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Unit 731

Unit 731

Overview
was a covert biological
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...

 and chemical warfare
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

 research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 (1937–1945) and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese personnel
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

.

It was officially known as the . Originally set up under the Kempeitai
Kempeitai
The was the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1881 to 1945. It was not an English-style military police, but a French-style gendarmerie...

military police
Military police
Military police are police organisations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:...

 of the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

.


Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang
Pingfang
Pingfang District is a district in the outskirts of Harbin, China . It was the headquarters of the Japanese Biological Warfare Unit 731 during the Japanese invasion of China and World War II. It had an airport, railway and dungeons...

 district of Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

 of Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 (now Northeast China
Northeast China
Northeast China, historically known in English as Manchuria, is a geographical region of China, consisting of the three provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The region is sometimes called the Three Northeast Provinces...

).

More than 10,000 people—from which around 600 every year were provided by the Kempeitai
Kempeitai
The was the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1881 to 1945. It was not an English-style military police, but a French-style gendarmerie...

—were subjects of the experimentation conducted by Unit 731.

More than 95% of the victims who died in the camp based in Pingfang
Pingfang
Pingfang District is a district in the outskirts of Harbin, China . It was the headquarters of the Japanese Biological Warfare Unit 731 during the Japanese invasion of China and World War II. It had an airport, railway and dungeons...

 were Chinese and Korean, including both civilian and military.
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Encyclopedia
was a covert biological
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...

 and chemical warfare
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

 research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 (1937–1945) and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese personnel
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

.

It was officially known as the . Originally set up under the Kempeitai
Kempeitai
The was the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1881 to 1945. It was not an English-style military police, but a French-style gendarmerie...

military police
Military police
Military police are police organisations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:...

 of the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

.

Description



Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang
Pingfang
Pingfang District is a district in the outskirts of Harbin, China . It was the headquarters of the Japanese Biological Warfare Unit 731 during the Japanese invasion of China and World War II. It had an airport, railway and dungeons...

 district of Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

 of Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 (now Northeast China
Northeast China
Northeast China, historically known in English as Manchuria, is a geographical region of China, consisting of the three provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The region is sometimes called the Three Northeast Provinces...

).

More than 10,000 people—from which around 600 every year were provided by the Kempeitai
Kempeitai
The was the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1881 to 1945. It was not an English-style military police, but a French-style gendarmerie...

—were subjects of the experimentation conducted by Unit 731.

More than 95% of the victims who died in the camp based in Pingfang
Pingfang
Pingfang District is a district in the outskirts of Harbin, China . It was the headquarters of the Japanese Biological Warfare Unit 731 during the Japanese invasion of China and World War II. It had an airport, railway and dungeons...

 were Chinese and Korean, including both civilian and military. The remaining 5% were South East Asians and Pacific Islanders, at the time colonies of the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

, and a small number of the prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 from the Allies of World War II
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

.

According to the 2002 International Symposium on the Crimes of Bacteriological Warfare, the number of people killed by the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 germ warfare and human experiments is around 580,000. According to other sources, the use of biological weapons researched in Unit 731's bioweapons and chemical weapons programs resulted in possibly as many as 200,000 deaths of military personnel and civilians in China.

Unit 731 was the headquarters of many subsidiary units used by the Japanese to research biological warfare; other units included Unit 516
Unit 516
Unit 516 was a top secret Japanese chemical weapons facility, operated by the Kempeitai, in Qiqihar, Manchukuo. The name Unit 516 was a code name of the Unit....

 (Qiqihar
Qiqihar
- Subdivisions :Qiqihar is divided into 16 divisions: 7 districts , 8 counties and 1 county-level city .-Economy:...

), Unit 543
Unit 543
Unit 543 was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility at Hailar that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police. -See also:*Japanese war crimes...

 (Hailar), Unit 773
Unit 773
Unit 773 was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police, in Songo, China. -See also:*Japanese war crimes*Kantogun...

 (Songo unit), Unit 100
Unit 100
Unit 100 was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police...

 (Changchun
Changchun
Changchun is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located in the northeast of the People's Republic of China, in the center of the Songliao Plain. It is administered as a sub-provincial city with a population of 7,677,089 at the 2010 census under its jurisdiction, including counties and...

