Japanese Bamboo torture

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by marcus69x, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    I was watching Mythbusters yesterday and there was a topic on Japanese Bamboo torture.

    Apparantly the Japanese used to plant a Bamboo seed and then tie down POW's over the seed so that over a few days, the fast growing Bamboo shoot would slowly grow and pierce through the POW.

    There's a reference to it here in the People's War:
    BBC - WW2 People's War - JAPANESE TORTURE TECHNIQUES

    If this is true, it must have been an excrutiating and horrible way to die.

    Does anyone know of any official records of this actually happening?

    cheers,
    marcus
     
  2. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I find this sickening and, to be honest, very difficult to forgive.
     
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    This form of torture is not something I have ever read about during my research into the POW's of Rangoon Jail. I am sure it did happen at times on the Death Railway, most likely in the form of an example to others not to repeat the alleged misdemeanour.

    I do know that the speed of bamboo growth is prolific in the region and that reports of fallen comrades had been investigated only weeks after the date of the incident, found no sign whatsoever of the described location or any remains of the soldier. This I'm sure has contributed greatly to the massive amount of soldiers with no known grave in the Burma theatre.
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    My Dad used to threaten 'bamboo under the fingernails!' when we'd been proper idiots as kids :D.
    (Note 'threaten' - you obviously couldn't get the right sort of Bamboo in 1970s Yorkshire...)

    What did Mythbusters conclude? I have a dim recollection of the episode.
     
  5. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    It was plausible mate. They made a body made from balistics gell with the same consistancy as the human body. At first they had it in a green house but it got so warm, the gel melted and the Bamboo only penetrated a few inches and died.

    They then tried it again on the roof where it was open to the elements and it grew right through.

    You can watch it here:
    Mythbusters: Bamboo Torture (flv video) free file download at fliiby.com
     
  6. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    I am sure that they laid their victims suspended over mature growing Bamboo. That is, Bamboo that still had many feet to grow.

    Weight of the body onto the upward growing bamboo.

    I have only heard of this torture however the Japanese were capable of anything.
     
  7. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    From page 32 of RAF radio man Charles McCormac's "You'll Die in Singapore", the story of a 2,000 mile escape:

    But we did, a few days later, when a live human body was splayed out over an area of young bamboo shoots, arms and legs lashed firmly to stakes driven fast into the ground. In the tropic heat bamboo grows quickly - several inches a day - and the shoots are strong enough to be neither stopped nor diverted by the live flesh of a human body
     
  8. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Also saw this episode and it was eye opening to put it mildly.
     
  9. Formerjughead

    Formerjughead Senior Member

    (Note 'threaten' - you obviously couldn't get the right sort of Bamboo in 1970s Yorkshire...)

    ......

    You should have brought that to his attention.
     
    wtid45 likes this.
  10. Combover

    Combover Guest

    I find this sickening and, to be honest, very difficult to forgive.

    Exactly how I feel. I even have doubts about owning a Japanese car.
     
  11. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    Exactly how I feel. I even have doubts about owning a Japanese car.


    Never have, never will.
     
  12. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Dad was not keen on the Japanese, threatened to throw me out of the house when I came home with some TDK cassettes in the 70's, but here's a quirk for you...

    From my book draft...

    ... The following was not recorded in my father’s notes but recounted to me directly, on one of the few occasions he discussed such things. He described to me a method of torture employed by the Burmese, against the Japanese…
    … If they ever caught one (a Japanese soldier), they would “plant” him. That is to say that they would tie him down to the ground on top of a bamboo shoot… Bamboo grows at a rate of twelve to eighteen inches a day in tropical climates; they hated them that much…
    I can only presume that he witnessed the results first-hand, as I have found no reference to this kind of treatment elsewhere; maybe it was an isolated incident, who knows… It is possible that he saw a dead Japanese soldier and bamboo had just grown up through his body, but he made a reference to being tied down…

    I might need to amend my work here, but...

    I'll ask the two Cameronians I'm conversing with if they know of any specific incidents...
     
  13. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    It is possible that he saw a dead Japanese soldier and bamboo had just grown up through his body,

    Quite possible. Thats was one of my first thoughts on the subject.

    It'd be interesting to know for sure if this was a used method or nothing more than chinese whispers through the decades.
     
  14. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Knights of Bushido is worth looking for. I had a copy
    when I was a lad, it mentions the bamboo stuff.

    The Knights of Bushido: A Short History of Japanese War Crimes: Amazon.co.uk: L. Russell, Lord Russell of Liverpool, Norman Stone: Books


    hanging by your thumbs an inch off the ground above a plate of hot food...

    barbed wire wrapped tight around your belly and then a hosepipe forced down your throat. The water bloats your stomach to an incredible size, restrained by the old
    barbed wire....

    they were a rotten bunch
     
  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Knights of Bushido is worth looking for. I had a copy
    when I was a lad, it mentions the bamboo stuff.

    The Knights of Bushido: A Short History of Japanese War Crimes: Amazon.co.uk: L. Russell, Lord Russell of Liverpool, Norman Stone: Books


    hanging by your thumbs an inch off the ground above a plate of hot food...

    barbed wire wrapped tight around your belly and then a hosepipe forced down your throat. The water bloats your stomach to an incredible size, restrained by the old
    barbed wire....

    they were a rotten bunch

    I have a copy of the book, it is a very interesting if somewhat harrowing read.
     
  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I want to know the growth habits of Bamboo.
    Ballistic Gel, I can see allowing softish shoots to penetrate, but I'm not certain Skin would behave in the same way - does bamboo grow from the roots, or the tip?

    Ah, OK - that's a much more substantial growing tip than I'd envisioned:
    Growth Chart of Bamboo
    I can easily see it working now...
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Cheers - Convinced.
    That's a solid spear of material from day one.
     
  19. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Bamboo was suprisingly common in OTHER theatres - CRETE was and still is full of stands of bamboo - which caused dozens if not hundreds of terrible casualties in May 1941 when the FJ dropped onto them....! :p Many Germans just hung impaled and bled out, but in other places when the fighting moved away or by night, the locals came out and - "cleaned up".

    I think it's Beevor's book on Crete that ends with a German veteran visitng the FJ cemetary at Maleme and recognising Manoli Petrakis....who eventually looked after the cemetary with George Psycoundakis "The Cretan Runner"; when the FJ vet identified himself, Petrakis said he'd never met him - the German replied he only knew him by his voice; on the first night of the invasion he'd hidden bleeding but quiet while Petrakis - one of John Pendlebury' few SOE trainees IIRC - led others through the stand of bamboo cutting the throats of all his impaled comrades...
     
  20. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Frightening ways, the Japanese in particular were very violent and horrid with torture in every area they conquered and occupied. This impaled on bamboo would hurt like hell untill death finally comes. I had never heard of it before, thanks for posting this information.
     

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