Hell On Earth: The Atrocities Committed At Japan’s Unit 731

March 25, 2014 | 28 Comments » | Topics: WTF

I have to admit that whilst I was aware that the Nazi’s carried out horrendous medical experiments on POW’s, I was not aware that the Japanese had done the same. Some of the most gruesome atrocities of World War II – medical experiments on Chinese, Russian and American prisoners – were committed in China by Japan’s infamous Unit 731. Unit 731 was first founded in 1932 in occupied China by Shiro Ishi of the Imperial Army of Japan. The Unit 731 complex covered six square kilometers and consisted of more than 150 buildings and was based in the Pingfang district of the city of Harbin in the puppet state of Manchukuo.. The design of the facilities made them hard to destroy by bombing.

Ishii’s “Secret of Secrets” was kept from thousands of employees at Unit 731. Prisoners would pass through tunnel entrances to the “death blocks” of blocks seven and eight, never to return again. The only thing guaranteed when entering either of these blocks was death and pain. The reason Ishii chose the remote location of Manchuria was in order to test specifically on live human subjects. Ishii accumulated most of his subjects from a detention camp called Hogoin in Pingfan. Russians who would not cooperate and give any information after being house at Hogoin would be sent straight to Unit 731. Though, seventy percent of the humans used were Chinese. “Unsuspecting and innocent people were also tricked into the clutches of Unit 731. Some were lured by the prospect of employment. Young boys, mothers and children, even pregnant women, were trapped”. Throughout the existence of Unit 731 in Pingfan, three thousand people were sacrificed. ” The prison was a vision of hell. Through the syphole cut in the steel doors of each cell, the plight of the chained prisoners could be seen. Some had rotting limbs, bits of bone protruding through skin blackened by necrosis. Others were sweating in high fever, writhing in agony or moaning in pain. Those who suffered from respiratory infections coughed incessantly. Some were bloated, some emaciated, and others were blistered or had open wounds. Many of the cells were communal. An infected person would be put with healthy prisoners to see how easily diseases spread. In desperation prisoners would try to practice primitive preventive medicine to escape contagion”. Female prisoners were raped daily and was almost routine among the guards. The doctors used various methods of dispersing the diseases. They could be sprayed invisibly, in gas chambers, or in food, drink, chocolates, melons, or crackers.


Vivisection procedure while patient is alive, performed by Shiro Ishii himself


Experiments Included:

Prisoners of war were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia. Vivisections were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Scientists performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was feared that the decomposition process would affect the results. The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants.

Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss. Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body. Some prisoners’ limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.

Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines. Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc. were removed from some prisoners.

Vivisections performed on pregnant women, often women who had been impregnated by the doctors themselves.

Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects. To study the effects of untreatedvenereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected, often by rape, with syphilis and gonorrhea, then studied.

Human targets were used to test grenades positioned at various distances and in different positions. Flame throwers were tested on humans. Humans were tied to stakes and used as targets to test germ-releasing bombs, chemical weapons, and explosive bombs.

In other tests, subjects were deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death; placed into high-pressure chambers until death; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood; exposed to lethal doses of x-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with sea water to determine if it could be a substitute for saline; and burned or prematurely buried alive.

Prisoners would be hung upside down to see exactly how long one dies before being choked to death.

Prisoners would be exposed to extremely high and low temperatures in order to develop frost bite. Doctors would study how long a human being could survive before rotting and gangrene set in on human flesh. Extreme high temperatures were used to determine the relationship between temperature and human survival.

Two prisoners were put on a diet of water and biscuits and then worked nonstop, circling the compound loaded with twenty-kilogram sandbags on their backs until they dropped dead. One lasted longer than the other — about two months. This was supposed to be research into malnutrition, like the Minnesota experiment — but, done the Japanese Army way, it was to the death.

Japanese scientists performed tests on prisoners with plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism, and other diseases. This research led to the development of the defoliation bacilli bomb and the flea bomb used to spread the bubonic plague. These bombs enabled Japanese soldiers to launch biological attacks, infecting agriculture, reservoirs, wells, and other areas with anthrax, plague-carrier fleas, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and other deadly pathogens. During biological bomb experiments, scientists dressed in protective suits would examine the dying victims. Infected food supplies and clothing were dropped by airplane into areas of China not occupied by Japanese forces. In addition, poisoned food and candies were given out to unsuspecting victims, and the results examined.

Of all the thousands of POW’s taken to Unit 731, not a single prisoner survived. It is also a fact that Japan had plans to slaughter the entire prisoner population if and when we invaded their homeland.

Following imminent defeat in 1945, Ishii ordered every member of the group “to take the secret to the grave”, threatening to find them if they failed, and prohibiting any of them from going into public work back in Japan. Potassium cyanide vials were issued for use in the event that the remaining personnel were captured.

Skeleton crews of Ishii’s Japanese troops blew the compound up in the final days of the war to destroy evidence of their activities, but most were so well constructed that they survived somewhat intact.

US General MacArthur secretly granted immunity to the physicians of Unit 731, including their leader, in exchange for providing America with their research on biological warfare. The U.S. believed that the research data was valuable. and did not want other nations, particularly the Soviet Union, to acquire data on biological weapons.

Bodies of victims


Vivisection of a raped girl


Gas tests


A prisoner being buried alive

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  • zorlan

    America: Greatest country in the world, pardoning these butchers. Letting Shiro Ishi die of cancer when he was 67.