), Unit Ei 1644
Unit Ei 1644
Unit Ei 1644 , also known as Unit 1644, was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II...

 (Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

), Unit 1855
Unit 1855
Unit 1855 Unit 1855 Unit 1855 (第一八五五部隊)was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police, in Nanjing.-See also:*Japanese war crimes...

 (Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

), Unit 8604
Unit 8604
Unit 8604 or Nami Unit was a secret military medical unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that researched biological warfare and other topics through human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II era...

 (Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

), Unit 200
Unit 200
Unit 200 was a secret military medical unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that researched biological warfare and other topics through human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II era. This unit was associated directly with Unit 731, and worked mainly in plague...

 (Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

) and Unit 9420
Unit 9420
Imperial Japanese ArmyFormed in 1942 to support the Japanese Southern Army, Unit 9420 or Oka Unit consisted of two units; the Umeoka Unit, which specialised in the plague, and the Kono Unit, which specialised in malaria....

 (Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

).

Many of the scientists involved in Unit 731 went on to prominent careers in post-war
Post-Occupation Japan
Post-Occupation Japan is a phrase used to describe the period in the history of Japan which started at the end of the Allied occupation in 1952.During this period, Japan re-established itself as a global economic and political power....

 politics, academia, business, and medicine. Some were arrested by Soviet forces
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 and tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials
Khabarovsk War Crime Trials
Khabarovsk War Crime Trials were a series of hearings held between December 25 - 31st, 1949 in the Soviet Union's industrial city of Khabarovsk situated on the Russian Far East...

; others surrendered to the American Forces.

On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as 'War Crimes' evidence." The deal was concluded in 1948.

Formation


In 1932, General Shirō Ishii
Shiro Ishii
was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...

 (石井四郎 Ishii Shirō), chief medical officer of the Japanese Army and protégé of Army Minister
Ministry of War of Japan
The , more popularly known as the Ministry of War of Japan, was cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army...

 Sadao Araki
Sadao Araki
Baron was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army before World War II. A charismatic leader and one of the principal nationalist right-wing political theorists in the late Japanese Empire, he was regarded as the leader of the radical faction within the politicized Japanese Army and served as...

 was placed in command of the Army Epidemic Prevention Research Laboratory. Ishii organized a secret research group, the "Tōgō Unit", for the conduct of various chemical and biological investigations in Manchuria.

Unit Tōgō was implemented in the Zhongma Fortress
Zhongma Fortress
Zhongma Fortress, or Unit Tōgō, was a biological warfare research facility erected by the Japanese Kwantung Army in Beiyinhe, outside of Harbin, Manchukuo during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Background:...

, a prison/experimentation camp in Beiyinhe, a village 100 km (62.1 mi) south of Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

 on the South Manchurian Railway. A jailbreak in autumn 1934 and later explosion (believed to be an attack) in 1935 led Ishii to shut down Zhongma Fortress. He received the authorization to move to Pingfang, approximately 24 km (14.9 mi) south of Harbin, to set up a new and much larger facility.

In 1936, Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

 authorized, by imperial decree, the expansion of this unit and its integration into the Kwantung Army as the Epidemic Prevention Department. It was divided at the same time into the "Ishii Unit" and "Wakamatsu Unit" with a base in Hsinking. From August 1940, all these units were known collectively as the "Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (関東軍防疫給水部本部)" or "Unit 731" (満州第731部隊) for short.

Activities


A special project code-named Maruta used human beings for experiments. Test subjects were gathered from the surrounding population and were sometimes referred to euphemistically as . This term originated as a joke on the part of the staff because the official cover story for the facility given to the local authorities was that it was a lumber mill.

The test subjects were selected to give a wide cross section of the population and included common criminals, captured bandits and anti-Japanese partisans, political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

s, and also people rounded up by the Kempetai for alleged "suspicious activities". They included infants, the elderly, and pregnant women.

Vivisection


Prisoners of war were subjected to vivisection
Vivisection
Vivisection is defined as surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure...

 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
Amputation
Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

 in order to study blood loss. Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body. Some prisoners' limb
Limb (anatomy)
A limb is a jointed, or prehensile , appendage of the human or other animal body....

s were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene
Gangrene
Gangrene is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of body tissue dies . This may occur after an injury or infection, or in people suffering from any chronic health problem affecting blood circulation. The primary cause of gangrene is reduced blood...

 and rotting.

