The Hopevale Martyrs

 


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The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.

The American Catholic missionaries in Tapaz,Philippines probably could not be specified as vulnerable but the people they cared for were. additionally the missionaries themselves did not pose any threat themselves to the Japanese occupiers.

The Hopevale Martyrs were Christian martyrs who died during the World War II in the present day Hopevale, Aglinab, Tapaz, Capiz, Philippines. The martyrs were Jeanie Clare Adams, Prof. James Howard Covell, Charma Moore Covell, Dorothy Antoinette Dowell, Signe Amelia Erikson, Dr. Frederick Willer-Meyer, Ruth Schatch Meyer, Dr. Francis Howard Rose, Gertrude Coombs Rose, Rev. Erle Frederich Rounds, Louise Cummings Rounds, and Erle Douglas. Despite the order that these Americans should go home because of the war, they refused to leave their mission and eventually offered their lives when they were caught by the enemies.

During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the eleven American Baptist missionaries refused to surrender to the Japanese troops.

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The missionaries took refuge in the mountains of Barrio Katipunan, Tapaz, Capiz. They hid in the forest they call “Hopevale” with the help of their Filipino friends.

On December 19, 1943, Hopevale fell into Japanese hands. The martyrs begged to free the Filipino captives and instead offered themselves as ransom. At the dawn of December 20, 1943, the missionaries asked to be allowed to pray and, an hour later, they told their Japanese captors they were ready to die. The adults were beheaded and the children were bayoneted.

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Banzai-Suicides for the Emperor

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How do you fight an enemy that is not afraid to kill themselves?19026-004-8C3631D6

In the air they had the Kamikaze pilots on the ground they had troops carrying out Banzai charges, how can you fight an enemy that has absolutely no regard for life? Not even their own lives.

How do you fight an army that sees their leader as some kind of divine entity?

One of the great injustices post WWII was that Emperor Hirohito was not tried for his involvement in World War II, even if it had been for the death of his own soldiers who killed themselves in his ‘honour’

He died on January 7 1989 at the age of 88 after having lived a life of luxury, when thousands of young men died for him or in his name.

 

 

“Whenever we cornered the enemy and there was no way out, we faced the dreaded banzai attack.” An anonymous US Marine who was on Saipan.”

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Banzai Charge was a suicidal last-ditch attack that was mounted by Japanese infantry during WWII. Banzai Charge was actually not the real name of the attack, but rather a name given by Allied forces because during the charge, Japanese forces yelled “Tenno Heika Banzai!” (long live the emperor, ten thousand ages!).

During the war period, the Japanese militarist government began disseminating propaganda that romanticized suicide attack, using one of the virtues of Bushido as the basis for the campaign. The Japanese government presented war as purifying, with death defined as a duty.

By the end of 1944, the government announced the last protocol, unofficially named ichioku gyokusai (一億玉砕, literally “100 million shattered jewels”), implying the will of sacrificing the entire Japanese population of 100 million, if necessary, for the purpose of resisting opposition forces.

During the U.S. raid on Makin Island, on August 17, 1942, the U.S. Marine Raiders attacking the island initially spotted and then killed Japanese machine gunners. The Japanese defenders then launched a banzai charge with rifles and swords but were stopped by American firepower. The pattern was repeated in additional attacks, but with similar results.

During the Battle of Guadalcanal, on August 21, 1942, Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki JapaneseColIchikiled 800 soldiers to launch a direct attack against the American line guarding Henderson Field in the Battle of the Tenaru.

 

After small-scale combat engagement in the jungle, Ichiki’s army launched its banzai charge on the enemy; however, with an organized American defense line already in place, most of the Japanese soldiers were killed and Ichiki subsequently committed suicide.

The largest banzai charge of the war took place in the Battle of Saipan in 1944 where, at the cost of almost 4,300 dead Japanese soldiers, it almost destroyed the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th U.S. Infantry, who lost almost 650 men

Banzai charges were always of dubious effectiveness. In the early stages of the Pacific War, a sudden banzai charge might overwhelm small groups of enemy soldiers unprepared for such an attack. However near the end of the war, a banzai charge inflicted little damage while its participants suffered horrendous losses if launched against an organized defense with strong firepower, such as automatic weapons, machine guns and semi-automatic rifles.

