Amelia born 24 July 1897, Tadao born 23 January 1893
In 2017 the well known HISTORY CHANNEL spread a false news report about America's most famous air heroine, Amelia Earhart, and included a possible photo of her and her colleague Fred Noonan which was taken in the Japor port of the Marshall Islands which was a Japanese mandate territory at that time. Amelia and Fred had disappeared somewhere in the middle of the Pacific in July 1937. The History Channel documentary argued that Amelia and Fred were captured by the Japanese and later on were executed. The news report got a lot of press and word wide attention. This news, however, was proven to be rubbish as soon after it came out as the photo was found by a Japanese blogger to have originated from a 1935 published coffee table book, two year before the two aviators disappeared. This knowledge was widely known from a Japanese blogger who wrote in Japanese text SNS.
However I had found new evidence that this photo was taken earlier than this between 27th to 30th August 1933 when Prof Tadao Yanaihara, as part of a research mission of the Institute of Paciric Relations (IPR) visited the Japanese mandate territory. Prof Yanaihara had departed the Yokohama on the 3rd July 1933 and returned on the 16 September 1933. He visited Saipan, Yap, Palau, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and the Marshall Islands. He made another trip in 1934 as part of this research mission, however he only visited Yap.
Yanaihara wrote very detailed report on this trip in both Japanese and English. The English version was published in 1940 by Oxford University Press. The photo which the History Channel had used for their fake documentary was printed only in the Japanese publication as part of an appendix outlining his diary. The caption of photo said: "The steamer on the right is for the inland route. On the left is a liner for the remote island route, and the sailing ship is an islander's ship." His diary included many photos of places he visited. Some of photos are those he included himself. I did not find whether Prof Yanaihara or any of his colleague or someone else took the actual photo of Japor port in the Marshall Islands. But at least this photo was taken in August 1933 and his book in Japanese was published in 1935. So it is impossible for this photo to have been taken in 1937 when Amelia vanished.
As a scholar of the Pacific this book of Yanaihara is very important. I was actually aware of the 1933 photo back in 2017 when all the debate arising from the History Channel documentary was brewing. At the same time an American citizen, Matt Holly, who lived in the Marshall Islands, independently identified the photo as a fake. He was obviously ignorant that knowledge of the fake news was already known due to the Japanese blogger mentioned above. Unfortunately, Mr Holly accused me for leaking what he called "his findings" that the photo came from a Japanese coffee-table book. Mr. Holly seemed more focussed on the need for fame and money, not the truth of history. This incident left a sour taste in my mouth and as a result I did not want to waste anymore of my time on this issue and thus did not make it known that the photo was indeed taken in 1933 and NOT 1935.
However, the picture of security of the Pacific has been drastically changed since 2017. We should learn from the" true history".
I am not only the person who knows the importance of this book of Yanaihara. After the war a senior official of the US government in Guam knew of this work as providing the most important information on Micronesia. He asked Yanaihara to bring a copy while he had visited Tokyo, according to a paper written by Yanaihara's son, Prof Katsu Yanaihara, who was himself a prominent academic on economics. Over the last few weeks I re-read Yanaihara's book as part of my research for a new book on the Pacific Islands and suddenly remembered the photo. From 1922 to 1937 Yanaihara was in charge of the Colonial policy class developed by his teacher, Dr Inazo Nitobe, at the Imperial Tokyo University. In 1937 Yanaihara left the University. Actually he was fired by the government since he criticized Japanese military activities in China. After the war he returned to the University of Tokyo and subsequently became its President from 1951 to 1957.
His research trip to Micronesia from July to August of 1933 also had the role to assess whether Japan had developed any military facilities in these islands or not. This topic had been argued in the League of Nations as the Treaty of Versailles prohibited any country that had a Mandate Territory to establish fortifications or military and naval bases. In 1933 Prof Yanaihara subsequently reported that there were no military activities in the Japanese Mandate Territories of Micronesia. Yet it is ironic that his photo was used by some US citizens and media to spread erroneous news about Japan. In the dairy, on the 29th August 1933, Yanaihara described the coast of Japor as:
"Inside the atoll of an isolated island about one meter above sea level, it is quiet like a mirror, but the endless Pacific wave crests on the coast facing the open sea. Sometimes there was a fierce squall and there was a lightning thunder. However, this Jalut island had been too secularized compare to Patmos."
I wonder whether in 1933 Prof Tadao Yanaihara knew of Amelia?