on image for 29K enlargement)
CAPTION: "American fliers at Fukuoka Prison suffered
the Emperor announced surrender." (From the Fall of
NOTE: Actually, the photo shows a captured Australian Sargeant Leonard
being beheaded by Yasuno Chikao in Aitape, New Guinea on October 24,
from the Australian War Memorial, original caption: "Aitape, New
24 October 1943. A photograph found on the body of a dead Japanese
showing NX143314 Sergeant (Sgt) Leonard G. Siffleet of "M" Special
wearing a blindfold and with his arms tied, about to be beheaded with a
by Yasuno Chikao. The execution was ordered by Vice Admiral Kamada, the
of the Japanese Naval Forces at Aitape. Sgt Siffleet was captured with
(Pte) Pattiwahl and Pte Reharin, Ambonese members of the Netherlands
Indies Forces, whilst engaged in reconnaissance behind the Japanese
Yasuno Chikao died before the end of the war."
See this report for an account given by a Japanese POW who was at the scene of an earlier beheading in Salamaua (CAUTION: VERY grim).
1. At Fukuoka Municipal Girls' High School
On June 20, 1945, the day after Fukuoka was
firebombed, eight airmen
out of the twenty being held at the HQ detention center were taken to
Municipal Girls' High School (now Akasaka Elementary School) just to
south, where they were made to stand in the schoolyard and then hacked
swords and beheaded.
|On the night of June 19, a
bombing raid destroyed a large section of Fukuoka
city. Bombs landed near Army headquarters, and the Legal Section's
building burned in the ensuing fire. Maj. Gen. Kyusaku Fukushima,
Assistant Chief of Staff, Western Army, was in the Intelligence office
of the Air Defense building that evening. After following the raid on
radar and hearing reports of the destruction, he remarked that the
flyers must be disposed of. The next day, both Wako and Sato brought up
the idea of executing the captives. Wako remembered Sato saying that,
because more air raids on Kyushu were expected, the Air Defense Section
was going to execute the enemy flyers in their custody. Wako responded
that, subject to the approval of Yokoyama, they would execute the four
enemy flyers who were being held pending trial. Wako then spoke to
Yokoyama, noting that, given the work needed to prepare for the
expected American invasion, there was no time to try the prisoners, and
they should be executed without a trial. Yokoyama, under the impression
that Tokyo wanted the flyers killed, gave his permission. Yokoyama also
wrote to Sato and Ito, saying, "I have decided to concern myself only
with the decisive battle and hereafter do not bother me with the
problem of the flyers." Yokoyama had washed his hands of any further
dealings with the prisoners.
According to his pretrial affidavit, Wako ordered
detention barracks guards to dig a pit in the backyard of
Western District Army Headquarters on June 20.
Wako also informed his subordinate, Lt. Sadayoshi Murata, about the
execution; the latter then attempted to contact Ito, their superior and
Chief of the Legal Section. About an hour later, the four flyers from
the Judicial section were brought out from their cells. Four more
flyers, those under Sato's control in the Air Defense section, were
also brought to the pit. All were blindfolded and had their hands tied
in front. Several swords were obtained from the Legal Section. Wako
then told the twenty or so assembled Japanese that, "in compliance with
the Commanding General's orders, we were going to execute the plane
crash survivors." One officer, Lt. Michio Ikeda of the Medical Section,
volunteered himself, and Wako ordered Probationary Officer Tamotsu
Onishi, since he was skilled in kendo, to assist
him as a third executioner. Sato watched the proceedings from one side.
The first flyer was brought to the edge of the
made to sit on his haunches. Wako then ritually washed one of the
swords and stood behind the prisoner, slightly to the left. Raising the
sword above his right shoulder with both hands, Wako brought it down on
the flyer's neck. "Both the body and head fell into the pit,"
remembered Wako; "I washed my sword and ordered the guard to bring
another flyer to the pit. I killed this flyer exactly the same way I
had killed the first one." Onishi then executed a third prisoner in the
In the pause that followed, Lt. Kentaro Toji, an
officer attached to Western Army Headquarters, approached Sato.
According to his pretrial affidavit, Toji said to Sato, "My mother was
killed in the air raid on Fukuoka this morning, and I think it would be
fitting that I be the one who [should] execute these American flyers."
Sato told him to wait while Wako ordered Ikeda to execute the fourth
flyer. Toji, after borrowing a sword from Onishi, beheaded the last
four prisoners. The pit was then filled with dirt. (FOOTNOTE:
Of the eight flyers, four were later identified as Robert J. Aspinall [Yayoi
crash], Otto W. Baumgarten [Sanko crash],
Merlin R. Calvin [Nobeoka Bay crash], and Jack V.
Dengler [Nobeoka Bay crash]. Four were never
identified [Two later were indentified to be McElfresh and
Romines]. They came from among twelve other flyers held at
Western Army Headquarters prior to June 20; Jack M. Berry [Nobeoka
Bay crash], Billy J. Brown [Nango crash], John C. Colehower,
Irving A. Corlias [Nobeoka Bay crash], Leon
E. Czarnecki, William R. Fredericks, Edgar
L. McElfresh [Sanko
crash], Dale E. Plambeck, Teddy
J.Poncza, Charles E. Palmer [5/27/45
Moji crash of "Tinney Anne"], Ralph S. Romines [Sanko crash],
and Robert B. Williams. The other eight had already
been killed during vivisection
experiments at Kyushu Imperial University Medical College
between May 16 and June 3, 1945. See U.S. v Kajuro Aihara et
alia, file 36-527-1, RG 153.) [NOTE: See this PDF scan of an archival document of March 5, 1946
which shows some of these airmen listed as being killed by the A-bomb
in Hiroshima, a ploy used by the Japanese military to cover up the
Meanwhile, since Ito's office in the Legal
burned down in the bombing raid, Murata found Ito only after a lengthy
search. Unwilling to interfere with what he thought was a superior's
orders, Ito did not prevent the executions. He immediately realized,
however, that four of the executed Americans had been named in the
report sent to the War Department's Legal Section in early June.
Despite having heard no reply, Ito was sure that Tokyo would want to
know the results of any trial. According to Murata's testimony, Ito met
with Sato and Wako and asked "how he could send such a report [about a
trial] since the prisoners had already been executed without trial."
Concerned about possible repercussions, Sato's Staff Section compiled a
false report stating that sixteen enemy flyers were killed during the
bombing of Fukuoka on June 19, 1945. A copy was delivered to the Legal
Section and the original, approved by Maj. Gen. Fukushima, was sent to
the War Ministry in Tokyo. As part of this cover-up, a false Legal
Section report was also delivered to the War Department's Legal Section
in Tokyo. (FOOTNOTE: When Murata saw the false
report, he noted that sixteen flyers was too high a number. He did not
know, however, of the eight flyers who had been killed at Kyushu
August 10 Incident
Western Army Headquarters at Fukuoka received
more prisoners after June 20. These included the
six survivors from the B-29 lost on July 27, other
bomber crews, and an assortment of navy and army fighter pilots. (FOOTNOTE:
Although Imperial General Headquarters was pursuing a policy of
conserving air strength, to maintain a reserve for the Ketsu-Go
Operation (i.e., the decisive struggle for the homeland), the Sixth Air
Army on Kyushu was authorized to "carry out strong counterattack
operations vs. U.S. heavy aircraft raiding homeland," and it was these
planes that attacked the B-29s over Omuta and shot down a few of the
twenty-one operational bomber losses in July and August.)