Some prisoners had their stomach
Stomach
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the alimentary canal which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects , and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication .The stomach is...

s surgically removed and the esophagus
Esophagus
The esophagus is an organ in vertebrates which consists of a muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. During swallowing, food passes from the mouth through the pharynx into the esophagus and travels via peristalsis to the stomach...

 reattached to the intestines. Parts of the brain
Brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

, lungs, liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

, etc. were removed from some prisoners.

In 2007, Doctor Ken Yuasa
Ken Yuasa
Ken Yuasa was a World War II surgeon for the Japanese army. During his service in occupied China he conducted vivisections on Chinese prisoners and civilians, and provided typhoid and dysentery bacillus to the Japanese army for use in biological warfare...

 testified to the Japan Times that, "I was afraid during my first vivisection, but the second time around, it was much easier. By the third time, I was willing to do it." He believes at least 1,000 people, including surgeons, were involved in vivisections over mainland China.

Weapons testing


Human targets were used to test grenade
Grenade
A grenade is a small explosive device that is projected a safe distance away by its user. Soldiers called grenadiers specialize in the use of grenades. The term hand grenade refers any grenade designed to be hand thrown. Grenade Launchers are firearms designed to fire explosive projectile grenades...

s 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 bomb
Bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

s.

Germ warfare attacks


Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations
Vaccine
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe or its toxins...

, to study their effects. To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

 and gonorrhea
Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain...

, then studied. Prisoners were infested with flea
Flea
Flea is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera which are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood...

s in order to acquire large quantities of disease-carrying fleas for the purposes of studying the viability of germ warfare.

Plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 fleas, infected clothing, and infected supplies encased in bombs were dropped on various targets. The resulting cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

, anthrax
Anthrax
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

, and plague were estimated to have killed around 400,000 Chinese civilians. Tularemia
Tularemia
Tularemia is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. A Gram-negative, nonmotile coccobacillus, the bacterium has several subspecies with varying degrees of virulence. The most important of those is F...

 was tested on Chinese civilians.

Unit 731 and its affiliated units (Unit 1644, Unit 100, et cetera) were involved in research, development, and experimental deployment of epidemic-creating biowarfare weapons in assaults against the Chinese populace (both civilian and military) throughout World War II. Plague-infested fleas, bred in the laboratories of Unit 731 and Unit 1644, were spread by low-flying airplanes upon Chinese cities, coastal Ningbo
Ningbo
Ningbo is a seaport city of northeastern Zhejiang province, Eastern China. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, the municipality has a population of 7,605,700 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 3,089,180 in the built up area made of 6 urban districts. It lies south of the Hangzhou Bay,...

 in 1940, and Changde
Changde
Changde is a city in the north of Hunan Province, China, with a population of 5,717,218 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,232,182 in the built up area made of 2 urban districts .-History:...

, Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

 Province, in 1941. This military aerial spraying killed thousands of people with bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 epidemics.

Other experiments


Prisoners were subjected to other torturous experiments such as being hung upside down to see how long it would take for them to choke to death, having air injected into their arteries to determine the time until the onset of embolism
Air embolism
An air embolism, or more generally gas embolism, is a pathological condition caused by gas bubbles in a vascular system. The most common context is a human body, in which case it refers to gas bubbles in the bloodstream...

, and having horse urine
Urine
Urine is a typically sterile liquid by-product of the body that is secreted by the kidneys through a process called urination and excreted through the urethra. Cellular metabolism generates numerous by-products, many rich in nitrogen, that require elimination from the bloodstream...

 injected into their kidneys.

Other incidents include being deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death, being placed into high-pressure chambers until death, having experiments performed upon prisoners to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival, being placed into centrifuges and spun until dead, having animal blood injected and the effects studied, being exposed to lethal doses of x-rays, having various chemical weapons tested on prisoners inside gas chambers, being injected with sea water to determine if it could be a substitute for saline
Saline (medicine)
In medicine, saline is a general term referring to a sterile solution of sodium chloride in water but is only sterile when it is to be placed intravenously, otherwise, a saline solution is a salt water solution...

, being burned alive and buried alive.

