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THERE ARE EIGHT (8) CATEGORIES LISTED BELOW

ORIGINAL FICTION

FILMS & TV

ORIGINAL NONFICTION

NEOLOGISMS

SPOKEN WORD (BY VARIOUS FOLKS)

MUSIC (BY VARIOUS ARTISTS)

MIXED POEMS (I KNOW, I KNOW) (BY MIXED POETS)

WHAT DOESN’T FIT

 

**SCROLL DOWN AT YOUR LEISURE OR CLICK ON A CATEGORY**

 

ORIGINAL NONFICTION

(You read it here first)

 

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION (PART 1)   (3,700 words)    Japan’s rampaging students turned its campuses and cities into war zones.

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION (PART 2)     (6,850 words)    Then it all went haywire and homicidal.

AFRICANUS: THE STORY OF JOHN CHILEMBWE  (2,800 words)   The colonial African preacher thought a race-based rebellion would bring justice to his people.

THE COCONUT KING: AUGUST ENGELHARDT    (1,670 words)    The nude dude (1875-1919) and his attitude to food.

THE YAGHAN PEOPLE OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO & THEIR INSURMOUNTABLE LANGUAGE     (1,900 words)    These lowlanders spoke the Mount Everest of languages.

GRAFFITISTAN    (800 words)    Inconvenience raised to an art form.

THE KANNIBAL CLUB     (980 words)     When you’re on the run in Siberia, what could be more convenient?

WHIPPED BY THREE FLAGS: THE KOREAN WHO KEPT GETTING CAUGHT     (2,700 words)    Two wars, three armies, three continents: more than enough for one man.

THE CITY OF HYPHENS (or THE DRUNKEN CORONER): TRIESTE     (2,900 words)    A lot of Italians aren’t even sure it was in Italy.

THE MEN WHO WEREN’T THERE: BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID     (6,900 words)   Butch and Sundance are dead. No they ain’t. Yes they are. No they ain’t. Yes they are. No they ain’t. So, where are they?

ON CLOUD IX     (700 words)    Neun.  নয় Neuf. .  Nueve.  девять.  Nove.  नौ.   It’s the mother of all numbers.

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF THESE ARTICLES

 

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION (Part 1)

(Japan’s radical protest movement turned its streets into war zones)    (3,700 words)

NONFICTION

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SAY HELLO TO MY GEBABO

 

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YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION (Part 2) 

(Then it all went haywire and homicidal)   (6,850 words)

NONFICTION

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WE WERE JUST GETTING STARTED

 

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AFRICANUS: THE STORY OF JOHN CHILEMBWE 

(This obscure preacher in an obscure British colony figured a race-based rebellion would do the trick   (2,800 words)

NONFICTION

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HE’S A REBEL

 

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THE COCONUT KING: AUGUST ENGELHARDT   

(The nude dude [1875-1919] had an attitude to food    (1,670 words)

NONFICTION

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IT BECAME “THE DONE THING” TO HAVE YOUR PHOTO TAKEN WITH THE LOCAL NAKED LOONY

 

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THE YAGHAN PEOPLE OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO & THEIR INSURMOUNTABLE LANGUAGE

(It’s a wonder the missionary’s brain didn’t explode)   (1,900 words)

NONFICTION

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GRAFFITISTAN

(Inconvenience raised to an art form)   (800 words)

NONFICTION

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ALTHOUGH SOMETHING MIGHT BE OPEN…

 

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THE KANNIBAL CLUB 

(This cuisine not only came pre-packaged but also transported itself across Siberia)     (980 words)

NONFICTION

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WHIPPED BY THREE FLAGS: THE KOREAN WHO KEPT GETTING CAUGHT

(Yang was now pitted against the enemy of his former enemy’s enemy)    (2,700 words)

NONFICTION

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THEY ALL GOT A PIECE OF YANG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE CITY OF HYPHENS (or THE DRUNKEN CORONER): TRIESTE

(The Italian city with more psychiatrists per capita than even Buenos Aires)    (2,900 words)

NONFICTION

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A LOT OF TRIESTINI HAVE THE BLUES

 

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THE MEN WHO WEREN’T THERE: BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID

(Butch & Sundance are dead. No they ain’t. Yes they are. No they ain’t. Yes they are. No they ain’t. So where are they?)     (6,900 words)

NONFICTION

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THIS IS THE PLAN: WE GO STRAIGHT TO ARGENTINA AND GO STRAIGHT

 

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ON CLOUD IX 

(Number nine. Number nine. Number nine………)      (700 words)

NONFICTION

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九 NEUF NEUN

 

 

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GO TO:

ORIGINAL NONFICTION   

ORIGINAL FICTION

ASSORTED MUSIC SPOKEN WORD PIECES BY VARIOUS FOLKS 

POEMS BY A MIX OF POETS  FILMS & TV WHAT DOESN’T FIT

 

 

NEOLOGISMS:

 

NEWLY COINED WORDS FOR WHEN WE DON’T ALREADY HAVE WORDS.

