by Jack Demlow
George HW Bush has not only served as President of the United States but also as a pilot during WWII - a pilot who survived being shot down over the Pacific during an American air raid on the Japanese-controlled island of Chichi Jima in September of 1944. Nine airmen survived being shot down during the raid, but Bush was the only one that managed to avoid capture, a result of bailing out of his plane earliest, luck in procuring a life raft, and protection by covering fire from American planes to keep Japanese boats at bay. Though Bush’s escape was harrowing and terrifying, the eight other surviving airmen were doomed to experience worse.
Chichi Jima is an island roughly 600 miles south of Tokyo and is part of the Bonin Islands. Rather than risking a costly invasion, United States Navy and Army regularly bombed Chichi Jima from 1944 through 1945. Over one hundred American airmen were shot down while participating in bombing runs on the island, Bush being among them, and at least twenty were captured by Japanese forces.
Most of these prisoners would face torture and execution, and some would be cannibalized as part of meals put on by Japanese officers. Eleven officers were found guilty of murder and “prevention of honorable burial” (they were never officially found guilty of cannibalism) and the details of their crimes were not initially released to the public as a matter of minimizing distress. However, in 2004, James Bradley’s book Flyboys: a Story of True Courage brought the tragedy of the captured American airmen out into the open. Using war crimes trial transcripts and the testimonies of Japanese veterans to investigate the other eight airmen shot down alongside Bush, Bradley encountered their inhumane treatment at the hands of their Japanese captors. All were beaten, tortured, and eventually killed by beheading, impalement, or being clubbed, but the crimes against them did not end with death. According to Bradley’s sources, Major Sueo Matoba had prisoners’ flesh prepared for an officers’ feast and a party in his quarters, and Captain Shizuo Yoshii hosted a similarly grim feast of his own. General Yoshio Tachibana and and Rear Admiral Kunizo Mori, the army and navy commanders of the island, were two notable participants in the acts of cannibalism. Four American airmen were executed for the purpose of being partially consumed, with flesh being removed from their thighs and their livers being served as “delicacies.” On Chichi Jima, the guilty officers committed cannibalism for both alleged physical and spiritual benefits as well as further showing dominance over their captives as revenge for American air raids. Of Bush’s eight fellow airmen, the bodies of four were butchered for cannibalistic purposes: Marve Mershon, Floyd Hall, Jimmy Dye, and Warren Earl Vaughn.
Not even Bush, the sole survivor among the nine men shot down, knew what had happened to his fellows until James Bradley’s work on Flyboys. Both during postwar trials and now in the public sphere, it is unsurprising that such horrific acts would be shrouded in controversy, debate, and skepticism. It is especially incendiary in light of the fact that the war crimes trials are easy to view as the war’s winners judging its losers. The memory of the crimes committed on Chichi Jima is polarized by calls for justice from all sides, some sated by the execution of the responsible officers and some infuriated by verdicts allegedly tainted by racism and abuse of power by the winning side.
Maga, Timothy. "'Away from Tokyo:' the Pacific Islands War Crimes Trials, 1945-1949." The Journal of Pacific History 36, no. 1 (2001): 37-50. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25169518.
The Japanese Rising Sun flag has a dark history associated with it but despite this fact, it still keeps being used in pop culture. Muse, which is a British rock music group shot a music video that was meant to be fun and light-hearted but ended up causing a public outcry. The reason being that Japan’s Rising Sun flag was featured in the video for a brief moment and this made people very angry about the war past. Muse did not want to cause any more trouble and thus took to Twitter with an apology almost immediately, after which the band released another version of this video that had the Rising Sun imagery removed. The flag is a symbol of the imperialistic history of Japan along with everything terrible that occurred in the country’s past. It has also been noted that Westerners may feel that the design of the Rising Sun flag is much better than that of the current flag, which is why they use the imagery more frequently. This controversy concerning the Rising Flag also came about after one of the most popular singers in Japan, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, posed with the flag earlier in 2013. The images were apparently supposed to be used as New Year’s greetings but ended up angering the singer’s Korean fans so much that she had to cancel her scheduled tour in South Korea.
What is The History of the Japanese Rising Sun Flag?