On August 7, a shocked Sato returned to Western
Headquarters and reported on the devastation in Kyushu. He had traveled
to Hiroshima, seen the effects of the atomic bomb, and inspected the
incendiary damage at Kofu and other cities. Because of the damage and
the fear of an imminent American invasion, Sato decided to execute
another set of prisoners. On August 9, possibly after the Nagasaki
atomic bomb attack, Sato asked Maj. Tatsuo Itezono if he would carry
out the executions. Itezono was in charge of guerrilla warfare training
for Western Army Headquarters. The guerrilla unit at Fukuoka was made
up of officers and probationary officers who were being trained to lead
guerrilla fighters against the Americans. Although the testimony is
sparse, these executions seem to have been in direct retaliation for
firebombing in general and the atomic bombs in particular.
According to Itezono's testimony, Sato told him
bring the officers of his guerrilla section to the execution. They were
to help carry out the executions, and, in order to gain experience in
guerrilla weapons and warfare, they would use the sword, karate, and
crossbows to kill the prisoners. Itezono was informed that a truck
would leave for the site the following morning, that an officer of the
Legal Section would be present, and that the investigation of the
prisoners was complete. He thus assumed that the prisoners were to be
executed by order of the Commanding General, when, in fact, it was on
The truck carrying eight Americans,
Itezono, and twenty-three other Japanese arrived near the Aburayama
execution grounds in the early morning of August 10.
Col. Kiyoharu Tomomori, who had been told of the executions by Itezono,
arrived separately by staff car. Wako was already present because
earlier that morning he had presided over the execution of a Japanese
soldier convicted of destroying government property. The flyers, who
were blindfolded and dressed only in shorts, were helped down from the
back of the truck and placed under guard while a burial pit was dug
nearby. After the Japanese soldiers were lined up in formation, Wako
ordered them "not [to] speak to anyone about the execution they were
about to witness, because it was a military secret." Tomomori, after
receiving a salute from all present, ordered that Itezono should direct
the proceedings and that those "not taking part will watch carefully
and learn during the execution." Itezono asked for volunteers, and more
than enough officers stepped forward. Probationary officer Osamu Satano
testified that he stepped forward not because he wanted to kill a flyer
but because he "did not want to be considered a coward" by his fellow
Each of the first four flyers was executed by a
different first lieutenant. (FOOTNOTE: There is
evidence that at least one probationary officer refused to execute a
prisoner even when ordered to do so. The officer was not punished for
this refusal.) All four prisoners were killed by sword blows, without
completely severing the head. One officer did not strike hard enough
and, while the dazed flyer teetered on the edge of the pit, struck
again. The second stroke went deep, and the flyer fell into the pit.
The fifth flyer was struck in the skull by 2d Lt. Minehiro Ohno and
also did not fall. Wako counseled the probationary officer on the
proper blow and, a few moments later, the second stroke cut quite deep
and the flyer toppled into the pit. The sixth flyer was completely
beheaded by Probationary Officer Satano. This impressed the soldiers,
who commented on the clean stroke, and Tomomori personally
According to the testimony of Probationary
Fukichi Yamamoto, the next prisoner was led to a spot about five meters
from the pit and was made to kneel, Japanese fashion, facing
Probationary Officer Takashi Otsuki. The officer was given a crossbow
and fired twice, missing the flyer. A third arrow struck the prisoner a
glancing blow on the head. A fourth shot again missed. At this point,
the demonstration a failure, the flyer was led to the pit. A newly
arrived soldier, Probationary Officer Masahiko Narazaki, was ordered to
kill the flyer with the "Kesagiri stroke." This type of blow cut
diagonally inward from the victim's shoulder. After this, the prisoner
was still breathing, and Narazaki had to stab him in the heart.
After a ten-minute break, it was decided the
prisoner was to be executed by karate. The flyer was first struck by
two probationary officers. Several others, graduates of the Futamata
training school, also demonstrated blows, striking him with their fists
and kicking him in the groin. Itezono then ordered the demonstration
stopped; the flyer was led to the edge of the pit, and an unidentified
probationary officer killed him with one blow to the neck.
Afterwards, four soldiers rearranged the bodies
grave, covered them with a straw mat, and filled the pit with dirt.
Meanwhile, according to Itezono, Tomomori pulled a small bottle from
his pocket and gave Satano and the other probationary officers a drink
of whiskey. Some witnesses thought the whiskey was offered because the
executioners felt bad about what they had done. Others seemed to think
it was a reward for volunteering. Tomomori himself said he passed
around the whiskey to make the executioners "feel better." The mood
conveyed by these statements implies some reluctance on the part of the
participants, even though all had volunteered.
After the pit was filled, Itezono called the
to formation to hear a speech by Tomomori. Yamamoto remembered him
saying, in effect, "The persons who were executed today were not
ordinary prisoners of war. These men were enemy flyers who had burned
out towns and houses," killing innocent civilians. Ohno believed
Tomomori also said, "These men were enemy fighter aircraft crew
members. Therefore, this execution is not contradictory to
International Law. To those who participated and those who did not,
this execution has been a valuable experience in the light of the
coming decisive battle."
Two other witnesses remembered Tomomori's
somewhat differently. Private Masashi Yoshida, who had been guarding
the truck during the executions, remembered that Tomomori ordered the
soldiers to keep these executions a secret. Michio Ikeda, a corpsman
assigned to the Medical Section, stated that "At the time of the
execution no written sentences of death were made. Furthermore, the
reasons for the execution were not explained to the American crew
members... furthermore, this was an unjust and secret execution...
[not] a formal courts-martial [sic] in accordance
with military regulations."
At 3:00 in the afternoon of August 15, 1945, a
filled with Japanese soldiers and seventeen blindfolded and handcuffed
Americans drove out the front gate of Western Army Headquarters in
Fukuoka, Japan. Three hours earlier, the Japanese guards had listened
to the emperor read a statement ending the Pacific war. The truck
arrived at the Aburayama execution grounds at 3:30. The soldiers
ordered the American prisoners, all captured pilots or flight crew, out
of the truck. Weak from six weeks of poor diet and little exercise, the
prisoners quietly obeyed. They were led to a neighboring field bordered
with bamboo groves and made to sit in the late afternoon sun. After a
brief discussion, the Japanese divided into groups and stationed
themselves at four different sites around the field. The first three
execution squads were led by Lt. Noboru Hashiyama, an officer attached
to the headquarters unit, and lieutenants Teruo Akamine and Ichiro
Maeda, both assigned to the Air Defense Section of Western Army
Headquarters. Leading the fourth was a probationary officer from the
Guerrilla Unit, which was made up of officers receiving guerrilla
warfare training at Fukuoka.
One by one, the prisoners were led to the
sites and made to sit with their legs extended out front. At one end of
the field, Hashiyama beheaded the first prisoner with two strokes of
his sword. Nearby, Akamine also executed a prisoner. Behind a bamboo
thicket, the shouts of Maeda's squad and the probationary officers
filled the air as they began executing their eight prisoners. Col.
Yoshinao Sato, chief of the Air Defense and Air Intelligence Unit,
along with his aide, Lt. Hiroji Nakayama, arrived just as the
executions began. Hashiyama asked Sato if he would permit Nakayama, who
was known as an expert on bushido, to participate.