TOO MANY TO LIST HERE.  JUST CLICK NEOLOGISMS AND IT’S AN EASY SCROLL.

(Examples: WHAT IS THE WORD FOR “LAUGHING AT YOUR OWN JOKES?

ORSOMEONE WHO CLAIMS TO BE THE VICTIM OF MULTIPLE ALIEN ABDUCTIONS?

ORSOMEONE WHO’S MORE THAN AN ACQUAINTANCE BUT LESS THAN A FRIEND? )

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GO TO: ORIGINAL NONFICTION NEOLOGISMS 

MUSIC OF MANY KINDS BY MANY ARTISTS SPOKEN WORD PERFORMANCES BY A MIX OF PERFORMERS

FILMS & TV MIXED POEMS BY MIXED POETS  WHAT DOESN’T FIT

 

ORIGINAL FICTION

(You read it here first):

MASCULINE PLURAL    (5,300 words)  Care to double your DNA, chéri?

BEYOND THE CHINESE BONES    (3,970 words)  Maggie had the man and she had the plan. But did she have the luck?

SO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THRU TIME    (2,000 words)  The do do’s and do-not-do’s of time travel for profit.

THE LATIN LOVER    (8,300 words)  The deeper he fell the deeper he wanted to fall.

THE KISS OF ’96    (900 words)  The Devil must surely approve of Mr. Edison’s contraption.

WHAT THE EYES BEHOLD    (900 words)  It’s the thief of time.

THE MAFIA ON THE MOON     (650 words)  Did it really have to be NASA?

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF THESE STORIES

 

MASCULINE PLURAL

Three can be a bit of a crowd in the clone zone. So what’s the solution?  (5,300 words)

(FICTION)

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MAYBE ZANDER SHOULDN’T HAVE SAID OUI

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 BEYOND THE CHINESE BONES

Now that he and Maggie were in cahoots, he wondered if this might afford him special privileges   (3,970 words)

(FICTION)

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A WOMAN, A MAN AND A CRIMINAL PLAN IN POST-BELLUM TEXAS

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SO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THRU TIME

Hey there to the max! Thats our future your playing with lol. Dont forget!   (2,000 words)

(FICTION)

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ITS THE YEAR 2118 (TWENTY-ONE 8EEN) ALREADY LOL & THERES BIG MONEY IN TIME TRAVEL LOL

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THE LATIN LOVER

 The Consenting Adults Hall of Fame awaited them  (8,300 words)

(FICTION)

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If she was the disease she was also the cure

 

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 THE KISS OF ’96

Everyone knows I haven’t a prudish bone in my body (900 words)

(FICTION)

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MR. EDISON’S INVENTION WILL SURELY LEAD US TO PERDITION!

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WHAT THE EYES BEHOLD

“…And now doth time waste me.” (Don’t let this happen to you!)    (900 words)

(FICTION)

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A DOUBLE CAPPUCCINO AND THEN REALLY KNUCKLE DOWN

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THE MAFIA ON THE MOON

He’d drink the first martini and smoke the first cigarette in space because who needs NASA?    (650 words)

(FICTION)

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A $100 BILL IN EVERY POCKET MEANS NOBODY SAW NOTHIN’!

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GO TO: ORIGINAL NONFICTION NEOLOGISMS

ORIGINAL FICTION POEMS BY ASSORTED POETS   TV & FILM

MUSIC OF VARIOUS GENRES BY A MIX OF ARTISTS     WHAT DOESN’T FIT

 

 

SPOKEN WORD PERFORMANCES (BY VARIOUS PERFORMERS):

 

THE LADY OR THE TIGER? performed by Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp

He understood her nature

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THE CLASSIC TALE PERFORMED BY TOYAH WILLCOX AND ROBERT FRIPP

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TO PROVE A VILLAIN performed by Daniel Pellisier

Since I cannot prove a lover…

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DANIEL PELISSIER’S WITTY RENDITION OF THE FAMOUS SHAKESPEARE BIT

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THE TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMINGS written & read by William S. Burroughs

Perhaps the appendix is already out, doctor

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WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS INTRODUCES DR. BENWAY

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THE DO-RIGHTS written & read by William S. Burroughs

Get there firstest with the brownest nose!

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THEY SAID HE HAD THE WRONG ATTITUDE

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GO TO: ORIGINAL NONFICTION   NEOLOGISMS 

SPOKEN WORD PIECES BY VARIOUS PERFORMERS  FILMS & TV

ASSORTED MUSIC BY ASSORTED MUSICIANS

ORIGINAL FICTION 

WHAT DOESN’T FIT

 

 

MIXED POEMS (BY MIXED POETS):

I KNOW. I KNOW.

BUT MOST OF THEM ARE AMUSING. AND ALL ARE SHORT.

(THE “POEMS” LIST IS ALSO SHORT. IT’S AN EASY SCROLL.)

