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POW Camp #1 - Page 1

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Prisoner of War Camp #1
Fukuoka, Japan



I. Introduction

II. The Locations of Camp #1 and POW Camps in Kyushu

III. General Description of Camp #1

A. Gibbs Report

Standard report of July 31, 1946

B. Summary of Investigation of POW Camp 1

Ramey investigation report of January 8, 1946

C. Progress Report Re Investigation of Camp Number 1

Ramey and Humphreys report of January 6, 1946

D. Metcalf Affidavit

British POW's description of Kumamoto, Kashii and Mushiroda camps

E. Vesey Affidavit

British POW's description of Kashii and Mushiroda camps

F. Saunders Affidavit

British POW's (Chief Commanding Officer) description of all four camps

G. Kostecki Affidavit

American POW's (Chief Medical Officer) description of Kashii, Mushiroda and Hakozaki camps

H. Cooper Report

Excerpts from an American surgeon's report on medical activities at Camp #1

I. Lee Affidavit

British POW's description of Kumamoto, Kashii and Mushiroda camps

J. Goodpasture Check List

American POW's description of Hakozaki camp

K. Memorandum re Photos of Hakozaki Camp

IV. Rosters


Scanned images of American, British, Dutch, Australian, Canadian, and Norwegian POW roster, with partial listing showing Name, Nationality and Rank only

B. Japanese

Names, ranks and terms of Japanese personnel at POW Base Headquarters and Camp #1

C. POW Statistics

V. Atrocities and Abuses

Infamous atrocities which occurred in Fukuoka

A. Vivisections at Kyushu Imperial University

1. Articles on the crash, the vivisection experiments, and the memorial

2. Statement by pilot, Marvin Watkins

3. Interrogation of Marvin Watkins

4. Watkins Statement of December 10, 1948

5. Letter from Marvin Watkins to Mrs. Dale Plambeck

6. Message from Marvin Watkins to Taketa City

B. Beheading of airmen

1. At Fukuoka Municipal Girls' High School

2. At Aburayama

a. Interrogation of Itaru Bajiri re August 10, 1945 incident

Summary of Japanese War Crime Tribunal sentencing of Japanese personnel for Vivisection and Aburayama incidents

C. B-29 crashes & airmen killed

1. Interrogation of Gunji Haraguchi re B-29 crash in Yokoyama, Yame-gun

2. Air Strikes against Fukuoka & Kyushu (TARGET: FUKUOKA)

D. Bataan Death March

1. Death March Tales by Ray Thompson

2. Bataan by George Idlett

3. My Hitch in Hell by Lester Tenney

VI. Deaths, Burials & Cremations

List of the deceased, cremation and burial locations

VII. The Hellships

VIII. The POW Affidavits

A. American

Affidavits A - C

Affidavits D - H

Affidavits J - P

Affidavits R - W

The Hansen Story

The Shreve Diary

Including a section on Operation Olympic

Lt. Col. Jack Schwartz, Medical Officer

B. British

Affidavits A - D

Affidavits E - L

Affidavits L - W

Capt. William P. Wallace, Royal Army Medical Corps

Reuben Eastham, Bombardier

C. Dutch

Medical Officer Jan Frederik de Wijn

Gerry Nolthenius

D. Australian

Pte. Jack Dilger

Sgt. Peter French

Gnr. Geoffrey Underwood

IX. Japanese Affidavits

A. Commandant: Yuhichi Sakamoto

Summary of Information, Oct. 22, 1945; Interrogation of Oct. 29, 1945

B. Medical Officer: Masato Hada

Affidavit of Jan. 2, 1946; Review of the Trial of Masato Hada

C. Interpreter: Takeo Katsura

Lengthy handwritten affidavit of January 20, 1946

D. Guard: Hajime Honda

Interrogation of May 28, 1946

Summary of Japanese War Crime Tribunal sentencing of Japanese personnel in Fukuoka Camp Group

X. Additional Documents

A. Prisoner of War Supply Missions to Japan

B. Prisoner of War Encampments

C. Recovery and Rescue of Prisoners of War

D. John Bankston Collection -- Photos from Nagasaki, Sept. 1945

E. Arrowhead Pictorial -- Occupation of Japan by 2nd Marine Division

F. Fukuoka Targets - Japanese Air Target Analyses

G. Kyushu Airplane Company Report

H. Civilian Internment Camps in Japan

I. Chronology Chart of Civilian Internment Camps: Internee Strength & Movement

J. Foreign Resident Population in Japan: Nationality and District of Residence

XI. POW Links / Calendars

XII. The Fund / The Movie

XIII. Books & Videos/DVDs

XIV. POW Issues

A. Lawsuits

B. Memorials

1. Mizumaki Cross Memorial

2. Soto Dam

3. Taketa "Sky Martyrs" Monument

4. Sanko Peace Park

5. Takachiho "Prayer for Peace" Monument

6. Kihoku Crash Site Monument

7. Naoetsu Peace Memorial Park

8. Japan-U.K. Friendship Monument, Mukaishima

9. Emukae Memorial, Fukuoka Camp #24

10. Nagasaki Memorial, Fukuoka Camp #14

Other Memorial Sites in Japan

B-29 Memorial Sites elsewhere in Japan

C. Assorted Articles and Pages

XV. Correspondence

Cecil Parrott

Neil MacPherson

Gerry Nolthenius

XVI. Letters & Comments


U.S. Bases in Fukuoka, Japan

Gishiwajinden: The Chronicles of Wa


This site is about the Prisoner of War camp that was in Fukuoka during World War II. It was first located in Kumamoto from late 1942 and moved to three other locations in Fukuoka City over a period of nearly two years, from November 1943 until September 1945. Over 1000 American, British, Dutch, Australian, Canadian and Norwegian POWs were interned at Camp #1 during those years. Nearly 200 of those died here.

