POW Camp #1 - Page 8
IX. Japanese Affidavits(Orginal microfilm images in PDF file for Sakamoto, Hada, and Honda -- War Crimes Trials Case Reviews -- NARA Record Group 331)
A. Commandant: Yuhichi Sakamoto
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION CONCERNING SAKAMOTO
498th CIC Det.,
22 October 1945
SUBJECT: SAKAMOTO, Yuhichi
Ex-Captain, Japanese Army
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION:
On 21 October 1945 Yuhichi SAKAMOTO, ex-Captain, Japanese Army, residence Nagasaki Ken, Kita, Takaki-gun, Moriyama Mura, #2204, was interviewed at 498th CIC Detachment Headquarters, Nagasaki, and stated in substance as follows:
He was discharged from the Japanese Army on 26 September 1945 at Fukuoka at which time he held the rank of captain in the Infantry and concluded 17 years and 9 months service. His service included the following periods overseas:
Shanghi -- 7 Feb 1942 to 25 March 1942
Manchuria -- 16 April 1936 to 7 December 1938
North China -- 8 May 1939 to 12 August 1942
SAKAMOTO stated that he had served at the following stations in Japan subsequent to 12 August 1942 and made the statements indicated regarding his activities at each station.
Kagoshima, Kyushu -- 15 August 1942 to 25 November 1942. He was in a combat organisation.
Kumamoto, Kyushu -- 26 November 1942 to 19 November 1943. In a PW camp. After 29 December 1942 SAKAMOTO was the commanding officer, relieving Capt. Soguro TAKAYAMA. There were 266 PW's, all British, who had been captured at Java and Timor. Thirty-six of the prisoners died during the period. On 19 November 1943 the camp was closed and the prisoners were transferred to Fukuoka.
Fukuoka Kashi, Kyushu -- 20 November 1943 to 17 May 1944. SAKAMOTO was the commanding officer of a PW camp. He estimates there were 300 prisoners, all British. These prisoners had been transferred to Fukuoka from Moji and had been captured in Java and Timor. He said that none of the prisoner died during the period.
Mushiroda, Fukuoka, Kyushu -- 17 May 1944 to 20 January 1945. He was commanding officer of PW camp. The 658 prisoners included 300 British, 204 American, and 154 Dutch. The British prisoners had been transferred from the Fukuoka Kashi camp. Of the total 5 or 6 died during the period.
Hakozaki, Fukuoka Shi, Kyushu -- 20 January 1945 to 8 May 1945. SAKAMOTO was the commanding officer of a PW camp. In addition to about 650 prisoners who were transferred from the camp at Mushiroda, there were 197 Americans. The Americans consisted of 167 officers and 30 enlisted men making a total for the camp of about 850 PW's. There were four American Lieutenant Colonels but SAKAMOTO said that he could not recall any of their names. He said that he spoke to the prisoners through interpreters. He estimates that 70 of about 850 prisoners died during this period and the period from May 1945 to 2 September 1945, when the prisoners were released. Part of the deaths were due to dysentery and some died as the result of injuries they had received when the PW camp in Formosa had been bombed. He denied that any of the prisoners had died as the result of any physical violence inflicted by the Japanese.
Miyata Machi, Furate-gun, Fukuoka Ken, Kyushu from 8 May 1945 to 2 September 1945 when the prisoners were released. SAKAMOTO was the commanding officer and the prisoners bad been transferred from Hakozaki. There was one Jap doctor for the prisoners, SAKAMOTO received his orders regarding food, clothes, and the treatment of the prisoners from Col. Manjiro FUKUMOTO, Fukuoka Shi, who was in charge of all prison camps in Kyushu. SAKAMOTO said that at times the prisoners were beaten and slapped by the guards when the guards lost their tempers, but said that the guards had been instructed not to mistreat the prisoners. He could not recall any instance of a guard being punished for having mistreated prisoners. SAKAMOTO admitted that he had slapped prisoners. He said that he did this when he found prisoners stealing from each other. He said that the prisoners stole from each other and sold the stolen articles to Koreans who worked in the same mines.
He also admitted that at times he kicked prisoners. He recalls kicking a Dutch prisoner at the P.W. Camp in Kumamoto in September 1943. He said that the prisoner had stolen corn from a farmer near the camp and that upon being interrogated regarding the act he denied it.
He said that it was not necessary to use force to make the prisoners work in the mines at Fukuoka. This mine was Kayima [Kajima] Tanko, Onoura, Kogyosho.
He said that no intelligence agencies interviewed the prisoners at any of the camps he was in. This had been done before the prisoners were sent to the camps. He denied that any American Air Force personnel had been in any of the camps and said that he did not know where they had been imprisoned.
Superior Private Takeo KATSURA, address Kagoshima Ken, Oshima-gun, and Chozo HARUYAMA, a civilian who can be located through the P.W. Headquarters at Fukuoka, were his interpreters. He thought that they might recall the names of some of the prisoners.
SAKAMOTO said that he is planning to return to Fukuoka, where he can be located at Keigo Kokumin Gakko Fuku Fu Hombu, Daimiyo machi. He said that he would see Col. FUKUMOTO upon his return and that he would also know his whereabouts.
Previous Distribution: None
REPORT OF INTERROGATION OF SAKAMOTO
CIC METROPOLITAN UNIT NO. 94
29 October 1945
MEMORANDUM FOR THE OFFICER IN CHARGE:
SUBJECT: SAKAMOTO, Yuhichi, Nagasaki, Kita Takaki Gun, Moriyama, Mura 2204.
