While Germany experimented with biological weapons in World War I, the Japanese military practiced biowarfare on a mass scale in the years leading up to and throughout World War II. China became the first nation to experience the horrors of World War II. During the invasion of China, Japanese forces used methods of warfare that led to mass death and suffering on new unimaginable level.
In 1932, a few months after Japanese troops moved into Manchuria, disguised as a water purification plant, Dr. Ishii and his colleagues followed them in. Instead of a water purification plant, they built Zhoghma Fortress, a prison so named because of its location on the outskirts of HARBIN AND ITS INTIMIDATING APPERANCE> EXPERIMENTS WRE DONE ON THE PRISIONERS The majority of these experimental subjects were Chinese, but also included Russians, Mongolians, and Koreans. A notorious division of the Imperial Army called Unit 731 led the destructive aggression. “My calculation, which is very conservative, and based on incomplete sources as the major archives are still closed, is that 10,000 to 12,000 human beings were exterminated in lab experiments” (Factories of Death: Japanese biological Warfare, 1932-45, and the America Cover-up, Harris, S.H. (1944), London & New York).
Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931 gave Ishii the opportunity to begin his horrific experiments on human subjects. In 1938 Japan established Unit 731. Unit 731, a biological-warfare unit that was disguised as a water-purification unit, was formed outside the city of Harbin. In truth, it was a secret research laboratory that utilized humans as guinea pigs. The leader of Unit 731 was physician-researcher Dr. Ishii Shiro. Shiro Ishii was an intelligent Army microbiologist whose flamboyant personality soon attracted attention from his senior officers (Factories of Death: Japanese biological Warfare, 1932-45, and the America Cover-up, Harris, S.H. (1944), London ; New York). In this evil facility, Japanese Militarists performed live, un-anesthetized human dissections for the purpose of researching the effects of pathogens. Female prisoners were used for studies on syphilis; humans and animal bloods were injected with each other’s blood to observed the physiological effects; prisoners were hung upside down until death to see the time course of survival; humans were exposed o extremely high and low pressures; their stomachs were surgically removed and the esophagus and intestines reattached; there were amputations and reattachment of the arms to the opposite side.
The New York Times, March 17, 1995, reported the testimony of a seventy-two year old Japanese farmer who was a medical assistant during World War II. He enthusiastically described how he dissected a 30 year-old un-anesthetized man. He said, “The fellow knew that it was over for him, and so he didn’t struggle. But when I picked up the scalpel that’s when he began screaming. I cut him open from the chest to the stomach, and he screamed terribly, and his face was all twisted in agony. He made this unimaginable sound, he was screaming so horribly. But then finally he stopped.” The former medical assistant, who insisted on anonymity, explained the reason for the vivisection. The Chinese prisoner had been deliberately infected with the plague as part of a research project.
In Sheldon Harris’s “Factories of Death”, details of many other experiments including the suspending subjects upside down to determine how long it took for them to choke to death. He mentions in his book how others had air injected into them to test for the onset of embolisms and others had horse urine injected into their kidneys. Dr. Kanisawa said “The first time I was very hesitant to do what I was told to do. The second time you get used to it. The third time you more or less volunteered. There are times when I look at my hands and remember what I have done with hands. What is really scary is that I don’t have any nightmares of what I have done” (Factories of Death: Japanese biological Warfare, 1932-45, and the America Cover-up, Harris, S.H. (1944), London ; New York).
Author Hal Gold’s book, Unit 731: Testimony; Japan’s Wartime Human Experimentation and the Post-War Cover-Up constructed a portrait of the Imperial Japanese Army’s and it’s most notorious medical unit, giving an overview of its history and detailed its most shocking activities. One of the testimonies was provided by an aged former Japanese doctor Kurumizawa Masakuni: “The Chinese woman victim had regained her consciousness while being vivisected. ” She opened her eyes.” “And then?” “She hollered.” ” What did she say?” Kurumizawa could not answer, then began weeping feebly and murmured, “I don’t want to think about it again.” The interviewee apologized, waited a few seconds, and tried again for an answer. He gave it through sobs. “She said, “It’s all right to kill me, but please spare my child’s life.”
As well as Chinese, Russians, Mongolians, and Koreans, US POW’s unfortunately fell victim to Unit 731’s experiments. Art Campbell described being frozen for twenty-four hours and then taken to a hot room to be thawed out. “They froze me until I was unconsciousI could not describe how much it hurt. It hurt so much that I begged the Japs to kill me” (Testimony of Art Campbell, US POW, a survivor of Mukuden, adopted from NBC Dateline “Factory of Death: Unit 731” August 15, 1995).
Children were not immune to the horrors of Unit 731. March 17, 1995, The New York Times also reported, “Other than the partisans fighting the Japanese, Unit 731 also plucked civilians from the streets whenever they needed subjects. In 1943, a 10 year-old boy was kidnapped and taken to the laboratory dissection table. A person wearing a white cap made a Y-incision in his chest. Blood began to drip from his chest. In less than an hour, his stomach, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and intestines were preserved in jars of formaldehyde. Because they were fresh, the organs were still contracting and making soft murmurs. At this time somebody said, Yo, the organs are still alive.’ Then everybody began to laugh. His brain was not wasted. It too was preserved. The boy was left with only his extremities and an empty abdominal cavity. Everything else was jarred.”