Sato ordered his aide to instruct the young officers in the correct
Nakayama explained that "etiquette, according to
customs, demanded that the neck not be completely severed; this was
supposed to be insulting to the person being beheaded." To demonstrate,
Nakayama drew his sword and washed it in water from a bucket. Then,
moving quickly toward a prisoner, he cut the man's throat from the side
through the neck artery, killing the flyer at once but leaving the neck
not entirely severed. Then, before the man fell to the ground, Nakayama
swung the sword around and cut the flyer's neck from the front, still
not entirely cleaving the head. According to Nakayama, this was "the
true method of execution as I have read in books of old Japanese
customs." Upon Sato's request, he executed a second prisoner in the
Meanwhile, Maeda, in the bamboo grove, executed
flyer and presided over the executions of three others. To their right,
still in the bamboo, the probationary officers killed the remaining
prisoners. According to a second-class private, Yasuo Motomura, one of
the flyers at that location was struck with "karate blows around the
diaphragm. The prisoner fell down groaning with pain, but immediately
tried to run away. At that instant the prisoner was cut down with a
sword." Within minutes, all seventeen American prisoners lay dead upon
the ground. All had been killed by sword blows to the neck. Their
bodies were covered with grass mats and loaded on the truck for
transportation to the crematorium. Word was also passed that all
persons who participated in the executions should keep silent, clean
their swords, "and see that blood or small pieces of bone had not
remained on it... to be sure that no evidence of the execution remained
on it." (FOOTNOTE: The main trial record is found in
U.S. v Isamu Yokoyama et alia, file
War Crimes Branch, Case Files, 1944-49, Records of the Office of the
Judge Advocate General (Army), Record Group 153, National Archives,
Washington, D.C. For specifics on the August 15 executions, see "Review
of the Staff Judge Advocate," July 17, 1949, U.S. v Kiyohara
Tomomori et alia, file 36-533-l, ibid.
(hereafter cited as "Review"), 33; "Review of the Staff Judge
Advocate," U.S. v Suekatsu Matsuki, file 36-529-1, ibid.,
1-4; "Review of the Staff Judge Advocate," U.S. v Teruo
Akamine, file 36-528-1, ibid., 1--5, and
"Review of the Staff Judge Advocate," U.S. v Noboru Hashiyama,
file 36-530-1, ibid., 1-4. For an excellent
examination of Japanese treatment of POWs on a larger scale, see Charles G. Roland,
"Allied POWs, Japanese Captors and the Geneva Convention," War
& Society, IX (1991), 83-101.)
- - - - - - - - - -
On the morning of August 15,
announced that an Imperial Rescript would be read over the radio at
noon. All the remaining officers assembled in the staff office and
heard the Emperor's surrender proclamation. To some, the reaction was
"a mixture of incredulity, shame, horror... many of the younger field
officers found the decision impossible to reconcile with all they had
been taught." The atmosphere in the Air Defense Section became angry,
and, according to Sato, "people in general were too excited."
Afterwards, the senior officers discussed the
possibility of executing the remaining prisoners. Although clearly
against the spirit of the Imperial Rescript, this idea was most likely
prompted by a desire to cover up the August 10 executions by silencing
witnesses. Owing to contradictory statements by Sato, Fukushima, and
Maj. Tonenusuke Kusumoto, an adjutant at Western Army Headquarters, it
is impossible to determine definitively who initiated the last
executions. Kusumoto, however, thought Sato was relaying a lawful
order. He therefore told Lt. Ichiro Maeda and the other young officers
"that they were going to have to execute the remaining flyers because
if they didn't the other executions would then become known." Another
officer was told by Kusumoto that "There will be an execution of enemy
flyers. The flyers are being executed because they are held responsible
for indiscriminate bombing.... The executions are to be kept very
secret." Lt. Teruo Akamine remembered Kusumoto saying that anyone
interested in participating in the execution should be present later in
the day. This seems to imply that the participants were volunteers. As
noted earlier, by the late afternoon of August 15, 1945, all
seventeen remaining prisoners had been executed.
Over the next several months, in the confusion of
surrender and occupation, Sato became the architect of a plot to cover
up the illegal executions. The initial phase consisted of the burning
and destroying of any documentation referring to the prisoners. Gen.
Yokoyama, under orders from Tokyo, had already ordered that "all staff
officers [were] to destroy all important papers, records, and all
evidence that would reveal any reflections on the treatment of POWs.
Meanwhile, Wako ordered Murata to exhume and cremate the bodies and
destroy all evidence that the prisoners had been held in Fukuoka. (FOOTNOTE:
The bodies were cremated in a temporary crematorium because the regular
facility was too busy cremating Japanese civilians killed during
Months later, when American investigators began
military units what they had done with their prisoners, Sato and
Fukushima discussed various schemes for covering up the executions.
These included claiming that the prisoners were killed in the Fukuoka
air raid on June 19, that the prisoners died in the Hiroshima atomic
bomb attack, or that they were lost in a plane crash during an
attempted transfer to Tokyo.
Source: "To Dispose
the Prisoners": The Japanese Executions of American Aircrew at Fukuoka,
Japan, during 1945, by Timothy Lang Francis, Pacific
Historical Review, Vol. LXVI, Nov. 1997, No. 4, pp. 484-486. (C) 1997
by the Pacific Coast Branch American Historical Association.
The author is a historian at the Naval Historical
Center, Washington, D.C. "The paper is dedicated to the
memory of my uncle, Frederick Allen Stearns, killed at Fukuoka, Kyushu,
Japan, on either August 10 or 15, 1945."
(All quotes in this paper are either from
submitted by the defendants immediately preceding the 1949 trials or
from the trial transcripts themselves. Apparently, no contemporary
Japanese Army documentation describing the events at Fukuoka survived.
Unlike the case of Nazi Germany, much evidence of wartime misdeeds was
destroyed before Allied forces occupied Japan.)
See also by same author excerpt
below on incendiary bombing of Omuta and B-29 crash
of July 27, 1945.
Two incidents are recorded pertaining to Aburayama. The first was on August
10, 1945 (after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and
airmen were taken to a wooded area next to the Aburayama Municipal
(located in Hibaru), blindfolded and made to sit, and then beheaded.
the Fall of Japan by Craig, pp.
|On August 11 , in Fukuoka,
one hundred miles north of the burning remains of Nagasaki, some
Japanese army officers sat in their headquarters and discussed murder.
Just recently, news of the atomic bombings had inflamed opinion against
the Americans. In Fukuoka, it occasioned a day of violence. There, the
Japanese had under their control a group of captured American B-29
crewmen who had been shot down on raids mounted from the Marianas
during the past three months. The jailers had already executed eight
fliers in formal rites carried out on the twentieth of June. Now they
were preparing to kill again.
At 8:30 A.M., a truck pulled up to the rear of
Army District Headquarters. Thirty-two men got into the back and sat
down. Eight of them were Americans. The rest were Japanese soldiers.
The truck went out through the rear gate and down the road to a place
called Aburayama, several miles south of Fukuoka
City. In a field surrounded by dense undergrowth, the prisoners were
led down from the back of the vehicle and arranged in a loose line.
They were stripped to shorts or pants and forced to watch as Japanese
soldiers began to dig several large holes in the ground. The Americans
said nothing to each other.
Shortly after 10:00 A.M., a first lieutenant from
Japanese unit training for guerrilla warfare stepped down forward and
brandished a gleaming silver sword. As one of the Americans was prodded
forward and forced to a kneeling position, the Japanese officer wet his
finger and ran it across the sharp edge of his weapon. Then he looked
down at the bowed head of the prisoner and gauged the distance.