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At best they were conducted by groups of the last surviving soldiers when the main battle was already lost, as a last resort or as an alternative to surrender. At worst they threw away valuable resources in men and arms in suicidal attacks, which only hastened defeat.

Some Japanese commanders, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, recognized the futility and waste of such attacks and expressly forbade their men from carrying them out.

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Indeed, the Americans were surprised that the Japanese did not employ banzai charges at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The greatest effect of the Banzai charge was not casualties, but the decrease in morale in most allied troops.

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Many soldiers feared “the dreaded banzai attack” and this itself sometimes affected performance in the field. Japanese soldiers however did sometimes surrender, but rarely in large numbers. They were also trained to commit suicide if the attack did not breach enemy lines and this included using grenades to kill oneself and any allied soldiers who were not careful. The weapons used by Japanese soldiers during an attack varied from machine guns, rifles, bayonets, swords, spears, knives, grenades, etc.

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Hisao Tani-Japanese War Criminal

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Tani was born 22 December 1882 in Okayama Prefecture. He graduated from the 15th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1903 and from the 24th class of the Army War College, where he became an instructor in 1924. The College used his texts on strategy and tactics as required readings.

He saw service during the Russo-Japanese War and during the First World War, as official observer for the Japanese government in Great Britain.

From 1935 to 1937, Tani was commanding officer of the 6th Division (Imperial Japanese Army), which was assigned to the China Expeditionary Army in December 1937 under the overall command of General Matsui Iwane. The 6th Division fought in North China during the Peiking – Hankow Railway Operation. Shipped south with the Japanese 10th Army, it took part in the end of the Battle of Shanghai, and the Battle of Nanking.

His troops took Nanking on 13 December 1937. The Chinese army had evacuated the city just before it was taken. The ensuing occupation was therefore that of a defenceless city. The Japanese troops nevertheless carried out unspeakable atrocities: massacre, rape, pillaging and destruction were routinely committed.

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During a six to seven week period, more than 100’000 civilians were killed and thousands of women raped. Against this backdrop, Matsui marched triumphantly into Nanking on 17 December 1937 and remained there for several days.

He then served as Commander in Chief of the Central Defence Army before retiring. For the Second World War, he was recalled from retirement to the command of the IJA 59th Army and Chugoku Army District.

After the end of War, Tani was extradited to the Chinese government to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal.

After the end of World War II, the Chinese government demanded that Tani be extradited to China to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Tani denied all charges, blaming Korean soldiers for the massacre.

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Hundreds of survivors as well as several foreigners who witnessed the atrocity from Nanking Safety Zone, including Miner Searle Bates from the University of Nanking, testified against Hani. He was found guilty of instigating, inspiring and encouraging the men under his command to stage general massacres of prisoners of war and non-combatants and to perpetrate such crimes as rape, plunder and wanton destruction of property, during the Battle of Shanghai, the Battle of Nanking and early in its occupation, the Rape of Nanking, and he was consequently executed on 26 April 1947.

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The Goettge patrol.

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In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception in which one side promises to act in good faith (such as by raising a flag of truce) with the intention of breaking that promise once the unsuspecting enemy is exposed (such as by coming out of cover to attack the enemy coming to take the “surrendering” prisoners into custody). Perfidy constitutes a breach of the laws of war and so is a war crime, as it degrades the protections and mutual restraints developed in the interest of all parties, combatants, and civilians.goettge

A Marine patrol, commanded by Lieutenant-Colnonel Goettge was sent to investigate a report about Japanese in the area who were waiting to surrender. The patrol was ambushed, shot bayonetted and killed. Only three men escaped alive.

Prior to the Marine invasion of the Solomon Islands in Operation Watchtower, Goettge, Division D-2 augmented Marine Intelligence when he traveled to Australia spending a week in Melbourne and a few days in Sydney gathering information on the Islands from people who lived and worked there. In addition to information gleaned from interviews Goettge brought eight Australians to where the First Marine Division was forming in Wellington, New Zealand..

The Marines landed on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942, and within several days rounded up a number of Japanese Navy laborers, who had been assigned to construct the airfield at Lunga Point. Most were malnourished and sick from tropical illnesses.

Information about the strength and location of the Japanese forces on Guadalcanal was sketchy and difficult to ascertain. This resulted in the need for probes into the enemies defenses days after the landing on August 7.