Most people still consider the Rising Sun flag, which is a red circle surrounded by 16 sun rays, and the current Japanese national flag, which is simply a red circle in the middle (Hinomaru), very offensive. They are both a reminder of atrocities committed during the war as well as Japan’s colonialism.
The rising sun flag was a symbol of the Japanese empire during the late 19th century and early 20th century. Unfortunately, you can easily find pictures of the rising sun in TV shows, films, restaurants, and even clothing to name a few.
Hinomaru and the Rising Sun flag were both taken up in 1870 by the Mejji government, which had overthrown the federal government and introduced Japan to modernity in 1868. The rising sun flag then became the Japanese army’s official flag and Hinomaru became the national flag.
The rising sun flag accompanied the military troops as they were on their path of destruction while Hinomaru was also carried by the soldiers and raised whenever enemy territories were conquered by the Japanese forces. In December 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing was captured by the Japanese forces and both flags were raised everywhere above the city on street corners, buildings, and walls. These flags were present as Japanese soldiers committed heinous acts such as rape and murder to an extent that the flags are a reminder of these atrocities and as such, they have become a controversial topic ever since. China and Korea still have many war victim survivors, particularly old women who were raped by these Japanese troops during the 2nd World War.
Since Japan was industrialized prior to the rest of Asia and generated a fierce military force capable and aiming to form a grand empire. This goal was fuelled by the belief that the Japanese were a superior race compared to the other ethnic Asian groups because they had progressed beyond Asia before everyone else. The Japanese administration, therefore, did not hesitate to treat Asians from the other countries i.e. Philippines, China, and Korea, as an inferior race to theirs.
An example of this would be the luring of young Korean and Chinese women by the Japanese colonial administration by promising them good jobs and an education. These women were instead made into ‘comfort women’ or sex slaves for the officers in the Japanese army. The China-based unit 731 was also responsible for performing all manner of experiments on people such as organ and limb reattachment or vivisection with anaesthesia. The aim of these experiments was to develop biochemical weapons for use by the Japanese army. The Rape of Nanking saw up to 300,000 innocent civilians, mostly women and children, being raped and massacred.
Back home, Japanese citizens would celebrate their victories in the war using both Hinomaru and the Rising Sun flag. Even though Japanese atrocities committed in Nanking were not reported widely, news reports often discussed military campaigns, which suggested a wide scale of killings.
At the time, the war culture ultimately thrived in Japanese society, as the Japanese did not seem concerned with what was happening to the citizens in their enemy countries. Hinomaru and the rising sun flag were even viewed as a symbol of resistance against any Korean or Chinese insurgencies and Western colonialism.
Recent Uses of the Rising Sun Flag
Until recently, the public mostly associated the rising sun flag with right-wing extremists who claim shamelessly that the Greater East Asian War, World War II before Japan’s defeat, was sacred. Actually, very few ordinary people have shown interest in waving the flag because the anti-military and anti-war sentiment remains strong.
In addition, the Japanese government still refuses to claim responsibility for what happened. The Japanese ministry of education has omitted or distorted the historical facts in textbooks used nationwide. The Japanese government also claims that the surviving comfort women lied and that they were prostitutes who offered to do what they did for the cause of the Empire.
Aside from that, Japanese retailers have also decided not to remove the image of the Rising sun flag from their merchandise i.e. key-chains or t-shirts. Considering the fact that the perpetrators who committed these atrocities refuse to admit to their wrongs, using the image of the rising sun flag symbolizes the imperialist and racist attitudes of that time, which is both enraging and concerning. It is unlikely that banning or limiting the use of the flag will solve the problem of reinforcing attitudes encouraging the crimes that happened during the war completely. However, the recurrent controversy surrounding the rising sun flag as well as other symbols linked to Imperial Japan are simply a reminder that the horrors of the 20th century are still fresh among the people.
Unit 731 was known as a covert chemical and biological warfare research and development section of the Imperial Japanese Army that commenced lethal human experimentation during the World War 2. This program was responsible for some of the most horrific war crimes that were carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army.