Suddenly his sword flashed in the sun and crashed against the bared
neck. It cut nearly all the way through to the Adam's apple.
The line of captives silently watched their
die. Some turned away. Others saw the body roll sideways onto the
A second flier was pushed forward to be killed. A
third, a fourth was decapitated. The fifth one was butchered by an
executioner who required two strokes to sever the head.
The Japanese officers introduced a new torture on
sixth prisoner. He was brought in front of a group of spectators and
held with his arms behind his back. A Japanese ran toward the American
and smashed him in the stomach with the side of his hand. The flier
slumped forward but was pulled upright again to receive another karate
blow. Three, four times, the powerful chops to the body were repeated.
When the victim did not die, his head was cut off.
The seventh prisoner suffered the same cruelty
practicing the art of killing with their bare hands. When he too
survived the vicious karate, one of the officers, angered by his own
failure, rushed up and kicked him in the testicles. The prisoner fell
to the ground, his face contorted by nausea and pain. He pleaded,
"Wait, wait," but his tormentors had no pity. He was pulled into a
kneeling position while the captors debated another manner of
execution. They settled on kesajiri. Another sword glinted in the sun
over the bowed form and cut down through his left shoulder and into the
lungs. The American died in a froth of blood.
The last prisoner had seen seven men hacked to
before his eyes. His last moments were a blurred image of blood, steel
slashing through skin and bones, cries of pain from his friends and
shouts of glee from his enemies. Now he knew it was his turn. He was
pushed into the center of the maddened group of soldiers, who made him
sit down on the ground. His hands were tied behind him. Ten feet away,
another officer from a guerrilla unit raised a bow and placed an arrow
on it. The American watched as the Japanese pulled it back, sighted on
him, and let go. The arrow came at his head and missed. Three times the
officer shot at the American, and the third arrow hit him just over the
left eye. Blood spurted out and down his face.
Tired of the sport, his captors prodded him into
familiar kneeling position and chopped his head from his body. On the
field of Aburayama, eight torsos stained the meadow grass.
The second incident was on the day of cessation of all hostilities, August
15, 1945. Seventeen airmen were taken to Aburayama and were
by beheading. For further information on this atrocity, see
Dispose of the Prisoners": The Japanese Executions of American Aircrew
Fukuoka, Japan, during 1945 by Timothy Lang
Francis (from The
Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 66, No. 4. (Nov., 1997), pp.
a. Interrogation of Itaru Bajiri
re August 10, 1945 incident
I, Itaru BAJIRI, after being duly sworn on oath to speak the truth
conscientiously adding nothing or concealing nothing, testified at
Section Fukuoka Branch Office, Fukuoka-ken, Kyushu, Japan, on 24
1948, as follows:
Q. State your full name, age, and present address?
A. Itaru BAJIRI, age 31, and I live at Oita-ken,
Oaza-shimo-handa, No. 2353.
Q. What is your present occupation?
A. I am in construction business.
Q. Are you married, if so, do you have any children?
A. Yes, I am married, and I have one daughter, age 4.
Q. Did you ever serve in the Japanese Armed Forces?
A. Yes. I served in the Japanese Army from January 1939,
the end of
Q. Briefly describe your military history?
A. I was inducted into the Oita 47th Infantry Regiment,
in January 1939. In December 1940, I was transferred to Defence
Military Affairs Bureau of the War Department. My rank at this time was
In 1941, I was transferred to General Staff Headquarters. My rank at
time was sergeant. In 1945, I was transferred to General Defence
My rank at this time was Sergeant-Major. In May 1945, I was transferred
Western Army Headquarters. On 20 August 1945,
Q. According to your military history, you were at
from May 1945 until the end of the war, is that correct?
A. Yes. That is correct.
Q. What section in Western Army Headquarters were you
A. To the Guard Section under Western Army Staff
Q. What are the names of persons that worked with you in
A. Staff Officer in charge of Guard Section was Lt. Col.
YAKUMARU, with Maj.
ITEZONO, Capt. KISHIMOTO, 2d. Lt. YAMAMOTO, 2d. Lt. SUETSUGU,
Officer OHTSUKI, Sgt. OHNISHI, Sgt. UCHINO, Cpl. KAJI, and myself. That
Q. Was this the total personnel towards the end of the
Q. What were your duties at Western Army Headquarters?
A. I was a clerk concerning Special Area Defence Guards,
Civilian Defence Army. I believe these defence units were organized and
supervised by the Army.
Q. Was the Guard Section ever known as the Guerrilla
A. Yes, although this was not the proper name.
Q. Were you at Western Army Headquarters between 9
and 16 August
A. I believe I was.
Q. Did you ever take any trips while you were at Western
A. Yes. I once went to Kumamoto-shi, I believe in July,
once to Tokyo
around the middle of July 1945. That is all.
Q. Have you any knowledge of Allied POWs being executed
W.A. Hdqs. personnel?
Q. How many prisoners do you know of that were executed?
A. I don't know, I have never heard as to how many.
Q. Who did you hear this from?
A. From Capt. YUKINO of the Adjutant Section.
Q. What did you hear from Capt. YUKINO?
A. I do not know the exact date but I believe it was in
early part of
August 1945, Capt. YUKINO came into our office and told Capt. KISHIMOTO
"shortly there will be an execution of prisoners, and that officers may
Q. To what prisoners did YUKINO's statement refer to?
A. I do not know. I believe he was referring to the
Q. And what prisoners were they?
A. I do not know, but I believe they were American
Q. Why did you believe they were American prisoners?
A. Because Capt. AIHARA of the Guard Section was
confiscated from American plane crash survivors, therefore I believe
prisoners kept at Western Army Headquarters were Americans.
Q. Did you ever see any of the prisoners at Western Army
A. Yes. I saw three (3) or four (4) prisoners.
Q. Describe the prisoners that you saw?
A. The prisoners that I saw were bare-footed, and wore
Q. When YUKINO told KISHIMOTO that, "shortly there will
the prisoners," what did KISHIMOTO say?
A. I do not remember what KISHIMOTO said.
Q. Who was in the room when YUKINO said this to
A. Capt. KISHIMOTO, 2d. Lt. SUETSUGU, Sgt. OHNISHI, Cpl.
I believe Probationary Officer OHTSUKI was also there.
Q. Was Lt. Col. YAKUMARU or Maj. ITEZONO also there?
Q. When did the execution occur?
A. I believe the execution occurred 2 or 3 days later.
me in the office room that he had just returned from the execution of
prisoners. That "KARATE" and bow and arrows were used.
Q. Exactly what did YAMAMOTO say to you?
A. YAMAMOTO said that there was an execution of the
I do not remember
whether he said plane crash survivors or not, and that he went to the
The "KARATE" and Bow and Arrow was used but it was ineffective. The
were beheaded. That is all I heard.
Q. Did you attend the execution?
Q. To the best of your knowledge, who attended the
prisoners in early August 1945?
A. I have heard that Capt. ONO, Probationary Officer
2d. Lt. SUETSUGU,
2d. Lt. YAMAMOTO, and several officers and Probationary Officers whom I
Q. Who did you hear this from?
A. I overheard the conversation carried on by the
whose names I have
Q. What did you hear?
A. I heard that "KARATE" and bow and arrows were tested
but they were ineffective. Therefore the prisoners were beheaded.
