Land of the Rising Sun and its cryptographic machines

    The history of the development of cryptography and encryption devices during the years of the First and Second World War, which I touched on in my articles Penetrating the enemy’s thoughts: the legendary Bletchley Park and the Treasury of Russian cryptography , does not stop capturing.

    The military, diplomats, intelligence agents relied on the reliability of encryption machines, trusting them with their secrets and secrets. Now we will talk about the encryption machines of Nazi Germany’s ally in World War II - Japan, which ranked first in terms of power and military aggression among the rest of the Hitler coalition.

    Land of the Rising Sun

    This is the very first country on the planet over which the sun rises and a new day begins, so Japan is called the Land of the Rising Sun, and the Japanese themselves call it Nippon (or Nihon), which can be translated as "the birthplace (or source) of the Sun."

    A bit of history. At the end of the 19th century, the economic and political contradictions of the leading industrial powers intensified. A serious military conflict was brewing, although it was not supposed that it would take on the scale of a world war. In the process of the Meiji Reform, Japan created a modern military industry, reorganized the army and perfectly equipped it. As you know, in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, the Japanese won a landslide victory, which led to a clash of interests between the Russian Empire and Japan in Manchuria.

    This vast territory was a “tidbit” for both powers: the Japanese had long encroached on it, and Russia had already laid railway tracks in Manchuria. Already in February 1904, Japan attacked the Russian fleet in Port Arthur in China and Chemulpo in Korea. Russia did not perceive Japan as a serious adversary, but in vain. At the end of May 1905, after several victories in Manchuria, the Russian squadron in the Tsushima Strait was defeated. In September 1905, a Russo-Japanese peace treaty was signed in the city of Portsmouth (USA). Japan was assigned Korea, southern Sakhalin, as well as the right to lease the Chinese ports of Port Arthur and Dalniy. This victory became important on the path of turning Japan into the most powerful industrial and military power in the Far East. By the time it entered World War II, imperialist Japan had the potential

    By the early 1930s, most participating countries had already used encryption machines in the upcoming war. In particular, the Germans began to widely use the Enigma machine. The Japanese, who followed with great interest the development of machine cryptography, began to use machines of their own design. In 1935, American cryptanalysts came across a Japanese machine cipher called them RED.

    The RED cryptographic engine was developed, and later its improved version, PURPLE. These devices worked on the principle of a step finder - a system whose main element was a switch that closes certain contacts. The principle by which the step finder moved was, roughly speaking, the key to the cipher. Both the first and second models had the same drawbacks. Thin devices required thorough and regular cleaning of contacts that constantly failed, especially in conditions of high humidity in the fleet where they were used. Vowels and consonants were encrypted separately, which facilitated the task of coalition cryptographers (and became a critical vulnerability of these machines). Specialists of the Navy were developing the RED device, among which there were no cryptanalysts.

    The command believed that the encryptor was sufficiently cryptographic, therefore, it did not make any modernization attempts to improve security. RED and PURPLE cryptographic machines were supplied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the military navy, while none of the parties knew about the vulnerability of the system. Although the ground forces developed 92-shiki injiki, 97-shiki injiki and 1-shiki 1-go injiki cryptographic machines from 1932 to 1941, which were based on the same principle as Enigma, they were used much less often, how the command decided that purple is more secure.

    RED prototype

    After it became known that the Ciphering Bureau was able to gain almost complete access to the Japanese delegation at the Washington Maritime Agreement, the Japanese armed forces were forced to review security measures. Thus, the Japanese Navy created its first encryption machine. Responsible for the development of the encoder was Captain Risaburo Ito.

    The machine was developed at the Technical Institute of the Navy of Japan in section 6 of the Department of Electrical Engineering Research. Chief Designer Katsuo Tanabe and Commander Genichiro Kakimoto created the Red prototype, "Ō-bun taipuraita-shiki angō-ki" - "Cryptographic Press in the Latin Alphabet." It worked on the same principle as the KRYHA machine, which was widely used by diplomats and bankers from different countries until the 1950s. Three KRYHA models were created: a standard one, a pocket one called “Liliput”, and an electric one, which could encode 360 ​​characters per minute.

    Electric model KRYHA

    Pocket model KRYHA

    Standard model KRYHA

    The KRYHA mechanical encryption device, created in 1924, was actively used by German diplomats during the Second World War, who did not know that this code was discovered by the Americans. A special cryptographic disk was driven by a spring motor.