Re: Report of Interrogation
1. At the direction of the Commanding Officer, 468th CIC Det. Yuhichi SAKAMOTO, former captain of the Japanese Army and director of Prisoner of War Camp #9 at Miyata Machi, Kurate Gun, was apprehended on 25 October 1945 for interrogation regarding his alleged mistreatment of Allied Prisoners of War.
2. SUBJECT volunteered the following personal data:
a. Address: Nagasaki, Kita Takaki Gun, Moriyama, Mura 2204. (Mailing address -- Fukuoka-shi, Kego, Kokumin Gakko, Fukufu Hombu).
b. Date of birth: 17 February 1907.
c. Marital status: Married Emi YAMAGUCHI, 32 years of age, in August 1938. Two children -- one boy, age 7; one girl, age 2.
d. Education: 8 years at Torishima Jinjo Koto Shogakko.
e. Military history:
Entered Japanese Army as a private January 1928.
May 1939 to August 1942 -- served in North China. (Received field commission on 13 July 1942).
August 1942 to Nov. 1942 -- in Kagoshima with 45th Infantry Regiment.
Nov. 1942 to Dec. 29, 1942 -- assistant to Capt. Sogoro TAKAYAMA, Commanding Officer of Prisoner of War Camp #1, Kumamoto-shi.
Dec. 1942 to Nov. 1943 -- Commanding Officer of POW Camp #1, Kumamoto-shi.
Nov. 1943 to 17 April 1944 -- Commanding Officer, POW Camp #1, which was moved intact to Kashi Machi, Fukuoka Ken.
April 1944 to 20 January 1945 -- Commanding Officer of POW Camp #1, which was moved to Mushiroda Airfield, Fukuoka-shi.
January 1945 to 8 May 1945 -- Commanding Officer of POW Camp #1, then located at Hakozaki machi, Fukuoka-shi.
8 May 1945 to 2 Sept. 1943 -- Commanding Officer of POW Camp #9, Miyata machi, Kurate Gun, (which had been POW Camp #12 until the number was changed on 15 August 1945 by order of Col. Manjiro FUKUMOTO, Western Army Headquarters, Fukuoka-shi).
26 September 1945 -- Separated from service.
3. SAKAMOTO stated that there were 18 Prisoner of War Camps on the island of Kyushu and listed them according to number and location:
#1 -- Hakozaki
4. When first interrogated as to his using force on Prisoners of War, SUBJECT became visibly excited and stated that he had received orders from Western Army Headquarters, through Col. Iju SUGAZAWA and his successor, Col. Manjiro FUKUMOTO, not to mistreat and not to pamper Prisoners of War, which orders he passed on to his subordinates at each camp which he commanded. He stated that having been a POW camp commander for so long a time, he could not recall the exact number of occasions on which he had beaten prisoners. However, he admitted that he had done so on at least 10 different occasions. These beatings, he insisted, were administered only for disobedience to his orders and in cases of thefts, but admitted that he administered them with his fists, hands, clubs, and swords. SAKAMOTO claimed that he handled the prisoners in a fatherly way, reprimanding and punishing them as a father does a child -- to prevent a recurrence of the wrongdoing and as an example to the other prisoners. He declared that there was never a time when the prisoners whom he had beaten required medical attention. While he was Commanding Officer of POW Camp #9, three prisoners died, but he insisted they had died from tuberculosis and fever.
5. At the various camps which SUBJECT commanded, the prisoners were mainly English and Dutch, although there were about 37 Americans among those at POW Camp #9. The officers and enlisted men were quartered separately. The officers were required to do farm work, and the enlisted men were forced to work in mines, lumber mills, and at airfields. SUBJECT stated that he had the greatest difficulty with the Dutch because of their stubbornness and admitted having beaten several of them while at the Mushiroda Airfield, Fukuoka-shi. However, he refused to relate the circumstances surrounding those beatings, claiming that he could not recall them. He admitted having beaten two Dutch Prisoners of War at Camp #9 with a stick wrapped in leather when they became involved in a theft of a pair of trousers. His signed statement regarding the beatings of those Prisoners was taken on 26 October 1945. The signed statement is appended to the Preliminary Report of Interrogation of SAKAMOTO, Yuhichi, dated 28 October 1945, and a true copy of the statement, marked Exhibit I, is attached hereto.
6. On at least one occasion, SUBJECT stated, here his orders not to mistreat Prisoners of War disobeyed by one of his subordinates. That disobedience occurred on 18 August 1945 when Sergeant Kichiro KURIHARA, outraged over the fact that Japan had lost the war to the Allies, beat 5 or 6 British Officers before a group of their fellow prisoners. The circumstances surrounding that incident are described in a signed statement also appended to the Preliminary Report of Interrogation of SAKAMOTO, Yuhichi, dated 28 October 1945, and true copy of which statement, marked Exhibit II, is attached hereto.
7. In addition to the above named Kichio KURIHARA, SUBJECT named the following men as his subordinates at the Kumamoto and Hakozaki POW Camps:
MAKITA, Satoru -- Sub-Lieutenant -- Kumamoto
8. With regard to the treatment of Allied airmen and the disposition of their remains, SUBJECT disclaimed all knowledge of the matter, stating that he had never had any fliers in his camps. He related the following story regarding a box of ashes reportedly containing the remains of 3 American airmen, which story he learned through rumor. On 28 March 1945, while Captain Saichiro YOSHITSUGU was Commanding Officer of the Miyata-machi POW Camp, an American plane was shot down in the vicinity of Nogata. Ten days later, the Kempei-tai at Iizuka called the Miyata Camp and told them to pick up a box of ashes containing the remains of 3 fliers. The box was brought to the POW Camp, marked "Unknown", and buried beside the deceased Prisoners of War. According to SUBJECT, the box was still in the camp when he was relieved of his duties as Commanding Officer of POW Camp #9.
