Trivia

Pearl Harbor and the Japanese Spy Family Part 3

About the attack on Pearl Harbor and the family in Hawaii the Bernard Kuhns who worked as spies for Japan, their history and biography.

The 8-Eyed Spy: The Family That Gave You Pearl Harbor

Even little Hans Joachim was employed as a spy, probably the only bona fide or worthwhile child spy in history. Hans became an active agent before he turned 11. Frau Kuhn would dress him in a sailor suit, and his father would take him for walks along the waterfront. Officers aboard the warships in port often invited the friendly "little sailor" aboard, taking him on tours of their ships and answering all the questions this "intelligent little fellow" asked about the vessels and their operations. What they didn't know was that Dr. Kuhn, who wisely never came aboard, had trained the 10-year-old to ask key questions, to observe and remember anything unusual.

Little Hans was debriefed as soon as the Kuhns arrived home from their walks, and his contributions, like all information the family garnered, were recorded by Frau Kuhn in her fine hand. At 1st this intelligence was secretly delivered to the Japanese consul general, who forwarded it to Tokyo via couriers with diplomatic immunity. But toward the end, more elaborate precautions were taken. The Japanese master spy Takeo Yoshikawa had arrived in Honolulu to work with the Kuhns. While Yoshikawa watched with binoculars from the Japanese consulate, Dr. Kuhn flashed him coded messages from the attic of the Kalama cottage. Incredible as it may seem, this ancient system of lantern signals went undetected until the end.

Due to the efforts of the Kuhns and Yoshikawa over the years, the Japanese knew virtually everything there was to know about Pearl Harbor by December 7, 1941. The Pearl Harbor story is American folklore today, "Remember Pearl Harbor" as famous a slogan as "Remember the Alamo" or "Remember the Maine," but the story of the spy family that helped make the surprise attack possible remains largely unknown. The Kuhns's work cannot be too strongly emphasized. Five days before the attack, for example, they had transmitted to the Japanese an account describing every American ship in Hawaiian waters.

The Kuhns's operation broke down only after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Busy as squirrels in their cramped attic, they were observing the results of their labor through binoculars and flashing this information to Yoshikawa in the Japanese consulate. Military intelligence, awakened from their amazing sleep by the attack, finally noticed and did something about the mysterious blinking lights emanating from the cottage, tracing them to their source and arresting the Kuhns while they were still enthusiastically at work.

Dr. Kuhn was tried and ordered shot as a spy, his sentence commuted to 50 years at hard labor when he volunteered valuable information about his Japanese and Nazi contacts. He was released after serving 4 years. Yoshikawa, eventually returned to Japan in exchange for an American diplomat, is today a prominent businessman in Tokyo. Frau Kuhn, given a light sentence, later went back to Germany with her son, as did daughter Ruth after she served a few years in prison.

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