Biological warfare


Japanese scientists performed tests on prisoners with plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

, cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

, smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, botulism
Botulism
Botulism also known as botulinus intoxication is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin which is metabolic waste produced under anaerobic conditions by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and affecting a wide range of mammals, birds and fish...

, and other diseases. This research led to the development of the defoliation bacilli bomb
Defoliation bacilli bomb
Defoliation bacilli bomb, made between 1932 and 1933 was used by the Imperial Army to spread bubonic plague across unoccupied areas of China. The deployment of these lethal munitions provided the Imperial Army with the ability to launch devastating biological attacks, infecting agriculture,...

 and the flea bomb used to spread the bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

. Some of these bombs were designed with ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

 (porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

) shells, an idea proposed by Ishii in 1938.

These bombs enabled Japanese soldiers to launch biological attacks, infecting agriculture, reservoirs, wells, and other areas with anthrax
Anthrax
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

, plague-carrier fleas, typhoid, dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

, cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

, 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 children, and the results examined.

Known Unit members

  • Lieutenant General Shirō Ishii
    Shiro Ishii
    was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...

  • Lieutenant Colonel Ryoichi Naito
  • Dr. Masaji Kitano
    Masaji Kitano
    Masaji Kitano was a medical doctor, microbiologist and the lieutenant general of the Imperial Japanese Army...

  • Yoshio Shinozuka
    Yoshio Shinozuka
    Yoshio Shinozuka is a former Imperial Army soldier who served with a top secret Japanese biological warfare group called Unit 731 in World War II....

  • Yasuji Kaneko
    Yasuji Kaneko
    is an ex-soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army, and a former detainee of both Siberian Internment by the Soviet Union during 1945-1950 and Fushun War Criminals Management Centre in China during 1950-1956. He is known for his extensive war crimes testimony, including his involvement in the Unit 731...


Divisions


Unit 731 was divided into eight divisions:
  • Division 1: Research on bubonic plague
    Bubonic plague
    Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

    , cholera
    Cholera
    Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

    , anthrax
    Anthrax
    Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

    , typhoid and tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

     using live human subjects. For this purpose, a prison was constructed to contain around three to four hundred people.
  • Division 2: Research for biological weapons used in the field, in particular the production of devices to spread germs and parasites.
  • Division 3: Production of shells containing biological agents. Stationed in Harbin.
  • Division 4: Production of other miscellaneous agents.
  • Division 5: Training of personnel.
  • Divisions 6–8: Equipment, medical and administrative units.

Facilities


The Unit 731 complex covered six square kilometers and consisted of more than 150 buildings. The design of the facilities made them hard to destroy by bombing. The complex contained various factories. It had around 4,500 containers to be used to raise flea
Flea
Flea is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera which are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood...

s, six cauldrons to produce various chemicals, and around 1,800 containers to produce biological agents. Approximately 30 kg of bubonic plague bacteria could be produced in several days.

Some of Unit 731's satellite facilities are in use by various Chinese industrial concerns. A portion has been preserved and is open to visitors as a War Crimes Museum.

Tons of biological weapons (and some chemicals) were stored in various places in northeastern China throughout the war. The Japanese attempted to destroy evidence of the facilities after disbanding. Twenty-nine people were hospitalized in August 2003 after a construction crew in Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

 inadvertently dug up chemical shells that had been buried deep in the soil more than 50 years before.

Anda testing site


This site was an open air testing area about 120 km (74.6 mi) from the Pingfang
Pingfang
Pingfang District is a district in the outskirts of Harbin, China . It was the headquarters of the Japanese Biological Warfare Unit 731 during the Japanese invasion of China and World War II. It had an airport, railway and dungeons...

 facility.

Hsinking (Changchun) HQ


Headquarters of "Wakamatsu Unit" (Unit 100), under command of veterinarian
Veterinary medicine
Veterinary Medicine is the branch of science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals...

 Yujiro Wakamatsu. This facility dedicated itself to both the study of animal vaccine
Vaccine
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe or its toxins...

s to protect Japanese resources, and, especially, veterinary biological-warfare. Diseases were tested for use against the Soviet and Chinese horses and other livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

. In addition to these tests, Unit 100 ran a bacteria factory to produce the pathogens needed by other units. Biological sabotage testing was also handled at this facility: everything from poisons to chemical crop destruction.