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A Japanese warrant officer was among the prisoners and, after being plied with alcohol, told the Marines that there were a number of Japanese west of the Matanikau River. These soldiers were reportedly sick, demoralized, and willing to surrender. At about the same time, Marines near the Matanikau perimeter reported seeing a white flag flying from a tree.

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These reports, as well as several other similar accounts were given to Goettge. He thought that this might be an opportunity to secure much of the island without significant fighting and he decided to act quickly. He organized a 25 man patrol to land just west of the Matanikau estuary. The plan was to follow the Matanikau upstream, bivouac for a night, then head east back to the Lunga perimeter.

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The patrol consisted of Goettge; Japanese translator LT Ralph Corry; regimental surgeon, LCDR Malcom Pratt; and a handful of scouts and infantry. Just before the patrol departed on the evening of August 12, Goettge was informed by Colonel Whaling, the 5th Marine Regiment’s executive officer, that the Japanese were strongly defending the area between Point Cruz and the mouth of the Matanikau. Whaling suggested a landing west of Point Cruz.

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The Goettge Patrol left at dusk on a tank lighter. However, a flare was seen to the east and the lighter returned to the perimeter, thinking it was a signal to return. The patrol then left for a second time around 9:00 p.m. Despite Whaling’s warning, the boat headed for an area just to the west of the Matanikau river mouth. Before the patrol reached the beach, the lighter ran aground on a sandbar. The coxswain gunned the motor to free the vessel, and the Marines disembarked on the beach around 10:00 p.m.

 

Unbeknownst to Goettge, the Japanese had heard the sound of the stuck landing craft, and began organizing troops on a coral plateau about 200 yards inland from the Marines. Goettge ordered a defensive perimeter established, then took two men, Captain Ringer and First Sergeant Custer, with him to scout the jungle. Not long after they left the beach, the Japanese opened fire and Goettge was killed with a shot to the head. Ringer and Custer managed to make it back to the perimeter.

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Platoon Sergeant Frank Lowell Few and two Marines went back into the jungle to confirm that Goettge was indeed dead. They found his body and took his watch and insignia, so the Japanese would not be able to identify him as an officer. Over the next nine hours, the patrol lay pinned on the beach. The Japanese maintained fire on the American perimeter, but the Marines were unable to locate the Japanese in the dark jungle. About 30 minutes after landing, Sergeant Arndt was tasked to head out into the ocean and try to swim back to the Lunga perimeter, over five miles to the east. Arndt reached American lines around 5:00 a.m., but it was too late to affect the fate of the Goettge Patrol.

During the course of the night, the Japanese picked the Marines off, one by one. The Japanese would occasionally launch a flare to illuminate the beachhead perimeter. However, the Marines were unable to discern the Japanese positions in the moonless night. After some time, Captain Ringer ordered another Marine, Corporal Spaulding, to make a second attempt to get back to American lines. Like Arndt, Spaulding ran off the beach into the ocean, and then started on the grueling swim to safety. He reached American lines around 7:30 a.m.

By dawn, only four members of the patrol were still alive. Captain Ringer decided they stood a better chance in the jungle. As the Marines made their dash off the beach, the Japanese opened fire, cutting down the remaining survivors except for Platoon Sergeant Frank Few. Few managed to reach the trees. He saw a Japanese soldier firing into the corpses of the Marines and decided it would be certain death to remain. Few drew his pistol, killed the Japanese, then made a dash into the sea. Few looked back and saw Japanese troops swarming the beach, mutilating the bodies of the dead or wounded but still alive Marines. Few also managed to make it back to friendly lines by swimming approximately four miles through shark-infested waters. Few was the last survivor of the Goettge Patrol.Guadalcanal_Diary_1943_poster

A slightly fictionalized version of the incident is in the movie Guadalcanal Diary. In the film, the patrol is led by a “Captain Cross” and there is only one survivor, though one Marine is shown running along the beach for help.

 

According to a Marine Corps monograph previous to August 21, a patrol found Pratt’s dispatch case and a cloth with Goettge’s name on it; the monograph also claimed no identifiable remains were found. See Note # 16 at However on August 18, a Marine patrol from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, made a combat patrol in the same area that the Goettge Patrol was annihilated. They reported seeing remains, but Goettge’s body was never found. There are at least five eyewitness reports of finding the remains of the patrol- one from Company “I”/3/5;one from Company “K”/3/5;and three from Company “L”/3/5

 

A flag as an apology

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The text of this ‘good luck flag’, which belonged to the Japanese General Shunkichi Ikeda, reads: ’A tiger walks 1,000 miles, but always returns again’. A group of Japanese women from his place of birth embroidered this thousand-stitch saying, meant to bring him luck and prosperity.