During the entire interview, SUBJECT appeared reluctant to divulge any information which would incriminate his associates or superiors and very little definite information regarding his own treatment of Prisoners of War. The only specific instances about which he talked freely were the last instances on which he beat a prisoner and beating of prisoners by Sergeant KURIHARA, both of which were recent events. After he did reveal the circumstances surrounding these incidents, SUBJECT willingly agreed to sign statements regarding them, even though he stated that he had been expecting to be arrested and tried as a war criminal ever since the termination of the war.
Oddly enough, and in spite of his admissions regarding beating prisoners, SUBJECT felt that he should be praised by the Allies for his handling of Prisoners of War. He knew, he stated, that they were underfed, but so were Japanese soldiers, and he did all in his power to give them extra rations. When reminded of the beatings, he repeated that he beat them as a father does a child -- with no malice, but rather as an example for other prisoners and to prevent a recurrence of such incidents -- and that it was not uncommon for a Japanese officer to beat the men under him for disobeying an order.
It is the opinion of this Agent that SUBJECT has withheld a great deal of information regarding his acts of brutality toward prisoners and that he is going out of his way to protect others who might have knowledge of mistreatment of Prisoners of War. It seems unlikely that he could recall so well all the circumstances surrounding the last beating of prisoners and none of the circumstances surrounding any of the other admitted cases of mistreatment of prisoners.
MARLIN V. BORDNER
VICTOR M. AITKEN
2 January 1946
I, MASATO HADA, at present confined in Sugamo Prison, home address OITA KEN, HITA SHI, KAMEYAMA MACHI, KYUSHU, JAPAN, formerly superior private in the Imperial Japanese Army, do hereby affirm that, according to my conscience, I will speak the truth adding nothing and concealing nothing. I was assigned to Camp Number One, Fukuoka Area, Kyushu, Japan from December 1943 to May 1, 1945 in the capacity of medical orderly. In the camp dispensary there was myself, a non commissioned officer by the name M/Sgt Yamanishi, Michiaki and one officer. At various times the officers were 1st Lt. INOUYE, 1st Lt. SHOICHI KANDA and a 1st Lt. HARUO DANNA, there was also a doctor TOZO MAEKAWA, a first lieutenant. The Commander of Camp No. One while I was there was a YUHICHI SAKAMOTO, a Captain in the Army. The prisoners of war lived in wooden huts. There were no heating facilities in the rooms where the prisoners stayed, however, there was heat in the dispensary where the sick stayed. There were fifty beds in the dispensary, about fifteen or sixteen were always occupied. Approximately fifty prisoners died at the camp while I was there, the main cause of death being dysentery. There were three Allied doctors at the camp, they worked in shifts one of them being present all of the time. One of these doctors, the American was named Kostecki, a Captain, the other, English, was named Captain Wallace. I can't remember the other doctor's name, but I know he was Dutch. Two or three prisoners died from pneumonia, At the camp was a civilian guard by the name of HAJIME HONDA. Honda was at the camp in December of 1944, he was an unusually large Japanese. The doctors wrote the prescriptions, the sergeant checked it and passed it on to me to fill. I admit that I have torn up prescriptions with out filling them, but only after the sergeant told me that I need not fill them. These prescriptions were written by the Japanese doctor at the request of the American doctors. Most of the time there were sufficient medical supplies on hand to fill the prescriptions which the sergeant told me I need not fill.
By order of the hospital ward doctor I gave various exercises to the sick patients. The patients were divided into two classes, those who could exercise twice each day and those who could exercise only once. Of course, some of the prisoners who were too sick to walk were not forced to take exercises. The average length of time elapsed for exercises was about fifteen minutes, mostly hand lifting exercises. On several occasions when prisoners were late for exercises I made them hold a bucket half full of water over their heads for approximately one half hour. I have also seen the Japanese guards striking the prisoners with their hands when they were late far exercises. In the beginning I gave the daily exercises for the entire camp, later on an American and an Englishman gave the exercises. While at Mushiroda, during the latter part of 1944, I admit striking an American Prisoner of War with my hand across the face three times. This prisoner bit a thermometer in two. There was nothing wrong with him as he was willfully refusing to work. Lt. Kanda, the Japanese doctor, was present at the time of this incident. There was no order issued by my superiors against such actions on my part, in fact, such slapping was quite common in the Japanese Army. On one other occasion I slapped a prisoner for failing to properly take his exercises. This 2nd day of January 1946 at Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, Japan.
(S)(Japanese signature) M. HADA
I, SOHEI YAMATE, T/4, United States Army, 30107684, ATIS, solemnly swear, so help me God, that I have this date served in the capacity of interpreter in the taking of the above affidavit and that I have faithfully to the best of my ability translated questions from English to Japanese and answers from Japanese to English, and further that I have read said statement to the affiant in Japanese in full who stated he understood the contents thereof. This 2nd day of January 1946 at the place above stated.
(S) SOHEI YAMATE
(S) RUDOLPH J. STONE, 1st Lt. A.C.
This Review of the Staff Judge
Advocate on the Trial
of Masato Hada gives us a valuable insight into a typical war
trial proceeding. The trial of Hada took place from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3,
there are nearly 350 pages from the National Archives relating to this
In this Review are the following main headings:
C. Interpreter: Takeo Katsura
20 January 1946
I, TAKEO KATSURA, formerly Superior Private in the Imperial Army of Japan, at present confined in Sugamo Prison, do hereby affirm that, according to my conscience, I will speak the truth, adding nothing and concealing nothing.