Peking (Peiping) HQ


This HQ served as the headquarters of Unit 1855
Unit 1855
Unit 1855 Unit 1855 Unit 1855 (第一八五五部隊)was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police, in Nanjing.-See also:*Japanese war crimes...

. It was also an experimental branch unit based at Tsinan
Jinan
Jinan is the capital of Shandong province in Eastern China. The area of present-day Jinan has played an important role in the history of the region from the earliest beginnings of civilisation and has evolved into a major national administrative, economic, and transportation hub...

, Shantung. Pandemic diseases were extensively studied at this facility.

Nanking HQ


This section was the headquarters of the "Tama Unit" (Unit Ei 1644
Unit Ei 1644
Unit Ei 1644 , also known as Unit 1644, was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II...

) and conducted extensive joint projects and operations with Unit 731.

Kwangtung (Canton) HQ


The headquarters of the "Nami Unit" (Unit 8604). This installation conducted human experimentation in food and water deprivation as well as water-borne typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

. In addition, this facility served as the main rat-farm for the medical units to provide them with bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 vectors for experiments.

Syonan (Singapore) HQ


Formed in 1942, by Ryoichi Naito, Unit 9420
Unit 9420
Imperial Japanese ArmyFormed in 1942 to support the Japanese Southern Army, Unit 9420 or Oka Unit consisted of two units; the Umeoka Unit, which specialised in the plague, and the Kono Unit, which specialised in malaria....

 had approximately 1,000 personnel based at the Raffles Medical University. The unit was commanded by Major General Kitagawa Masataka and supported by the Japanese Southern Army Headquarters.

There were two main sub units: the "Kono Unit", which specialized in malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, and "Umeoka Unit", which dealt with the plague. In addition to disease experiments, this facility served as one of the main rat catching and processing centers. Evidence points toward this facility supplying a medical sub-unit operating in Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, with diseases for unknown operations and or experiments.

Hiroshima HQ


A top secret factory in Ōkunoshima
Okunoshima
Ōkunoshima is a small island located in the Inland Sea of Japan in the city of Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture. It is accessible by ferry from Tadanoumi and Ōmishima. There are campsites, walking trails and places of historical interest on the island...

 produced chemical weapons for the Japanese military and medical units. Starting with mustard gas production in 1928, the factory moved on to such poisons as Lewisite
Lewisite
Lewisite is an organoarsenic compound, specifically an arsine. It was once manufactured in the U.S. and Japan as a chemical weapon, acting as a vesicant and lung irritant...

, and Cyanogen
Cyanogen
Cyanogen is the chemical compound with the formula 2. It is a colorless, toxic gas with a pungent odor.The molecule is a pseudohalogen. Cyanogen molecules consist of two CN groups — analogous to diatomic halogen molecules, such as Cl2, but far less oxidizing...

. During the 1930s, as the war in China grew worse, the island the factory sat on was removed from most maps to strengthen secrecy and security.

Manchuria HQ (Unit 200)


This unit was associated directly with Unit 731, and worked mainly in plague research.

Manchuria HQ (Unit 571)


This section, with unknown headquarters, was another unit that worked directly and extensively with Unit 731.

Shinjuku


A medical school and research facility belonging to Unit 731 operated in Shinjuku, Tokyo
Shinjuku, Tokyo
is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, Japan. It is a major commercial and administrative center, housing the busiest train station in the world and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the administration center for the government of Tokyo.As of 2008, the ward has an estimated population...

 during World War II. In 2006, Toyo Ishii—a nurse who worked at the school during the war—revealed that she had helped bury bodies and pieces of bodies on the school's grounds shortly after Japan's surrender
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 in 1945. In response, in February 2011 the Ministry of Health
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (Japan)
The ' is a cabinet level ministry of the Japanese government. It is commonly known as Kōrō-shō in Japan. This ministry provides regulations on maximum residue limits for agricultural chemicals in foods, basic food and drug regulations, standards for foods, food additives, etc.It was formed with...

 began to excavate the site.

China has requested DNA samples from any human remains discovered at the site. The Japanese government—which has never officially acknowledged the existence of Unit 731—has rejected the request.