 

POINTY BIRDS by STEVE MARTIN

 

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A POEM IN THE STYLE OF JOHN WILMOT, 2nd EARL OF ROCHESTER (1647-1680)

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THE MOVIE THE LIBERTINE WAS BASED ON HIS LIFE 

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FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA

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IT’S A YUGE HONOR, I HAVE TO BE HONEST.

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WEE WORKS FROM VARIOUS POETS

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BREVITY SOUL WIT

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A MODEL OF CONCISION

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WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827)

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A POST-STRUCTURALIST LAY DYING

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GO TO:

ORIGINAL NONFICTION

NEOLOGISMS

ORIGINAL FICTION

FILMS & TV

MIXED POEMS BY MIXED POETS

SPOKEN WORD PERFORMANCES BY A MIX OF PEOPLE

WHAT DOESN’T FIT

 

MUSIC TRACKS OF ASSORTED GENRES BY VARIOUS ARTISTS:

Brian Eno      The Fall       Van Morrison and Hozier       Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin     James       Arcade Fire       Dean & Britta and Laurie Anderson      Sir Richard Bishop     Mississippi Fred McDowell and Howlin’ Wolf

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON EACH TITLE IN THE MUSIC CATEGORY

 

“AN ENDING (ASCENT)”  (OR 4′ 31″ OF ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT) BY BRIAN ENO

Brian Enos cosmic calm. Play this in a dark room on full screen at a comfortable volume and see if your perspective isn’t altered.

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THRICE FALLEN: SONGS BY THE FALL

Three (?) songs by The (mighty) Fall

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“THEY REALLY (WERE) QUITE MAGNIFICENT, YOU KNOW.”

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VAN MORRISON & LUC BOONEN  …  HOZIER

Van Morrisons Purple Heather (photos by Luc Boonen) followed by Hoziers version of Morrison’s Sweet Thing

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THIS IS WHY THE FRENCH DON’T SUCK

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin (late 1960’s)…

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PERFORMING Je T’aime,…Mois non plus (LATE 1960’S)

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LAID

by James (U.K.) 1993: a boppy little track, this

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HER DIMENSIONS

by Arcade Fire (Montreal). A track from the soundtrack of the Spike Jonze film Her (2013)

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THE SONG BOB DYLAN WROTE & THEN VIRTUALLY FORGOT and IT TANGO

Dean & Britta‘s version of the long lost Bob Dylan song I’ll Keep It With Mine and Laurie Anderson‘s It Tango

 

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IT TAKES 1 TO KNOW 1

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MAHAVIDYA BY SIR RICHARD BISHOP

by Sir Richard Bishop (A solo guitar track)

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“ARISE, SIR RICHARD”

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“I DON’T PLAY NO ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!” written & performed by Mississippi Fred McDowell

Mississippi Fred McDowell’s Shake ‘Em On Down followed by Howlin’ Wolf‘s unforgettable Smokestack Lightnin’

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GO TO: ORIGINAL NONFICTION

NEOLOGISMS

ORIGINAL FICTION

SPOKEN WORD PIECES BY A MIX OF FOLKS

POEMS BY A MIX OF POETS

MUSIC OF VARIOUS GENRES BY VARIOUS MUSICIANS

WHAT DOESN’T FIT

 

 

KEY SCENES FROM KEY MOVIES (AND A LITTLE TV):

 

(THE UNDERLYING QUESTION IS ALWAYS: WHY AREN’T SOME OF THESE FILMS BETTER KNOWN?)

 

QUINTESSENCE OF DUST: final scene from Withnail & I (1987 comedy-drama)   

 “THE WRONG POOR SON OF A BITCH: early scene from The Hospital (1971 satire) 

THE FUTURE KING OF COMEDY? : He’s a funny guy, right?  Right?           

BAGS OF HANGUPS: sex, lies and videotape (1989)           

BURN!: a neglected film from Marlon Brando’s middle period        

CALL-WHAT’S-HIS-NAME-AND-ASK-HIM-ABOUT-HIS-HOUSE: early scene from Withnail & I (1987) 

“YOU HAVE MEDDLED WITH THE PRIMAL FORCES OF NATURE!”: pivotal scene from Network (1976) 

I SAID, ‘EVERYBODY LIVES WITH LIES’!”: pivotal scene from The Hospital (1971) 

THE INTERROGATIVE PRONOUN PLAYS AT BASE #1: classic comedy routine from 1953 

LOVING AND DYING: subjectively objective scene from Love and Death (1975)           

HE HAS THEM……: the pinnacle of stand up comedy            

DEEP IN THE RUSSIAN SOUL: more from Love and Death          

THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL LOVEMAKING: and Love and Death again          

THE MUSIC OF MEN’S LIVES”: scene from Mark Rylance’s acclaimed stage performance in Richard II

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON EACH TITLE IN THE KEY SCENES FROM KEY MOVIES (AND A LITTLE TV) CATEGORY

 

QUINTESSENCE OF DUST (extract from “WITHNAIL & I”)

The scene from Withnail and I (1987 comedy-drama) where Withnail and “I” part company for the last time

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WELL, OLD BOY, THIS IS IT

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“THE WRONG POOR SON OF A BITCH” (scene from THE HOSPITAL [1971])

The scene from The Hospital (1971 satire) where they find a dead doctor in a patient’s bed

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YOU AND I HAD BETTER HAVE A LITTLE CHAT

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THE FUTURE KING OF COMEDY? Liam Neeson ventures into comedy

From the TV series Life is Too Short (Ep 1)

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I’M A FUNNY GUY, RIGHT?