I am of Buddhist faith. I can read, understand & speak English having resided in the United States from 1927 to 1938. I was Camp Interpreter at Fukuoka and Prisoner of War Camp Number One from December 1942 to September 4, 1945. In addition to my duties as interpreter I had other duties. I wish herewith to tell you of conditions at this camp while I was there and have freely and voluntarily requested that I be allowed to do so in my own handwriting.
In March or April, 1943 at Kumamoto, the Camp Commandant Sakamoto ordered me to hit an Englishman called Newman. When I hesitated to do so, he ordered again to hit, so I slapped him in the face once, then he ordered me to hit more, and I slapped him once again. This was the first time I had ever hit a prisoner. Sergeant Major Kakuyama and Sergeant Tomita were there also, at the time. Newman was put in the guard-house cell. He was accused of stealing some money from other prisoner. All other Prisoners, about 17 or 18 of them who were in the Camp that day on the Camp duties were questioned later by the Commandant and when they told him that they did not know anything about the money they were all put in the guard house cell. Sakamoto said to the men, "I put you in the cell without food till you will confess." They were in the cell without any food for about 24 hours. In the following morning Newman told the Commandant that he had taken the money. He was slapped in the face a few times by Sakamoto and all were released. Afterward Newman told me he did not take the money, but he said he did in order to let all other men out from the cell.
Then I said to him "Shall I tell this to the commandant?" and he said "no, please don't". I did not mention this to the commandant, because I knew that it will get these men more troubles, especially Newman. In December 1943 or January 1944, at Kashii Camp, 7 or 8 men were brought back to the Camp from the working party, by a contractor's man who said that those men refused to work. The men were lined up in the front of the guard-house and the Commandant asked them why did they refuse to work? An Englishmen called Chilton who were in charge of the group said, that they never had refused to work. So Sakamoto again asked the contractor's man to make it sure that those men had really refused and the man said "yes they refused to work". Again Sakamoto asked these men "why did you refuse to work". Chilton said that they never refused. Right then Sakamoto said "you are a liar" and kicked him in the stomach. Chilton fell on the ground and were kicked twice more and he was unconscious. Sakamoto picked him up, revived him and ordered other prisoners to carry him into the hut. Chilton lay down in the bed, I asked him how he felt and he said he was alright. The other men were hit with a stick in the shoulder twice each. I do not remember whether they were put in the guard-house cell or sent out to the working party. Sergeant Hozumi was there too. While we were at the Kashii, five or 6 men were brought into Camp by the guard. They were accused of going into Korean houses and begging for some rice whilst on the working party. They were hit a few times each in the shoulder by the commandant and confined in the guard-house cell for three or four days with a half ration. In the Mushiroda Camp, in the Summer of 1944, while I was on the watch tower at the working party, he, SAKAMOTO came round for inspection and as he climbed up the watch tower he shouted at are. "What the hell are you doing here, you cannot watch those men sitting down. Look those men over there, they are not doing anything. Go and hit them. So I went down from the tower and when I started to work toward the men, he shouted "Take the bamboo pole behind you and hit those men who are standing there. I hit then two or three times each on the shoulder, but I did not hit them hard. I stayed with the men till the Commandant went away, then I returned to the tower.
The Commandant use to keep me on the tower with a field-glass. My duty was to stay up there from 7:30 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon and watch prisoners work and whenever I fined any person who don't work hard go and hit them. But this order was not carried strictly by me, because I thought it was not right to do as that. The same sort of thing as I have mentioned above had happened once more on other working party, but I do not remember the name of those who were hit. They were Dutch men. Every now and then the commandant took me to the working party for inspection. On working party he use to tell the guards to hit anybody who does not work hard, but I cannot recall who those guards were. Sometimes they were Civilian guards and sometimes they were soldiers who came to the Camp for guard duties from other regiments. Since Sergeant Kiyohara came to our Camp in March or April 1945, I saw Kiyohara and Hashimoto drinking the red cross milk several times. They offered me to take some so I drank it two cups thinking it was given to them by one of the Prisoners. One day in June or July I was called to the M. J. Room by Kiyohara. There were a Dutch doctor and an American doctor with Kiyohara and Hashimoto. Doctors told me that they had asked Kiyohara to give them their milk and butter that were kept in the M.J. Room store, and when Kiyora gave the box contained the milk and butter they told him there should be more, but Kiyohara said that was all there were. They could not understand each other well so they sent for me. The Dutch doctor who were keeping the record of those, whenever he were issued with them said that about 75 small cans of butter and more than 30 tins of milk were short. Kiyohara said to the Dutch doctor that some of them had already been issued to the men and demanded the Dutch doctor to bring and show his record. The doctor brought a list which were written on a few empty cigarettes packets and showed to Kiyohara but they were not clear. The American doctor and myself tried to straighten it up but it was difficult to read the figures written with pencil. The Dutch doctor still said they were short. Kiyhara gave a hell to the doctor when he could not give a clear record of them.