Special Mobile Teams


Special units led by Shirō Ishii's elder brother and only staffed with members from Ishii's home town operated separately from the regular medical organizations as roving researchers and trouble shooter
Trouble Shooter
Trouble Shooter, known in Japan as , is a scrolling shooter by Vic Tokai for the Sega Mega Drive in 1992. Players take on the role of Madison, a combat operative assigned to rescue a prince who has been taken hostage. The game was given a very distinct theme of self-parody between the enemies,...

s.

Special Operations units


Units with special and unknown assignments in Manchuria and the Asian mainland. It has been suggested that nuclear weapons research was conducted in Manchuria toward the end of the war by this branch.

Disbanding and the end of World War II


Operations and experiments continued until the end of the war. Ishii had wanted to use biological weapons in the Pacific conflict
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 since May 1944, but his attempts were repeatedly foiled by poor planning and Allied intervention.

With the Russian invasion of Manchukuo and Mengjiang
Mengjiang
Mengjiang , also known in English as Mongol Border Land, was an autonomous area in Inner Mongolia, operating under nominal Chinese sovereignty and Japanese control. It consisted of the then-Chinese provinces of Chahar and Suiyuan, corresponding to the central part of modern Inner Mongolia...

 in August 1945, the unit had to abandon their work in haste. The members and their families fled to Japan.

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
Potassium cyanide
Potassium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula KCN. This colorless crystalline compound, similar in appearance to sugar, is highly soluble in water. Most KCN is used in gold mining, organic synthesis, and electroplating. Smaller applications include jewelry for chemical gilding and...

 vials were issued for use in the event that the remaining personnel were captured.

Skeleton crew
Skeleton crew
A skeleton crew is the minimum number of personnel needed to operate and maintain an item at its most simple operating requirements, such as a ship or business, during an emergency and, at the same time, to keep vital functions operating.- Uses :...

s 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.

After Imperial Japan surrendered
Japanese Instrument of Surrender
The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the written agreement that enabled the Surrender of Japan, marking the end of World War II. It was signed by representatives from the Empire of Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist...

 to the Allies in 1945, Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II...

, rebuilding Japan during the Allied occupation. MacArthur secretly granted immunity to the physicians of Unit 731 in exchange for providing America, but not the other wartime allies, with their research on biological warfare
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...

. American occupation authorities monitored the activities of former unit members, including reading and censoring their mail. The U.S. believed that the research data was valuable. The U.S. did not want other nations, particularly the Soviet Union, to acquire data on biological weapons
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...

.

The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal heard only one reference to Japanese experiments with "poisonous serums" on Chinese civilians. This took place in August 1946 and was instigated by David Sutton, assistant to the Chinese prosecutor. The Japanese defense counselor argued that the claim was vague and uncorroborated and it was dismissed by the tribunal president, Sir William Webb, for lack of evidence. The subject was not pursued further by Sutton, who was likely aware of Unit 731's activities. His reference to it at the trial is believed to have been accidental.

Although publicly silent on the issue at the Tokyo trials, the Soviet Union pursued the case and prosecuted twelve top military leaders and scientists from Unit 731 and its affiliated biological-war prisons Unit 1644 in Nanjing, and Unit 100 in Changchun, in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials
Khabarovsk War Crime Trials
Khabarovsk War Crime Trials were a series of hearings held between December 25 - 31st, 1949 in the Soviet Union's industrial city of Khabarovsk situated on the Russian Far East...

. Included among those prosecuted for war crimes including germ warfare was General Otozō Yamada, the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the million-man Kwantung Army occupying Manchuria.

Although most victims of Unit 731 were Chinese, other victims were American POWs, British, Russian, Korean and other nationalities. The trial of those captured Japanese perpetrators was held in Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk is the largest city and the administrative center of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. It is located some from the Chinese border. It is the second largest city in the Russian Far East, after Vladivostok. The city became the administrative center of the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia...

 in December 1949.