In the following pages you will read actual reports from those who were at Camp #1, not only Allied affidavits used at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, but testimonies from the Japanese as well, to help the reader assess both sides of the story. I have neither deleted nor abbreviated any of the names or facts. Declassified documents from the National Archives, Washington, D.C., were scanned, run through OCR software, checked, and then retyped where necessary. Typos are original, though some may be unintentionally mine. Minor spelling changes have been made, though I did keep the original spelling of the Japanese names with the proper spelling placed between brackets [ ]. Notes that I've added here and there are also in brackets.

For those of you who once lived in Fukuoka, after reading these reports, testimonies, interrogations and affidavits, you will no doubt get a different perspective on the city. I know every time I passed by Fukuoka International Airport, I would think about those who suffered building that airstrip, and those who rejoiced in finding frogs, snails or grasshoppers in the rice fields, making for a delicious roasted meal.

If you are a foreigner living in Japan, come August you will be sure to notice the emphasis in the media regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the terrible A-bombs. Hopefully these pages I've put together will add additional perspective.

I wanted to make this webpage in order to remember those POWs who suffered here, in the city I have called home for the past quarter century. Eventually I hope to place memorial plaques at each of the former camp sites, cemeteries and crematoriums. It is worthy that we remember those who unwillingly had to sacrifice so much of their lives, both physical and mental suffering, much of which has not healed even after all these years. We who never experienced war will never really understand perhaps. But we can learn from what they have written. Quite often while reading through and retyping these affidavits I have been driven to tears, to the point of sobbing out loud, and in a eerie way feeling as if I were there myself -- shivering with the freezing, bleeding with the beaten, languishing with the sick, enduring with the hopeful ones.

Prayer for Prisoners of War

Look, O Lord God, with the eyes of Thy mercy, upon all prisoners of war, especially those known and loved by us. Preserve them in bodily health and in cheerful, undaunted spirit.

Convey Thou to them the support of our love on the wings of Thine own and hasten the day of release; through Him who hath made us free eternally, Thy Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(This daily prayer for prisoners of war was recently heard for the first time at St. Margaret's, Westminster, in London, at a special service of intercession. Written by the Dean of York, Rev. E. Milner-White, for the Red Cross, it has now been adopted for general use in churches in England. The prayer is based on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 17: "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.") Source: American National Red Cross, Prisoners of War Bulletin, Vol. 1 #2 July 1943

I do realize that the plight of the POWs in Japan is by no means the worst of actions that man has leashed out on fellow man. Were we to gather all the facts on the treatment of prisoners of oppression throughout the centuries and milleniums, then we can make a fair assessment of what was atrocious and what was justifiable, e.g. guards beating POWs ferociously after an air raid. Worldwide, millions have suffered and died at the hands of their captors. The POWs in Japan were not unique. One only has to go back a few years, perhaps even only a few months, or even weeks, to find similar atrocities that have occurred around the world. Yuki Tanaka in his book Hidden Horrors describes this well in his introduction, which you can read below. If you were to mention the names of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau to someone, they can probably associate these places with atrocities. In contrast, mention Bataan, Sandakan, or Kanchanaburi, and you will more than likely be greeted with blank stares.

It must be stated emphatically that not all Japanese commandants, guards and personnel were cruel towards their captives. One former commandant, now living in Fukuoka, treated POWs at the Nagasaki camp in a humane manner. Cecil Parrott tells of a number of Japanese who were kind to him. It's also worth noting that not only were the Allies treated horribly as POWs, the Japanese themselves were victims during the war -- some 600,000 being imprisoned in Russian POW camps. Those who are loose with the epithet "Japan-bashing" should read those accounts.

The following first-person accounts will certainly reach deep, no matter what country you may be from. Naturally, as for me, I think of those Americans who were here in Fukuoka. These were some of my fellow countrymen, in a strange land with a strange language, strange food and customs, away from everything they were used to, being forced to live on the edge of what could barely be called life, not knowing whether they would ever see their homeland again, nor even when their last day would be. Just think of the daily routine these men had to go through of not knowing what would happen to them -- day after day after day after day. The hope and fortitude of those who survived, in the face of such depravity, is surely a quality we who are more fortunate know very little of.

I am most aware and sensitive of the fact that there are some ex-POWs that have no desire at all to remember those wretched years of captivity, much less talk about their experiences. Past is past -- they have gone on with their lives. It is not my desire to bring up any painful memories, believe me.