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BAGS OF HANGUPS: sex, lies and videotape in its entirety

The 1989 drama sex, lies and videotape in its entirety

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THIS WASN’T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN

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BURN! (Marlon Brando)

One of Marlon Brando‘s lesser known films, languishing in undeserved obscurity since 1968

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WORTH A LOOK EVEN JUST FOR THE OPENING CREDITS

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CALL-WHAT’S-HIS-NAME-AND-ASK-HIM-ABOUT-HIS-HOUSE (More from “WITHNAIL & I”)

A narrow escape for Withnail and “I” when someone takes exception to the perfume “I” accidentally spilled on his shoes (Withnail and I, 1987)

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AND NOW I’M CALLING YOU ONE!

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“YOU HAVE MEDDLED WITH THE PRIMAL FORCES OF NATURE!” (Scene from “NETWORK” [1976])

The scene from the satire Network (1976) in which the immutable by-laws of business are made clear

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“…AND I WON’T HAVE IT!”

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“I SAID, ‘EVERYBODY LIVES WITH LIES’!” (Scene from “THE HOSPITAL” [1971])

The famous “impotence monologue” from the satire The Hospital (1971)

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“THE ONLY THING I’VE EVER TRULY LOVED”

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THE INTERROGATIVE PRONOUN PLAYS AT BASE #1 (Abbot & Costello)

Classic comedy skit from 1953. FF to 0′ 50″

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Q: WHO GETS THE MONEY? A: EVERY DOLLAR OF IT.

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LOVING AND DYING (From Woody Allen’s “LOVE AND DEATH” [1975])

Early scene from the comedy Love and Death (1975)

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BUT OBJECTIVITY IS SUBJECTIVE

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HE HAS THEM…

…eating out of the palm of his hand. 

A Rodney Dangerfield stand up routine.

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SHE USED TO BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. THEN SHE SAW ME NAKED. NOW SHE’S AFRAID OF THE LIGHT.

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DEEP IN THE RUSSIAN SOUL (from Woody Allen’s “LOVE AND DEATH”[1975])

More from Woody Allen‘s Love and Death (1975)

 

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IT’S A VERY COMPLICATED SITUATION, COUSIN SONYA

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THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL LOVEMAKING (From Woody Allen’s “LOVE AND DEATH” [1975])

And more from Love and Death

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YOU’RE DISGUSTING. BUT I LOVE YOU.

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THE MUSIC OF MEN’S LIVES (Scene from “RICHARD II”)

A scene from Act V of Richard II in which the Anglo-American actor-director Mark Rylance‘s performance won wide acclaim. This was staged at the Globe Theatre in London.

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“I WAS UNKING’D BY BOLINGBROKE”

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GO TO: ORIGINAL NONFICTION

ORIGINAL FICTION     MUSIC OF MANY GENRES BY MANY PERFORMERS

POEMS BY A MIX OF POETS    SPOKEN WORD PIECES BY A MIX OF FOLKS   FILMS & TV  NEOLOGISMS

 

AND

 

VARIOUS OTHER THINGS WHICH DEFY CLASSIFICATION:

WHAT DOESN’T FIT: 

Which includes

TWEETS FROM GOD

&c ,  &c.

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HAPPY READING / VIEWING / LISTENING

(ALL ORIGINAL ARTICLES THOSE WHICH ARE NOT CREDITED TO THEIR AUTHORS/CREATORS OR ARE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN ARE  © manfacingnortheast.com)

 

 

 

 

 

ON CLOUD IX

(NONFICTION)               RETURN TO HOME PAGE

 

Neuf       εννέα      Neun      九      Nueve       девять       Nio        नौ       Nove        নয়        Tisa   

 

Behold the mystery of 9, the largest single-digit number. It has unique properties. Let us begin.

If you multiply 9 by 1, you of course get 9. But if you multiply 9 by 2 you get 18, whose digits (1 and 8) also add up to 9.

Multiplying 9 x 3  gives you 27, and 2 +7 = 9.

9 x 4 = 36, and we see 3 + 6 = 9.  And 9 x 44 is 396, and 3 + 9 + 6 = 18 and then 1 + 8 = 9. And so on.

Choose any number, no matter how big, and multiply it by 9. Its constituent digits will always reduce to 9.

