Yoshio Kodama was born on February 18, 1911 and was born in Nihonmatsu, Japan. His early life saw him staying in with his relatives in the Japanese part of Korea, in which he started and organized a nationalist group with the intent of killing and assassinating some Japanese politicians. He was eventually caught by the authorities and served time in prison for 3 and a half years. Kodama is a well known criminal figure in Japan and is an activist of the criminal underworld during the 1950’s up until the 1970s. He made a fortune by bringing in opiates to Japan and involving himself in a drug trade, all while doing errands for the government after he was contacted by them to help import resources for the Japanese war. He was able to do this thanks to the contacts that Kodama was able to establish during his time in Korea as a youth. This move allowed to make about 175 million US dollars, which made him one of the richest figures in Japan and Asia.
Immediately after the end of the World War II, Kodoma was convicted by the United States as a suspected Class A war criminal. He was imprisoned in Sugamo Prison. During his term in the prison, he met Ryoichi Sasakawa, who was also a war criminal, and the two formed a friendship. Kodama also penned two books during his stay in the prison, entitled “Sugamo Diary” and “I Was Defeated”. He was granted his freedom after reaching an agreement with the U.S. government, with Kodama providing help against communism in Asia. Kodama then used every resource and contact that he had in order to put an end to labor disputes, and other events in which is pro-Communism. He was also ordered to smuggle tungsten from China by the CIA, in which he earned a good chunk of money even though the shipments never arrived. Kodama died of stroke on January 17, 1984.
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