Yet there are many former POWs who are now beginning to write of their experiences and share their memories, and I am so glad they have made that decision to share. The number is growing each year. It could be that their children and grandchildren are encouraging them to do so, or perhaps it is simply a final effort to deal with their past, a form of ultimate therapy, so to speak. It's interesting that as one gets older the desire to "leave a legacy" becomes stronger. We all want others, especially our kids and grandkids, to know about what we accomplished in life, the good we did, the sacrifices we made, so that they can learn from our experiences and advice and hopefully avoid the mistakes we made. It seems so many kids these days have made heroes out of fantasy characters from the entertainment world. But here are some real heroes for the youth of today.....

I think of George Idlett..... Cecil Parrott..... Lester Tenney..... Frank Lovato..... Don Versaw..... Rodney Kephart.....

All these men, all ex-POWs, have recently written their memoirs. I'm sure it was painful, yet they felt the need to tell others about that pain. The remarkable thing I find in their recollections is that they have no hate at all towards their former captors. In fact, some of their closest friends now are Japanese.

They and so many thousands of other ex-POWs like them know exactly what freedom is. Just ask them. Their love of that cherished principle we take for granted can be seen so clearly as you speak with them. August 1945 marked a special time in their lives. Inwardly they surely must celebrate the day of their liberation with more elation than any other day. Let us also, though, remember those who have yet to experience their complete liberation from those unspeakable memories.




someone has taken the time to pay attention."

--- Gavan Daws on main gist of letters from POWs,
in an article by James Dao

Here is an excellent tribute to all former POWs from the July 2001 issue of The Quan. Their story must be told!

by Hon. Anthony J. Principi
Secretary of Veteran Affairs
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor

Hampton, VA
May 19, 2001

The great historian David McCullough has written: "History is a guide to navigation in perilous times." It is easy for today's statesmen to chart an incorrect course by confusing a cinematic version of the war with the war's true history. Hollywood would have it that an aroused nation, awakened to its peril, armed itself after Pearl Harbor and achieved victory after glorious victory, culminating in the Japanese surrender on the battleship Missouri.

It is easy to tell the story of our involvement in World War II as a tale of inevitable victory. But that would result in a false understanding of history, because it would omit the contribution that men and women like you made at a time when our victory was far from certain. And your contribution is a story that needs to be told.

Your story includes the heroism of the 31st infantry regiment, and the 4th Marines, and the 28th Bomb Group, and the sailors at Cavite, and the other brave American men and women stationed throughout the Western Pacific on December 7, 1941.

All of these men and women woke up on December 8 cut off from their country and the world -- without a realistic chance to defeat the enemy if they were not reinforced; without a realistic prospect of receiving that reinforcement; and even without a realistic chance to be evacuated.

Every new generation needs to be told that Americans lived and fought in 1941 and 1942 with no chance of victory for themselves, but with only the hope of delaying the enemy while our nation woke up to the consequences of war.

Every new generation needs to be told that three days after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese sent three cruisers, six destroyers, and four transport ships to attack the four hundred and forty-nine Marines on Wake Island. And that the attackers were driven off by those Marines, and only a second attack group with heavy cruisers, more destroyers, two aircraft carriers and thousands of Japanese Marines could defeat these men.

At the beginning of the war, only you and your comrades stood between the enemy and victory. And you held the line, and did so magnificently, even at a terrible cost. As General Mac Arthur said: "The Bataan Garrison was destroyed due to its dreadful handicaps, but no Army in history more thoroughly accomplished its mission."

Without you, the sacrifices of the crew of the Arizona would have been in vain. The Doolittle raid would have been an empty gesture. And the name of Dorie Miller would have long been forgotten.

I am reminded of the words of President John F. Kennedy. He said: "Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment, but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy."

Many men died at Pearl Harbor, at Wake Island, at Bataan and Corregidor, and throughout the Pacific theatre of war.

Many who were taken captive along with you died in the course of their captivity.

Next weekend, on Memorial Day, we will once again honor those who died alongside you, as we honor all our war dead. We honor them for their faithfulness to our nation, for their service and sacrifice, and for their unsurpassed courage.

But we must also honor you, who fought so valiantly and endured so much in the name of freedom.

Your story of steadfastness and loyalty again needs to be told.

We must again tell the story of Bataan and Corregidor: of the 10,000 Americans of Bataan who surrendered and were led on the Bataan death march, the thousand who died -- and the 9,000 who survived to face years of brutal and deadly captivity.

We must again tell the story of the men of Corregidor, kept prisoner for three and one half years, and all who were held by the Japanese in conditions so horrible that more than 87% of all those imprisoned died in captivity.

We must remind a new generation of the slave labor you were forced to endure, and the cruel and unusual punishments, and the medical experiments.

Your story must be told because your courage -- and your heroism -- was what led us on to victory.

Most Americans have no idea what it is like to be in combat.

But you have all known combat -- both the physical kind, and the special kind that a prisoner of war faces.

In combat, the enemy is largely unseen. He is somewhere out there, until the moment the shooting begins, and even afterwards. And when the shooting stops, the battle stops. There are opportunities for a hot meal, for a furlough, even for reassignment once physical limits are reached.

