shindo Renmei dismissed that as fake, and beat up or murdered Japanese immigrants who read or distributed the documents. To reduce the violence, Brazil’s government prohibited newspapers from publishing news of Japan’s defeat, and ordered the term “unconditional surrender” removed from official communications. Things then gradually simmered down. A last gasp occurred in 1950, when Japan’s Olympic swimming team visited Brazil. When its members expressed shock at the belief that Japan had won the war, diehards claimed that the athletes were actually Koreans masquerading as Japanese. That was so ludicrous, that it killed Shindo Renmei’s credibility for good, and the organization soon vanished into history’s dustbin.