Q. Did they ever mention about their part in the
A. 2d. Lt. YAMAMOTO said that he tried the "KARATE".
OHTSUKI said that he tried the bow and arrow. The others did not say
Q. Did Capt. KISHIMOTO attend the execution?
A. I do not know. I do not remember him mentioning
about the execution.
Q. Did KISHIMOTO have an injured foot at any time, at
Q. Did he have the injured foot at the time the
Q. Exactly what did you do on the day that the execution
A. I was sorting out the properties confiscated from
I did this alone, on the lawn near the office. I did this because all
the properties confiscated were thrown into one box. I sorted this and
the items into groups. The items I sorted were, combat knives,
gun-belts, signal lights, and loose ammunition.
Q. By whose order did you do this?
A. Capt. KISHIMOTO's order.
Q. What time of the day was it when you started sorting
properties, and how long did you take to complete it?
A. I started on this at about 0900 and finished around
Q. When the officers and probationary officers under
of Maj. ITEZONO
were called for assemblies, such as roll call, and orders for the day,
A. No. To the best of my knowledge there were no
where the entire
personnel was called. In most cases different assemblies were called
officers and enlisted personnel.
Q. Were you ever at an assembly when Maj. ITEZONO stated
will be an execution of plane crash survivors"?
A. I believe there was. I believe this assembly was
Capt. YUKINO came
to our office.
Q. Then you positively know that American plane crash
survivors were going
to be executed by men under Maj. ITEZONO's command, the following day,
A. Yes. That is correct.
Q. How many flyers were going to be executed?
A. I do not remember hearing how many flyers were going
Q. Did you attend the execution?
Q. Are you sure?
Q. You have stated in your statement earlier that Capt.
of the Adjutant
Section, came into your office and told Capt. KISHIMOTO that "shortly
prisoners will be executed, and that all officers may attend the
is that correct?
A. Yes. That is correct.
Q. Do you know Capt. YUKINO well?
A. I do not know him well, but I did see him often.
Q. Did you talk to him often?
A. I only talked to him 3 or 4 times while I was at
Q. Are you sure that this person was YUKINO and not
A. I am absolutely sure that it was Capt. YUKINO.
Q. Are you sure that it was not Maj. ITEZONO?
A. Yes, I am absolutely sure.
Q. What was YUKINO's capacity at Western Army
A. YUKINO was one of the adjutants at Western Army
Headquarters, he was in
charge of personnel, secret documents, and general administration, I do
know whether he had anything to do with prisoners or not, although I
that the Adjutant Section was responsible for them.
Q. How did YUKINO know about the execution?
A. I do not know.
Q. Was YUKINO going around to various departments in
inviting officers to attend the execution?
A. I do not know, but I do not believe so.
Q. Was YUKINO ordered by some one to deliver the
to Capt. KISHIMOTO?
A. I do not know under what circumstances YUKINO came to
Q. Do you know anything about the 20 June
A. No. All I know is about the execution in early part
August 1945, which
I have stated to the best of my knowledge in my testimony.
Q. Do you understand that should you be making a false
testimony under oath,
you are liable to a fine and imprisonment?
A. Yes. I understand.
Q. Do you have any corrections or additions to make in
(Signed in Japanese)
Summary of Japanese War Crime Tribunal
of Japanese personnel for Vivisection
and Aburayama incidents
For further insight on these atrocities, read
Fallen: A True Story of American
POWs and Japanese Wartime Atrocities by
Memorial Service: Held on June 20, 2021, at Aburayama Kannon in Jonan-ku, Fukuoka. See YouTube video (Japanese).
Images from the March and April 1945 editions of a magazine for
children, Children of Nippon. The image on the left
down the B-29!! Try to find which plane shot the B-29 down." On the
"We shot down a B-29!"
where B-29s & other aircraft went down in Kyushu
- June 16, 1944:
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- August 20, 1944: Orio,
Yahata-nishi-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka-ken (two B-29's, see
list of airmen here
- August 20, 1944:
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- August 20, 1944: Gonoura,
Island, Nagasaki-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- November 21, 1944:
Kita-Takaki-gun, Nagasaki-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- January 6, 1945: Amakusa,
list of airmen here)
- March 4, 1945: Hakata Bay,
Fukuoka (unknown aircraft; body of airman found in bay)
27, 1945: Ueki, Fukuoka-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- March 28, 1945: Hyuga,
list of airmen here)
- March 28, 1945: Nogata,
list of airmen here)
- April 18, 1945: Ogori,
list of airmen here)
- April 27, 1945: Shibushi
Bay, Kagoshima-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- April 29, 1945: Kihoku, Kagoshima-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- April 29, 1945: Nango,
Minami-Naka-gun, Miyazaki-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- May 5, 1945: Taketa, Oita-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- May 5, 1945: Nobeoka Bay,
list of airmen here)
- May 7, 1945: Sanko,
Shimoge-gun, Oita-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- May 7, 1945: Yayoi,
Minami-Amabe-gun, Saeki, Oita-ken (see
list of airmen here)
15, 1945: Ukujima, Sasebo, Nagasaki-ken (PBM5, all 10
- May 27, 1945: Moji,
list of airmen here)
7, 1945: Goto Islands, Nagasaki-ken (PB4Y, five airmen
- July 10, 1945: Moji,
(airman Jack J. Roy executed at Aburayama; see
full list of airmen here)
- July 27, 1945: Yokoyama, Joyo-machi,
list of airmen here)
30, 1945: Saeki, Oita-ken (B-25, all five airmen perished,
list of airmen here)
30, 1945: Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima-ken (B-25, see
list of airmen here)
- July 31, 1945: Fukae,
Nagasaki-ken (B-24; six airmen executed at Aburayama, see
list of airmen here)
6, 1945: Tsushima, Nagasaki-ken (B-25, all perished, see
list of airmen here)
- August 7, 1945: Kagami,
Yatsushiro-gun, Kumamoto-ken (B-24; four airmen executed at Aburayama, see
list of airmen here)
- August 7, 1945: Arao,
list of airmen here)
7, 1945: Chiran Air Base, Kagoshima-ken (B-25, all six
airmen perished, see
list of airmen here)
- August 8, 1945: Wakamatsu
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka-ken (P-47; airman Lloyd Henley
executed at Aburayama)
8, 1945: Iki Island, Nagasaki-ken (see
list of airmen here)
- August 9, 1945: Toyo-oka,
Hiji-machi (B-25, all perished, see
list of airmen here)
10, 1945: Tsushima, Nagasaki-ken (B-25, see
list of airmen here)
- August 30, 1945: Takachiho,
- September 4, 1945: Koyagi,
Nagasaki-ken (on relief supply mission to Camp #2)
Special thanks to Toru Fukubayashi for his
paper from which the above material was taken; see here
for a complete PDF file. See data for all Japan in his ALLIED
AIRCRAFT AND AIRMEN LOST OVER THE JAPANESE MAINLAND DURING WWII.
Thanks also to the researchers at this Japanese
website containing data for all of Japan, including the lists
of airmen. For an interesting story, see "Last
B-29 mission over Japan in WWII." Also see THE
bombing raid on Omuta
and B-29 crash of July 27, 1945...
|On the morning of July 26, 1945, a light rain
slowly on the seven large American air bases in the Mariana Islands.
