Under the leadership of Dr. Shiro Isshi, Unit 731 subjected 3,000-250,000 innocent men, women, and children to cruel experiments and medical procedures that were carried out by the brightest medical students and staff that Imperial Japan had to offer.
In a bid to develop its own germ warfare capability, the government of Imperial Japan resorted to incredibly deprived and inhumane methods of experimentation, like infecting prisoners with virulent strains of anthrax, plague, cholera, and other diseases. These prisoners were often subject to excruciating vivisections without the use of anesthesia in order to observe the real-time effects of these deadly diseases.
Perhaps the most shocking development after the war was that the perpetrators of this heinous crime against humanity have largely escaped persecution unlike their Nazi counterparts in Europe. In a cowardly attempt to escape persecution by the Soviets, Dr. Shiro Isshi and his staff were able to trade the information obtained from their experiments with the Americans in return for immunity in the Tokyo Trials.
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The occupational period by the Imperial Japanese Army in WWII is Hong Kong’s darkest chapter in history, colloquially known as the “Three Years and Eight Months” period amongst veterans and survivors. However, the lack of contemporary interests towards this subject by historians has led to a limited amount of academic works on the subject being published. This lack of written works, coupled with the declining population of veterans and survivors, has already resulted in the memory of the war to be neglected amongst Hong Kong’s youth, almost forgotten.
AVAILABLE AUGUST 25TH
The fall of Singapore is the greatest defeat of the British empire in the Pacific.
On February 15, 1942, the British surrendered to the Imperial Japanese Army and handed over Singapore and surrounding Malaya countries. The conflict began on December 8, 1941 when Japanese forces bombed Singapore and continued to make their way through the treacherous Malayan jungle. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated during the attack, “the worst disaster and the largest capitulation in British history”. Singaporeans were immediately ordered to come in for questioning after the Imperial Japanese Army took over. During the interview, their homes were looted and destroyed by the Kempeitai, the secret Japanese police.
During the occupation, there were many tragedies. An example is the Sook Ching Massacre.
Sook Ching Massacre, literally meaning “purge through cleansing”, began on February 21, 1942. The mass murder of Singapore residents ages 18 to 50, was targeted at eradicating anti-Japanese sentiments. Victims of the massacre were either Chinese, suspected of being pro-Chinese, anti-Japanese, or Communist. Men and women were questioned and if found guilty, they were taken to one of Singapore’s beaches and murdered. The death toll shows less than 5,000 according to the official Japanese record, while Singaporean officials claim the number of victims was at least 50,000.
AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 14TH