What bother me is that while all of German history has been reduced to the Nazi period in the common perception, Japan has escaped any sort of condemnation for this kind of thing in the present mindset despite it being well-documented at the time. The atrocities in Nanking were the subject of a Congressional report at the time, as one example.

Modern Japan claims that it's a pacifist nation and that it suffered unduly because of nuclear bombing, yet every prime minister continues to visit a cemetery containing class A war criminals without facing condemnation from anyone but China. If Chancellor Merkel decided to make a worshipful visit to Nazi sites, public outrage would be deafening, not least from the German populous. Yet Japan revels in the annual visit of the Prime Minister to Yasakuni.

So yeah, fuck Japan. When they stop registering the "ethnically impure" and become an actual open society, I'll consider them reasonable. Shame that they have massive negative population growth and that will never happen before they've died out.
Helluva story. The detail one most wishes were surprising is that we pardoned them all to get their data.
The answer is that the Japanese were allowed to erase Unit 731 from the archives by the American government, which wanted Ishii's biological warfare findings for itself.

In the autumn of 1945, General MacArthur granted immunity to members of the Unit in exchange for research data on biological warfare.


Lawyers for the International Prosecution Section gathered evidence which was sent directly to President Truman. No more was heard of it.

The Americans took the view that all this valuable research data could end up in the hands of the Soviets if they did not act fast. This was, after all, the kind of information that no other nation would have had the ruthlessness to collect.
Yeah, learning about Unit 731 is probably one of the most horrifying steps of the whole "discovering the depths of human capacity for depravity" process.
At least now I don't have to feel bad about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
@2 I don't really understand why you would do that in the first place. I would pardon them, only in order to obtain all their research data, and then I would have them all privately shot. The conquered are in no position to demand terms; the Japanese still haven't learned this; nuclear fire was too good a fate for them; MacArthur really dropped the ball on this one.

Really? Just as bad as Unit 731?
I'm glad this was posted here. The Japanese were completely on the same level of evil as the Nazis during WWII with the Second Sino-Japanese war (which spilled into WWII). I think that level of Asian other-ness has affected American knowledge and understanding of the situation in China especially during that time.

The Japanese massacred over 23 million ethnic Chinese from 1930-1940. The experimenting mentioned here is one of many fucked up things that went on. The story Nanjing massacre/rape is at least getting told more commonly these days-- at least 20,000 females (ranging from infants to the elderly) were raped by Japanese soldiers over a six week period. Sickening stuff like fathers being forced to rape their kids, etc.

The west was never going to help China (even though they asked and asked and the only ones to kick them any support were Russia and Nazi fucking Germany) and so if the Japanese hadn't bombed Pearl Harbor (which they actually so they could keep fighting the Chinese) who knows how that would have turned out.

I think it's really important for people to learn about this, because the Japanese have been notably terrible about suppressing and mitigating the horrible truth. I know people like @3 will point out that lol so does America. Not saying that isn't true, dude, but you look at the scale of this shit and tell me it's the same.

The Soviets did it. The USA did it. Japan did it. Germany did it. War is hell and every country commits war crimes in every war. Be surprised only if they are not revealed.
@6 What the Japanese did in WW2 was disgusting. So is the death of thousands of civilians in a nuclear strike -you ass.
Human history is loaded with horrible cruelty. Just more proof, if any were needed, that we are not divine but just another animal.
11: I think the fact we can recognise it as horrible cruelty indicates we are not "just another animal". It's problematic that we judge ourselves according to a scale of good and evil when very, very few (if any) of us are entirely one or the other.
You may be able to find a copy of the movie "The Sea and Poison." If so, watch it and discover the way the Japanese dissected living American soldiers to see how long they could live when organs were removed, among other experiments. This film was included in the 1988 or 1989 SIFF.

Moving right along, the "human centipede" reminds me of a great joke, originally by "Henry Gibson."
The Croco-Gator (a joke)

The corco-gator is the meanest animal in the world.

He has the head of a crocodile at one end,
and the head of an alligator at the other end.

You may ask, "If he has the head of a crocodile at one end,
and the head of an alligator at the other end,
how do he shit?"