    In 1931, Shin Sakuma, a specialist in encrypting secret messages of Japanese intelligence, collaborated with the French general Cartier, who at that time was one of the best cryptographers. He taught Japanese cryptographers to work on cryptographic machines. Drawings of a cryptographic machine, the cipher of which could not be recognized by the enemy, were sent to the General Staff of the Japanese fleet.

    This machine has been thoroughly studied by Japanese experts. In 1931, the RED prototype was implemented in the 91-shiki injiki - “Type-91 Press”. The name was given "thanks" to the imperial calendar, according to which 1931 corresponded to 2591. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs used the Type-91 Press with the Latin alphabet, better known as Angooki Taipu-A - Type-A Encryption Machine. It was this model that American cryptanalysts were given the code name RED. As I already wrote, this model was not reliable, it encrypted the vowels and consonants separately, possibly to reduce the cost of telegrams. In addition to this model, the Navy used the Type-91 Printing Machine with the Kan alphabet on its ships and bases .

    In 1936, Frank Rowlett and Solomon Kalback, US Army cryptanalysts, hacked RED ciphers and revealed the principle of operation of the Japanese device. The same result was independently achieved by British, German and Dutch cryptographers. Surprisingly, the fact remains: in regard to the security of communications, the Japanese placed their main hopes not on the training of personnel or the strength of their ciphers, but rather ensured that “prayers in the name of glorious successes in the fulfillment of the sacred duty in the great war in East Asia. " The Japanese relied on the obscurity of their language, adhering to the view that a foreigner is not able to learn the numerous meanings of individual characters firmly enough to know Japanese well.


    In 1939, the RED machine was replaced by the Japanese with another - Angooki Taipu B. The romantic name PURPLE is the American code name for the Japanese encryption machine, known in Japan as the "Type 97 Alphabet Press" or "Type B Encryption Machine." The chief designer of PURPLE was Kazuo Tanabe, and his engineers were Masaji Yamamotoi Eikichi Suzuki. It is worth noting that it was Eikichi Suzuki who suggested using a step finder to increase reliability. PURPLE was the first of a series of Japanese cryptographic machines that used telephone switches instead of rotors. Such a machine was used to transmit diplomatic correspondence.

    In this Japanese encryption device, two electric typewriters were connected using two special switching devices. While the source text was printed on the first typewriter, an encrypted message appeared on the second. I must admit that PURPLE had significant differences from the Enigma that the Japanese bought in 1934, perhaps in order to create their own brainchild by analogy. The device consisted of a complex, ingenious combination of cables and a contact panel, which allowed creating millions of encryption combinations. When encrypting the message, it was first necessary to install the selected key, and then, using the keyboard of an electric typewriter, enter plaintext into the encryption machine. The text went through a plexus of cables and contact devices, after which an already encoded message was printed on an electric printing device. PURPLE did not include scramblers (as previously written, telephone switches or step finders were used instead). Of course, PURPLE was more reliable than RED. However, the navy command did not know that the RED code had already been hacked, and therefore PURPLE inherited the vulnerability of its predecessor, namely the separation of the encryption of vowels and consonants, which was nicknamed the US Intelligence Agency for six-by-twenty signals (“sixes- twenties ").

    American cryptanalysts managed not only to crack the ciphers of this machine, but also recreate its device. The data they received was known to the general public under the code name MAGIC. The leading role in the "hacking" of this machine was played by William Friedman. The Americans continued to intercept messages encrypted with PURPLE and RED codes. This was the only information that could help create your own PURPLE counterpart. The breakthrough came when cryptographers tried to use the stepper finders used in telephony. Luckily, they worked based on the same principle as the PURPLE switches. At the end of 1940, Friedman, an emigrant from the Soviet Union, and his team from the naval counterintelligence created their own version of "Type B cryptographic machine." The result was so effective

    E. Boyadzhi “Istria of espionage” volume 2:
    But the Americans had their genius William Friedman and his team. Realizing that the Japanese had changed the principle of encryption, the Americans thought that their opponents had improved the car “A”. They spent 18 months trying to find these changes, but to no avail. Friedman figured out all the possible solutions, and was already ready to abandon this work, admitting defeat when the new employee of the department Harry Lawrence came up with the idea. It was rather unusual, but they listened to it, since no one knew what to do next. "What if the Jeps (Japanese) replaced the encryption disks with sliding contacts?"