But to a prisoner of war, the enemy is everywhere. He controls your fate, your future, even your bodily functions. You are at war at every second. Your diet is always the same. You are never given leave. You can never leave the combat zone. Even today, more than fifty-five years after the end of your captivity, your lives are still shaped by your experiences.

Your victory was measured in your survival; and in maintaining your faith and your loyalty to your country, when the reward for maintaining that loyalty was continued starvation -- and death.

Your strong heart, great spirit, and unyielding faith served as an inspiration to the rest of us. You placed honor before everything, even before having a whole self.

You absorbed with your own bodies the blows that were intended by our enemies for our nation and its people, and you sacrificed your own freedom for the freedom of the world.

And finally, you returned from your service, regained your rightful place in our society, and strengthened your families, your communities, and our nation through your example of courage, and loyalty and continued good citizenship.

Your role in rebuilding America after the war is a story that also must be told.

We at the Department of Veterans Affairs honor your service, and are grateful for your sacrifices.

As former Prisoners of War, you are entitled to special benefits from our department. We recognize that the physical hardships and psychological stress you endured in your captivity has had a life-long effect on the health of many of you, and on your readjustment to society.

We provide compensation for many disabilities that may have been brought on by your captivity -- and are still looking for other linkages that may become manifest as you age.

Our national outreach program works to educate all former prisoners of wars about VA benefits and services you may be entitled to.

And it is my highest priority as Secretary to improve the timeliness and accuracy with which we process benefits claims, both yours and those of every other veteran.

Some of you may know that it now takes nearly nine months for us to process the average claim for benefits. You have earned better service than that. And you will get it.

Let me conclude with the words of television commentator Tom Brokaw. I'm sure most of you know his book, The Greatest Generation. It is about the men and women who, like you, came of age in the 1940's. This generation heard first-hand of your ordeals; was inspired by your example, and rejoiced at your freedom.

You are among the greatest of the greatest generation. This is what Brokaw wrote of you, and those who served with you:

"At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workday world, (American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen) answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front. They won the war; they saved the world."

So do not despair if you go to see the movie about Pearl Harbor, and you do not recognize yourself and your experiences in Hollywood's depiction of your war.

Remember that others know of your loyalty to our country, your contribution to our victory, and the many sacrifices you have offered for her freedom.

And of the strength you showed in resisting the enemy despite hopeless odds, and in continuing to resist despite your captivity.

When they were asked what they needed, they asked only one thing. "Send us more Japs," the commanding officer said. "Send us more Japs."

And though these American troops knew that they faced certain captivity or death, they fought as bravely and as well as any man in the United States has ever sent into battle. Fifteen hundred Japanese were killed in the assault on Wake Island. Only forty-nine Marines and three sailors died.

And every new generation needs to be told that fifteen days after Pearl Harbor, in Lingayen Bay, the Japanese fourteenth army invaded Luzon. And though desperately short of food, medicine and ammunition, the Battling Bastards of Bataan and the defenders of the Rock fought ferociously until the following May.

Those who fought on Bataan and Corregidor did more than resist the enemy to the utmost of their ability. They stopped the Japanese in their tracks, and gave our nation precious time to recruit and train the men and women who would eventually win the war -- and build the ships, planes and guns that were the tools we needed to win.

And they rallied a nation made fearful by Pearl Harbor -- and reminded our citizens that the American fighting man was the equal, or the superior, of any other fighting man on the face of the earth.

The Japanese won great tactical victories at the beginning of the war. We were not ready for the preparations a totalitarian nation, shaped by leaders who glorified war, had made for conquest.

Remember, too, that our ultimate victory in World War II, and our continued prosperity today, rests in no small measure on your accomplishments during that war.

And that the tales of your great heroism will be told, again and again, from generation to generation, for as long as our republic shall stand.

You are but mortal men and women, but your steadfast courage and dedication gave you the strength to achieve immortal acts. And those acts must be acknowledged in perpetual stone.

Your story, your service, and your sacrifice are irrefutable testimony that a memorial to the veterans of World War II must be built on the National Mall in Washington -- now!

May God bless all of you.

Be sure to visit the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor site, and also the ADBC Descendants Group website.

A Japanese speaks on Japanese war crimes...
Japanese historians in general and historians of the Asia-Pacific War in particular rarely write comparatively, partly because they presuppose that Japanese war crimes are a special case. In the absence of studies of war crimes of other nations, Japanese scholars have reinforced beliefs in Japan's uniqueness, including a unique proclivity to torture, violence, and inhumanity.

Much analysis of Japanese culture by foreign Japanologists and historians has been based on the belief in this uniqueness -- both as a blameworthy trait and one to be celebrated. For example, Ezra Vogel's Japan as Number One (the epitomy of celebratory Japanology) and Karel van Wolferen's The Enigma of Japanese Power (representative of the highly critical revisionist Japanology), though ostensibly presenting opposing views of Japan, share an underlying image of Japan as a peculiar nation and the Japanese as a peculiar people. These works, together with much other recent Japanology, present a more sophisticated picture than World War II Allied propaganda. But they remain propaganda nonetheless. These works, some of which have been best-sellers both in the West and in Japan, have reinforced images of the Japanese as "different." In short, both within and outside Japan, and regardless of whether the intent is to celebrate or criticize, Japan and the Japanese are frequently represented as peculiar or, at least, "different."