Officially it was known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of The Kwantung Army, the site was originally set up under the command of General Shiro Ishii who was a combat medic officer at the Kwantung Army. He finished his studies in microbiology at the Kyoto Imperial University in Japan. He came up with the idea of having the facility built to keep up with the West, since they were believed to be developing their own weapons of biological warfare. The Japanese government heavily invested in the facility in order for it to function fully. General Shiro Ishii’s career started accelerating in 1932 after he was chosen to be the head of the biological warfare division where his mission was to perform covert experiments on live subjects. The location was later than moved to Pingfang and General Ishii was again appointed as the director.
Masaji Kitano was a commanding officer of Unit 731. He graduated as a medical doctor at Tokyo Imperial University. He joined the army as an army surgeon with the rank of a lieutenant. Right before the full blown Sino-Japanese War, he taught microbiology at the Manchu School of Medicine in Manchuria. Manchuria had been a puppet state of Japan’s since 1931. Read more here: http://www.pacificatrocities.org/blog/marutas-in-manchuria-imperial-japanese-biological-warfare-1931-1945
By 1942, he was made second in command of Unit 731. He was known to be the chief funeral commissioner of Shiro Ishii.
After the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, he ended up being detained in a POW camp in Shanghai. Due to a deal made with the Allied, he was released in exchange for research material of biological warfare. He was later repatriated to Japan in January 1946 and became the chief director of Green Cross, a Japanese Pharmaceutical company.
Another member of the Unit 731 was Yoshimura Hisato, who was a physiologist. Before his career in Unit 731 in 1938, he was a lecturer at Kyoto Imperial University Faculty of Medicine. He was employed by the Imperial Japanese Army as an Army Engineer, which was a researcher who was treated like an officer but not a professional military serviceperson. At Unit 731, he took a great interest in hypothermia. Taking into consideration Maruta’s study in limbs, Hisato made his prisoners submerge their limbs in a tub of water that was filled with ice and then had them hold until their leg or arm had frozen solid and a coat of ice formed in their skin. An eyewitness stated that the limb sounded like wood when they were struck with a cane. In addition the physiologist also tried different methods for rapid rewarming of the frozen appendages by dousing them in hot water, holding them close to an open fire source or even leaving the subjects all night in order for him to see how long it would take for an individual’s own blood to thaw out.
After the war was over, he was able to obtain war crime immunity, and he became the president of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine.
In addition, Yasuji Kaneko is also one of the alleged members of the Unit 731 as ho testimony of the crimes committed have appeared in the 2001 film known as Japanese Devils and 2007 film Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking. He started testifying at the age of 76 in 1996 about his activities in Nanjing Massacre as well as Unit 731. As an ex-soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army, not only did he spread cholera into the water system in Linqing in 1943. He had also claimed to raped many women during the war as he could not afford comfort woman as a lower ranking soldier.
Yoshio Shinozuka was a teenager when he joined Unit 731 under the impression to provide safe drinking water to other soldiers. His day to day duty included raising fleas infected with plague on rats as well as vivisections.
There were many victims from Unit 731, but many of the soldiers were able to be freed in exchange for their knowledge of human experimentation. Many of them lived prosperous lives after the war. Although they gained a lot of science knowledge, their ways of violating human rights were mostly forgiven in the name of science.
During World War 2, there were non-Filipinos soldiers who decided not to surrender with some running off to safety and others being cut off in their location at the time of surrender behind Imperial Japanese Army's line. These men chose to serve along the side of their Filipino allies during World War II in the resistance against the Japanese thus becoming guerrillas. This list of men also include those who were inserted through submarines on various Philippine islands. These men were sent there to conduct different intelligent functions most commonly radio operators or coast watchers, but they fought with guerrillas and served beside them as well. These Filipino and American soldiers went through inhumanity and deprivation at the hands of the Japanese who were responsible for transporting them. The Guerrillas also fell subject to horrible torture by the Japanese followed by beheading usually after being forced to dig their own graves.
The American forces situated in the Philippines were largely defeated by an operational plan conducted prewar. If an invasion occurred, this plan involved them declaring Manila an open city, withdrawing onto Bataan and setting up a defensive line as they waited for supplies and reinforcements to come from certain US locations. This was known as Plan Orange and it was declared once the US Pacific Fleet arrived. However, the Japanese ruled this possibility out with their precautionary strike on the fleet’s Pearl Harbor base in 1941, December 7. Even though Plan Orange required the US forces to hold out on Corregidor and Bataan for roughly 6 months as they waited for reinforcements, the rations stored on the Peninsula were not enough to sustain a large force for a sufficient period. The troops did not have enough supplies to keep them going beyond a few months.