For example: 867,412,155 multiplied by 9 is 7,806,709, 395.

7 + 8 + 0 + 6 + 7 + 0 + 9 + 3 + 9 + 5 = 54, and 5 + 4 = 9.

 

But we’ve barely scratched the surface.

Add up all the digits from 1 to 9 and they come to 45. Needless to say, 4 + 5 =9.

Then there’s this:

If you line up all the single-digit numbers (1 to 9) and multiply them by 9, you wind up with 123,456,789 x 9 = 1,111,111,101. That number’s digits add up to 9.

If you line up 123,456,789 and multiply that number by 18 (whose digits add up to 9) you get 2,222,222,202. All those 2’s add add up to 18 which reduces to 9. If you take that same line-up from 1 to 9 and multiply it by 45 (whose digits also add up to 9) you end up with 5,555,555,505. And all those 5’s add up to 45, which reduces to 9.

And so on.

You can also take any number whose digits add up to 9 and then subtract 9. Let’s say the original number is 441 (4 + 4 + 1 = 9). Now watch this:

441 – 9 = 432. Then 4 + 3 + 2 = 9.

 

Image result for nine

 

 

 

Image result for chuck norris
HE CAN COUNT TO IN-FIN-ITY

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a neat observation:

Take any 2-digit number, let’s say 64, and divide it by the 2-digit number 99 and see what happens.

64 ÷ 99 is 0.6464646464. Notice how the two-digits on either side (64/99) result in a repeating decimal which also consists of two digits?

The same would work for any 7-digit number divided by the 7-digit number 9,999,999. Let’s say 8,865,931 ÷ 9,999,999. The result is 0.88659318865931…(a 7-digit repeating decimal).

 

Let’s dig deeper.

The internet tells us Chuck Norris can count to infinity (∞). (They say he can do that twice, in fact). For our purposes the irrational number pi (3.141592653….. ), which stretches to ∞, will suffice. If we use a shortened (non-infinite) version of pi and multiply it by 9:

Pi x 9 = 28.274333877.

Add up all those digits from 28 to 77 and the answer is 54. And of course 5 + 4 =9.

Even if we use a much shorter version of pi, we still can’t escape the pattern. 3.1416 x 9 = 28.2744, whose digits add up to 27, which reduces to you-know-what.

 

Image result for nine in chineseImage result for nine in chinese

 

Hindu mystics think the world of 9. So do Buddhists. Their prayer beads (similar to Catholic rosary beads) contain 108 beads. At New Year Japanese Buddhists toll the bell 108 times. And Buddha had 9 virtues.

Indian astrology has 9 influencers (called navagraha): the sun, moon and planets.

Indian mysticism holds that there are 9 elements: earth, water, air, fire, ether, time, space, soul and mind.

 

9 also looms large in Chinese culture. The word for 9 (jiu) sounds like the word for long-lasting (something akin to immortality, perhaps). And in Chinese tradition the dragon, which represents power and magic, has 9 forms, 9 attributes and 9 children. It has 117 scales, of which 81 are yang (masculine) and 36 are yin (feminine).

The ancient Greeks had 9 Muses (goddesses of creativity). Christian tradition holds there are 9 choirs of angels in heaven. The Vikings of old divided the cosmos into 9 worlds. Both the Aztec and Maya underworlds consisted of 9 levels, as did the Christian hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to after sunset, is the 9th month. The list goes on and on.

 

In more modern times 9 has held special significance. Westeros, in The Game of Thrones has 9 regions. The U.S. Supreme Court has 9 justices. A baseball game has 9 innings and 9 players take the field for the pitching team. 9 strikes is enough to retire the side. Beethoven, Bruckner, Dvorák and Mahler all died after composing their 9th Symphonies.

The NATO radio alphabet makes 9  the only number to be pronounced in an irregular way – niner – to differentiate it from the similar sounding five.

Some countries AM radio stations’ frequencies are assigned by making sure the kHz add up to 9, for example 1530 kHz.  This is to space them out more effectively and prevent them interfering with other stations’ signals.

The worst movie ever made – believe it or not even worse than The Room – was Plan 9 From Outer Space, directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr. Not Plan 8 or Plan 10, you’ll notice. And – I know this is a stretch – it was made in 1959.

And our mothers carried us around as ever-growing internal residents for about 9 months.

So remember to show 9 a little respect.

 

 

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It’s possible they played The Room on a loop at Guantanamo Bay

 

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WHIPPED BY THREE FLAGS: THE KOREAN WHO KEPT GETTING CAUGHT

NONFICTION             RETURN TO HOME PAGE

 

   Pitted against the enemy of his former enemy’s enemy.

 

[​IMG]
Here we go again

 

Twists of fate lead to other twists of fate.

Here is the story of a man who experienced some big ones. A pawn in a giant game whose rules he barely understood, he wound up serving in three armies and two wars in two continents. And was a prisoner of war (POW) in three countries.