    • BigBadBootyMacDaddy

      Yes blame the United States for Japan’s cruelty

    • Bob Frapples

      Yet, you probably bitch about how we nuked ’em.

      • zorlan

        Because those were civilians as well, so…

        • Caleb Hansen

          Unfortunately, when you are at war, you have to make a statement. The statement that the USA gave Japan, was “If you continue in this manner, you will lose far more then your military might.” That unconditional surrender that resulted because of that statement saved more lives then were lost.

          • Lawrence

            America made no statement to Japan, but they did to Russia- they dropped the bomb thinking Russia would never get one, and this would ensure their domination of the world. This is pretty much the case, but Russia will not be cowed- like every other country, they are a proud race- and to endure the shit that America, Britain Germany, et al, has tossed their way since the so called ending of hostilities- shows that. Learn your history, just like most westerners.

            • Caleb Hansen

              1. Did you just reply to a random comment to try and feebly bolster Russia’s reputation WITHOUT reading what the comment said?
              2. Only a fool would believe that Russia never would have obtained a weapon of mass destruction
              3. Endure all the what? Maybe you are unaware, of a small historical event call: The Cold War…

              Yes, like you said, learn your history

          • congokong

            The pro A-bombers always make it out to be either Japanese civilians or American soldiers when there were other options.
            1. In 1945 the Japanese were reaching out to the USSR to negotiate surrender (since reaching out directly to America was treason). The US saw having Stalin be the mediator for peace as stealing America’s thunder, and wanted to do it themselves.
            2. If America hadn’t been adamant on “unconditional surrender,” which included no guarantees regarding Hirohito’s fate, they may not have needed the bombs. Japan’s religion made Hirohito out to be a living god so killing him would be the same to Christians as killing Jesus. Ironically, after 2 nukes and their unconditional surrender being granted Hirohito was spared anyway.
            3. The US gave no time for peace talks between bombs 1 and 2. Only 3 days had gone by and Japan had barely understood what had even happened in Hiroshima.
            4. With Russia declaring war on Japan shortly before the drop of the A-bomb the US didn’t want victory, and post-war plans, to be partially Russia’s. That made them eager to end the war on their terms.
            5. America had a “we built the bomb, we should use it” attitude.
            6. Truman’s post-bombing statements seemed to indicate he didn’t understand exactly what the A-bomb would do, nor did he stop sanctioning bombings until after Nagasaki; potentially because he realized the damage they were causing.

            In conclusion, the A-bombs should have only been used when no alternative existed considering they killed 300,000 people. American pride and fear of communism was no reason to use them.

  • BigBadBootyMacDaddy

    did you not read the part about Japan filleting people alive or dissecting pregnant women…or releasing the bubonic plague on the local population…

    • BigBadBootyMacDaddy

      The Japanese are the real monsters

      • zorlan

        Of course, terrible monsters. That’s why they should have not been pardoned, but they were…

        • zorlan

          Dr. Edwin Hill (Chief of Fort Detrick), whose report stated that the information was “absolutely invaluable”, it “could never have been obtained in the USA because of scruples attached to experiments on humans”, and “the information was obtained fairly cheaply”

      • Alex

        Yeah like the history of the US is so great…

    • ND52


      Well, at least they didn’t drop nuclear bombs on innocent civilians. I mean—-only a truly monstrous country would do that.

      • BigBadBootyMacDaddy

        The US did the world a favor by nuking them

        • ND52


          Well thankfully the U.S. doesn’t torture people. Ever. Anywhere. No matter the situation. The United States refuses to use torture to extract information from anyone.

          • Slackness

            Are you taking the piss? The US has consistently used torture.
            If you believe that, then you need read more: Pilger, Chomsky etc.

            • I was speaking facetiously @slackness:disqus Of course the U.S. tortures people.

      • Bob Frapples

        I knew some liberal bitch would take their lips off of a dick long enough to try to denounce dropping nukes on Japan. You’re clueless.

        • ND52

          @leatherHampsterButt:disqus Lol!. Ooooooooooookay…………..

          • Bob Frapples

            awwww, how cute… he answered with a meme. I guess that means he’s not gay.

            • VividVikeVik

              conservatard bitch! Who’s the idiot now? Trumpster

              • Bob Frapples

                Is this a trick question? Obviously the answer is you. Duh!

  • den

    No one deserves to die like these victims, either in Germany or china. Thank god for the bomb or america would’ve lost another 100000 soldiers. How many innocent were killed at pearl harbor, let alone the bat tan death march? Genocide at its finest, by the worst regimes in the world. No one is innocent, no one.

    • VividVikeVik

      No one is innocent, including the US.

  • dk

    I’m japanese frequenting the site. Having read the article through shocked me in a way that I haven’t heard about this much before. I’ve heard about the Unit but not what they did or how. Every bit of detail should be told in a clear way like this without censorship or concealment so that it lingers in our memory.

  • spengler1

    The pardon was granted by the Gen MacArthur after it was approved by the Truman administratio. In return for amnesty the butchers of Unit 731 turned over massive documentation on their inhuman experiments which today are no longer available.
    The pardon of these brutes in exchange for their data constitute a crime against humanity, perpetrated by the champion of human rights —the USA.

  • spengler1

    MacArthur suggested pardoning the brutes of Unit 731 who numbered in the thousands in exchange for their experimental data. It was Truman and his Joint Chiefs who ultimately approved the shameful exchange. Goes to show the criminality of the ruling class in the Land of the Free…………..