NORFOLK, Va. -- A history professor who ownswritings of the Japanese leader who ordered the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor could net a considerable sum of money next month during an auction.
'It's very exciting,' said Carl Boyd, 51, who has taught at Old Dominion University since 1975. But, 'I think the more important things in life are peace of mind and friends rather than financial status. ... Nothing will change.'
The writings of Gen. Tojo Hideki, the Japanese prime minister who ordered the Pearl Harbor attack, will go on auction Dec. 4 at Wilson's Rare and Used Books in Norfolk. Store co-owner Linda Wilson will conduct the auction that is expected to attract the attention of collectors worldwide.
Japanese buyers are especially interested because 'culturally, this is an extremely important item to the Japanese,' she said.
The last time a Tojo item was auctioned, it was a signature on a government document and that single document brought $9,600. This time, Tojo's last-known writings coupled with other artifacts from his postwar trial will be for sale and they could net a considerable sum, Wilson said.
Because of the historical value of Tojo's 'reflections,' as Tojo titled the 11 -page document, Wilson said she could not estimate a price.
'It's at the moment invaluable,' she said.
Tojo committed his thoughts to paper in February 1948 only months before he was hanged for war crimes in Japan by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.
Before his death, Tojo presented his writings to Lt. Col. Aubrey Saint Kenworthy, a U.S. Army officer who had been in charge of security during the trial and had gotten to know the Japanese leaders in his custody.
The Tojo collection, owned by Boyd, includes the reflections, two sets of photographs signed by those the tribunal tried, and a copy of the war crimes indictment autographed by 25 of the 28 men charged.
'On one hand, Tojo can be seen as a fairly narrow, politically naive man and on the other hand, he can be seen as a rather cunning and maneuvering person,' said Boyd. 'He's a very complex man.'
Boyd said it was by chance that in 1966 he met Kenworthy's widow. He said he has documents and letters 'legally' giving him the materials.