I told Kiyohara "This is bad" then he said that those milk and butter were in his charge and so he can use them whenever he wanted like other Japanese army medical supplies. I said "I don't think so, they were handed to M.J. Room by the Commandant to keep in the M.J. Room store and issue only to the sick men whenever the doctor wonted to issue". Kiyohara did not think so. I could not say any more, but I told all about the matter to Sergeant Major Tomita who was in charge of all red Cross supplies. While I was in the office with Tomita Kiyohara came in and he asked Tomita about the matter and Tomita said "What Katsura had told you was right". Kiyohara said he did not think so, and at this moment I walked out of the office so what happened afterwards, I do not know. On the same day I told Hashimoto "You should not drink the milk belong to the Prisoners" and he said "Well I am only a Private soldier like you are, I can't help, I am doing just what I am told to do". I did not say any more. The red cross supplies were kept in the store for a long time, sometimes three or four months or even longer and were issued by the commandant or by Tomita a little by little. Many times the officer went to the Commandant and asked for the supplies but they were not issued. I remember the Commandant one time said that he was in charge of the supplies and he only issue them when he wanted to. One time Colonel Sunders went to the Commandant and asked him to issue the food stuff because many men were sick and some were weak if they get them they will help those weak and sick a lot. The Commandant said if I issue them, the men eat too much of those stuff at one time then they get diarrhoea and don't go out to work. They had to ask many times before they could get those supplies, even then they were issued a little by little, and the Prisoners were dissatisfied because while there were so much supplies in the store they could not get them. Sometimes the Commandant said it was the order from the main Camp that is preventing him from issuing the supplies. Many clothings and shoes and medical supplies were kept in the store all the time and were issued little by little. Some men were wearing a worn down and torn shoes and Tabi (shoes that Japanese labors and farmers wear) while there were so many of shoes in the store. The prisoner doctors were complaining about the Japanese doctor and Commandant withholding the medicine while they need them badly. They knew that there were 3 or 4 large boxes of them in the store. (This was at Hakozaki Camp in 1945.)
One time the American doctor asked Dr. Danno for those medicine in the store and Dr. Danno said that he cannot issue them till he get further order from the main Camp. Later the American doctor told me "Mr. Katsura, there are so many men sick and some are dieing and I cannot get those medicine, there is such a good medicine for pneumonia in those boxs in the store". "If I could only get them now, I could probably save some of those men's life" I asked doctor Danno about issuing the medicine but he said he had been ordered by the main Camp not to issue them. Those medicine were for emergency. They were keeping them so that in case they get an air-raid and cannot get any more medicine then they can use them. I went to Dr. Kostecki and said to him "Dr said no, he can not issue them now" "I am sorry doctor I wish I were the doctor or the commandant then I would give you the whole thing right now, but being a Private soldier I cannot do anything about it." The doctor said "I know". Dr Kostecki was a very good doctor. He was working very hard night and day. I think if it were not for him many more men would probably have died. I did not know who were really responsible for all these, but I thought the withholding of these medicines while so many men were sick and dieing one by one every day was really a crime. When the war was over in August all those food stuffs, medicine, clothing shoes and other supplies were taken out of the store and issued to the men.
There were many percials of food stuffs, more than a hundred pairs of shoes and that three or four boxes of medicine when I went to the M.J. Room and saw the medicine bottles and boxes they had taken out of the large boxes, I was surprised to see so much of them. I thought it was enough to open a small hospital, and I still wondered why did they not issued them before. I did not see Honda beat anybody, but heard from Dr. Kostecki that Honda hit somebody in hospital I do not remember the name of the person who were hit. I did not see Hata beat anybody, but I saw him carrying a fancing stick and walking around the men while they were exercising. I saw Hozumi hit prisoners a couple of time. I think they were Dutch men, it was on the working party but saw it from a distance I can't tell why those men were hit. He was in charge of whole working parties when we were at Mushirada the guard and myself included were working under him. I remember that he use to make prisoners work till late at night. Several times he made them work till ten or eleven o'clock at night in the rain. I remember some of the men complaining about it and when I asked them "Shall I tell the commandant" They said "No". I did not tell these things to the Commandant because they only caused more troubles. Whilst on the working party, one day, the Commandant came round and crimbed up to me on the watchtower and seeing some of the Dutch party letting the cars go down the hill instead of holding them and letting them go down slowly, he said do not let them do that, if they don't obey then hit them. I said "yes sir". And I went to them and told not to let cars go. "The Commandant is watching from the tower" then I came back to the tower. He was still there. He stayed there for a while and went away. Then later when I went to the place, I heard some one shout "look out" and when I turned I saw a few men had let the car go and these men who were below were almost got caught between two loaded cars and had made a narrow escape.
I got mad because a little while ago I told them not to do it, and not only that, they knew that two men were caught between those tracks and had broken their legs before. I asked the men why did they let his car go that way and one of them said it was heavy and the party Commander told them to let it go. So I pushed him with my leg behind his leg and he fell on the ground. I lifted him up and he said his side hurts I saw it but I could not see any wound.
I told him to rest. I told him I was sorry because I did not mean to hurt him. He said "I know" Later in the camp I learned from the doctor that one of his ribs were cracked or broken. He was in his bed in his hut and I saw him and again I told him I was sorry and apologized to him. After about two weeks he got well. While he was in the bed I went to farm house and bought some eggs and gave him several times beside given some of my food and some left over rice from Japanese Cook house and I took good care of him and I was forgiven by him. He told me that he did not tell the doctors about me but some of the men had told it to doctor. Later I was called to the Commandant's office where Japanese doctor was with the Commandant. The Commandant said "I hear that you have hurt a prisoner, what happened". So I told the story.