General MacArthur carried out Plan Orange with the belief that assistance was on the way but President Franklin Roosevelt had already written off the Philippine Islands just before Christmas as a gesture of support of the War happening in Europe. The American airmen, sailors, and soldiers who were in the Philippines and their Filipino charges were deserted without any knowledge of it. They held out against the Japanese for weeks as their supplies continued to dwindle and it was not long until they were living on starvation rations. In March 1942, President Roosevelt ordered Gen MacArthur personally to go to Australia to plan for a relief force that would save the men he was abandoning under protest. Before leaving, Gen. Macarthur told Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, who was his successor that he was not to surrender regardless of the circumstances. Wainwright honored this command for as long as it was humanly possible.
Guerrilla forces had already begun forming even prior to the initial surrender of the US forces in the Philippines, more specifically in 1942, April 9 AT Bataan. Major Claude A. Thorp, with General MacArthur’s approval in 1942, January 27, directed a group of roughly 2 Filipinas and 12 Americans evading past Japanese lines situated in Bataan to set up a Guerrilla headquarters located in the Zambales Mountains. On February 18 of the same year, this small beginning was fortified when a PT boat was sent over with Major Llewellyn Barbour along with a radio transmitter, some supplies, and five more men to Botolan. They hired guides from this point to lead them to Thorp’s Guerrilla headquarters across the Zambales Mountains.
These Guerrilla forces all through the Philippine Islands made brave efforts which ended up impeding the Japanese severely. They also assisted the US forces significantly during the period of Philippine liberation in 1944 and 1945. Many officers including Lieutenant General Kreuger and General MacArthur, have expressed their gratitude to the guerrillas for their efforts and described how they reduced the casualties to the liberating forces and accelerated the liberation. Shortly after General Macarthur came to Australia in March of 1942, he started planning for the organization of Guerrillas in the Philippines. His first effort involved evaluation of the available leadership and forces and encouragement of any extra organization required. The plan involved providing submarines for the delivery of supplies such as radios, ammunition, and arms to the forces with the necessary organization and leadership. Guerrillas were given the order to focus on gathering information and providing reports to the Japanese. Additionally, they were given instructions to preserve civil order and avoid taking any significant actions against Japanese forces, which could cause retaliation against the Filipino civilians. At times, the submarines would bring back evacuees on their return trips to Australia.
General Macarthur’s Australian headquarters was known referred to as General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area, abbreviated as GHQ SWPA. The Intelligence Section of his headquarters also referred to as G-2 comprised of the AIB or Allied Intelligence Bureau. The PRS or Philippine Regional Section was created in May 1943 as a section of AIB and tasked with the coordination of any activities in the Philippines. General Macarthur contacted the Pentagon and asked that Lt. Cdr. Charles Parsons, whom he used to know in Manila, be sent to the GHQ SWPA immediately. Parsons was then assigned to the PRS and became actively involved in the organization of submarine operations with the aim of supporting the guerrillas located in the Philippines. He supervised a large number of the operations personally and many times he would insert and extract himself. The Japanese then caught wind of Charles Parson’s activities and placed a high reward on his head (dead or alive).
Wendell Fertig centralized the Guerilla forces on Mindanao and GHQ SWPA recognized these forces officially in February 1943 as the 10th Military District. This became one of the most organized guerrilla forces in all the Philippine Islands.
The Fall of Singapore that took place in February, 1942 was a great triumph for the Imperial Japanese Army and almost certainly one of the biggest defeat for Britain in WWII. The invasion was led by General Yamashita after years of spying on the British colony. General Yamashita decided to use a strategy that the British had never thought of, which was to invade via the Malaya jungle. At the time, most of the canons were faced toward the ocean and there was almost no defense at the line of attack by the Imperial Japanese Army.
There were more than 80,000 allied captives who were captured by the Japanese in the mass surrender that was ordered by General Percival. This shocked even Sir Winston Churchill greatly as they described this kind of disgrace as the "foulest disaster and the greatest capitulation in the British History." Most POWs had never ever told their families of the atrocities that they went through during the three years in captivity as they felt ashamed of the fact that they ended up being prisoners of the feeble Japanese army that had captured and tortured them.
