Ishii Shiro: Josef Mengele of the East
by Jenny Chan
The Japanese occupation of Manchuria promised many opportunities for young scientists who wanted to utilize their training and curiosity to advance Japanese military capabilities. Recently graduated medical student Ishii Shiro seized this occasion, and with funding from the War Ministry of Imperial Japan, founded Unit 731, a biological and chemical warfare research and development arm of the IJA. With consent and funding from the military and government, he recruited the brightest minds from Japan to conduct fatal human experimentation, develop bubonic plague bombs to unleash on nearby villages, and test biological and chemical weapons.
Within a few years, he rapidly climbed the ranks, going from Captain to General for the Imperial Japanese Army. His impact and power overshadowed his European counterpart, Josef Mengele. After the war, he faked his death, but the CIA was able to locate him. However, he negotiated immunity and was never brought to justice in what came to be known as the elaborate American coverup of Japanese war crimes.