Newspaper King Hearst's “conversion"
At the end of his visit to America, Shinjiro Yamamoto met William Randolph Hearst on the West Coast. Hearst's father, a mining magnate, entrusted him with the management of a newspaper called the San Francisco Examiner, and he bought up newspapers one after another.
In the United States, he was known as the "newspaper magnate". He manipulated public opinion through his media, and even ran for the presidency of the Democratic Party, and was the model for Orson Welles' classic film Citizen Kane. In terms of relations with Japan, in 1916 he made the controversial film “Patria", which portrayed the Japanese invasion of Mexico, and was notable for its "anti-Japanese" language and actions.
It seems to have reflected a strong sense of racism and the atmosphere in the US at the time, which believed that saying bad things about Japan would be popular with the public.
Yamamoto also stated honestly in a lecture after returning to Japan.
"He had a very poisonous tongue against Japan and was a very disagreeable man."
However, when Hearst learned that Yamamoto was visiting the US, he sent his private plane to pick him up in Los Angeles, where he was staying, and invited him to the famous San Simeon villa.
Hearst's "anti-Communist" stance had been growing since 1934, when the trade union movement was gaining momentum in the US.
Hearst-affiliated newspapers were united in an anti-communist campaign and criticised the Franklin Roosevelt administration for its support of communism and the trade union movement. When Yamamoto met Hearst, he felt that Hearst had "changed".
Hearst was also a Catholic, having been baptized as an infant.
Yamamoto welcomed Hirst's 'conversion' by saying: 'I am a Catholic and I have been for a long time.
"I think he welcomed me because I am a Catholic and I have a firm opinion on this anti-communism issue, and because I am Japanese and I am against communism in Japan. I thought it was very good, not only good for Japan, but very good for the world."
But despite the newspaper magnate's "conversion", the Roosevelt administration never changed its "pro-communist, pro-China and anti-Japanese" stance.
San Simeon villa