Cannibalism

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by canuck, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

  2. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    what a grusome story hanging wasn't good enough a death for him
     
  3. From my readings Cannibalism was not uncommon towards the end of the war in New Guinea, even to the extent of eating their own.
    I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to find one of your mates with his thighs cut off.
    Don't believe many prisoners were taken after this was discovered.

    Cheers Rob
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    On the documentary "Beyond Kokoda" the Japanese veterans admitted to cannibalism.
     
  5. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Many British and Commonwealth POWs upon liberation ventured into the Russian POWs quarters only to find some men with parts removed. But I would suggest that was survival. This was just evil. Deacs is right.
     
  6. smethwick

    smethwick Member

    One of the best books I have ever read is " Fires on the Plain" by Shohei Ooka,this deals in part with cannibalism.

    the author was a japanese soldier serving on the phillipines, and although the book is fiction, it is based(so i am told)on part of his experiences during that period. He was taken prisoner by the americans at the end of that campaign.
     
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    This is one of the more strange accounts I've read.

    Yoshio Tachibana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    I have also read about this incident in the book 'Knight's of Bushido', this is about many of the Japanese War crimes trials from WW2.

    A supplement to the account was that US Airmen were considered by the Japanese to be war criminals themselves, having managed by that stage of the war to reach the Japanese mainland with their bombing raids and having killed civilians.

    It was also in some macabre way considered a spiritual conquest to have eaten the bodily parts (liver in this case) of your enemy.

    There are many accounts of retreating Japanese soldiers eating the remains of their dead comrades, as they fled from the battlefields of Burma.

    It is stated as factual, that there were no incidents of Allied POW's ever eating human flesh in an attempt to stave off hunger during WW2!
     
  8. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Gruesome facts alert... follow on only if you need to...

    This is an area I wish I did not have to follow, but if you are to do proper research all paths should be followed...

    My opening searches online were "Japanese - Canibalism - Burma" and "Japanese War Crimes - Burma"

    Be very careful from here on if you follow those paths - the imagery and text are extremely disturbing...

    The viewpoint of the Japanese heirachy was that by eating the body-parts of your enemy (most commonly thighs, buttocks and/or liver) you robbed them and endowed yourself with their strength and spirit; this has been documented in the Australian War Crimes Tribunals...

    It was considered acceptable to eat the flesh of your enemy but not of your own comrades...

    Canibalism is not considered as a War Crime; afaik, it is still not considered a crime in Japan to this day...
     
  9. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    When the Australians moved to the offensive on the Kokoda Track Campaign in 1942 as they moved forward they found numerous instances of cannibalism by Japanese troops on Australian dead.
     
  10. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    When the Australians moved to the offensive on the Kokoda Track Campaign in 1942 as they moved forward they found numerous instances of cannibalism by Japanese troops on Australian dead.

    They seemed to have developed a fondness towards the Australians at that time... a lot of nasty recorded instances in Malaya...
     
  11. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    The Japanese were at the end of a very long supply chain that could only be supplied by man packing supplies from the coast up and over the track. I do not think they had much in the order of air resupply. They had quite a lot of men, many more than the Australians had to supply. As well as the natives soon learned that the japanese were not good employers and ran away leaving even less supply for the Jap. 6000 men minimum at the front and up to 13500 all up. No wonder they were eating bark
     
  12. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    It is stated as factual, that there were no incidents of Allied POW's ever eating human flesh in an attempt to stave off hunger during WW2!

    I may have come across this recently in a book I (partly) read. I did not read the whole book as it was pretty grim and was only looking for a code breaking reference. I think it mentioned flesh eating among POWs on hell ships - possibly American POWs as I think they were much more badly treated. However I was not convinced of some of the statements in the book.
     
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    It is interesting that you say this Geoff, because the only whisper ever to circulate about such incidents did involve American POW's.
     
  14. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    It is interesting that you say this Geoff, because the only whisper ever to circulate about such incidents did involve American POW's.

    This is the book, I cannot be sure I remember all what I (speed) read, (I was looking for some other details, to do with revisionist theories on code-breaking) but do think the author was trying to squeeze every detail from the evidence. He did seem to interview a lot of hell ship survivors and also read a lot of previous works, if his bibliography is to be believed. You should probably ask someone who's read the whole book, as I did not. I could not find a complete book review anywhere. One short review, which led me to the book, claimed that the allies knew what each of the sunk hell ships were carrying and this information was withheld from the allied attacking commanders. I don't buy this 100% since they were usually in convoys, had no markings and may have also carried Japanese troops and munitions. So I think it unlikely that any ship was singled out in Japanese code as being POW transport, but it is likely that the allies knew that POWs were in the convoys. He quotes some NARA references in support of the allies knowledge of the hell ship's voyages, but does not reproduce any documents.

    Death on the Hellships
     
  15. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    I jumped ahead in a book I'm reading by Alistair Urquhart (The Forgotten Highlander) - he was a survivor of the "Hell Ships" - the book is grim but this section deals with vampirism and canibalism doesn't pull punches - there is no line drawn between who did what or to whom...
     
  16. BuffaloChuck

    BuffaloChuck Junior Member

    OLDER POST, NEW REPLY...

    I was reading US Army History volumes published in the early '50s, part of their War College studies program, and there is mention of ritual 'cuts' taken from POWs and "undetermined corpses" on the Japanese retreat from Kokoda. Steak-like butcher cuts. Not "early in the war" at all. (Some Japanese soldiers admitted those "undetermined" corpses were likely their own troops.)

    The brutality of the Japanese wasn't new to them - they'd been doing this for a decade in China and Manchuria, too, and since the Kokoda forces were China Troop regiments, cannibalism and incredible brutality was part of their 'normal'.

    What's fascinating is that, during the early 20th Century and into WWI, Japanese keepers of Western POWs were uniformly kind and observant of Western standards. But somewhere in the '20s, when Japan claimed to be betrayed by Western powers, the brutality of their 'boot camps' picked up and then they were using Koreans and Manchurians for bayonet practice. Lordy - and crucifixion is said to be a horrible way to die.

    As for hell onboard transports, I have no doubt that every degradation was delivered. I have a hard time imagining being a POW, facing transport back to Home Japan after enduring so many other brutalities. And then to be torpedo'd or strafed. "Death, where is thy sting?" had to be a common chant, I'd predict.
     
  17. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    One of the Australian War Crimes prosecutions relating to cannibalism led to a finding of guilt and a sentence of hanging. However, this was commuted to a term of 5 years with hard labour for the following reasons ( see Australian Archives: use "Advanced Search" to enter barcode then go to the icon for the digital copy ):

    Page 8 of item with barcode 1348852

    " The Officer Adm Comd 6 Div in forwarding the proceedings has recommended that the finding be confirmed and the sentence be confirmed but commuted to a substantial term of imprisonment for the following reasons:-

    (a) the act was an isolated one so far as the accused was concerned and there is no suggestion of a system or practice on his part

    (b) the offence of cannibalism, though disgusting and degrading, is not a crime under English criminal law, and does not represent a violation of any specific prohibition in any international convention, save to the extent that it constitutes maltreatment of the body of a dead enemy

    (c) the conditions under which the accused was living afford some sort of palliation of his crime."
     
  18. BuffaloChuck

    BuffaloChuck Junior Member

    "the conditions under which..." says it all.
     

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