POW Camp #1 - Page 1
III. General Description of Camp #1
A. Gibbs Report
Standard report of July 31, 1946
Ramey investigation report of January 8, 1946
Ramey and Humphreys report of January 6, 1946
British POW's description of Kumamoto, Kashii and Mushiroda camps
British POW's description of Kashii and Mushiroda camps
British POW's (Chief Commanding Officer) description of all four camps
American POW's (Chief Medical Officer) description of Kashii, Mushiroda and Hakozaki camps
Excerpts from an American surgeon's report on medical activities at Camp #1
British POW's description of Kumamoto, Kashii and Mushiroda camps
American POW's description of Hakozaki camp
Scanned images of American, British, Dutch, Australian, Canadian, and Norwegian POW roster, with partial listing showing Name, Nationality and Rank only
Names, ranks and terms of Japanese personnel at POW Base Headquarters and Camp #1
Infamous atrocities which occurred in Fukuoka
1. Articles on the crash, the vivisection experiments, and the memorial
2. Statement by pilot, 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
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
1. Interrogation of Gunji Haraguchi re B-29 crash in Yokoyama, Yame-gun
1. Death March Tales by Ray Thompson
2. Bataan by George Idlett
3. My Hitch in Hell by Lester Tenney
List of the deceased, cremation and burial locations
VII. The Hellships
VIII. The POW Affidavits
Including a section on Operation Olympic
IX. Japanese Affidavits
Summary of Information, Oct. 22, 1945; Interrogation of Oct. 29, 1945
Affidavit of Jan. 2, 1946; Review of the Trial of Masato Hada
Lengthy handwritten affidavit of January 20, 1946
Interrogation of May 28, 1946
Summary of Japanese War Crime Tribunal sentencing of Japanese personnel in Fukuoka Camp Group
F. Fukuoka Targets - Japanese Air Target Analyses
XII. The Fund / The Movie
XIII. Books & Videos/DVDs
XIV. POW Issues
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
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.
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.....
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,
|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,
II. The Locations of Camp #1
The various dates correspond to dates given in POW affidavits.
1. KUMAMOTO (Kengun)
October 1942 (Thyer) / November
20, 26,28 (Metcalf) 1942
2. KASHII (Maimatsubara 2-chome)
November 20 (Metcalf, Saunders), 1943
3. MUSHIRODA (Higashi Hirao 3-chome, 1)
April 16 (Metcalf),17, 1944
4. HAKOZAKI (Hakomatsu 4-chome, 17)
(in Shinken-cho; "Pine Tree Camp," also referred to as located in NAZIMA [Najima] in Morton, Saunders)
January 17 (White),18
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
Comprehensive Chart on all POW
Camps in Kyushu:
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
#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
#17 - Mitsui Kozan, Miike Kogyo-sho
#18 - Sasebo Kaigun ??-bu
|---||10/10 Established||4/17 Closed||---|
#21 - Taisho Kogyo, Nakazuru Tanko
#22 - Sumitomo Kogyo, Tadakuma Tanko
#23 - Meiji Kogyo, Hirayama Kogyo-sho
#24 - Sumitomo Kogyo, Senryu Kogyo-sho
#25 - Denki Kagaku Kogyo, Omuta Kojo
#26 - Aso Kogyo, Yoshikuma Tanko
#27 - Mitsui Kozan, Tagawa Kogyo-sho
#6 - Tokai Denkyoku, Tanoura Kojo
|---||10/17 Established||---||6/30 Closed|
#7 - Hitachi Seisaku-sho, Kasato Kojo
|---||10/13 Established||6/4 Closed||---|
(Total internees as of Dec. '42 = 3,096)
|District||Period of Operation||Base
|Hakodate||12/26/42 - 9/10/45||1||4||113||1,399||85||1,597||
|Sendai||4/45 - 9/45||1||11||109||3,440||257||3,806||
|Tokyo||9/12/42 - 8/30/45||1||16||440||4,979||631||6,050||
|Nagoya||4/45 - 9/45||1||11||98||3,182||58||3,338||
|Osaka||9/21/42 - 9/45||1||12||432||3,640||184||4,256||
|Hiroshima||4/45 - 9/45||1||9||108||2,834||18||2,960||
|Fukuoka||1/14/42 - 9/45||1||18||234||9,595||582||10,411||
For detailed list of all POW camp
ALL-JAPAN POW CAMP GROUP STATISTICS
|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)
|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||---||---||---||---||---|
|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)