He don't! That's what makes him so mean!
To really appreciate this joke, you need to know that it also describes anyone from the GOP or TP, when adjusted for gender (if necessary).
Sometimes I wish humans would go extinct.
"And to think that I was shocked to learn that police officers were casually spraying clouds of chemicals banned by the International Chemical Weapons Convention (ratified by the United States in 1993) all over political protesters and journalists (myself included) at the 2004 Republican National Convention."

Brendan, the CWC explicitly allows the use of riot control agents for internal/domestic use. It's quite misleading to imply that the U.S. police officers violated the CWC during that 2004 convention. I highly suggest reading the CWC and understanding the different schedules of chemicals before referencing it willy nilly to make your point.
Wait, so this happened before WWII? Might want to make that clear at the top -- at first I thought this was something going on NOW, in China.
LOL Thats what I thought before I read the article.
@7 & 8, I just read the Wikipedia article on "Unethical human experimentation in the United States." I don't see how they were any less gruesome than the Japanese experiments. I need to go watch some cute kitten videos now.
@12 I'm not sure knowing how horrible this is changes the fact that, given the right circumstances, who knows what a human, any human, is capable of?
When will Slayer write a song about it?
And there is so much worse that the human race is yet to do to itself.
Hiroshima, meet karma.
@13 The Sea and Poison has never been released on video, but I think that the book (by Shusako Endo) is still in print.
Check out Philosophy of a Knife, a 4.5 hour russian-made film about the atrocities. The first 3 hours or so is detailed re-enactments of some of the "experiments' conducted by Ishii. It's the one of the few gore films I've been completely unable to make it through.
This is one of the reasons China and Korea get really angry when Japanese Prime Ministers visit the Yasukuni Shrine, or when Japanese textbooks come out denying any of this. Unlike Germany, the Japanese government has never shown the sort of widespread public remorse for their war atrocities, and because most of the victims were Asian, the west tends to give it less attention. Much of the Japanese government's actions during the Pacific War were breathtakingly horrifying, and I would like to see public awareness of them here in the US on the same scale that we remember the Nazis.

On the other hand, let's separate the Japanese government from the Japanese people. The Japanese government was facist and brutal, and many of the wartime leaders were kept in power by the American government after the war, with the thought that they would prevent Japan from going communist. But wartime Japan was not democracy, and even with widespread propaganda efforts, not everyone supported the government wholeheartedly. There were anti-war activists in Japan during the war, many of whom were imprisoned, tortured, or killed for their beliefs. Even today, the Japanese government tends to be to the right of the general population (and until pretty recently, Japan was effectively a one-party state, hardly a functional democracy). There are people inside Japan who draw attention to Japanese war atrocities and don't approve of the "revised" textbooks. Hiroshima may have been militarily necessary (I don't really know enough military history to tel), but we shouldn't be happy about widespread loss of civilian life.

All of this is to say that it's complicated! And we should try and find a balance between remembering and condemning facist Japan on the one hand, and not sliding into knee-jerk hating of Japanese people on the other.

Sorry for the long rant. I study Chinese history, so this issue is particularly important to me.
Mankind is capable of wondrous achievements and humanitarian acts but is also capable of unfathomable cruelty. You wonder how human beings can treat each other with such barbarity.
Brandon J:
How many US civilians should die to make up for the millions of Afghan, Hawaiian, Seminole, Cuban, Filipino, Creek, Colombian, Haitian Vietnamese, Iraqis, Iranians, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, etc., etc., etc., that were murdered to add to or protect the profits of our Banksters?
How many Gringos deserve to die for the Guatemalan or Tuskegee Experiments?
PS The bombing of Nagasaki did almost as good as job eliminating the Christians in Japan as Operation Iraq Liberation did in in Iraq.
This is what happens when no one pulls the plug on a Milgram experiment.

A decent percentage of the world population is capable of similar cruelty given the right circumstances, war being chief among them. The most important thing is to build a society that no longer tolerates such government sanctioned activities. This is why the Obama administration needs to prosecute Bush administration officials for torture. If we allow ourselves to live in a society where some people are allowed to torture, the problem will only grow.
OuterCow, re: A decent percentage of the world population is capable of similar cruelty given the right circumstances, war being chief among them.