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Whenever the General went into battle with his troops from the Japanese Imperial Army, the flag went with him. In early 1945, General Ikeda was stationed in Sorong, a town in New Guinea in the Dutch East Indies.

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His men were attacked by the Allies. Two wounded American pilots were taken prisoner. They were beheaded two days later. Who committed this gruesome act? General Ikeda was ultimately responsible but after the war when he was interrogated in 1946, he could not remember anything about the incident.

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He realized what a hopeless position he was in and gave this flag to his interrogator A. Leijten as a gift. Little is known about what happened to General Ikeda after that; he died in 1948.

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St. Stephen’s College massacre-Japanese Hong Kong atrocity

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The St. Stephen’s College massacre  involved a series of acts of extreme cruelty committed by the Imperial Japanese Army on 25 December 1941 during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong at St. Stephen’s College.

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Several hours before the British surrendered on Christmas day at the end of the Battle of Hong Kong,

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Japanese soldiers entered St. Stephen’s College, which was being used as a hospital on the front line at the time.The Japanese were met by two doctors, Black and Witney, who were marched away, and were later found dead and mutilated.They then burst into the wards and bayoneted a number of British, Canadian and Indian wounded soldiers who were incapable of hiding.The survivors and their nurses were imprisoned in two rooms upstairs. Later, a second wave of Japanese troops arrived after the fighting had moved further south, away from the school. They removed two Canadians from one of the rooms, and mutilated and killed them outside. Many of the nurses next door were then dragged off to be gang raped, and later found mutilated. The following morning, after the surrender, the Japanese ordered that all these bodies should be cremated just outside the hall. Other soldiers who had died in the defence of Stanley were burned with those killed in the massacre, making well over 100 altogether

When the college and the grounds of Stanley Prison became a civilian internment camp, the internees gathered up the burnt remains, shards of bones, buttons and charred effects from the cremation, and then buried them. A gravestone marks the spot where these items were interred at Stanley Cemetery.

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The Jesselton revolt

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Jesselton revolt was a multiethnic uprising on the occupied island of Borneo in October of 1943. The revolt was led by a guerrilla force mainly consisted of indigenous Suluk people and ethnic Chinese. The rebels were mainly armed with spears and Indonesian swords called parang, with little or no firearms.

The Kinabalu Guerrillas were led by Albert Kwok in the west and by Mustapha Harun in the north.

The Kinabalu Guerillas, consisting of 300 Chinese and islanders people like the Suluk and Bajau. The Dusun and Sikhs, started an uprising against the Japanese on 9 October 1943, on the eve of National Day of the Republic of China. Albert Kwok was a supporter of the Kuomintang government of the Republic of China

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Kwok was forced to launch the revolt ahead of schedule because the forced conscription of the native Chinese was approaching. Imam Marajukim, a Muslim cleric from Sulu in the Philippines, was involved in the resistance against Japan in the Philippines and helped supply Kwok and the Kinabalu guerillas.The Suluks were described as “strongly displeased to be anti-Japanese” Imam Marajukim helped the Chinese secure participation in the uprising from Panglima Ali’s Suluks, the Binadan inhabitants of the Mantanani and Danawan (Dinawan) islands, and the Oudar Islanders under Orang Tuah Arshad.The rank of 3rd Lieutenant within the Sulu guerrillas was granted to Kwok after he joined the resistance movement.

The Chinese and Suluks started the insurrection with a combined land and sea attack on the Japanese in Jesselton. Mantanani and other islands contributed ships to the Suluk flotilla, headed by Suluk (Sulug) Island leader Orang Tuah Panglima Ali and Oudar (Udar) Island leader Orang Tuah Arshad.Panglima Ali was the primary leader of the naval part of the uprising.

The 100-strong Chinese guerrilla force was led by Kwok first took control of the Menggatal and Tuaran police stations and then used parangs to attack the Japanese on land in Jesselton.

