Marutas of Unit 731: Human Experimentation
of the Forgotten Asian Auschwitz
Euphemistically labeled as the "Water Supply and Prophylaxis Administration" and "HippoEpizootic Administration" of the Imperial Japanese Army, Unit 731 and Unit 100, as well as their subsidiary branches, performed human experimentation on the innocent under the leadership of Commanding Officer and Doctor Ishii Shiro. The Kempeitai (military police) captured the "lab rats" for Unit 731's prison. The prisoners included Chinese patriots, nearby civilians, Russians, and Allied prisoners of war. Although the exact number of victims is unclear due to Japan's attempts to liquidate evidence of their heinous crimes at the closing of the war, it is estimated to have ranged from 3,000-250,000 innocent men, women, and children. The cruel experiments and medical procedures were carried out by the brightest medical students, scientists, researchers, and staff that Imperial Japan had to offer.
To dehumanize prisoners in their minds, the scientists of Unit 731 called their test subjects "Marutas" or logs. Unit 731 faculty's observation of Marutas included their reaction to bubonic plague, typhoid, paratyphoid A and B, typhus, anthrax, smallpox, tularemia, infectious jaundice, gas gangrene, tetanus, cholera, dysentery, glanders, scarlet fever, undulant fever, tick encephalitis, "songo" or epidemic hemorrhagic fever, whooping cough, diphtheria, pneumonia, erysipelas, epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis, venereal diseases, tuberculosis, salmonella, frostbites, and many more deadly viruses, germs, and bacteria. To observe the real-time effects of these harmful agents, these prisoners were often subject to vivisections without the use of anesthesia. In the case where a human experimental subject was exhausted from the experiments, they were to be killed one way or another. Some test subjects were handed potassium cyanide tablets, while others ingested porridge with heroin.
These "medical doctors" who performed routine human experiments were allowed to escape persecution, unlike their Nazi counterparts in Europe. This affair became infamously known as the elaborate American cover-up of war crimes, offering these perpetrators of crimes against humanity-- including Emperior Hirohito and Ishii Shiro--immunity in exchange for US access to Unit 731 research. Instead of punishment, many of these criminals were rewarded handsomely with great careers after the war, while thousands of Chinese families mourned their loved ones' lives which had lost at Unit 731 or dealt with the permeating consequences of sustaining a bacterial attack in their village.