The order to surrender by General Percival came as a complete surprise to the soldiers. Two days after the surrender, almost 15000 Australians and 35,000 British prisoners were ordered to start marching to Changi which was located on the eastern end of the Singapore Island. Given that the prisoners had no idea what would be provided by their captors, they decided to carry clothing, beddings and some food to keep them going. However, as the journey continued, most people ended up dropping things along the way and by the time they arrived at Changi, some of them ended up arriving with very little. As much as the journey to Changi proved to be very difficult, they were able to pull through with the help of the Chinese who sneaked them some drinks at least to keep them hydrated, as they wouldn’t have survived if it was not for them.
For the POWs, there was a very tight ration when it came to food. They were eating just one biscuit with bully beef pasted all over for lunch. In the evening, they had some tinned veggies smeared over a biscuit. Under this tight ration, things were quite difficult in the beginning. The prisoners then complained about their meals. The general in charge suggested that there was rice and if they were willing to eat it then it would be prepared. The rice, however, was not in the best of qualities as it was moldy, full of rats and weevils, sulfur, and unpolished, but they had to survive. Rice were often very watered down with lots of water. Regardless, the next four weeks had been an issue for them as the cooks did not know what to do with it as they were subjected to very bad food. As much as it was unpleasant and tasteless, they still ate it.
As the days went on, the cooks found ways to better prepare the rice as the Australians got to get accustomed to it. They were grateful that at least they had something to eat. The POWs started losing a ton of weight. Many started developing beri beri, malaria, or dysentery. The POWs learned to divide themselves up in group of 3-5. In the event that one of them had malaria or dysentery and could not eat his rice, the rest would share it instead and the favor would be returned when they were stricken.
Humor became a very essential part of survival. Given that the Japanese revered their emperor very much, the POWs took the opportunity to toast to the emperors’ birthday in order to have a drink. This was the only time the prison guards allowed them to have a drink during the internment time.
Some prisoners were shipped out on prisoner transports that were nicknamed hell ships to work on the Siam-Burma Railway, which was also known as the Death Railway and the Sandakan Airfield in Northern Borneo. Most of them did not survive the journey, but the ones that did end up suffering from various diseases and maltreatment before they were liberated in 1945.
The lost of Singapore to Japan during this time contributed to the lost of confidence of the British empire. Even though British ended up reoccupying Singapore following the Japanese surrender in September, the colony will soon claim its independence under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew. Yamashita was tried by a US military commission for war crimes, but not against the ones committed by his troops in Singapore and Malaya. He was convicted and hanged in the Philippines in 1946.
To learn more:
Unit 731 of the Japanese Army conducted some of the most heinous experiments in the human history on POWs during the World War II. Unit 731 had eight divisions: Division 1- Bacteriological research; Division 2- Warfare Research and field experiments; Division 3- Water Filter Production; Division 4- Bacteria Mass production and Storage; Division 5- Educational Division; Division 6- Supplies Division; Division 7- General Affairs; Division 8- Clinical Diagnosis.
The leader of this unit was a 6-feet tall man known as Shiro Ishii. Born in Japan, Shiro was a bright young man who studied at the Kyoto Imperial University. There, he got to study preventive medicine, pathology, serology and bacteriology. In 1922 after completion of his studies at Kyoto Imperial University, he was sent to Kyushu where they were battling a contagious disease which was aggressive and causing deaths of many people including soldiers.
Shiro studied how he could effectively filter the contaminated water. He was able to successfully do it, much to the acclaim of his colleagues. To prove his filters worked to the Emperor of Japan, he demonstrated how his device worked by filtering his own urine and drinking it. In 1928, Shiro Ishii traveled extensively in various countries learning from their clinics and laboratories. After two years of travel, he returned to Japan. Due to his close association with influential and prominent officials, he was able to secure funding for his projects which he believed would propel Japan to the world leadership.
Shiro Ishii proposed a research unit to study biological and chemical weapons. He argued that the Western powers were carrying out similar programs. He got support from Colonel Chikahiko Koizumi who was the army’s Surgeon General (later become Japanese Health Minister) and had secretly joined a poison gas research committee during World War I.