The 314th Wing, part of the Twentieth Air Force's vast complex of
airfields, hangars, camps, ammunition dumps, and supporting facilities
on Guam, Tinian, and Saipan, was preparing for a three-group raid on
Kyushu, Japan. Since March, increasing numbers of B-29s had been
burning Japan's urban areas with incendiary attacks intended to destroy
industry and civilian morale. After June 16, with the fifty largest
cities already bombed, missions were directed against cities of
The 314th Wing was directed against Omuta,
a port city on Ariake Bay on the southern coast of Kyushu. Omuta had
escaped serious damage in a previous raid, so the city of 177,000 was
being struck again. As Omuta was classified an "urban area," the
bombers carried 500-pound M17 incendiary clusters and 100-pound M47
incendiary bombs. The 132 planes in the wing carried a total of 810
tons of bombs that were intended to drop on the small downtown area to
create "maximum compressibility over the target." Because of the high
proportion of wooden construction in Japanese cities, "maximum
compressibility" meant the creation of a mini-firestorm. (FOOTNOTE:
The M17s, fused to open and spread burning fuel at 5,000 feet, were
designed to start fires over the whole area, while the M47s, with an
impact fuse, were designed to intensify damage, spread debris, and
discourage fire fighting. The fires, sucking in oxygen from the
perimeter of the city, would then grow large enough to destroy the
commercial, residential, and industrial sectors, killing large numbers
of civilians in the process.)
For one of the planes in the 314th Wing,
the 28th Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group, this mission was only its
fourth over Japan. The crew was still relatively green, having arrived
in late June and having bombed Hiratsuka, a city southwest of Tokyo, on
July 17 and two other cities by July 23. (FOOTNOTE:
The crew was 1st Lt. James E. Hewitt, Pilot/Commander; 1st Lt. James W.
Gothie, Bombardier; 2nd Lt. Wayne Whitley, Radar Officer; F/0 Charles
S. Appleby, Navigator; F/0 Gerald E. Boleyn, Copilot; T/Sgt. William N.
Andrews, Radio Operator; S/Sgt. Ben Thornton, Flight Engineer; Cpl.
Robert J. Zancker, Central Fire Control; Cpl. Frederick A.
Stearns, Tailgunner; Cpl. Martin W. O'Brien, Jr., Side
Gunner; and Cpl. Robert A. Sawdye, Gunner. The
observer, Capt. Louis W. Nelson, was a veteran bombardier who had
completed twenty-five missions in Europe and went on this flight to
assist Gothie. See "Testimony of Darrell O. Does," enclosed in U.S.
Crew of B-29 downed in Yokoyama,
Yame-gun (Click on image
for 121K enlargement)
Back row, from left:
James E. Hewitt, Gerald E. Boleyn,
Charles S. Appleby, John W. Gothie,
Wayne A. Whitely
Front row, from left:
Ben Thornton, William Ned Andrews,
Robert J. Zancker, Martin W. O'Brien,
F. Allen Stearns,
Robert R. Sawdye
They seemed unconcerned about the widespread
their bombs caused on the ground. In a letter dated July 10, Frederick
A. Stearns, the plane's tailgunner, wrote that Strategic
Bombing Study reports from Europe had concluded that German industry,
by dispersing operations, had managed to avoid collapse until the end
of the war. Presumably the Japanese were doing the same. The solution
for Japan, he believed, was to concentrate on a "smaller target area
[since with] the Jap's [sic] feudal system of
extensive home manufacturing we can't help but cripple their war effort
as long as the bombs fall anywhere within their cities." The aircrews
believed, as did the Twentieth Air Force planners, that any damage to
cities had to help the war effort.
In the early evening of July 26, the 19th
Group's planes took off from North Field, Guam. Two planes aborted
their flight on the airstrip owing to mechanical trouble, so only 130
bombers, with one weather aircraft and one "Superdumbo" (rescue
assistance aircraft), began the seven-hour flight to Omuta. To fill the
hours the crew slept, read newspapers, played gin rummy, and listened
to the news and music from home on Saipan radio. After four hours at
20,000 feet, the formation passed over the emergency airbase and
"glorified gas station" of Iwo Jima. Three hours later the stream of
planes began the approach to Omuta. The first bombers arrived over the
target at 12:45 A.M. local time on July 27 and
began dropping their incendiary bombs. Japanese air defense fighters
had concentrated over Omuta and, over the next forty-five minutes, nine
confirmed fighter attacks heavily damaged seven of the bombers and
caused five to jettison their bombs. In the cloudy haze over Omuta,
with several large fires sending smoke plumes to 18,000 feet, the
aircrews spotted numerous tracer trails, explosions, burning debris,
and glowing fireballs in the sky around them. By 1:32 A.M. local time
the last B-29s dropped their ordnance and turned for the long flight
home. Over a third of Omuta was destroyed or in flames, leaving an
unknown number of dead, wounded, and homeless Japanese civilians.
Of the 130 aircraft of the 314th Wing on the
105 returned to North Field, seven diverted to Saipan and Tinian, and
seventeen made emergency landings on Iwo Jima. Only one did not return.
During the mission debriefing, witnesses reported that a B-29 turned
away from Omuta and began heading home about 12:50 A.M. With one engine
on fire, the bomber slowly lost altitude. Witnesses saw the flames
flicker off and on until the aircraft crossed the coast, perhaps ten
miles past the target, and descended into a cloud bank. The fire lit up
the clouds and caused a huge glow in the sky. Tracer fire was spotted
through breaks in the clouds, and Japanese fighters were seen attacking
the aircraft with machine guns. At 12:58 A.M., more tracers were
spotted, and the B-29, by now flying level, suddenly disintegrated into
two or three flaming pieces. No parachutes were spotted. Thirty minutes
later five rafts were spotted in Ariake Bay.
Despite the rafts, it seemed that this aircrew
a fate not unlike the thousands of others lost over Europe or Japan.
Relatives were notified of "missing in action" (MIA) status on August
11, 1945, and on April 23, 1946, owing to the lack of any contrary
evidence, the crew was officially listed as "killed in action" (KIA). A
few members of that crew, however, survived the crash despite the
confusion that must have reigned amid the flames and explosions of the
stricken B-29. (FOOTNOTE: Six of the crew managed to
parachute to earth. These were Hewitt, Appleby, Whitely, Thornton, Stearns,
and Nelson.) They were captured and turned over to Western Army
Headquarters, the administrative component of 16th Area Army, in
Fukuoka, Japan. (FOOTNOTE: Western Army Headquarters
responsibilities included all of Kyushu and south to 30° N, west to
include the Tsushima, Iki, and Goto Islands, and north to include
Toyoura-gun, Yamaguchi-ken, and Honshu. The plane crashed at 33° 16' N
by 130° 42' E [NOTE: These coordinates
are Yokoyama, Yame-gun; see Haraguchi
testimony]. See "Intelligence Briefing," 28,
enclosed in U.S. v Isamu.)
Source: "To Dispose of the Prisoners":
Japanese Executions of American Aircrew at Fukuoka, Japan, during 1945,
by Timothy Lang Francis, Pacific Historical Review, Vol. LXVI, Nov.
1997, No. 4, pp. 473-476. (C) 1997 by the Pacific Coast Branch American
Historical Association. See also by same author above excerpt on
incidents of June 20, August 10 and August 15.
1. Interrogation of Gunji Haraguchi
re B-29 crash in Yokoyama, Yame-gun
I, Gunji HARAGUCHI, after being sworn to speak the truth,
adding nothing or concealing anything whatsoever, testified at
Yame-gun, Fukuoka-ken, Kyushu, Japan, on 1 December, 1947, as follows:
Q. State your full name, age, and present address?
A. My name is Gunji HARAGUCHI, age 53, and my address is
Kitagawachi-mura, Oaza Kukihara, No. 1285-2.
