Suzuki Keiji, Colonel

   (1894-1967)
   Japanese military officer who, in the guise of a correspondent for the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, "Minami Masuyo," traveled to Burma in 1940 to collect intelligence and make contacts with nationalists. His talks with Thakin Kodaw Hmaing, Dr. Thein Maung, and Thakin Mya convinced him that Japanese support of a well-organized Burmese uprising against the British could serve Tokyo's war aims, including shutting down the Burma Road. When Thakins Aung San and Hla Myaing left Burma for China in search of foreign support for the independence movement, Suzuki arranged in November 1940 to have them brought to Tokyo. Imperial General Headquarters made Suzuki head of the Minami Kikan (Minami Organ), established on February 1, 1941. He undertook the training of the Thirty Comrades at Hainan, China, and made them the nucleus of the Burma Independence Army (BIA), which was established soon after war broke out in December 1941. Assuming the Burmese name Bo Mogyo (Commander Thunderbolt), which had prophetic associations, he served as commander of the BIA until June 1942, when he was transferred back to Japan. Dr. Ba Maw compared him to Lawrence of Arabia, "an adventurer with something like a sense of mission" (Breakthrough in Burma, 1968, 111). Most Burmese nationalists who worked with him believed his support for immediate Burmese independence was sincere.
   U Nu quotes him as saying that if the Burmese really wanted independence, they should take up arms, even against the Japanese. This opinion was obviously not shared by the regular Japanese military, who wanted to fully exploit Burma's human and natural resources for the war effort.
   See also Japanese Occupation.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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