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While the 200-strong guerrilla force of Suluks and Bajau from the coastal islands led by Sulug Island leader Orang Tuah Panglima Ali, Udar Island leader Orang Tuah Arshad, Mantanani Island leader Jemalul and Dinawan Island leader Saruddin attacked from the sea, assaulting the city and burning down warehouses.

Dusun-Murut and Sikh Indians joined the guerillas in the attack on the Japanese. The Japanese suffered 60-90 deaths, but the guerillas were armed only with parangs and spears, so they were forced to withdraw. This led to the defeat of the uprising.

The infamous Kempeitai, whose methods of torture and interrogation were very similar to the German Gestapo, conducted the systematic Massacre of the Suluks while pursuing the remnants of the Chinese guerrillas.

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They bayoneted and beheaded the Suluks and burned their villages to the point that the indigenous people were almost completely wiped out. Around 3,000-4,000 of Suluks were exterminated.

“The Tokyo war crimes trial” index described Japanese atrocities as “an apparently systematic attempt to exterminate the Suluk race between February and June 1944”

Japanese Human Target practice

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The Japanese treatment of prisoners of war in World War II was barbaric. The men shown in the above picture are part of the Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army. All of them are sitting in the traditional cross-legged prayer position. They’re probably reciting their final prayers as this picture was being taken. It’s very morbid if you think about it. The vast majority of Indian soldiers captured when Singapore fell belonged to Sikh community. These photographs were found among Japanese records when British troops retook Singapore.

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If you examine carefully the second picture you’ll note a marker hanging over the heart of each prisoner and the stakes in front bear of the rifle. Each target position is marked with a number, indicating that the solider in position one is going to shoot the prisoner on position one, and so on.

The positions where the targets are located is generally called “the butts”. This is a target practice, not a straightforward military execution by firing squad. A firing squad usually has a half-dozen or more shooters per condemned, to guarantee a pretty instant death. In this case, shooters are assigned one per victim. Moreover in a military execution, victims don’t get bayoneted at the end. If any are still alive, the officer in charge should administer a coup de grace with a pistol.Japanese troops using prisoners of war for target practice, 1942 3

The most severe treatment was directed at the Chinese who were killed in large numbers by a variety of brutal means. The killings were conducted in many ways including shooting, burying alive, bayoneting, beheading, medical experimentation, and other methods.a2e13e6832e9f98f827d8bd31755940b

 

The evil of Japan during WWII

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Many people forget that the Japanese war crimes were as bad if not worse then those committed by the Nazi’s albeit it on a marginal lesser scale. Beside the crimes and experiment committed by Unit 731 there were a great number of other atrocities, including cannibalism.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/07/01/unit-731-japanese-wwii-experiments/

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In “The Knights of Bushido”, Lord Russell of Liverpool describes an unprovoked murder of two Dutch civilian administrators at Balikpapan in Borneo after the Japanese invaded that Dutch colony in 1942. An eyewitness to the murders gave the following horrific account:

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“I saw a district officer and a police inspector, both in uniform, in conversation with a Japanese Army officer. During the interview, the officer had been continually ill-treating the district officer (a Dutchman), slapping his face and hitting him all over his body with the scabbard of his sword. Suddenly, the officer drew his sword and hacked off both the Dutchman’s arms just above the elbows, and then both his legs above the knees. The trunk of his body was then tied to a coconut tree and bayoneted until life was extinct. The Japanese officer then turned his attention to the Dutch policeman, who had his arms and legs hewed off in like manner. The policeman struggled on to the stumps of his legs and managed to shout ‘God save the Queen’

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He then fell dead, a bayonet through his heart”

Lord Russell relates the story of a young American pilot who was captured, murdered, and eaten by Japanese officers on the island of New Britain. The story is narrated by Havildar Chandgi Ram who had been shipped to New Britain with other Indian Army prisoners of war and forced to work as a slave labourer for the Imperial Japanese Army.

“On 12 November 1944, I was digging a trench for the Japanese in the Totabil area of New Britain. About 1600 hours, a single-engined United States fighter plane made a forced landing about a hundred yards away from where I was working. The Japanese from Go Butai Kendebo Camp rushed to the spot and seized the pilot, who could not have been more than twenty years old, and had managed to scramble out of the plane before the Japs could reach him.