Shiro Ishii was given the command of Unit 731 in 1932.
The project Unit 731 aka Epidemic Prevention and Water Supply Unit of the Kwantung Army, was initially established in Harbin. This was later to be blown up by prisoners and they had to look for a new location. Due to the kind of experiments being conducted, secrecy was a priority. Manchuria was a perfect hideout place. Manchuria was forcefully taken from the Chinese through Japanese invasion. It was about 200,000 square kilometers. In Manchuria, the research facility was set up in Pingfan and occupied three square kilometers. The buildings were strategically built to hide any suspicion and were further shielded by high walls and high voltage wires.
Later on from 1937 after Japanese expansion to China, other such facilities were set up in various Chinese cities such as Hsinking, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Nanjing.
The opportunity to work at the Unit 731 facilities was highly appealing to doctors and scientists as they the chance to experiment on human subjects and had financial aid from the army. To work here required high-level secrecy and members of the unit had to be transported in covered cargo trucks whose registration numbers were often changed to conceal identity. Some staff knew what was going on while others did not know of the “death blocks” where prisoners would pass through never to return. By 1939, Ishii’s network comprised of over 10,000 personnels conducting research at Unit 731.
by Mark Witzke
There is no person more important to Singapore’s modern history than Lee Kuan Yew. He led Singapore into the modern age, guiding Singapore from devastated British colony to thriving and prosperous independent city-state. His determination to reshape Singapore was shaped in part by his experiences during the brutal Japanese occupation.
Lee was born in 1923 to an ethnic Chinese family that had lived in Singapore for several generations. Originally from Guangdong, his family had been early settlers in Singapore after it was established as a British colony. Lee was educated in English schools and was often at or near the top of his class. However, his schooling was delayed by the onset of World War II and he found himself in Singapore as the Japanese invaded, just struggling to survive.
Later in life, Lee would reflect poignantly on the atrocities suffered by Singapore during the occupation. In his earlier days, Lee stated that he knew the Japanese as “a clean, neat, disciplined and self-contained community” so he was shocked when he faced the realities of the oppressive occupation. He found the Japanese occupiers to be “unbelievably cruel… systematic brutalization by their military government made them a callous lot. We suffered three and a half years of privation and horror” . Lee described that later during the rebuilding of Singapore, it was not uncommon to find caches of bones in mass graves. Ultimately 40 such sites were located and by Lee’s own estimates, more than 50,000 people were executed following the fall of Singapore. When pressing the Japanese government for reparations and apologies, he was met with regrets and favorable loans, but never a complete apology . (For more information on the fall of Singapore be sure to check out other PAE blogposts here and here)
Lee had himself narrowly avoided the aforementioned purges following the fall of the city he would one day rule. In the chaotic aftermath of Singapore’s defeat, the Japanese began to carry out what became known as “Sook Ching”; a process of routinely rounding up and executing anyone whom they thought might oppose their rule. As an educated Chinese man, Lee soon found himself targeted. After being confined to a detention center for several days, he was ordered to board a truck, along with many other young Chinese men. Lee instinctively felt something was wrong and asked for permission to gather his belongings before he left. Permission was granted but Lee did not return, he instead searched for a hiding place and managed to take refuge in the shanty of a rickshaw puller who had worked for Lee’s family his entire childhood, eventually managing to escape a few days later . Lee later heard that those who boarded the truck were shot on the beach near Changi prison. Lee had narrowly avoided being executed and Singapore narrowly avoided losing someone who would become a transformational leader . Thousands of others were not so lucky and the city of Singapore would have to persevere through several more years of hardship before eventual liberation.
These experiences, while harrowing and traumatic, would shape Lee’s outlook on life and create determination to build a thriving and strong Singapore. Lee stated the fall of Singapore was “the single most important event of my life” and shaped his worldview such that he felt “determined that no one – neither the Japanese nor the British – had the right to push and kick us around” . The trauma of Japanese occupation made Lee see that the Singaporean people would have to depend on themselves if they wanted safety and security. The dead can’t be brought back to life, the past cannot be erased and the hardships should not be forgotten. However, Lee and the rest of Singapore successfully moved past these hardships and used these events to inspire the creation of an independent and prosperous Singapore.