 

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It seemed like a great idea at the time

 

Yang Kyoungjong (surname: Yang) was born in Korea on 3/3/1920, about 10 years after Japan incorporated Korea into its Empire. This made him a Japanese national. Ethnic Koreans like him were denied all the privileges of Japanese nationals from Japan while incurring all the obligations of Japanese nationals. He was drafted into Japan’s permanent military garrison in northeastern China (“The Kwangtung Army”).

Our story opens here in 1938.

 

Japan had grandiose plans for enlarging its empire by seizing Mongolia and a big chunk of Siberia. This would be easy for two reasons:

Manchuria – ostensibly the independent nation of Manchukuo – was Tokyo’s obedient puppet state in northeastern China, providing The Kwangtung Army with the perfect base for a war of conquest.

Secondly, despite the Soviet Armed Forces (the Red Army) and its obedient puppet state – Mongolia – looming large, the Red Army was reportedly in tatters. The Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s paranoia about traitors in every closet and spies under every bed saw scores of top Red Army generals arrested, tortured then executed.

Japanese intelligence officers noted with satisfaction that the Soviets’ leading tank warfare specialist was among the first to disappear. The Red Army’s morale, they reported to Tokyo, couldn’t be lower.

Smashing the Red Army would be a cinch.

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“…are hereby sentenced to death…”

 

Not so fast! said the Japanese Navy. The admirals saw the acquisition of sub-Arctic tundra as a monumental waste of effort. (Not to mention this was all the Army’s idea, thereby depriving the Navy of glory.) But the Army had the Emperor’s ear, and he approved the generals’ plan.

Meanwhile, Yang and his fellow Kwangtung Army troops geared up for what was supposed to be a brief and glorious invasion. But the Soviets inflicted a stinging defeat. Japan’s generals searched for someone else to blame, the admirals said We told you so and the Emperor now transferred his attention to the Navy’s idea: seizing America’s and Europe’s Asian-Pacific territories.

All this meant nothing to Yang, who – with 3,000 other Japanese and Manchurian soldiers – was now a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union.

 

Back home, Yang’s family received notification he’d been killed in action. Japanese tradition required its troops to commit suicide rather than fall into captivity. To spare their loved ones the shame of having a POW in the family, Yang and the others were declared dead, case closed. (For the Army they were as good as dead anyway.)

He languished in the Soviet Union, learning the debased Russian vocabulary of the prison camps, never knowing if he’d see another day, never knowing what fate awaited him. Then geopolitics intervened.

In June 1941 Hitler and his Axis allies (Croatia, Hungary, Italy and Romania) invaded the Soviet Union.

 

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They caught the Soviets with their pants down, taking hundreds of thousands of prisoners. Only the U.S.S.R.’s vast distances and the brutal winter of 1941-42 saved Moscow itself from capture.

The Soviet dictator, Josef Stalin, ordered all Red Army units Hold firm! Fight to the last man! Surrender was forbidden. But hopelessly cornered Red Army troops facing certain death surrendered in droves.

The Soviet manpower situation became critical. Stalin now looked to the prison camps (the gulag) in Siberia and Arctic Russia. In 1942 he released most political prisoners plus the POWs from Manchuria. The idea was: put a little meat on their bones, give them rudimentary training and pitch them straight into battle. That should buy us some time, Stalin thought.

It bought Yang about a year. But in early 1943 the Wehrmacht captured him at Kharkov. He was now in a German prison camp.

 

Image result for starving soviet prisoners of war in german prison camp
Will trade rag for potato

 

Prison camp was a generous term. Stalin’s regime spurned all international agreements on the treatment of POWs, so Germany had no legal obligation to provide its Soviet captives with adequate food, shelter or medical care. Most of them huddled in barbed wire enclosures, left to freeze and starve, sleeping in piss puddles, surrounded by putrefaction and despair.

Some were used in ghoulish medical experiments. Some wound up as slave workers as far away as Norway and the Channel Islands. And a surprising number were either forced into the Wehrmacht (the German armed forces) or enthusiastically volunteered to fight against Stalin.

 

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Join us and fight for a brighter Europe!

 

Nazi ideology permitted the concept of Honorary Aryan: “racially acceptable” non-Europeans, like the Japanese and northern Indians.  There’d be no objection to them serving in German uniforms (whether they wished to or not). Nazi racial experts toured the camps, selecting Soviet POWs to replenish the Wehrmacht‘s numbers after its heavy losses.

The coerced ones joined the eager volunteers trudging out of the piss puddles, stepping over the corpses, getting deloused, receiving actual food and putting on German uniforms. They joined Ost-bataillone (Eastern battalions): Wehrmacht units under German command but comprising troops from the Soviet Union’s non-Slavic populations. (Later, as we’ll see, the Slavs’ official sub-human status was conveniently forgotten and any Russian/Slavic POW or defector wanting to fight Stalin could join in.)