“About half an hour from the time of the forced landing, the Kempei Tai * beheaded the pilot. I saw this from behind a tree and watched some of the Japanese cut flesh from his arms, legs, hips and buttocks and carry it off to their quarters. I was so shocked at the scene and followed the Japanese just to find out what they would do with the flesh. They cut it in small pieces and fried it.

“Later that evening, a senior Japanese officer, of the rank of major general, addressed a large number of officers. At the conclusion of his speech, a piece of fried flesh was given to all present who ate it on the spot.”

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Just a day before the British surrendered Singapore, Japanese soldiers stormed Alexandra Military Hospital and slaughtered its occupants, including the medical staff and patients. Even those undergoing surgery were not spared.

Following the massacre, the Japanese forced those left to clean up the mess and then herded them into cramped rooms. When morning came, the Japanese rounded up the 200 survivors (some died during the night) and bayoneted them in the courtyard. Only five survived the second massacre by hiding in a storm drain.

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Japan did not subscribe to the Geneva convention and systematically mistreated and tortured the POW’s . They even used them as target practice(1st picture above)

Close to 200,000 Prisoners of War died during the construction of the Burma-Thailand(death) Railway.

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3,098 Dutch (19%)
6,904 English (29%)
2,646 Australians (31%)
131 American (23%)
180,000 Asiatic (90%)

Even the small South Pacific island of Nauru did not escape the horrors of the war. During their occupation of the island, the Japanese committed a string of atrocities, and a few stood out for their brutality.

After a raid on the island’s airfield by American bombers on March 1943, the Japanese beheaded and bayoneted five interned Australians in retaliation.

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That same year, the Japanese also forcibly deported more than 1,000 indigenous inhabitants as labor to other occupied islands to conserve rations.

During their occupation, the Japanese singlehandedly exterminated the island’s leper colony. Stowing the island’s 39 lepers on a boat, the Japanese led them far out to sea and out of sight. Afterward, Japanese gun boats fired at the vessel, sinking it and killing all onboard.

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One of Japan’s most notorious submarines, the I-8, is best remembered for sinking two Allied ships and for the crew’s terrible conduct in the aftermath.

On March 26, 1944, the sub spotted and sank the Dutch freighter Tsijalak hundreds of miles off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Japanese took 103 survivors onboard and massacred them with swords and sledgehammers. They then bound those still alive and left them on deck as the submarine dove below. Only five survived the ordeal.

Just a few months later, the Japanese destroyed the US cargo ship Jean Nicolet and subjected the survivors to the same brutal treatment. The Japanese tortured and killed their prisoners by making them pass through a gauntlet of swords and bayonets before throwing their bodies overboard. The Japanese later dove after spotting an Allied aircraft, with 30 prisoners still above deck. Only two dozen of the 100-plus prisoners survived.

The list of atrocities is neatly endless and these ones weren’t ever the worse, China was suffered most under the Japanese. The rape of Nanking or Nanking Massacre took place between December 13, 1937 – January 1938. The numbers killed are unknown but the consensus is anywhere between 50,000 and 300,000.

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Early in 1945, General Yamashita planned for his men to evacuate Manila and fight in the countryside. However, two Japanese admirals ignored his order and committed their men to a final stand inside the city. When the Americans arrived, the Japanese forces realized that they faced certain death and vented their rage on the hapless civilians trapped inside their lines.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/08/10/the-manila-massacre/

For weeks, the Japanese raped, pillaged, and murdered. Aside from the bayonets and beheadings, they machine-gunned captives and set fire to buildings with people trapped inside. The Americans ceased artillery strikes so the Japanese could surrender, but the Japanese instead continued their rampage.

 

 

After the dust settled, all Japanese defenders of the city had died, taking with them 100,000 civilian casualties. The incident left Manila as one of the Allies’ most damaged capital cities, second only to Warsaw.

Comfort Women-The Japanese army Sex Slaves.

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Comfort women were women and girls who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories before and during World War II.

The name “comfort women” is a translation of the Japanese ianfu a euphemism for “prostitute(s)”,who generally lived under conditions of sexual slavery. Estimates of the number of women involved typically range up to 200,000, but the actual number may have been even higher. The great majority of them were from Korea (then a Japanese protectorate), though women from China, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia—including Japan and Dutch nationals in Indonesia—were also involved.