A lengthy partial transcript of the trial proceedings was published in different languages the following year by a Moscow foreign languages press, including an English language edition: Materials on the Trial of Former Servicemen of the Japanese Army Charged with Manufacturing and Employing Bacteriological Weapons (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1950). (French language: Documents relatifs au procès des anciens Militaires de l'Armée Japonaise accusés d'avoir préparé et employé l'Arme Bactériologique / Japanese language: 細菌戦用兵器ノ準備及ビ使用ノ廉デ起訴サレタ元日本軍軍人ノ事件ニ関スル公判書類 / Chinese language: 前日本陸軍軍人因準備和使用細菌武器被控案審判材料)

This book remains an invaluable resource for historians on the organization and activities of the Japanese biological warfare "death factory" lab-prisons. The lead prosecuting attorney at the Khabarovsk trial was Lev Smirnov, who had been one of the top Soviet prosecutors at the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

.

After World War II, the Soviet Union built a biological weapons facility in Sverdlovsk
Sverdlovsk anthrax leak
The Sverdlovsk anthrax leak is an incident when spores of anthrax were accidentally released from a military facility in the city of Sverdlovsk 1450 km east of Moscow on April 2, 1979. This accident is sometimes called "biological Chernobyl"...

 using documentation captured from Unit 731 in Manchuria.

The Japanese doctors and army commanders who had perpetrated the Unit 731 experiments received sentences from the Khabarovsk court ranging from two to 25 years in a Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n labor camp
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

.

Some former members of Unit 731 became part of the Japanese medical establishment. Dr. Masaji Kitano
Masaji Kitano
Masaji Kitano was a medical doctor, microbiologist and the lieutenant general of the Imperial Japanese Army...

 led Japan's largest pharmaceutical company, the Green Cross
Green Cross (japan)
Green Cross Corporation was one of the premier pharmaceutical companies in Japan. The company merged into Yoshitomi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. on April 1, 1998, and renamed to Welfide Corporation on April 1, 2000. Finally Welfide Corp. and Mitsubishi-Tokyo Pharmaceutical Inc...

. Others headed U.S.-backed medical schools or worked for the Japanese health ministry. Shirō Ishii
Shiro Ishii
was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...

 moved to Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 to work on bio-weapons research.

In media

  • Japanese author Morimura Seiichi
    Morimura Seiichi
    is a Japanese novelist and author. He is best known for the controversial The Devil's Gluttony , which revealed the atrocities committed by Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Sino-Japanese War ....

     published the book The Devil's Gluttony (悪魔の飽食) in 1981, followed by The Devil's Gluttony: A Sequel in 1983, which were the first Japanese language
    Japanese language
    is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

     publications to reveal the history of Unit 731 in Japan.
  • The Chinese film Men Behind the Sun, directed by Tun Fei Mou in 1988, is a graphic film about the atrocities committed by Unit 731, as is the Russian film Philosophy of a Knife
    Philosophy of a Knife
    Philosophy of a Knife is a 2008 film by Russian director Andrey Iskanov. It covers the Japanese Army's Unit 731, mixing archival footage, interviews, and extremely graphic reenactments of experiments performed there.- Production :...

    , directed by Andrey Iskanov and released in 2008.
  • Japanese horror author Natsuhiko Kyogoku addressed the actions of Unit 731 (of which several characters were members) in his 1995 novel Mōryō no Hako
    Moryo no Hako
    is a Japanese novel by Natsuhiko Kyogoku. It is the second novel in the series that began with Summer of the Ubume. The novel has been turned into a live action feature film, a manga, and an anime TV series.-Story:...

    and its subsequent animated adaptation.
  • Japanese director Minoru Matsui's 2001 documentary Japanese Devils
    Japanese Devils
    Japanese Devils is a Japanese documentary about the war crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II...

    was composed largely of interviews with 14 members of Unit 731 who had been taken as prisoners by China and later released.
  • James T. Hong
    James T. Hong
    James T. Hong is an Asian American filmmaker currently based in Europe, whose works tend to focus on philosophical topics and figures and controversial race and class issues...

     produced a 2007 documentary about Unit 731 told from the Chinese and Japanese sides called 731: Two Versions of Hell.
  • Japanese author Shusaku Endo
    Shusaku Endo
    Shūsaku Endō was a 20th-century Japanese author who wrote from the unusual perspective of being both Japanese and Catholic...

     published the book The Sea and Poison (1958): Set largely in a Fukuoka hospital, during World War II, this novel is concerned with lethal vivisections carried out on downed American airmen. It is told from the first-person point of view of one of the doctors and the third-person perspective of his colleagues who cut open, experiment on, and kill the six crew members. This is based on a true incident.
  • American thrash metal band Slayer
    Slayer
    Slayer is an American thrash metal band formed in Huntington Park, California, in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Slayer rose to fame with their 1986 release, Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the "Big Four" thrash metal acts, along with Metallica, Megadeth and...

