The grainy black and white photo is surely one of a kind. Seated at a table are two “Aryans” and three Asians, at least two of whom are clad in Wehrmacht uniforms of the German Third Reich, but with rising sun insignias on their upper right shoulders. (The image below is a crop of the photo showing one of the Japanese.) If authentic, this would cast light on something that should stop scholars of World War II in their tracks.
Writing about his find in Jitsuwa Knuckles (April), Takeshi Tanaka notes that an estimated 2 million foreigners served in volunteer units augmented to the German army during the war, including Ukrainians, Latvians, Finns, Croatians and Indians.
The individuals in the photo are at this point unidentified, but the picture suggests Japanese may have served in German units. According to Tanaka, a note accompanying the photo states that the men in the picture “took part in the fighting against allied forces at (Poland’s) Vistula River.” Tanaka says he was unable to corroborate the photo with any historical evidence. Are we, perhaps, merely looking at some Photoshop mischief here? Or does this photo shed new light on Nippon’s heretofore unknown Nazis? Intriguing to say the least. (C.J.)