Gavan Daws's recent book, Prisoners of the Japanese, is undoubtedly a masterpiece in the sense that no other books hitherto have presented such a detailed account of the treatment of POWs by the Japanese during the Asia-Pacific War. His meticulous analysis of extensive information that he obtained from a vast number of interviews conducted with former POWs over a ten-year period gives us a real picture of the cruelty that the Japanese inflicted upon their captives and the traumatic legacy thus engraved on the minds of surviving POWs. Yet because of the absence of any explanation as to why the Japanese were capable of committing such cruelty, his book unfortunately also gives readers the strong impression of the Japanese as a people with "unique characteristics."

In this book I focus on specific instances of Japanese war crimes and attempt to explain the cause of these in a way that challenges culturally based notions of Japanese uniqueness. Comparative historical methods offer a sound basis for achieving this aim. War crimes are not a uniquely Japanese phenomenon. By documenting and analyzing the historical roots of Japanese war crimes, I am seeking to illuminate the specific dynamics of Japanese culture and society during the Asia-Pacific War but within the context of a broader analysis of the universal problem of wartime hatreds and war crimes. Japanese war crimes, rather than deriving from a peculiar Japaneseness or national character, must be understood in relation to the specific conditions of Japanese society in general and the Japanese military in particular both during the Asia-Pacific War and in the years leading up to it. Unfortunately, Japanese historians have failed to strike an appropriate balance between specificity and universality when dealing with war crimes, although recently some Western analysts such as John Dower and Mark Selden have successfully made comparative analyses of the war crimes committed by Americans with those committed by the Japanese.

The consequences of this scholarship of the "unique" have been profound in shaping images of Japan at home and abroad. Although critical Japanese historians have readily acknowledged past wrongs and even war crimes, they have failed to find the cultural taproot of war crimes and thus have been unable to contribute to an understanding that might help prevent future war crimes. Although rightly criticizing Japanese war crimes and calling for appropriate recompense, they have failed to see that Japan's dark past is far from unique. Specific features are of great importance, but war crimes were and are the monopoly of no people or nation. Their study, if appropriately framed in a comparative perspective, can provide valuable lessons for everyone.

Comparing Japanese war crimes with those of the Nazis or the Allies during World War II or even with those of more recent wars, such as in Vietnam, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, highlights the universality of this phenomenon. It is this possibility that makes past crimes worth remembering even after all victims and perpetrators have died. Unless we have an eye to the present and future as well as the past, facing up to the past is of little value. It is the relevance of what has happened in the past to what is happening right now or what might happen in the future that matters most. Past wrongs have already occurred, but perhaps the study of the past can help prevent future wrongs and atrocities.

The study of Japanese war crimes by Japanese scholars frequently suffers from a fundamental lack methodological rigor, most clearly seen in the complacent attitude of mainstream nationalist Japanese historians. Nationalist historians in Japan have consistently played up the fact that the Japanese were victims as well as perpetrators of war crimes, often to the point of being concerned only with Japan's role as victim. It is undoubtedly true that the Japanese were victims as well as aggressors, but nationalist historians have systematically glossed over the specificities of Japanese war crimes. Their goal has been to exculpate Japan by rendering it morally equivalent to every other nation and by seeing universal responsibility as equivalent to no one's responsibility.

Those who fought in the Asia-Pacific War were in reality mostly ordinary Japanese men. They were our fathers and grandfathers. We need to face up to the fact that we could easily become this "other" ourselves in changed circumstances. What then would prevent us from committing crimes comparable to those committed on the Burma-Thailand railway or at Nanjing? The extraordinary events of war crimes have a closer connection with the everyday life of ordinary people than we might want to acknowledge. In closely studying the history of specific Japanese war crimes so as to understand how they could have been committed by ordinary people, we can gain a sense of how they remain our problem to this day.

In contrast to the Japanese, German war historians, influenced by Alltagsgeschichte (history of everyday life), have made repeated efforts to examine German war crimes critically and understand how intimately they were connected with the everyday life of ordinary people. We Japanese, too, need to reexperience the crimes of our fathers and grandfathers as deeply and as viscerally as the Germans have reexperienced their past. It is not enough for us to gain a purely intellectual understanding of them. In so doing, though, it is important to understand that crimes of war were not unique to Japan and to ask the question: Under what circumstances did (and do) human beings conduct themselves as war criminals?

So far we Japanese have not adequately examined ourselves as aggressors and as victims at the same time. The view of most Japanese on the Asia-Pacific War is overwhelmingly inclined toward seeing ourselves only as the victim. There are several reasons for this myopia, such as the fact that we were victims of the world's only nuclear holocaust; that, unlike in Germany, the Japanese committed no racial genocide within their own country or abroad; that we were threatened by economic and political advancement of Western powers into Asia; and that Japan's national ethos specific to its fascist ideology was based upon the emperor ideology. This national ethos prevented us Japanese from perceiving ourselves as the aggressors that we were. I will discuss this issue further in the Conclusion.