I said I did not mean to hurt him. I only tried to prevent accident but unfortunately hurt him. He said "Be more careful in the future" "you may hit them if they disobey but do not hurt them" We use to make some tea at the working party and issue it to the men a cup full each at meal time and also between the meal. Sometime there was not enough of it and had to give only half a cup full each. There had been some complaints from the men about some one had been stealing the tea. One day, when I walked to the fire place I caught a man stealing the tea. He had filled his cup as well as his two water bottles and he was doing it while other men were working. I thought to scold him and let him go, but right then a guard came round and asked me "what happened" so I said "Oh nothing" the guard said "Stealing tea again" and walked away toward the watch tower saying "Report it to the Commandant" So I hit him in the Jaw, because now not only the guard knew about it, but another guard was watching it from the tower. I had to do it rather than take him to the Commandant which meant for the man slapping, hit and then the cell, probably with half a ration or no food at all or stopping of the tea issue to all the men on the working party. There were a quite number of men who were put in the cell during those years but they were all taken to the commandant by the guard or me. The men who were put in the cell were usually hit by the guard before they were taken to the Commandant. (I did not see the guard hit them but heard from the man) The Commandant hit them sometimes with a fancing [fencing] stick while he was questioning them then put them in the cell every time. And this was bad enough but what was worse was that the guards were taken them out from the cell in the middle of the night and slapping them after the Commandant had gone home and the Camp staff gone to the bed. Those guards were the soldiers who came from other regiment for the guard duty. They stayed only a month in the Camp and changed with the guard from a different regiment and I do not know the names of any of them because I never associated with them. They did not like me. They thought I was too friendly with the prisoners and doing too much favors for them. I was disliked not only by the guards but also by the Camp staff. When Hata was sent away to other regiment, he wrote a card to every man in the Camp excepting me. I was really disliked by them. There is a man named Sakagami who is confined in this prison and who was with me in No. 1 Camp for a while, so you can ask him about me. I think he knows I was not liked by the Japanese staffs. When I was sent back to my old regiment, I did not even say a good bye to them. I just walked out. During those three years of my stay in the Camp I met with more than a thousand men, some going out and some coming in. I could not please all of them but I am sure that the most of them especially those who were sick, weak, and old aged know how I tried hard to help them under the circumstances. I admit that I have slapped or hit some of those who had done a wrong dead, but I do not remember them because I did not mean to be hard on them besides I never treated them atrociously. I think the Commandant was very unfair man especially to me. Every morning, as soon as he came to the camp he use to call me in a nasty way to come to him. Mr. Haruyama who was an official military interpreter in No 1 Camp from May 1944 to April 1945, use to tease me by shouting at me "Katsura come here" in the same way the Commandant nastly called me. When I go to the Commandant, he order me to gather all the men who are staying in the camp, some on Camp duties and others were those weak and sick ones who were permitted by the doctor to stay in. These men were not fit to go out to the working party, but were usually detailed for cleaning up the huts or the Camp Compound. When they gather and line up on the parade ground the commandant ask them one by one "What is wrong with you" A man say "I have a head ache" the Commandant say "any feaver?" "A little" answers the man, the Commandant say "That much of feaver and head ache is nothing, you go out to working party tomorrow" Then he go to the next man and ask the same question. A man say "I have a stomach ache and diarrhoea" and a few men also say "We have a stomach ache and diarrhoea" then Commandant tell them "I stop your food till you get rid of them" and sometimes they were not given any food for 48 hours or longer but I am not sure. One time, the Commandant asked a man the same question "What is wrong with you?". The man did not know what to say. So I said to the commandant that these 4 or 5 men are old aged and weak so I kept them in the camp, then he said "what the hell did you do that for, send them to work tomorrow". After the commandant go away the men say "Mr. Katsura, the Camp commandant order us to go out to work but we are sick, we cannot work even we went out" then I say "Well it is the Commandant's order and I cannot do anything for you now and if I keep you in the Camp, not only I get in a trouble but you will also get in more troubles. You just go to the working party and I will let you rest there". I use to let those sick and weak persons rest around the fire place where the tea was being made, and told them to watch for the Commandant
and the officer of the day (N.C.O.) come round, and when you see them coming you just pretend to do something. Sometimes the soldier guard come round and ask me "what are those men doing around the fire?" I say "they are sick men" then the guard would say "They are not sick they are only lazy ones" then I say "Well they say they are sick and I don't know because I am not a doctor and when they tell me that they are sick I have to let them rest". Sometimes when I was working in the interpreter's office, the Commandant use to call me and tell me to come with him to the working party when he see the men resting around the fire, he lines them up and ask the usual question "what is wrong with you." and after the men explain what was wrong with them, he scold some of them and send them back to work and sometimes tell guard to hit those who are lazy and come round to the fire for rest. At the Mushiroda Camp, the Commandant often told the men to fill the trucks with soil as much as possible and also told them how many times they must push them before they return to the camp, and it was really more than they could make it in a certain length of time. The Commandant told me to make those men fill the trucks as much as they can and push them so many times and if they can not make it then let them stay at the working party until they do it no matter how long it will take. I use to tell the party Commanders to tell more than they have actually done, when they are asked by the contractor's man. Couple of times I got in some troubles with the contractor's man for cheating them. We had to do something in order to make so many number of times in so much length of time set by the Commandant. I told the men to fill the trucks less as soon as the Commandant goes away. So every time they saw the Commandant in distance the man who saw him first shouted "The commandant" and every body watched him and when he came near they fill the cars full and when he goes some one shout "He is gone" then every body was happy and fill the trucks less. When the Commandant ask me how many time we had done, I use to say more than we had none.