Q. What is your present occupation?
A. I am a farmer.
Q. Briefly describe your activities during the war?
A. During the war I lived at my present home, and I was
farmer. On 20 May
1945 I was drafted into the Japanese Army at Fukuoka Area
in Fukuoka City. I was assigned to the Kuroki machi
and was ordered to head a detachment stationed in Kitagawachi Village.
was a second lieutenant at that time and my duties were to draft
from the Kitagawachi Village area and to train them. I was assisted by
Maj. KONISHI and Cpl. YAMAMOTO. The duties of the Keibitai Guard Unit
to train civilians as guard unit members, to make security checks and
perform as a combat unit in case of enemy invasion.
Q. Where is Sgt. Maj. KONISHI at present time?
A. He is living at Hoshino-mura, Yame-gun, Fukuoka-ken.
Q. Where is Cpl. YAMAMOTO at the present time?
A. He is living at Kitagawachi-mura, Yame-gun.
Q. What were KONISHI'S and YAMAMOTO's duties?
A. They both assisted in training the Guard Unit
Q. State everything you know concerning any Allied plane
A. The only Allied plane crash that I know of was that
B-29 which crashed
at Kyura [Kiura], Yokoyama-mura, Yame-gun, in the
early morning of
27 July 1945. I was first informed about this
crash at about
0300 hours by Cpl. YAMAMOTO. YAMAMOTO told me that an enemy plane had
and that one survivor was already captured. I asked YAMAMOTO where the
was but he did not know where he was being held. YAMAMOTO and I then
along the main street in Kitagawachi and noticed a group of people
in front of the Kyushu Electric Company's Quarters. At this time I
that the plane crash survivor was being held inside that building. At
time a Kempei Tai, Sgt. Major, asked me to loan them my office because
room where the flyer was held was too small. My office was in the
Primary School. I consented and the plane crash survivor was soon taken
my office. While the flyer was being questioned by the Kempei Tai I
outside and waited.
Around 0800 hours on the same day another plane crash
survivor, who was captured
at Kyura, Yokoyama-mura, was brought to my office. Then around 1100
another captured flyer was brought into my office. After dinner I went
the scene of the crash. While at the scene, I did not see any dead
of the crew. I returned to my office around 1900 hours and at that time
that one more flyer had been captured and taken to my office while I
absent. Also I was told by the members of the Keibi Tai and the civil
I have forgotten their names, that the first four flyers captured had
been taken to the Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters
from my office at
Kitagawachi by the members of the Kempei Tai. As the fifth captured
was brought to my office, after the Kempei Tai had taken the other four
flyers to Kurume, I contacted the Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters by
and asked what should be done with the fifth captured flyer. Someone at
Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters told me that he would contact the Kuroki
Keibitai Headquarters and tell them to take the captured flyer to their
headquarters. I then called up the Kuroki Machi Keibitai Headquarters
told them what I was told by the Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters. I was
by someone at that Headquarters that they would immediately come after
At about 2000 hours, a member of the Kuroki Machi
a civil police
officer arrived at my office with an automobile and took the flyer to
Keibitai Headquarters at Kuroki Machi. I do not know the names of the
that took this flyer to Kuroki Machi. The following morning about 0800
was told by some one from the Kuroki Machi Keibitai Headquarters that
last captured flyer was taken to the Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters
the Kuroki Machi Keibitai Headquarters by Kempei Tai members from
On about 29 July 1945, I was told that a plane crash
being captured. I immediately went to the scene but when I arrived, the
crash survivor had been killed. He was laying face down; hence I can
On about 6 or 7 August 1945 another flyer was captured.
Yokoyama-mura by students of the Military Academy. He was also taken to
Then around 7 or 8 August 1945 another flyer was
and brought to my office. The last two captured flyers were taken from
office to the Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters by Cpl. AKASHI and
Private MUTA. This is all I know concerning the seven captured flyers
Q. Were all of the captured flyers taken to the Kurume
A. I heard from some one, I cannot recall their names,
the first four
captured flyers were taken to Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters from my
by a Kempei Tai Sgt. Major, and six other Kempei Tai members, on 27
1945. I also heard from some one from the Kuroki Machi Keibitai
that the fifth flyer was taken from Kuroki Machi to the Kurume Kempei
Headquarters on 28 July 1945. Cpl. AKASHI told me that he was going to
the sixth and seventh captured flyer from my office to the Kurume
Q. How many plane crash survivors were captured in your
A. A total of seven. I heard a rumor from some one that
first flyer was
captured on 27 July 1945 on the road near Kyura Village by the members
the Yokoyama-mura Fire Brigade, and was brought to my office in
According to the rumor I heard from someone that the second and third
were captured, on the same date, in the immediate vicinity of Ohira
where the plane crashed. I do not know who captured these two flyers.
flyers were also brought to my office. The fourth flyer was captured
brought to my office on the same date and taken to the Kurume Kempei
Headquarters along with the other three captured flyers by Kempei Tai
Maj., I do not know where and by whom this fourth flyer was captured,
I did not see him. I heard a rumor from some one from Okubo Village
the fifth flyer was captured inside of the Okubo Village Primary School
the principal of that school on 27 July 1945. This captured flyer was
to my office by the students of the Military Academy, guarded by a
named KURODA, and myself. This captured flyer was taken from my office
the Kuroki Machi Keibitai Headquarters on the same date by a member of
Keibi Tai Headquarters and a civil police from Kuroki Police Station.
The following day, 28 July 1945, I heard that this flyer
taken to the
Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters from Kuroki Machi Keibitai Headquarters
a member of the Kurume Kempei Tai. On 6-7 August 1945, I heard from one
the students of the Military Academy, that captured and brought the
flyer to my office, that this flyer was captured near Iwashita,
Kamiyokoyama-mura, on 6 or 7 August 1945. This flyer was taken from my
to the Kurume Kempei Tai Headquarters on the same day by Cpl. AKASHI. I
a rumor that the seventh flyer was captured in one of the villager's
at Hotokeo, Shimo Yokoyama-mura by the residents of the village, on 7
8 August 1945. I do not remember who brought this flyer to my office
he was taken from my office the same day to the Kurume Kempei Tai
by Cpl. AKASHI. I also heard a rumor that two plane crash survivors
captured at Kami-hirokawa village. I do not know when these flyers were
This is all that I have heard or know concerning the B-29 crash at
Q. Were the two flyers that were captured at
of the B-29 that crashed at Yokoyama-mura on 27 July 1945?
A. I believe they were because it was soon after the
crash that I heard
about these two men being captured.
Q. Did you see the two flyers captured at Kami Hirokawa
Q. You have previously stated that a total of seven
were captured in your area. Is that correct?
Q. How many of these plane crash survivors did you see?
A. I saw the six plane crash survivors that were brought
the one that had been killed while resisting capture; making a total of
Q. Did you closely see all of the six flyers?
A. Yes, I saw them from about three meters away.
Q. When you saw these men were any of them injured or
A. I did not notice any of them being injured or
Q. All of the plane crash survivors, that you saw,
be in good
health. Is that correct?
Q. How were they dressed?
A. I do not remember exactly what they wore, but some
drab clothing and some were wearing khaki colored clothing. They were
Q. Were they Americans?
A. I believe they were.
Q. Why do you believe that?
A. The plane crash survivors were Caucasians and it was
that B-29s were American planes. From this I deducted that these
flyers were Americans.