The general feeling of the Japanese people immediately after the war -- that we had been deceived by the state or that the state bore responsibility for the war -- gave us the opportunity to realize that we were a separate entity from the state. Yet this way of thinking obscured our own responsibility for collaborating with the state, even if in many instances it was unwillingly. Consequently, we Japanese have failed to recognize ourselves as aggressors, still less as perpetrators of war crimes. Moreover, because of the widespread perception of ourselves as the victims of war, the notion of "victim" gradually expanded even to the point that the Japanese state was also seen as a victim of war.

Recently, some Japanese political leaders have made public statements about the nation's war crimes and have even apologized to the citizens of those countries that suffered. However, these official apologies seem perfunctory in the light of Oda's "principle of absolute peace." Their real motivation seems more likely to be found in the realm of international politics: to make amends with these nations to improve economic and trading terms. Indeed the majority of Japanese politicians lack a clear recognition of Japan's war responsibility. In August 1995 at the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II, then Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi tried to issue an official apology as the head of the Japanese government. However, because of political pressure from the conservative members of the coalitionist Liberal Democratic Party, he was forced to apologize as an individual rather than in his official capacity of prime minister.

The aim in this book is to examine closely the specific cases of war crimes committed by the Japanese forces from the viewpoint of perpetrators and of victims concurrently. At the same time, I will attempt to focus on fundamental characteristics of war in general: the dehumanization of the "other" and the brutalization of the "self" as a result.

From: Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II,
Yuki Tanaka, 1998

II. The Locations of Camp #1

The various dates correspond to dates given in POW affidavits.

1. KUMAMOTO (Kengun)

From US military map of Kumamoto, 1945. Click to see larger image.
Note at top, "Airfield Under Construction."
Later aerials: March 1947, March 1956
((courtesy of Japan Map Archives)

October 1942 (Thyer) / November 20, 26,28 (Metcalf) 1942
November 20 (Metcalf, Saunders) 1943
Official Dates: November 28, 1942 to November 20, 1943
1 year
Huts: 20 buildings (adjacent to Kengun Airfield)
POWs: 266 (all British)

2. KASHII (Maimatsubara 2-chome)

Kashii aerial 1947
Click on image for enlarged area

November 20 (Metcalf, Saunders), 1943
April 16 (Metcalf),17, 1944
Official Dates: November 20, 1943 to April 17, 1944
5 months
Huts: 1 large building (in center of Ordnance Depot, Tatara-mura)
POWs: 300
See HERE for photos of site taken in 2005.

3. MUSHIRODA (Higashi Hirao 3-chome, 1)

Mushiroda aerial 1947
Click on image for enlarged area

April 16 (Metcalf),17, 1944
January 17 (White),18 (Saunders),19, 1945
Official Dates: April 17, 1944 to January 20, 1945
9 months
Huts: 10 (1/4 mile from Mushiroda Airfield)
POWs: 658 (300 British, 204 American, and 154 Dutch)
Aerial image of Mushiroda Airfield under construction in June 1944; note trails leading from hillside for earth removal. Itazuke Sonicle article has a history of this air field; note there is no mention of POW labor. See HERE for photos of site taken in 2005. Excerpt from the 5th Marine Division Amphibious Corps and their initial plans for Mushiroda (Itazuke) in Nov. 1945.

4. HAKOZAKI (Hakomatsu 4-chome, 17)

(in Shinken-cho; "Pine Tree Camp," also referred to as located in NAZIMA [Najima] in Morton, Saunders)

Hakozaki aerial 1947 Camp #1 small image
Click on lower image for enlargement. Note PW sign and parachutes delivering relief supplies in field. Additional photo here of supply drop (more on supply missions). See also this photo of when the camp site was first located in early Sept. 1945. In Jan. 1945, US intelligence first thought the camp was located in Maizuru (see this image; enlarged area) after interrogating captured Japanese who had seen POWs there. Note also this intel document of Mar. 10, 1945 advising pilots to NOT attack these 13 POW camp areas, none of which were in Fukuoka. For comparison, see this composite aerial of this area, Jan. 24, 1949, where the second (Kashii) and the last (Hakozaki) locations of Fukuoka POW Camp #1 were; also this aerial of the area on Jan. 27, 1956. (Aerial images courtesy of Japan Map Archives.)

Looking northwest. Camp is at lower left, Najima Power Station center left.
Click on image for enlargement.

January 17 (White),18 (Saunders),19, 1945
September 1945
April 17, 1944
Official Dates: January 20, 1945 to September 1945
8 months
Huts: 15
POWs: 850 (300 of which were officers; Americans: 167 officers and 30 enlisted men)
See HERE for photos of site taken in 2005.

POW Camps in Kyushu

There were close to 200 sites for POW internment throughout all of Japan -- "163 facilities to incarcerate POWs and about 33 facilities for civilian internees" (Van Waterford). Here is a list of the camps that were on the island of Kyushu. See also Sakamoto interrogation.