From 1932 until the end of the war in 1945, comfort women were held in brothels called “comfort stations” that were established to enhance the morale of Japanese soldiers and ostensibly to reduce random sexual assaults. Although some of the women may have participated voluntarily, the great many of them were often lured by false promises of employment or were abducted and sent against their will to comfort stations, which existed in all Japanese-occupied areas, including China and Burma (Myanmar). Comfort stations were also maintained within Japan and Korea. The women typically lived in harsh conditions, where they were subjected to continual rapes and were beaten or murdered if they resisted.

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The Japanese government had an interest in keeping soldiers healthy and wanted sexual services under controlled conditions, and the women were regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. According to several reports—notably a study sponsored by the United Nations that was published in 1996—many of the comfort women were executed at the end of World War II. The women who survived often suffered physical maladies (including sterility), psychological illnesses, and rejection from their families and communities. Many survivors in foreign countries were simply abandoned by the Japanese at the end of the war and lacked the income and means of communication to return to their homes.

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Approximately three quarters of comfort women died, and most survivors were left infertile due to sexual trauma or sexually transmitted diseases.Beatings and physical torture were said to be common.

Ten Dutch women were taken by force from prison camps in Java by officers of the Japanese Imperial Army to become forced sex slaves in February 1944. They were systematically beaten and raped day and night. As a victim of the incident, in 1990, Jan Ruff-O’Herne testified to a U.S. House of Representatives committee:

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During the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, O’Herne and thousands of Dutch women were forced into hard physical labor at a prisoner-of-war camp at a disused army barracks in Ambarawa, Indonesia.

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In February 1944, high ranking Japanese officials arrived at the camp and ordered all single girls seventeen years and older to line up. Ten girls were chosen; O’Herne, twenty one years old at the time, was one of them.O’Herne and six other young women were taken by Japanese officers to an old Dutch colonial house at Semarang. The girls thought they would be forced into factory work or used for propaganda. They soon realized that the colonial house was to be converted to a military brothel.

 

On their first day, photographs of the women were taken and displayed at the reception area.The soldiers picked the girls they wanted from the photographs. The girls were all given Japanese names; all were names of flowers.Over the following three months, the women were repeatedly raped and beaten. O’Herne fought against the soldiers every night and even cut her hair to make herself ugly to the Japanese soldiers. Cutting her hair short had the opposite effect, however, making her a curiosity. Shortly before the end of World War II, the women were moved to a camp in Bogor, West Java, where they were reunited with their families. The Japanese warned them that if they told anyone about what happened to them, they and their family members would be killed. While many of the young girls’ parents guessed what had happened, most remained silent, including O’Herne.

In the decades after the war, O’Herne did not speak publicly about her experience until 1992, when three Korean comfort women demanded an apology and a compensation from the Japanese government. Inspired by the actions of these women and wanting to offer her own support, O’Herne decided to speak out as well. At the International Public Hearing on Japanese War Crimes in Tokyo on December 1992, O’Herne broke her silence and shared her story. In 1994 O’Herne published a personal memoir titled Fifty Years of Silence, which documents the struggles that she faced while secretly living the life of a war rape survivor.

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In 1991 the Japanese government admitted publicly for the first time that comfort stations had existed during the war. Two years later, in a statement issued by the chief cabinet minister, the government also acknowledged its involvement in the recruitment of comfort women and its deception of those women, and it apologized for affronting their honour. Although the Japanese government denied any legal responsibility for the sexual assaults, it set up the Asian Women’s Fund in 1995 as an attempt at resolution. However, the fund was sustained from donations from private citizens, not government monies, and Korean activists opposed its existence. The fund ceased operating in 2007.

Comfort women remained a highly sensitive issue in Japan. Although the existence of the wartime program had become general knowledge there, many Japanese—notably right-wing nationalists—continued to refute it, particularly whether the women had been forced to work in the comfort stations. In 2007 Abe Shinzo, during his first term as prime minister, stated that there was no evidence of coercion, though he later retracted his comment.

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The topic again surfaced publicly in 2014, during Abe’s second term as prime minister. A Japanese newspaper reported that it had retracted stories from the 1980s and ’90s about women being coerced, after the Japanese man who had claimed responsibility for doing so later denied his involvement. There ensued some discussion among government officials about revising the 1993 apology statement, but that idea was quickly abandoned, in part because of outside pressure (including from the United States). In 2014 Abe’s government also petitioned the United Nations to ask that its 1996 report be revised, but UN officials quickly denied the request.