    Immediately, in the first store that came across, the switches were bought. Machine “A” was disconnected and started to work in manual mode. Within two days, connected and connected the electric wires. Upon contact, the electric wires worked flawlessly. Lawrence screamed with joy, the car worked and gave a font! At the end of September 1940, a new “purple” machine with complex wiring, the connections of which were changed, translated secret encrypted text received from the YTO department.

    Soon, the Americans created a cryptographic machine similar to the Japanese B encryption machine, and read messages from Tokyo before the Japanese ambassador found out about them. New interception stations were collecting telegrams from around the world.

    William Friedman

    Dmitry Peretolchin:
    US secret services read the encrypted correspondence of the Japanese fleet from the second half of the 1920s, secretly re-photographing cryptographic books with the so-called “red code”. In 1924, the future head of the headquarters of the radio interception and decryption department, captain Lawrence F. Safford, joined in the decryption team, whose position during the hearings on events related to Pearl Harbor will make many doubt the official version. Since 1932, Safford, using IBM equipment, developed the very decryption machines, in 1937 special radio stations were deployed for radio interception along a giant arc from the Philippines to Alaska.

    The efforts of more than 700 employees under the leadership of L. Safford and W. Friedman in August 1940 culminated in the decoding of the most complex "pink" or "purple code" that encrypted Japanese government diplomatic correspondence. In addition to the high command, President F. Roosevelt, Secretary of State C. Hell, Secretary of War G. Stimson and Secretary of the United States Navy F. Knox, who were not familiar with only four of the 227 secret correspondence documents, were aware of the success of decoders in the US leadership between Tokyo and the Japanese Embassy in the USA.

    It was thanks to the PURPLE hack that it became known that the Japanese were going to attack the United States, but the Americans did not have time to prepare for the attack. At the moment, a lot of mysterious and controversial in this moment. Subsequently, with the help of a hacking of the Japanese code, the United States was aware of all the cases taking place in Nazi Germany - an ally of Japan. Even 30 years later, the Japanese refused to believe that the Americans managed to create a prototype of the B machine without ever seeing it.

    By the way, the successful results of the USSR on reading encrypted Japanese diplomatic correspondence led to the conclusion: Japan does not intend to begin military operations against the USSR. This made it possible to transfer a large number of forces to the German front.
    Apparently, all encryption machines in Japanese embassies and consulates in the rest of the world (that is, in the Axis, Washington, Moscow, London and in neutral countries) and in Japan itself were destroyed. Trying to find the surviving apparatus, the American occupation forces in Japan searched from 1945 to 1952.

    William Friedman's autopsy story of the Japanese war code is dedicated to Ronald W. Clark’s book “The Man Who Broke Purple: The Life of the World's Greatest Cryptologist, Colonel William F. Friedman” (Biography of the Greatest World Cryptologist Colonel William F. Friedman, 1977) and David Kahn, “The Code-Breakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet” (Decryptors: A Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet, 1967).

    PS: and finally, the Purple encryption scheme is shown

    In addition to the input and output patch panels for simple replacement of plaintext and ciphertext characters, respectively, the central place is occupied by the blocks L, M, R, S and stepping, which are the final crypto-machines, with L = M = R. The first four crypto-machines have purely initializing keys and act as automatic transformers, and the last (stepping) is a combination crypto-automatic machine and serves as a control automaton that determines the order of state changes in the first three. In the automata L, M, R, S, the states are integers 0, 1, ..., 24, and in each of them the state q under the action of the input symbol can either be preserved or change to the state q + 1 mod 25. Depending on the cryptographic machine keys L, M, R are divided into “fast” - f, “medium” - m and “slow” - s.

    1) if S is in state 24, then the state changes “medium”;
    2) if S is in state 23, and “medium” is in 24, then the state changes “slow”.

    Accordingly, all communication channels between the components of the machine are divided into information and control. The first characters are the Latin alphabet, which is the cipher alphabet, and the second characters are state characters (from L, M, R, S to stepping) and logical 0, 1 (from stepping to L, M, R). The last two characters were taken by us arbitrarily to indicate the control commands “save state”, “change state”, respectively. Latin vowels are transmitted through information channels associated with the S automaton, and consonant Latin letters are transmitted through information channels associated with L, M, R. The function of the information output of each machine-converter for any fixation of its state and the symbol of the control input, if any,

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