Number (D=Detached), Location and Japanese Company

1 -- Fukuoka (Western District Army Management Division Seibu-gun Keiri-bu)
2 -- Koyagi (Nagasaki; Kawanami Shipyard Kawanami Zosen, Koyagi-shima Zosen-jo)
3 -- Yahata/Kokura (Yahata Iron Works Nippon Seitetsu, Yahata Seitetsu-sho)
4 -- Moji (Moji Transportation Assoc. Moji Unsogyo Kai)
5 -- Kawasaki/Soeda (Furukawa Kogyo, Omine Kogyo-sho) -- Read Canadian Lance Ross' diary about this camp
6 -- Mizumaki/Orio (initially #D9; Nippon Mining Co. Nippon Kogyo, Onga Kogyo-sho; Takamatsu Tanko)
7 -- Iizuka/Futase (Nippon Iron Works Nittetsu Kogyo, Futase Kogyo-sho)
8 -- Inatsuki (Yamano/Kamo-o; Kogawa Mining Co. Kogawa Kogyo; Mitsui Mining Mitsui Kozan; Yamano Mining Co. Yamano Kogyosho)
9 -- Miyata (Kaijima Coal Mine Kaijima Tanko, Onoura Tanko)
D10 -- (Became #7)
D11 -- (Became #8)
D12 -- (Became #9)
13 -- Saganoseki (Nippon Mining Co. Nippon Kogyo, Saganoseki Seisaku-sho)
14 -- Nagasaki (Saiwai-cho; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Mitsubishi Jukogyo, Nagasaki Zosen)
D15 -- (Became #9, then #6)
D16 -- (Became #10, then #7)
17 -- Omuta (Shin-minato; Mitsui Mining Co. Mitsui Kozan, Miike Kogyo-sho)
18 -- Sasebo (Yunoki; Sasebo Kaigun)
D19 -- (Became #11, then #8)
D20 -- (Became #12, then #9)
21 -- Nakama (Taisho Mining Co. Taisho Kogyo, Nakazuru Mining Co. Nakazuru Tanko)
22 -- Honami (Okuma/Tadakuma/Komoda/Hiratsune; Sumitomo Mining Co. Sumitomo Kogyo, Tadakuma Tanko)
23 -- Keisen (Hirayama; Meiji Mining Co. Meiji Kogyo, Hirayama Kogyo-sho)
24 -- Emukae (Senryu; Sumitomo Coal Mining Co. Sumitomo Sekitan Kogyo, Senryu Kogyo-sho)
25 -- Omuta (Kohama/Shin-nakai-cho; Denki Kagaku Kogyo, Omuta Kojo)
26 -- Keisen (Yoshikuma; Aso Mining Co. Aso Kogyo, Yoshikuma Tanko)
27 -- Tagawa (Nara; Mitsui Mining Co. Mitsui Kozan, Tagawa Kogyo-sho)
Beppu -- "This camp was used to house POWs for only 13 days, from October 28, 1944, to November 10, 1944. These 169 POWs were the high-ranking military and civilian authorities en route from Formosa to Manchuria, and among them was General Wainwright. The camp itself consisted of five clean hotels, with natural hot springs and clean water. For the brief period of its operation, Beppu was considered by the POWs one of the best internment areas they had encountered." --- Van Waterford, Prisoners of the Japanese in World War II

See this special page: What, Where and When We Knew - About the Existence and Location of POW Camps Around Fukuoka, Japan

Comprehensive Chart on all POW Camps in Kyushu:

Detailed List of Kyushu Camp's Strength:

Map of Coal Mines in Fukuoka Prefecture
(Japanese only -- also has much info on mine sites
throughout Japan
; POW camps were in these areas --
more coal mining Japanese links here)

Summary of Japanese War Crime Tribunal sentencing of
Japanese personnel in Fukuoka Camp Group

Fukuoka Area POW Camps: Employer Industries and Important Dates (M/D)

CAMP 1942 1943 1944 1945

MAIN - Seibu-gun Yahata Kari Furyo Shuyojo

1/1 Est. Fukuoka WDA HQ 3/1 Renamed Fukuoka POW Camp Main Camp
4/? Moved to Seinen Gakko
6/19 Moved to Dazaifu Kokumin Gakko

#1 - Seibu-gun Keiri-bu

11/26 Est. Kumamoto 3/1 Named #1
11/20 Moved to Tatara-mura
4/17 Moved to Mushiroda 1/20 Moved to Hakozaki