    's 2009 album World Painted Blood
    World Painted Blood
    World Painted Blood is the eleventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer. It was released through American Recordings and Sony Music on November 3, 2009 and was produced by Greg Fidelman and executively produced by Rick Rubin. It is the band's only album produced by Greg Fidelman...

    contains a song entitled "Unit 731" describing the events and atrocities that occurred at Unit 731.
  • The X-Files
    The X-Files
    The X-Files is an American science fiction television series and a part of The X-Files franchise, created by screenwriter Chris Carter. The program originally aired from to . The show was a hit for the Fox network, and its characters and slogans became popular culture touchstones in the 1990s...

    episode "731
    731 (The X-Files)
    "731" is a 1995 episode of The X-Files television series. It was the tenth episode broadcast in the show's third season. "731" concludes the story begun in "Nisei"; it features Mulder investigating a possible alien-human hybrid held aboard a train car while Scully investigates what happened to her...

    " was a reference to Unit 731, in which former members secretly continue their experiments on humans under control of a covert U.S. government agency.
  • Japanese rock band Dir en grey
    Dir en grey
    Dir En Grey is a Japanese metal band formed in 1997 and currently signed to Firewall Div., a sub-division of Free-Will. As of 2011, they have recorded eight full-length records...

     released a song, "Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami
    Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami
    is the 25th single by Japanese band Dir En Grey, released on December 2, 2009 in Japan in a regular and limited edition, the limited copy featuring a bonus DVD.The first B-side, "Zan", is a re-recording of a track from band's first album, Gauze...

    ", that references the events that took place in Unit 731.
  • Plague Maker by Tim Downs, a thriller novel released in 2006, mentions the experiments and other atrocities committed by unit 731.
  • Spiral, a 2011 thriller novel by Paul McEuen
    Paul McEuen
    Paul McEuen is an American physicist. He received his B.S. in engineering physics at the University of Oklahoma , and his Ph.D. in applied physics at Yale University . After postdoctoral work at MIT , he became a professor at the University of California, Berkeley...

    , references and builds on Unit 731's biological weapon research.
  • In Greg Ahlgren's 2011 international thriller The Medici Legacy the grandson of a Unit 731 doctor works with the North Koreans to perfect a weaponized Bubonic Plague as well as a genetically based immunity.
  • Canadian punk rock
    Punk rock
    Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

     band Likely Rads recorded a song in 2007 titled "Unit 731" which details the atrocities committed by the members of Unit 731.
  • In Clive Cussler
    Clive Cussler
    Clive Eric Cussler is an American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist. His thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than seventeen times...

    's novel Plague Ship
    Plague Ship (Cussler novel)
    Plague Ship is the 5th installment of the The Oregon Files by Clive Cussler & Jack Du Brul. It is based around a series of violent viral attacks on cruise ships by extremists who want to make half the worlds population sterile.- Plot :...

    , the protagonist, Juan Cabrillo, stumbles across an abandoned Unit 731 base in the Philippines.
  • The Warehouse 13
    Warehouse 13
    Warehouse 13 is an American fantasy television series that premiered on July 7, 2009 on the Syfy network.Executive-produced by Jack Kenny and David Simkins, the dramatic comedy from Universal Media Studios has been described as borrowing much from 1980s television series Friday the 13th: The...

    episode "The 40th Floor" (3x08) used Shirō Ishii
    Shiro Ishii
    was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...

    's medal as an artifact to induce torture.

Pacific War (World War II)

  • Japanese human experimentations
  • Changde chemical weapon attack
  • Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

  • Kaimingye germ weapon attack
    Kaimingye germ weapon attack
    The Kaimingjie germ weapon attack was a Japanese biological warfare bacterial germ strike against Kaimingjie, an area of the port of Ningbo in the Chinese province of Zhejiang in October 1940, during the Second Sino-Japanese War....

  • Second Sino-Japanese War
    Second Sino-Japanese War
    The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

  • Shirō Ishii
    Shiro Ishii
    was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...


External links