Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Paul Lockhart (Committee Member), Kathryn Meyer (Committee Chair), Jonathan Reed Winkler (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The present assessment of Japanese intelligence operations during World War II is based almost entirely upon the work of Western researchers. The view presented is one of complete incompetence by the West. Little attention has been paid to any successes the Japanese intelligence organizations achieved. In fact, the majority of Anglo-American historians have instead focused on the errors and unpreparedness of the Allies as the cause of their early failures. This view is completely dismissive of Japanese intelligence efforts. The majority of the research does not take into account the extensive preparations and training the Japanese intelligence organizations and military undertook in the lead up to World War II. This information calls into question the assertion that Allied failures were the primary provenance of the early Japanese successes. This study focuses on the Japanese intelligence efforts from 1930 to 1942. It will analyze the events leading up to and the Invasion of Malaya. This was a pivotal event at the opening of World War II, and was a decisive Japanese victory. Previously, the success of Japanese forces during this, and other, event has been credited to failures in Allied intelligence and preparedness. Western sources at large have claimed that Japanese intelligence as a whole was faulty. This project will argue that in fact Japanese intelligence units were highly skilled and contributed greatly to Japanese successes. It was as a result of severe organizational deficiencies and failures that appeared in the latter half of the war that Japan eventually would fall behind in the intelligence war.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of History

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

History Commons