#2 - Kawaminami Zosen, Koyagi-shima Zosen-jo

10/22 Est. Nagasaki 3/1 Named #2 --- ---

#3 - Nippon Seitetsu, Yahata Seitetsu-sho

9/23 Established 3/1 Named #3
12/15 Moved to Kokura City, Nakai?
--- ---

#4 - Moji Unsogyo-kai

1/28 Established --- --- ---

#5 - Furukawa Kogyo, Omine Kogyo-sho

--- 1/22 Est. Omine
3/1 Named #5
12/1 Renamed #8
--- 8/15 Renamed #5

#6 - Nippon Kogyo, Onga Kogyo-sho

--- 4/22 Established #15
12/1 Renamed #9
--- 8/15 Renamed #6

#7 - Nittetsu Kogyo, Futase Kogyo-sho

--- 5/15 Est. #16
12/1 Renamed #10
--- 8/15 Renamed #7

#8 - Mitsui Kozan, Yamano Kogyo-sho

--- 10/10 Est. #19 4/10 Renamed #11 8/15 Renamed #8

#9 - Kaijima Tanko, Onoura Tanko

--- 12/4 Est. #20 4/10 Renamed #12 8/15 Renamed #9

#13 - Nippon Kogyo, Saganoseki Seisaku-sho

--- --- 9/8 Established 6/20 Closed

#14 - Mitsubishi Jukogyo, Nagasaki Zosen

--- 4/22 Established --- ---

#17 - Mitsui Kozan, Miike Kogyo-sho

--- 8/10 Established --- ---

#18 - Sasebo Kaigun ??-bu

--- 10/10 Established 4/17 Closed ---

#21 - Taisho Kogyo, Nakazuru Tanko

--- --- 6/15 Established ---

#22 - Sumitomo Kogyo, Tadakuma Tanko

--- --- --- 1/15 Established

#23 - Meiji Kogyo, Hirayama Kogyo-sho

--- --- 8/4 Established ---

#24 - Sumitomo Kogyo, Senryu Kogyo-sho

--- --- --- 1/15 Established

#25 - Denki Kagaku Kogyo, Omuta Kojo

--- --- 9/? Established ---

#26 - Aso Kogyo, Yoshikuma Tanko

--- --- --- 5/1 Established

#27 - Mitsui Kozan, Tagawa Kogyo-sho

--- --- --- 5/1 Established

#6 - Tokai Denkyoku, Tanoura Kojo

--- 10/17 Established --- 6/30 Closed

#7 - Hitachi Seisaku-sho, Kasato Kojo

--- 10/13 Established 6/4 Closed ---

Fukuoka Area POW Camps and Number of Internees (August 15, 1945)

Camp Location Internees Date Established
Main Dazaifu-machi


#1 Hakozaki-cho, Fukuoka


#2 Koyagi-mura, Nagasaki-ken


#3 Kokura-shi


#4 Kusu-cho, Moji


#5 Kawasaki-machi, Tagawa-gun


#6 Mizumaki-machi, Onga-gun


#7 Futaseno, Kaho-gun


#8 Inatsuki-machi, Kaho-gun


#9 Miyata-machi, Kurate-gun


#14 Saiwai-cho, Nagasaki


#17 Shinminato-cho, Omuta


#21 Nakama-machi, Onga-gun


#22 Honami-mura, Kaho-gun


#23 Keisen-machi, Kaho-gun


#24 Emukae-machi, Nagasaki-ken


#25 Shinkai-cho, Omuta


#26 Keisen-machi, Kaho-gun


#27 Nara, Tagawa-gun


(Total internees as of Dec. '42 = 3,096)



Japan POW Camp Districts (August 15, 1945)

District Period of Operation Base
Officers N.C.O. Civilians TOTAL Deaths
Hakodate 12/26/42 - 9/10/45 1 4 113 1,399 85 1,597

181 (11%)

Sendai 4/45 - 9/45 1 11 109 3,440 257 3,806

60 (1.6%)

Tokyo 9/12/42 - 8/30/45 1 16 440 4,979 631 6,050

667 (11%)

Nagoya 4/45 - 9/45 1 11 98 3,182 58 3,338

43 (1.3%)

Osaka 9/21/42 - 9/45 1 12 432 3,640 184 4,256

1,076 (25%)

Hiroshima 4/45 - 9/45 1 9 108 2,834 18 2,960

45 (1.5%)

Fukuoka 1/14/42 - 9/45 1 18 234 9,595 582 10,411

1,343 (13%)

TOTAL 7 81





3,415 (10.5%)

For detailed list of all POW camp strengths, see

Asia POW Camp Districts (1945)

District Period of Operation Base
Officers N.C.O. Civilians TOTAL Date As Of
Korea 9/25/42 - 8/15/45 1 2 137 414 --- 551 June 30
Formosa 7/17/42 - 8/15/45 1 8 43 1,277 1 1,321 July 31
Shanghai 1/24/42 - 5/9/45 --- 2 --- 13 12 25 August 15
Hong Kong 1/7/42 - 8/15/45 1 10 518 1,076 85 1,679 June 30
Hoten 11/11/42 - 8/15/45 1 5 523 1,173 13 1,709 June 30
Indo-China 7/16/42 - 8/15/45 1 26 3,197 31,306 22 34,525 April 30
Malaya 8/15/42 - 8/15/45 1 20 382 8,085 241 (13,615)
May 31
Java 8/15/42 - 8/15/45 1 6 1724 4,049 338 6,111 June 30
Borneo 8/15/42 - ??? 1 9 300 2,680 --- 2,980 April 30
Philippines 8/1/42 - 2/3/45 1 6 --- --- --- --- ---
TOTAL 8 88 6,824 50,073 712 71,224

Image of POW camps throughout Japan (128K)

Complete listing of POW camps in Japan (Japanese only -- translated from original by Taeko Sasamoto) (30K)

More charts on POW camps in Japan (Japanese only)

Statistics on POW camps in Japan (Japanese only)

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