The Two-Ten Conspiracy

The integration of South Japan and the old country

By William Wetherall

First posted 12 August 2008
Last updated 22 May 2010

Leon Le Grand
The Two-Ten Conspiracy
Sydney: Fontana/Collins [Fontana Australia], 1986
1 (contents), 1 (preface), 318 (story), paperback
New York: Lorevan Publishing, 1988
Pagination unconfirmed (A Critic's Choice Paperback)


Who are the mysterious
Two-Ten Society and why do they make
this extraordinay claim
on the continent of Australia?

Michael Berresford is the
young charismatic American from Le Grand's
action-packed first book,
The Von Kessel Dossier.
In The Two-Ten Conspiracy he is
sent on another suspense-filled and violent
mission to Japan and Australia to
uncover the mysterious Two-Ten Society;
and the answer takes us
back to Japan in the sixteen century,
the days of shoguns,
samurai and voyages of exploration.
The discoveries of one such voyage by the
Japanese contribute indirectly,
in the twentieth century, to the threatened
nuclear destruction of Australia.
It is Michael Berresford who leads
the struggle to avert the dreaded holocaust.

1986 Australian Fontana edition
1988 US Lorevan edition

The synopsis in the above box is from the back cover of the Australian Fontana/Collins edition. The cover of the US Lorevan Critic's Choice edition describes the story as a "Violent mission to discover a secret society that could lead to another holocaust."

"futatsu-too kai"

The Two-Ten Conspiracy mixes a tale of alternative historical romance with a tale of alternative future war -- undertaken by a secret society that has sworn to complete an ancient mission to build a Japanese nation on what, after its "discovery" and "claim" by Japan, became Australia. The plot is partly about avenging Japan's loss in World War II, and partly about civilizing a world that continues to be at the mercy of a not very merciful white peril.

The author deploys the usual arsenal of sexual and racial stereotypes to advance what is actually an interesting plot in what could be called a fantasy thriller.

The president of the United States tells Berresford what he knows of the 'futatsu-too kai' -- the 'two-ten society' (page 178). Berresford is assigned the mission of penetrating the society, which is thought to be behind the assassination of over forty of America's best intelligence agents. And something -- the president does not know what -- is supposed to happen on the fifth of February, 1997.

Berresford has conditions. He wants "a retired CIA friend of mine, Tom Brady, a negro guy" to help him. The president's men also have their conditions -- Berresford must accept the help of an assistant named Arna Kumura -- who wore perfume with a delicate fragrance and had a soft, melodious voice (page 183).

Arna was thirty-two and attractive enough to be a fashion model. Born in Hawaii of Japanese parents, she had graduated from the University of Hawaii in politics and arts, majoring in languages. She had been one of the youngest students to graduate with honours.

The prestigious Tokyo University had accepted her for post graduate studies to gain her PhD. Arna was a polyglot of oriental languages, speaking all dialects of Japanese fluently and having mastered all the accents and inflections of voice, an essential part of speaking Japanese. Both her parents had been born in Hawaii. Her father had been a lecturer at the University before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. He had taken his American citizenship seriously and although it had been a particularly painful experience, he had felt bound to inform the American Intelligence of rumours that Pearl Harbour was to be attacked by the Japanese in a surprise raid in 1944. [sic]

Of course Michael and Arna are attracted to each other, and of course she has a mission of her -- which includes convincing Michael that the imbalances of the world are wrong -- imbalances such as those between Japan -- where "hundreds of thousands of foetuses . . . have been aborted because there is no room for large families" -- and Australia -- where "one man . . . can own land which could support thousands of people" (pate 254).

"every right to take Australia"

By the end of the story, Berresford is trying to convince the president that Japan's demands are justifiable (pages 296-297).

'The Japanese believe they have every right to take Australia,' Berresford began, 'and these are their reasons. One: Australia was in fact discovered by the Japanese and actually claimed by them in 1597. Two: they believe that the atom-bombing of Japan in the Second World War was unjustified and they consider that the Australians' threat to put the Emperor on trial was unforgivable; but their other reasons, sir, are even more understandable.'

Berresford paused for breath. 'Since the Middle East War, Australia has been overcharging for oil, gas, coal and similar commodities. Their indiscriminate strikes have also caused considerable hardship to the Japanese people. And to top it all, they refuse to accept Japanese immigrants.'

'But think of the people they'll kill!' [in a nuclear attack on Australia] The President stood up again and looked out the window. 'We can't tolerate that.'

'Mr President,' Berresford retorted, his voice rising, 'think of the Japanese people who have died, probably millions over the years, simply because the Japanese haven't enough land on which to live. Thousands have died through physical hardship, and perhaps mental hardship, because of their cramped conditions. Australia has land to spare. You can see their plight.'

Berresford informs the president that Japan also has a disarmament -- and "the disarmament includes Russia and the States." The president cannot believe that Japan thinks itself a world power, but Berresford assures him that "'In many ways they're more powerful than Russia and the United States, and maybe their influence could defuse some of the current international problems'" (page 298).