Bowring, Philip. “Lee Kuan Yew Obituary.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 22 Mar. 2015, www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/22/lee-kuan-yew.
Chew, Cassandra. “The Rickshaw Puller Who Saved Lee Kuan Yew.” The Straits Times, The Straits Times, 19 Jan. 2016, www.straitstimes.com/singapore/the-rickshaw-puller-who-saved-lee-kuan-yew.
Chng, Henedick. “4 Intriguing Stories of How 4 of S’Pore’s Founding Fathers Survive the Japanese Occupation.” Mothership.SG , Mothership, 15 Feb. 2017, mothership.sg/2017/02/4-intriguing-stories-of-how-4-of-spores-founding-fathers-survive-the-japanese-occupation/.
Josey, Alex. Lee Kuan Yew. Time Books Internaitonal Times Centre, 1980.
“Lee Kuan Yew.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 22 Mar. 2015, www.economist.com/news/asia/leekuanyew.
Lee, Kuan Yew. From Third World to First: the Singapore Story, 1965-2000: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2015.
by Paulina Hernandez
The Imperial Japanese Forces attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands simultaneously. This planned attack on these two specific areas was a strategic attack meant American control in the Pacific and expand Japan’s territory. Following the surrender of the Allies at the Battle of Corregidor, all radio connections and communications ceased as the Japanese military invaded the Philippine Islands. Despite the lack of communication, some American and Filipino soldiers were able to evade the Japanese and go into hiding. One of those soldiers who was able to escape was Ramon Magsaysay Sr. who would become a prominent leader in the Western Luzon Guerrilla Force .
[Ramon Magsaysay Sr., future President of the Philippines]
The Western Luzon Guerrilla Force was not the only resistance group to form. Alongside it, “several bands of resistance fighters sprouted up throughout the philippine landscape” . What set these various groups apart were their ideas on how to take back their island. A big hindrance within these groups was that many were also politically motivated. Some groups were politically motivated in that they had differing views on agendas and a nationalistic goal. The Hukbalahap Guerrilla was one of the more commonly known resistance groups that had a political agenda. The Hukbalahap, known as “Huk”, was comprised of Filipino citizens from all backgrounds. Members included “peasant farmers, workers’ union, communist party members, and both rural and urban laborers” . The Huk were seen as highly successful in that they eliminated many Japanese soldiers. Furthermore, the Huks saw rich Filipinos who collaborated with the Japanese as being targets as well. The killing of rich Filipino collaborators enabled the Huk to capture estates. Within these estates, they created their own government,taxes, and laws. In 1954, the Hukbalahap would end with the Presidential election of Ramon Magsaysay Sr. and overwhelming pressure to stomp out communist groups .
[Pictured above is Luis Taruc whom was the main commander of the Huk Resistance.]
The main catalyst for the Filipino resistance was the mistreatment of POWs and Filipino citizens at the hands of the Japanese forces. Filipino citizens had heard stories such as the Rape of Nanking in China, and of the atrocities committed in other occupied territories such as Korea. Sadly, Filipino citizens were subjected to beatings, rape, starvation, and many other atrocities. The atrocities committed and the destruction of their homeland empowered many Filipino/Filipinas to commit to the resistance and take back their land.
The Japanese forces had noted during the Bataan Death March, an alarming amount of sentiment for the Allied forces among the Filipino people. In order to combat any form of resistance, Japanese soldiers would beat or kill any Filipino citizen who sympathized with Allied forces or whom questioned the occupation of the Philippines by the Japanese. A tactic the Japanese employed was the use of propaganda in the form of leaflets, and films. Through films such as Dawn For Freedom (1944), Japanese had hoped to squash any ties between the Filipino people and Western ideology and cement their hold on the country and its people.