If he had found out that time about I letting the prisoners do such a thing he would probably have punished me severely. One day, it started to rain and the contractor's working men were quitting the work and were going home, so I told the men to stop the work and took them back to the Camp. The Commandant said to me "What happened" so I said "It is raining and it is very difficult to push those trucks, and the Contractor's men were gone home too". Then he said "This much of rain is nothing, go and push those trucks even if you had to swim in the mud" So I said 'Yes sir" and took the men back to work. This kind of thing happened several times. I always tried to make things more easy for the men but I could not do it. I can give you the names and addresses of the some of the men who I am sure will tell you about the good deed I have done. At the Hakozaki Camp, one time, when the Commandant issued some of the red cross supplies, he told the hut commanders that some of the red cross stuff he put back in the store will be issued to only those who will work hard. I remember this clearly because I got mad about the foolish idea the Commandant had. All the time the men were asking me to do them a favour by going to the Commandant and try to get those red cross supplies for them and I tryed but failed. Now he issues them but only some as usual then he say "I issue them only to those will work hard". I got fed up with the Commandant and his red cross business and after he went away, I told Sergeant Tomita "I think the idea of giving the red cross stuff only to those who work hard is wrong". Those things belong to the Prisoners whether they work hard or not and another thing is that as soon as you receive them you should issue them right way. If Japanese themselves bring some goods and then say "We will issue them to only those who work hard", any body can understand, but not with the red cross stuff. It is funny, I can't understand it. Suppose Japanese send some goods to the Japanese internees in the United States and America authority say "Some of these things will be issued to only those who work hard" I am sure no body will agree with that and another thing is that Americans will never do such a thing."
I was so mad with them that I did not care what happened to me then, but I did not show it in the face. After I finished saying what I wanted to say, I thought I would be scolded or may be get a slap in the face because I was risking myself by saying such a thing to my superior which I had never done before. Sergeant Tomita only said that it was the order from the main Camp and he did not scold me but I could see he was not happy about it either. I suppose it is difficult for you to understand my broken English, but I have tried my best.
/s/ Takeo Katsura
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 28th day of January 1946 at Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, Japan. The above statement consisting of thirty one (31) pages.
/s/ Rudolph J. Stone
D. Guard: Hajime Honda
At trial of Honda, May 14, 1947
Q. State your full name, age, address, nationality, marital status and religion.
A. HONDA, HAJIME, 30 years of age, Kumamoto-ken, Kammashiki-gun, Haroyasu-mura, Oaza Mamiza, 618, Japanese, married, Buddhist. At present confined in Sugamo Prison.
Q. What is your occupation?
A. Liquor distributor.
Q. Were you engaged in the same occupation during the war?
A. When I returned from China in Jan. 1947, I went back to the same business. Later I was employed as a civilian guard at Fukuoka Prisoner of War Camp # 1 from 27 May, 1943 until 7 Feb. 1945.
Q. What were your duties as a civilian guard at Camp # 1?
A. I was a sentry at the Camp. For one hour during the working period I was outside of the Camp and the balance of the time I was inside the compound. One day in ever three I was inside the Camp. One day I was off duty and one day I was used as a guard of the prisoners at the working place.
Q. Do you remember an incident when four (4) prisoners were caught smoking and you forced them into a horizontal position on the ground in which only their fingers and toes were touching the ground and while in this position you beat them?
A. No, I don't remember the incident.
Q. Did you ever hear of a prisoner by the name of IVERSON?
Q. Do you remember an incident when a POW was caught smoking after a smoking period and was beaten as a result?
Q. Did you ever hear of or know of any occasion when prisoners were beaten at Camp # 1?
A. Yes, I have heard of beatings and have seen beatings at Camp # 1. These beatings were administered by the soldier guards at the Camp. This happened about twice.
Q. Can you give me the details of any of these beatings?
A. I don't know why the prisoners were beaten. I was on my way to report for duty and saw a prisoner being beaten at the sentry post.
Q. Did you ever beat any of the prisoners while at Camp # 1?
Q. How many times?
A. Only once.
Q. Give me the details of this beating.
A. I was on duty near the kitchen around 2200 and 2300 one night. I heard a noise in the kitchen and upon investigation I found two prisoners in the kitchen. I grabbed the cap of one and pursued the other. When I caught them I slapped them about three times each instead of sending them to the guard house.
Q. Why didn't you send them to the guard house?
A. I don't know.
Q. Did you report this incident to the Cpl. of the guard?
Q. Did you return the prisoners to their barracks?
A. No, after I administered the punishment I released them and sent them back alone.
Q. How did the prisoners get out of the barracks?
A. There were no guards around the barracks and the prisoners were free to go an anywhere in the camp at any time they so desired.
Q. With which arm did you strike these men?
A. My right arm.
Q. Did you strike them hard enough to knock them down?
A. I struck them three time each as hard as I could with my right hand. I did not knock them down.
Q. Do you remember the names of these two Prisoners?
Q. Do you have anything else to add to your statement?
(Signed in Japanese)
ALLIED OCCUPATION FORCES
I, HONDA, HAJIME, being duly sworn on oath, state that I had read to me and understood the translation of the forgoing transcription of my interrogation and all answers contained therein, consisting of two (2) pages, are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
(Signed in Japanese)
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 28 day of May, 1946.
NEAL R. SMITH, 2nd Lt., Inf.
F. Fukuoka Targets - United States Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific), Japanese Air Target Analyses
The following is a list of additional documents I have pertaining to Camp #1 and other POW camps in Kyushu.
NOTE: Also available are Yokohama War Crimes Trials Reviews (Case Files 1~155 only) from these B- and C-Class dockets. Please let me know if you would like a copy of the file images for any of the defendants.
XI. POW Links / Calendar
If you are doing any sort of research on the POW issue, please refer to the Sources appendix in Daws' work, Prisoners of the Japanese. The info there is very comprehensive.