The keen Estonians and Latvians were high up the racial totem pole, and the Caucasians (Armenians, Georgians and so on) were also good to go. So were the Central Asians (Kazakhs, Tajiks, Uzbeks…).

 

Yang made the cut as an Honorary Aryan. We’ll never know whether some racial expert simply liked the look of him or whether Yang somehow managed to convey to his captors that he was Japanese (his Korean ethnicity being irrelevant here). Whatever the case, in 1943 Yang Kyoungjong, formerly of the Imperial Japanese Army and the Red Army, became a private in the Wehrmacht‘s 709th Infantrie-Division. That was a static division – it had precious few motor vehicles and many of its troops were of inferior quality.

Next stop, France.

 

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We’re racially acceptable

 

What went through the Korean’s mind as he was shunted across Europe to Normandy to  be pitted against the enemy of his former enemy’s enemy?

He was still alive and in one piece, despite numerous chances to become neither. One spring day in 1944 he climbed off a horse-drawn wagon at the opposite end of the Eurasian landmass from where he’d started. He felt the salty tang of the wind from the English Channel as he joined his new Wehrmacht buddies in a division charged with repelling the expected Anglo-American invasion.

The 709th Division had its fair share of ex-Red Army soldiers: mainly Slavs and Georgians. Their combat effectiveness wasn’t expected to be high and their willingness to lay down their lives for Hitler was minimal. So, when the invasion came, the U.S. paratroopers assigned to that area easily overwhelmed Yang’s unit.

We don’t know exactly how Yang’s third capture happened, but we know he was luckier than some. Many of his fellow soldiers met a grizzly end, as the movie Saving Private Ryan depicted. In an early scene the Americans take heavy casualties on the beach then fight their way a little inland, encountering a German bunker complex. Two Wehrmacht guys emerge with their hands in the air, shouting something the Americans can’t understand. With the noise of battle and the fog of war they might as well have spoken Tamil. The Americans shoot them anyway.

 

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Wir sind Russen! Russen!

 

The G.I.’s guarding Yang and his fellow-prisoners saw four East-Asian-looking men among them and discovered one of them was “Japanese” (Yaponskiy). They immediately assumed all four were Japanese. The guards sent word to their superiors who sent word to their superiors who sent word to Washington D.C. There are Japanese troops fighting for Hitler in France! We have the proof right here!

Questions immediately arose. How was this even possible? They couldn’t cross the Japan Sea to the U.S.S.R. and travel overland to France. Did they somehow cross the Pacific, traverse South America and cross the Atlantic to Europe? But why go to such trouble? And are there enough Japanese troops in Europe to tip the balance?

Even in 1944 the Anglo-Americans had little idea that the Wehrmacht included hundreds of thousands of ex-Soviets of many ethnicities. When the Western Allies encountered almond-shaped eyes and high cheekbones they immediately saw “Japanese”. Only later, as Germany collapsed and masses of prisoners fell into Allied hands, did the reality hit. But the NKVD (the KGB’s predecessor) already knew about all this.

 

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Cossacks for Hitler

 

The practice of POWs switching sides was hardly new. During the American Civil War some 5,000 Confederate prisoners joined the Union Army and about 1,600 Union POWs switched to the Confederate Army. And thousands of Czech and Slovak prisoners defected from the Austro-Hungarian Army to the Russians in World War One.

The scale here was massive. As early as 1942 NKVD officers saw ample evidence of Soviet troops defecting en masse to the Germans. They learned not only of POWs voluntarily switching sides, but soldiers on active duty. Whole units defected without even waiting to be captured. Not only troops from ethnic minorities, but actual sons of Russia. Not only ordinary Russian soldiers but officers too. Military academy graduates! Not only academy graduates – and this made the sweat trickle down the investigators’ backs – but actual Communist Party members. The Soviet elite! Holy Mother of God! the NKVD officers whispered under their breath as they two-finger-typed their reports to Moscow.

Comrades, let’s not kid ourselves, these reports said (although in more conventional words). We can understand – but never forgive! – Ukrainians acting on anti-Soviet impulses after the harsh treatment – harsh but totally justified, comrades! – they received during the agricultural collectivization campaigns before the war. And we can understand – but never forgive! – the Central Asians’ resentment at the Soviet government’s completely justified suppression of their Islamic practices.

As for the Armenians and Chechens, well, comrades, who can trust those people?

And so on. The revelation that Homo Sovieticus would so eagerly betray both the motherland and communism shocked Stalin. Never one for half-measures, he ordered 25-year Siberian prison camp sentences for every Soviet POW returning to the U.S.S.R. – whether he’d actually joined the German war effort or not.

But it got worse.

 

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He would liberate Russia

 

General Vlasov survived Stalin’s mass arrests in 1938. By 1942 he was a highly decorated hero, the Soviet medias golden boy. But that summer Vlasov’s forces – undermanned and undersupplied, unable to advance but forbidden to withdraw – were hung out to dry. He was captured on July 12, readily betrayed to the Germans by a local farmer.

