Tag Archives: Japanese Golden Lily

Anniversary of the Surrender of the Philippines – May 6, 1942

Last night, the History Channel showed the second episode of “Lost Gold of World War II” and today is the anniversary of the fall of the Philippine Island, the United States territory, to the Japanese. It set up the brutal Bataan Death March but more importantly it set in motion the Japanese plan to bury gold and other treasures in that territory.

General Douglas MacArthur had been recalled to active duty earlier in the year to command the United States Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific region. He believed he was under explicit orders not to initiate hostilities against the Japanese. Thus, giving the Japanese the upper hand in taking the territory. On February 22, 1942, President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to move his headquarters to Australia.

As the first troops defending the Philippines began to surrender on the Bataan Peninsula in April, others resisted until May 6. The Japanese army decided to teach the U. S. soldiers and the loyal Filipinos a lesson for their resistance. This decision was made because of the influence of Colonel Tsuji. Most of the 80,000 prisoners of war, including 15,000 Americans, captured by the Japanese at Bataan were forced to undertake the infamous “Death March” to a prison camp 105 kilometers (65 miles) to the north. The Japanese had only made provisions for capturing 25,000 soldiers, they were unprepared for the significantly larger numbers.

The Bataan Death March evolved into a conflict between the Japanese soldiers and officers. Those officers who had served under General Honma were civil to the prisoners of war. Not so for the soldiers who served with Tsuji’s men. They were ruthless, from stealing wedding bands and watches to bayoneting or shooting prisoners. Tsuji even went so far as to threaten his own officers, warning them that he had orders from Tôkyô to treat these prisoners of war this way, and if they did not comply, their careers may be at risk. American and Filipino prisoners of war were bound, beaten, or killed by their Japanese captors. When they fell from exhaustion, some were bayoneted on the spot. Some were forced to dig their own graves and were buried alive. It is estimated as many as 10,000 men, weakened by disease and malnutrition and treated harshly by their captors, died before reaching their destination. Only 54,000 prisoners reached camp alive. Thousands later died from malnutrition and disease.

During the early phases of the Pacific War, most of the Gold, currency and treasures extracted from Southeast Asia by the imperial Golden Lily Group was sent to Japan to the Nagona Bullion bunker to finance the war effort. By mid-1942, when U. S. Navy ships and submarines made the shipping lanes too risky to move Gold and treasures to Japan, another shipping point had to be determined. Chichibu met with Hirohito, and they decided it would be best to ship the Gold to the Philippines. On July 7, 1942, Tojo met with camp commandants from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. He told them short of becoming inhuman; they were not to permit idleness among the prison work detail in the Philippines. This specifically included those digging caves that were ultimately used by the Golden Lily Group to bury Gold. To circumvent Allied air and naval attacks, Prince Chichibu had a fleet of four ships painted as Red Cross ships, which could move without incident throughout the Japanese territories with Gold and treasures.

Hirohito believed even in defeat, he could negotiate a reasonable peace with Roosevelt. His worse case scenario was the United States would let them remove their captured Gold and treasures. The resulting peace would allow Japan to keep Manchuria, Foremosa and the Philippines.

In March 1944, MacArthur’s forces landed in the Philippines to begin their liberation, the Japanese still had a tremendous amount of Gold and treasures to be buried or moved. On March 7, Manila was liberated. Therefore, the Golden Lily team had to take the Gold and treasures with them into the mountains of northern Philippines and other areas during their retreat, where it was buried at many different locations. This required a huge labor operation.

"The President's Gold" and "Gold of the Spirits"

The President’s Gold and Gold of the Spirits, books by Don Kesterson

Prince Chichibu realized they were going to lose.  Unlike Hirohito, he did not believe they could defend the Philippines. Moreover, he did not share the opinion that they could negotiate to keep the Philippines in defeat. Thus, keep the stored Gold. Chichibu ordered the construction of deep underground storage areas, so deep the Gold, currency and other treasures could not be accidentally detected.

Hirohito decided to recall Yamashita Tomoyuki from Manchuria, where he had been sidelined since conquering Singapore. After a week of briefings, he was promoted to full general and sent to the Philippines to oversee the 250,000 men defending that territory. When Yamashita left, he told his chief of staff that it was his turn to die. On October 6, 1944 Yamashita arrived in the Philippines and established his headquarters in Manila. His original army, so successful just thirty months earlier in Malaysia and Singapore, no longer existed as a cohesive unit. Yamashita knew the “beginning of the end” would occur in the Philippines, and it was up to him and his commanders to stop or at least slow down the U.S. troops.