US-Japan Dialogue on POWs - Bilingual website promoting understanding of POW issues in US and Japan, featuring short stories from POWs and their children, including video interviews and a slideshow on the POW experience.
Site for the Study of Guam and Allied POWS under the Japanese in World War II - Roger Mansell's excellent site, a must visit
Japanese-POW Web Site - Join the Japanese-pow Listserv here
POW Research Network Japan -- Bilingual website with rosters of POWs who died at each camp in Japan, including burial rosters at Yokohama Cemetery
American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor - A must visit! Good links
Children of Far East POWs (United Kingdom)
National Ex-Prisoner of War Association - "Promote the welfare of those who during service with United Kingdom or Allied Forces were made Prisoner of War"
Burma-Thailand Railway Memorial Association, Inc. - "To perpetuate the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Australian and Allied prisoners of war and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma-Thailand Railway by informing current and future generations through all forms of education."
Prisoners of War of the Japanese 1942-1945 - POWs of Burma, Thailand (Siam), Burma-Thailand Railway, Sumatra Railway, Changi, Manchuria and Timor, including the Medical personnel who cared for them. Research and Articles by Lt. Col. Peter Winstanley (Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association, Western Australia)
The Oryoku-maru Story - Excellent site on one of the most notorious hellships
The life experience of partners of ex-POWs of the Japanese - Very good article from the Journal of the Australian War Memorial
Dad's War page - Excellent resources and links for searching for veterans
Prof. Masaki's page on Atrocities (English & Japanese)
Omuta Camp #17 - Linda Dahl Weeks' school project -- includes many stories and photos
Story of Jack Symon, British POW in a Fukuoka camp
PBS site on Bataan Rescue of POWs - Includes many excellent articles and links
Agape World - Working for Reconciliation - Keiko Holmes website on reconciliation work with British ex-FEPOWs and their families
Michael Palmer's website on his grandfather, George Palmer, POW at Kawasaki/Soeda #5, Omine -- This web site is dedicated to my grandfather, George Thomas Palmer, and to all the other courageous men and women who fought, or were involved, in the defense of Hong Kong during December, 1941. (Of special note is the amazingly detailed diary of Lance Ross about his experiences at Camp #5.)
The Historical Text Archive -- Over 50 links dealing with WWII issues, including many POW biographies and diaries
Proviso East High School Bataan Commemorative Research Project - Excellent research by these high school students; some of the men of the 192nd Tank Battalion were at Fukuoka POW camps.
Hell Ships Memorial - About the construction project at Subic Bay, Philippines, to build a memorial near where the Oryoku-maru lies, dedicated to POWs on all the hellships.
U.S. Army Yokohama Trials - Reviews by the Judge Advocate General -- large alphabetical listing of war crimes defendants and their review processes records
Battle of Bataan - in honor of James Henry Cowan, rescued at Cabanatuan by the 6th Army Rangers
Wake Island Civilian Survivors Association - dedicated to the brave civilians who fought alongside the Marines stationed on Wake Island at the onset of WWII
Stats on POWs in Japan, Chart on camps in Japan, Rules and Regulations regarding treatment of POWs, B- and C-class war criminals at camps in Japan -- very good site on air raids in Aomori, northern Japan, with much additional information in Japanese regarding POW camps in Japan
Meisai Ichiran Hyo -- time-line chart of POW camps
Mines in Japan -- has much info on mine histories throughout Japan with links to topo maps of mine site areas (former POW camps were in some of these areas)
Nihon no Tanko -- mining company info
Kozan Jigyosho List -- coal mine locations (past and current) for all of Japan and some international mine operations
USAF 1947 aerial photos of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka -- 1/40,000 scale aerial photos (white square areas only)
Calendar of Upcoming Events
Check these links for Events and other News items:
Japan is full of memorials. Some deal with WWII, the most well-known internationally being of course the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-Bomb Peace Memorial parks. In March of 2001, Gov. Ishihara of Tokyo dedicated a memorial to the victims of the Tokyo bombings. Perhaps he felt it was high time to remember them.
In the same way it is time to remember the POWs with memorials here in the land where they spent the worst years of their lives; for thousands, their last breath.
The primary purpose of this fund is to pay for memorial plaques at the four locations of Camp #1: Kumamoto, Kashii, Mushiroda, and Hakozaki.
The approximate cost for each plaque would be US$2000. Any funds remaining will be used for future exhibitions and memorials, e.g. cemetery and crematory sites, and execution sites.
Donors names will be placed on each plaque. Requests for anonymity will be honored. Please contact me if you'd like to make a contribution.
The plaques, which will be in English, Dutch and Japanese, will read something like this:
"Fukuoka Camp No. 1 was located on this site from (month day, year) to (month day, year), interning over (number) military and civilian personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Australia.
I am, of course, open to any and all suggestions and ideas. Feel free to e-mail me.
We've had movies on Anne Frank, the Holocaust, on Private Ryan, on the Band of Brothers and The Pacific, and scores of others on WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. We've seen Bridge Over the River Kwai, Empire of the Sun and a few others which bring out how life was at POW camps.
Yet I feel there is a need to have something more honest with the facts, and more realistic.
It's time Hollywood takes a bold, daring step and produce a film on the prisoners of the Japanese and what it was really like. Auschwitz, Buchenwald, etc., all have their counterparts in Japanese-occupied Asia. The Holocaust was not confined to Europe alone.
Any producer can take on this task and find enough character details amongst the thousands of ex-POWs around the world. Perhaps you know of someone who can make a movie to portray what life was like in a Japanese POW camp.
An ex-POW who has been corresponding with me has written a novel of his experiences, and a movie producer has shown interest in his work.