"You've got to give it to them"

There is a war, and the "death toll was five thousand less than Japan suffered in the American bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima" -- involving Australia's defence forces and two major cities (page 315). As a result, "the integration of South Japan and the old country" are successful (page 314). These remarks, and the following among many others, come in Chapter 38, the Epilogue, consisting of a dialogue between Michael Berresford and Tom Brady, in which Brady asks the questions that Berresford needs to answer to explain the aftermath of two-ten operation and wrap up the lose ends (pages 313-318).


Chapter 38

[ First parts of Epilogue omitted. ]

'As you know Tom they are not the largest industrial nation on earth . . . If the Japs hadn't moved in, I think the country would have finished up as bankrupt as Argentina.'

'How are the workers treated now?' Brady muttered, a deep brown across his forehead.

'They've never been better off,' Berresford began. 'On the one hand, all workers, Australians and Japanese alike, work fifty weeks a year, with no holiday pay for the two weeks off and a forty-five hour week. This has created unbelievable prosperity. Ninety-nine per cent of the families own their own homes, drive a car or two and many have a boat.'

'How did they move the people in so fast?'

'The immigration programme was extraordinary,' Berresford replied. 'Subsidized air and ship transport brought in millions of newcomers each year.'

'Only from Japan though,' Brady cut in.

'Yes of course,' Berresford continued. 'Every Australian was given Japanese citizenship, but they are reluctant to bring in any outsider.'

[ Omitted. ]

'How do the Japs treat the Australians?' Brady asked.

'Remarkably well, Tom,' Berresford replied, rattling the ice in his glass. "The remaining Australians have prospered equally with the Japanese. But I have to hand it to the Japanese, they have eliminated tax fraud completely and off-shoring money was also stamped out. When smashed the Von Kessel case and broke that international crime ring, you could see how easily individuals could get control of Australian companies and exploit them.'

[ Omitted. ]

'What's your overall view Michael?' Brady asked.

Berresford took a deep breath before answering.

'I believe that the Japs have done more for the Australians than MacArthur did for the Japs after World War Two. It was the Australians' own selfishness that brought them down. People have to learn to coexist with their neighbours, and if Japan hadn't intervened then it would have been Indonesia or perhaps Vietnam -- maybe even Russia -- that might have invaded Australia.

[ Last parts of Epilogue omitted. ]

Among the many details I have not spoiled here is the relationship between Michael and Arna. The last sentence of the novel, though, is "'Sayonara my love,' he whispered.".

Why the author has chosen to write such a novel can only be guessed from the manner in which it ends -- somewhat on the side of Japan's mission to rid the world of the white peril and its excesses in Asia, including Australia.

As portrayed in this novel, Australia -- vulnerable to exploitation, corruption, and conquest -- could be seen as Korea, and Manchuria and even China, by the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries, when Japan's embarked on missions to both rescue and develop them in the name of co-prosperity.

Leon Le Grand expresses his understanding of the dynamics of Japanese history in one-page Preface.


This story is written in four parts. The Prologue is set in Japan during and after the Second World War. It is essentially based on fact, with a touch of my imagination.

Book One begins with Australia in 1996 but then proceeds as a flashback to Japan around 1596 -- the end of Hideyoshi's rule of Japan and the beginning of the Tokugawa 'closed' period 1597-1868, the time when Japan cut itself off from the outside world. This isolation of almost three hundred years, I believe, is what makes Japan today so different from other societies; in my view it is important to understand the social development of Japan during this period in order to gain an understanding of today's Japan.

Book Two returns to modern Japan (and also to Australia and the USA) in 1997-7, and amongst other things, it provides an insight into the current attitudes and idiosyncracies of the Japanese.

All characters in Book Two and in the Epilogue are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Leon Le Grand

Fictitious, perhaps, except that Michael Berresford -- the "young charismatic American" hero -- appears to be a projection of the author, who is described on the front fly leaf of the Australian edition like this.

By the time he was a mere thirty years of age, Leon Le Grand was a millionaire and the executive director of a multi-national corporation. Then, at thirty-nine, he retired from the world of business to become a full-time writer. His highly successful first thriller, The Von Kessel Dossier, was published by Fontana in 1985.

Leon lives in Melbourne with his wife and three children, and when he is not thinking up new stories of suspense and intrigue, he spends time travelling the world or engaging in his favourite pastimes -- pistol shooting and photography.

The Von Kessel Dossier (Sydney: Fontana/Collins, 1985, 305 pages) also features "Michael Berresford, a young successful American businessman, heads an oil exploration company in Australia. He is tricked by an English shareholder into a situation of murder and deceit."

Le Grand (b1940) wrote a third novel, The Whittington Pact (Sydney: Collins Australia, 1988, 194 pages), the plot of which I am unable to confirm. He then "underwent a major spiritual conversion and turned his attention to writing and producing religious films" -- according to AustLit, "a non-profit collaboration between twelve Australian Universities and the National Library of Australia providing authoritative information on hundreds of thousands of creative and critical Australian literature works relating to more than 100,000 Australian authors and literary organisations."

I would guess, therefore, that Le Grand is an Australian -- possibly once an American -- who has tried, but failed, to create an endearing and enduring American hero -- an alien who has invested much of his life in Australia -- loves the country -- and is willing to risk his life to save it from itself -- and has considerably admiration for Japan and Japanese capability. Otherwise one would have to read The Two-Ten Conspiracy as a tongue-in-cheek yellow-peril thriller.