United States Marines continued to advance in the south on Luzon. There were small pockets of resistance, while the Japanese under Yamashita continued to elude the U.S. forces. In April, he moved 50 miles farther inland to the area of Bangbang. As Yamashita continued to retreat over the balance of the Luzon Campaign, he continued to use Guerrilla tactics such as “hit and run” into the Cordillera Mountains. In a rather ironic twist of fate, Gold had been moving to the Philippines for some time before Yamashita’s arrival, yet the Gold found there would ultimately be called Yamashita’s Gold. Yamashita had nothing to do with the Golden Lily Group, although he was aware of their presence. At the last burial site before surrendering his army, he gathered enough gold and silver to pay his own men.

When Hitler surrendered Germany, Hirohito finally realized for the first time his surrender would be unconditional. His only real remaining hope lay it drawing out the war long enough to have the fragile alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union crumble, which might cause either to ask for Japanese help. With the dropping of the two atomic bombs that request never came.

Lost Gold of World War II- Season Two Premier

Tonight at ten o’clock Eastern Daylight Time, the new season of Lost Gold of World War II begins. Those of you, who followed the show know that at the end of last season, they appeared to find an old tunnel system. Likewise, in several previous episodes to the season finale, they brought out some of the involvement of the United States government and the deviousness of Ferdinand Marcos.

"The President's Gold" and "Gold of the Spirits"

The President’s Gold and Gold of the Spirits, books by Don Kesterson

One of the biggest issues I have with the buried treasure starts with the reference name, Yamashita’s gold. When I was interviewed to be a part of this documentary series, I attempted to correct the producers, telling them that I was able to document that Yamashita was present only at the last burial site. Why, because he had no more money and he went into the burial site to take enough gold and silver to pay his men. Then he sat down with the engineers and drank saké with workers. When they were sufficiently drunk, Yamashita and a couple of the engineers from the Golden Lily team escaped. The bunker was blown up such that those individuals remaining behind were buried alive. I told this story to the producers saying the buried treasure should be properly named either the Golden Lily’s Treasure or Chichibu’s Treasure. Chichibu was Emperor Hirohito’s brother, who was put in charge of the Golden Lily team.

So where did the name Yamashita’s Gold come from? After his surrender in September 1945, he was interrogated by members of General MacArthur’s staff. Then later Ferdinand Marcos used the term to explain his personal wealth. The documented facts are the Japanese were systemically burying gold in the Philippines for several years before Yamashita was stationed there. He was transferred from Manchukuo, the Japanese captured territory or Manchuria in late 1944, therefore, he was there for less than a year. Most of Yamashita’s time, particularly after MacArthur’s arrival to liberate the Philippines, was dedicated to guerilla warfare tactics in the jungle away from the gold and treasure.

I will attempt again this season to critic each series episode again focusing on the involvement with the government and Marcos side. I have spent years researching these two related elements of the buried gold. My assumptions are the season will start out focusing on the newly discovered cave, which as it should be. This site appears to have the potential of being an actual burial site. But remember there were mining operations and natural caves throughout this island before the Japanese arrived in 1942. So who knows, that is why they are doing this show.

Anyway, I suspect my interview for this series ended up on the cutting room floor, as they decided to go in a different direction when it came to the background and intrigue side of the buried gold. I am okay with that. Oh well. Ironically, in January 2020, I was flown to Los Angeles to appear in a new documentary about Yamashita’s gold and the Golden Buddha but due to the Corona Virus outbreak that documentary got suspended or cancelled altogether.

During each of my interviews, I warn the producers about the booby traps and the dangers of these burial sites. Next, I advised they would need a lot of security should they find buried treasure. Lastly, my most important warning was about the involvement of the governments. There are secrets that they cannot allow to be documented. They will do anything to destroy the credibility of anyone who dares tell the truth. I just continue my writing on the subject unveiling the truth about the buried gold in the Philippines along with other untold truths. The real truths in history, history unlike anything you have been taught in school. The real history of the world.

STOLEN GOLD AND OTHER ARTIFACTS

Within the next couple of weeks, a movie will be coming out called The Monuments Men.  This movie is based on a startling, real-life event that occurred in the final days of World War II in the European Theater, the discovery of the Merker Mine.

In the last days of the Third Reich, Hitler had the German Central Bank move all their currency and gold to this mine, which already housed the gold and artifacts stolen from the Jews and the conquered countries throughout Europe.Silhouette fedora

The real story behind this discovery is compelling. Sometime around April 5, 1945, French individuals were interrogated by US Army Counterintelligence Corps from the Ninetieth Infantry and learned of the potassium mine at Merker, Germany. This information was passed on up the Army intelligence chain to G-2. Soon, Lieutenant  Colonel William A. Russell entered this mine and made the startling discovery. As the artifacts were being documented, even General Dwight D. Eisenhower showed up at this mine to review the findings.