Vlasov later claimed this senseless waste of lives turned him against Stalin and the Soviet system. In the prison camp he approached the Germans with a seemingly outlandish offer: he wished to recruit POWs of Russian ethnicity and train them as an army to fight side-by-side with the Germans against the Red Army.

Russians will fight with passion against the Communist beast, he told anyone who’d listen. And I, Andrey Andreyevich Vlasov, will lead them in this crusade.

At first this idea of an army of Russian prisoners helping to liberate Russia fizzled. But later, as the Germans’ manpower situation worsened, their thinking evolved. Among Berlin’s elite the conversations went thus:

These creatures in their barbed wire enclosures must be miserable.

Certainly.

Living in their own filth, waiting to shrivel up and die.

Quite.

Is it true there’s cannibalism in those camps?

In all probability.

Apparently many of them hate Stalin and everything he stands for.

It stands to reason.

This Vlasov fellow seems rational enough, though.

True.

He’s not Jewish, is he?

No. We checked.

So what have we got to lose?

Nothing.

.

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 Russian Liberation Army

 

It took ages to get the ball rolling, by which time most ex-Red Army Russians were already ensconced in Ost-bataillone. Vlasov’s Russian Liberation Army was too little too late. By then Yang was in his third POW camp.

The Americans shipped most of their Wehrmacht prisoners to the States. But Yang wound up in Britain. As victory in Europe drew closer Stalin demanded the Anglo-Americans  hand over all captured ex-Red Army men in German uniforms to Soviet authorities. This meant Yang.

But Yang was also ex-Japanese Imperial Army, and strictly speaking he’d never been a Soviet citizen. So the British weren’t obliged to return him to the NKVD’s loving arms.

 

Let’s review what’s happened so far:

A Korean teenager with Japanese nationality is drafted into the Japanese Army. He’s captured by the Red Army during Japan’s attempt to seize territory from the U.S.S.R. and Mongolia. He’s imprisoned in the Soviet Union until 1942, by which time the desperate Soviets turn political prisoners and POWs from into cannon fodder.

He’s thrown into the Red Army. The Germans capture him in 1943. They shove him into their army, assigning him to France just before the Anglo-American invasion. He’s captured again, this time by the Americans, and shipped to a POW camp in Britain.

Germany surrendered in May 1945.

Yang posed an administrative problem. He wasn’t a German so couldn’t be repatriated to post-war Germany. The Soviets weren’t legally entitled to him. He was technically Japanese but Japan was a world away and remained the enemy until September. Then, with Japan’s defeat, that country could no longer claim him, since Korea’s ties with Japan were severed, meaning Yang was a Korean, not Japanese. So what to do?

 

The details are murky, but Yang eventually emigrated to the United States in 1947. What transpired between May 1945 and 1947 remains unexplained.

Perhaps he was a Christian, like some other ethnic Koreans. That would have helped his application to move to America. Who knows?

We do know three things:

Yang settled in Illinois – at last! a place he could pronounce! – married and had kids.

He never spoke about his experiences, even to his children. He gave no interviews and resisted the temptation to write his memoirs.

He died in 1992.

So how did the Yang narrative emerge?

 

Fragments of the saga surfaced over the decades. Other stories circulated about similar discoveries. Cornelius Ryan’s 1959 best-seller about the Normandy invasion – The Longest Day – mentioned Americans capturing “a Tibetan shepherd” in a Wehrmacht uniform. Ryan reported that months later, when they finally found someone to translate, the shepherd explained he’d been kidnapped by Soviets who’d illegally crossed the border to kidnap men for the Red Army. Later, like Yang, the Germans captured him, put him in their army and shipped him to France.

But Ryan’s geography was way off. He should have seen that Tibet is a long way from the Soviet Union. It’s more likely this POW was from China’s Xinjiang Province, whose Uighur people share ethnic and linguistic roots with some Soviet Central Asians. And Xinjiang’s long, porous border with the Soviet Union allowed Red Army “press gangs” easy access.

 

Some analysts contend that not everything in the Yang story happened to Yang. He may have come from the Soviet Far East’s ethnic Korean population, served in the Red Army as a regular conscript, was captured and forced into the Wehrmacht, then was captured by the Americans. That’s plausible.

Others argue Yang’s a composite character: the stories of two or more East Asian soldiers have been muddled, combined and conflated into one figure. That’s also possible.

Only Yang knew for sure. But he remained stubbornly silent.

In 2011 a South Korean film studio made a highly fictionalized film about Yang (played by a handsome hunk with guaranteed box-office appeal to the ladies). My Way had its Wehrmacht Korean escaping from Normandy and nonsensically making it back to Korea (!). It was a critical and commercial flop. Don’t bother.

Because Yang never gave us his version of these events we can never be certain if we have the truth. He took his story to the grave. And unless something pops up to confirm or refute it, in the grave it will remain.

 

My Way (2011 film).jpg

 

 

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