[Left] Filipino resistance fighters taking a break; [Right]: resistance fighters guarding Japanese prisoners
There were many resistance groups such as the Hunters ROTC, Marking’s Guerrillas,the Aetas and the USAFIP-LN which stands for United States Army in the Philippines of Northern Luzon. The Hunters ROTC was comprised of former cadets from the Philippine Military Academy. Wanting to fight, the former cadets trained other resistance fighters as “saboteurs( running phone lines, radio connections, eliminating pro-Japanese Filipinos and spies, and conducting small hit and run raids” . The Marking's Guerrillas were mainly centered in east Manila and under the command of Colonel Marcos V. Agustin. In contrast, to the Hunters ROTC, the Marking’s Guerrillas was comprised of older citizens and soldiers. The Marking’s Guerrillas are known for the taking of the Ipo Dam . USAFIP-NL differed from the other two guerilla forces in that the USAFIP-NL was comprised of American, Filipino and guerilla soldiers. The USAFIP-NL was commanded by General Russell W. Volckmann and a military force that was more than 8,000 infantrymen . The Aetas were an “indigenous guerilla unit that served in Northern and Central Luzon . The Aeta were a considerable asset to the underground resistance due to their superior tracking skills and understanding of the Luzon province. The Aeta would hide and protect American soldiers in the mountain caves and when food supply ran dry, they would grow “tubers (sweet potatoes and yam) and rice to feed their units” . In closing, minority groups such as the Aetas and the Igorts contribution to the resistance would enable the American guerilla troops to cut off supply line for the Japanese and enabling recruit for the Philippine resistance.
Britannica Encyclopedia.Hukbalahap Rebellion. Date Accessed October 6,2017.https://www.britannica.com/event/Hukbalahap-Rebellion.
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By Chris Sayas
During the Second World War, cannibalism was committed by Imperial Japanese soldiers across the entire Pacific theater for a variety of reasons. Over the course of the war, occupying Japanese officers and soldiers in their conquered territories would face food shortages and supplies. Over time, Allied efforts of attacking and harassing Japanese supply routes intensified leading to ever increasing scarcity of military rations in Japanese occupied countries. This was especially true with positions far from the Japanese home islands and would only get worse as the war progressed. Although circumstances differed on the locality and where each unit was stationed, some soldiers were in positions to take from the locals while others were not quite so fortunate to be stationed near agriculturally rich areas.
Yet there is evidence that some Imperial Japanese commanders actually ordered their own units to commit such acts of cannibalism. Although many occupying Japanese units faced supply shortages, some accused of committing, ordering, and carrying out such crimes were in conditions that did not actually warrant such extreme measures to be taken. There is the case of the American pilots of which 8 airmen were shot down but able to bail out of their Grumman TBF Avengers after executing a raid on Chichijima, a long range radio communication station. As the airmen swam ashore they were quickly captured and while some were executed almost immediately, the surviving airmen were saved for something much more sinister. Imperial Japanese medical personnel under orders from the Japanese officers to prepare these prisoners of war for consumption. The Japanese officers at a party later would remark on certain parts of the human flesh as a delicacy such as the livers as well as state that most of the flesh tasted wonderful to them. The officers later on when interviewed considered the flesh of their enemies to be “good medicine for the stomach” describing it as if these actions were far from absurdity and treating such deeds as being ordinary if not seemingly a natural thing to do as a Japanese soldier serving in the Imperial Army. There are other instances as well with captured Indian soldiers whom were also eaten slowly one by one. In one account an Allied Indian unit who had been captured had officers and soldiers taken away by the Japanese one by one for nearly 100 days. There are even accounts of soldiers still alive with their flesh being torn off to be prepared for consumption by the Japanese troops and officers.
Cannibalism in this case can be seen not as an act of desperation to survive but rather a tool for projection of power. It almost seems that the fact that cannibalism existed within several realms of the Japanese military institution may seem like an attempt by Allied or even post World War rewritten history. Yet such acts of brutality manifested because of the height of Imperial Japanese military culture, that is through a very general understanding of the Bushido warrior code if not outright corruption of it. The fanaticism that permeated throughout Japanese military culture before the war also pervaded throughout Japanese culture as well, essentially forming the mindset of how both Japanese imperial officers and soldiers viewed their job as warriors. Eating the enemy could even be seen as something of a process of imbuing It would seem that their understanding of the Loyalty component of the ancient samurai Bushido code essentially would mean not only going to any lengths to fight for the Emperor but also commit oneself to one’s perception of what he should do for the Empire as a whole. Millions of Japanese soldiers entered the war with this fanatical and twisted mindset of loyalty to the Emperor, making sure that it became a contributing factor in how many Imperial Japanese soldiers would act, carrying out brutal crimes against prisoners of war and civilians alike.
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