One of those "right circumstances" is self-preservation, a fundamental drive for any human being. If you know, or believe, that you are going to be killed for refusing orders to be cruel, most people (I feel) will not refuse. I'm not suggesting, by the way, that all Japanese soldiers during the "Rape of Nanking" or all German soldiers in concentration camps were merely following orders, orders they found morally repugnant. It may very well be that most of them cheerfully raped and slaughtered Chinese, Jews and others due to personal animus.

27/tombaxter: re PS The bombing of Nagasaki did almost as good as job eliminating the Christians in Japan as Operation Iraq Liberation did in in Iraq.

True, Christians in Iraq were safer under Saddam. One of the things a totalitarian ruler like Saddam can achieve is a greater degree of order in a country. I wouldn't be surprised if people are safer from violent attacks by fellow citizens in North Korea than they are in South Korea, or if people were similarly safer under Stalin than they are in today's Russia. Likewise, if we had a totalitarian regime in the U.S. -- one which had a policy to, say, imprison people who seemed threatening to others -- that guy on Capitol Hill would still be alive instead of being murdered by a hatchet-wielding crazy man.
I heard Mengele wrote them a letter to tell them to stop when he read the reports of their experiments. If MENGELE considered them wrong, yeesh.
No seriously, I agree that the unethical experimentation in the US listed in the wiki article is seriously atrocious, but it's also a compilation of unethical experimentation over the entirety of the history of the United States, not a single unit that operated during WWII.

Maybe it's silly to argue about which terrible atrocity was more atrocious, but no human experimentation I've read about anywhere else (yet, I probably just haven't found it yet or it hasn't been found out yet) makes me cringe and shudder like the stuff described that unit 137 did.
What chemicals were sprayed on people at the 2004 Republican convention?
@33: Well, LSD might explain why people thought that the Republicans had good ideas.
I've visited Unit 731 in Harbin. There's not much left and the main building has been converted to a museum. But it was still very sad to learn about.
@4, well put. this was the first i'd ever heard of it, and in the hours since reading this, the link, and a few other related pieces, i have been staggering around in a traumatized state. i have had waves of feeling like i'm going to pass out and have not really been able to have a conversation with anyone. nightmares are a certainty tonight.

There is no god. See?

By the way, the human centipede movie i've read of, heard of but probably won't watch? The most disgusting thing about it is that you know some crazy tyrant, in the future, is going to emulate that fictional experiment, having watched it. You know, the kind of person who is so power-hungry that they would get a huge high from holding that much control over someone else. There probably will be human centipedes some day. FTW
@25: Well-put, Kitts. I'm the daughter of Chinese immigrant parents, and sometimes we have heated discussions on the topic of the Japanese gov't vs. civilian population, especially the current population.

I'm evaluating myself now ... I've known about these things for some years, but never really reconciled that knowledge with the vacuum in my more formal education, and seeing that some people here weren't aware of this history kind of opens my eyes. Maybe I should be talking about it more.
for me this was a tidal wave of horror.

i don't know how it was for any of you, but when the school system taught me and my classmates about the holocaust, it was a slow trickle of information. each year as we aged there would be a little more information handed to us, metered so as not to overwhelm us. we didn't start talking about the real atrocities and the massive numbers of dead until years into it. (i know my husband didn't have that experience - he was told everything all at once at a very young age).

to have to swallow this whole is really freaking me out. it's just too much to process.

i agree that people should know about this, and we should be talking about it more. i asked my husband last night if he had ever heard of Unit 731 and he said no. he started to ask me a little, but i just couldn't tell him anything beyond the most basic facts. i told him he should read it but to be prepared to be horrified on a whole new level, but he declined for the time being. he said he was not up for anything soul-destroying at the moment. given the soul-destroying nature of this, i didn't press. but i hope he will look into it at some point before too long, because i feel like i need to have him to talk to about it.

i'm just so sick.
@18: I recommend this one:…

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