Do you know that the same things happened in the Pacific, following the defeat of Japan? Why have we not heard about it? The events in Europe were treated completely different from the events in the Pacific. Why? After the War in Europe, the British, the French, the United States and the Soviet Union divided Germany into four parts, with each country providing supervision in each region. Information was shared among the Allied Parties, except, of course, for the Soviet Union. In the Pacific, it was solely the United States.

I was hired by an international banker to research an owner’s missing gold, which led to more than a decade of researching World War II in the Pacific. This evolved into researching the events that lead to the war and the events immediately after the war. More particular, my research was focused on what happened to the gold and the Asian country’s treasures. The results of my research were placed into a three-volume history book of over one thousand pages that focuses these events. Later, I prepared a series of fiction books with my historical research serving as the underpinning. “We the people” need to be educated about these events. Were we taught these things in school? No, history and geography have been largely ignored in school for the last three or four decades. However, this is not where the answer lies: the government never wanted us to know what happened in the Pacific following World War II. Before and during World War II, we supported the wrong leader in Nationalist China, Chiang Kai-chek. President Franklin Roosevelt had big plans for China following the defeat of Japan; however, when China fell to Mao and the Communists, President Truman had to scramble to make quick changes. With General MacArthur running occupied Japan, Truman decided that Japan would become the country to rebuild. This was a country the United States had virtually destroyed; the infrastructure and many of its young men died in that conflict—those who would be critical to revitalizing the country.

Under the watchful eyes of General MacArthur, Japan got to keep all of their stolen gold and virtually no public record was made of the discoveries or even its existence. Then amazingly, within fifteen years, the world was touting Japan as the Economic Miracle.

Can anybody figure out how that happened?

 

That Ghostly Image in the Rearview Mirror May Be Real

In honor of Halloween, I thought I would tell you about a real ghost. Several years ago, when I set out to research my assignment regarding the heritage of some gold, it led me into a fascinating world of very real characters. The gold I sought was once in located in the Philippines. Naturally, my research led immediately to Ferdinand Marcos; however, there was another shadowy character who continually jumped out at me. His name was Santa Romana, and he also lived in the Philippines. At first, my research on Santa Romana turned up little information, almost as if the man didn’t exist.

Determined, I continued to pursue this mysterious man. I discovered that he was a deep CIA operative, working with individuals at the highest level of our government. But another fact jumped out, even more shocking. He had been a Roman Catholic priest and went by the alias Father Antonio Diaz. Before World War II, I have been told Father Diaz had been given the responsibility, by Pope Piux XII, to protect and move gold from Europe to the Philippines, because everyone feared Hitler would take the gold. Father Diaz, a.k.a Santa Romana, I believe supervised this move. This massive quantity of gold not only belonged to the Church, but some of it belonged to many of the wealthy families of Europe. I have even heard that, if successful in protecting the gold, Father Diaz was promised he’d be elevated to the rank of a Bishop. At the beginning of World War II in the Pacific, the Japanese took the islands of the Philippines and thus the gold. So instead of Germany getting the gold, it fell to the Japanese.

Throughout the remainder of Santa Romana’s life, he worked with first with the Army OSS (Office of Strategic Services), then later its successor, the CIA.  He led many lives under many alias. He worked behind the scenes with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos; however, he  always maintained his religious convictions or his priestly persona. Over the next several decades following World War II, Santa Romana’s primary black ops was to recover gold both for his own benefit and for that of those for whom he worked.

It was this research, plus the encouragement of my supporters, that led me to write the historical/political thriller The President’s Gold around living characters, such as Santa Romana. There were things about their lives that you could not make up—things so out there that they felt impossible to believe, though they were very real. Santa Romana was practically a ghost; there is very little official record of his existence or his work.

As an author of fiction, I found it quite a task to figure out how to keep my real characters interacting with my fictional characters, all the while maintaining accuracy with the historical research I’d completed on those real-life characters. Sometimes, such as in the case of Santa Romana, this becomes a difficult task, especially when there is little information available on that historical person. Therefore, I worked to compose a profile similar to how the police or FBI profiles an individual when a crime is committed with miniscule evidence. I sought (and fortunately, found) individuals who knew Santa Romana, which allowed my profile to expand.

What about you? Have you researched a living (or once living) character for your fictional writing? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Share your experience here, so that I, and other fellow writers, can learn more.