By Tom Dare
THE HARROWING, little-known tale of how Japan carried out a series of horrific weapons tests and experiments on Prisoners of War (POWs) including Brits during WW2 has been exposed through a new book.
Images from ‘Unit 731: Laboratory of the Devil, Auschwitz of the East – Japanese Biological Warfare in China 1933-45’ by authors Yan-Jun Yang and Yue-Him Tam show the building, formerly known as Unit 731, where the majority of the human experiments took place, while another shows Shirō Ishii, the Japanese military physician who was responsible for heading up the project.
Unit 371 was formed with the purpose of creating biochemical experiments and implementing germ warfare by the Japanese Imperial Army in China during World War Two. Unit 371 was founded after the Emperor Hirohito order its creation in 1936 to increase the chemical warfare development through lethal human experimentation.
Shirō Ishii graduated from Kyoto Imperial University, completing a dissertation named ‘Study of Streptococcus pneumoniae: About toxicity and pathogenicity’, which would later open up his involvement in Unit 371.
Further images from the book show one of the human experiments into the effects of frostbite, taking place under armed guard, while another, far more graphic image shows Japanese soldiers taking part in vivisection (operating on a live person for the purpose of scientific research/human experimentation).
Built in 1935, Unit 731 operated for more than a decade while the Second World War raged on, with approximately 3,000 people murdered in experiments that are said to have been even more cruel and inhumane than those the Nazis were conducting in occupied Europe.
In addition to the 3,000 people killed in human experiments conducted at Unit 731, tens of thousands of people are also thought to have died as the Japanese began to use what they had learned against their enemies in the war. These innocent people had to endure capture, being tortured and eventually death as a result of vivisection, bacterial infection and further cruel actions.
Chinese, Russians and Koreans were said to have been subjected to aerial bombardments of plague and anthrax, frozen and stripped of flesh, and gassed and boiled alive, while some British and American POWs were reported to have been dissected alive without any anaesthetic. The term ‘special transfer’ was coined to describe the unlawful events the victims underwent before being transported elsewhere.
The true events of how one woman was only made aware that her father, Pengge Li, had fallen victim to the torture and died as a result of ‘special transfer’ in Unit 371 was when she visited a museum and came across her father’s name.
Further inhumane acts of Unit 371 were to launch a powerful bacteriological warfare, consisting of planting typhoid fever, cholera and other diseases into the water systems. The harrowing tale of Jing Fuhe, who had seven of his family members die within nineteen days of one another after contracting the plague, is shared in this book also.
Speaking in the book, the authors write:
“During the Second World War, many heinous events took place. Some of those events affected international relations, some changed the fate of an entire people, while others caused crises upon all humankind or tremendous consequences upon future generations.
“Although the war ended more than seventy years ago, the collective memory and the public history of this war haunt us today: in Poland, Auschwitz concentration camp lays bare the holocaust of the Jewish people by Germany’s Nazis, while in Japan, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park immortalises the epic tragedy of the first atomic bomb dropped by the United States in August 1945. Auschwitz and Hiroshima are globally significant historical sites, and thanks to these and other memorials, we are reminded that a nation that forgets the past is condemned to repeat the mistakes in the future.
“Other war crimes of similar magnitude from that period have remained largely unexposed; this book aims to highlight the atrocities committed by the Japanese on China. The use of live human beings in biochemical experiments and the implementation of germ warfare by Japanese Imperial Army Unit 731 in China during the Second World War are rarely known outside China, particularly not in the Western world.
“This book uncovers and details the scope and nature of inhumane and unethical acts by Japanese scientists under the direction of the Imperial Army of Japan in the massive compound called Unit 731.”
Incredibly, the man largely responsible for the operation of Unit 731, Shirō Ishii, escaped punishment after the war, granted immunity by the United States for his provision of human experimentation research. The Soviet Union did hold trials for eleven of the scientist working at Unit 731 at the end of the war, though, with each of them receiving between two and 25 years in a Siberian labour camp for their roles.
However, other members, including Fukumatsu Okawa, was one of the members who escaped and told the public what they had done inside Unit 371, releasing the documentary ‘Immortal Memory’.
Unit 731: Laboratory of the Devil, Auschwitz of the East – Japanese Biological Warfare in China 1933-45 is published by Fonthill Media, and can be purchased here: https://www.fonthill.media/products/unit-731-laboratory-of-the-devil-auschwitz-of-the-east-japanese-biological-warfare-in-china-1933-45
For more information see www.mediadrumworld.com