Q. Were they blindfolded when you saw them?
A. They were blindfolded until they were taken to my
blindfolds were removed.
Q. As close as possible, describe each of the persons
A. The first captured flyer was about 5 ft. 8 in. tall,
slender. He had
bluish eyes and light brown hair and light complexion. I did not notice
scars or identification marks. The second flyer was about 6 ft. tall
well built. He had dark brown hair. I did not notice any identification
or scars. This is all I know about this man. I do not recall what the
flyer looked like. The fourth flyer was about 5 ft. 7 in. tall and
This flyer had long thin face. He had bluish eyes and brown hair. I did
observe any scars or identification marks. The fifth flyer was about 5
8 in. tall and very well built. He had brown hair and a round face. I
not observe any scars or identification marks. The sixth flyer was
5 ft. 6 in. tall and medium build. He had brown hair. I did not see any
or identification marks. This is all I know concerning the description
the captured flyers I have seen.
Q. You have just seen the photographs of James E.
Gerald E. BOLEYN,
Wayne WHITELY, Ben THORNTON, William N. ANDREWS, Frederick A.
Martin O'BRIEN Jr., Robert R. SAWDYE, and Louis W.
NELSON. These persons
were crewmembers of a B-29 which is believed to have crashed near
on 27 July 1945. Do you recall if any of these persons were among the
that were captured and brought to your office and later taken to the
Kempei Tai Headquarters?
A. I can not say for sure, but I believe that Ben
prisoners captured. I will sign my signature on the reverse side of the
photograph of Ben THORNTON. Judging from the photograph I also believe
Robert R. SAWDYE was among the captured prisoners and will sign my name
the reverse side of his photograph. Judging from the photograph I also
that Louis W. NELSON was among the prisoners captured and I will also
my name on the reverse side of this photograph.
Q. Did you ever hear of any of these captured flyers
Q. Do you have anything to add to this statement?
against Fukuoka & Kyushu
8/5/44 ? (Date from Japanese pictorial on
11/11/44 ? (Date from Japanese pictorial on Fukuoka bombings)
5/26-27/45 Fukuoka waters mined (Mission 184)
6/7-8/45 Fukuoka waters mined (Mission 190)
6/15-16/45 Fukuoka waters mined (Mission 204)
6/18/45 ? (Date from Japanese pictorial on Fukuoka bombings)
6/19/45 Incendiary bombing of Fukuoka (Mission 211)
6/23-24/45 Fukuoka harbor mined; Hakata, Itazuke, Saitozaki Airfields
bombed by P-47s (Mission 221)
7/3/45 P-51s destroy floatplanes (5th AF first mission)
7/13-14/45 Fukuoka waters mined (Mission 268)
7/27-28/45 Fukuoka waters mined (Mission 296)
7/29-30/45 Fukuoka waters mined (Mission 304)
"B-29's ERASE JAP WAR PLANTS (#3.) -- The highly important industrial
Fukuoka, located on the northwest coast of Kyushu Island, burns during
by 20th Air Force B-29's. Fukuoka is one of the most important port
between Korea and Kyushu and contains extensive harbor and warehouse
20 June 1945."
Target Information Sheet on Fukuoka and Mission 211
TARGET INFORMATION SHEET
NOT TO BE TAKEN INTO THE AIR ON COMBAT MISSIONS
TARGET: Fukuoka Urban Industrial Area
OBJECTIVE AREA: 90. 35-KURUME FUKUOKA URBAN INDUSTRIAL
Latitude: 33° 36' N
Longitude: 130° 25' E
Elevation: Sea Level
1. SUMMARY COMMENT
Fukuoka is the commercial and administrative center for
plain in northern Kyushu. Its port receives a large amount of the
from Korea, and a major branch of the Kyushu RR runs through the city.
number of important industries are located within the area of and
2. LOCATION AND IDENTIFICATION
Fukuoka Bay is in the NW section of Kyushu, 35 miles SW
Moji and Shimonoseki
Straits. The bay is approximately 12 miles across at its widest part
is shaped roughly like a shoe, with the City of Fukuoka at the position
the sole. Hills rise to 1000 ft. in the vicinity of the city and to
ft. a few miles south of the city. From the NE corner of the bay a
arm of land extends more than halfway across the mouth of the bay,
the top or instep of the shoe-like shape. On this arm are two airfields
several small industries.
3. TARGET DESCRIPTION
The City of Fukuoka is crescent shaped, extending for
the coast and from 1 to 2 miles inland. The north side of the city
the harbor while the south side is bounded by abrupt hills. The city
a population 323,000 in 1940 and has probably grown since then, due to
increase in shipping from Korea and the development of new industries.
has a population density of about 40,000 per square mile in the
area of the city proper.
The buildings are predominantly the single-story,
that is so common in Japan. However, since a large part of the city is
and because it is a university town, it resembles in layout one of our
cities more than the ordinary Japanese hodge-podge urban industrial
The usual heavy congestion is relieved by the three following areas:
a fortress in the west-central part of the city covering 200 acres and
by a moat; (2) a park in the west section; (3) the university campus
extends for 2 miles along the coast of the northern section. The
and administrative section of Fukuoka, which serves Northern Kyushu as
as the city itself, is located in the center of the city.
Fukuoka is cut by seven canals or rivers large enough to
However, several of the canals are close together, thereby isolating
small sections and leaving three major sections without firebreaks.
major sections are: (1) from the Ishido River, north; (2) between the
River and the Naka River; (3) from the Naka River, southwest. Some of
larger industrial plants reported in Fukuoka are naval ordnance, rubber
and shoe manufacture, heavy machinery and railroad shops.
Numerous industries are located in and around Fukuoka,
including two iron
works producing naval ordnance, and a rubber company estimated to be
700 tires daily. Some textile mills and a number of warehouses are also
The city is a funnel for all types of transportation.
runs through the city, the harbor receives a large part of the shipping
Korea, and a major branch of the Kyushu RR runs through town with the
Yards, Target 1270, serving it.
It is also important as the administrative center for
plain, containing a large number of government buildings.
A list of targets located in the city proper follows:
1238 -- Watanabe Iron Works -- Important producer of
1255 -- Hakata Harbor -- Receives large amount of shipping from Korea.
1270 -- Hakata RR Station -- Important station and yards on one of
A list of targets adjacent to the city follows:
1872 -- Showa Iron Works -- Producer of Naval ordnance.
1265 -- Nippon Rubber Co. -- Produces 700 tires and 1500 pr. shoes
1873 -- Tatara Machinery Works -- Produces coal mining machinery.
1237 -- NAJIMA SEAPLANE BASE -- 9 hangars and 12 shops at the base.
664 -- NAJIMA STEAM POWER PLANT -- 60,000 KW of 60-cycle.
Target map of Fukuoka -- August
(Click on image for 99K
also aerial photo of Hakata
Harbor targets (May 9, 1945)
Besides the destruction of a good deal of industry, an
on Fukuoka should destroy or disrupt important regional
and governmental facilities. It should also post another problem
the already over-burdened Kyushu transportation system, and create
a serious housing problem for governmental and industrial workers
5. AIMING POINTS
Aiming points will be specified in the Field Order.
22 June 1945.
Target Section, A-2 XXI Bomber Command
MISSION SUMMARY Mission Number 211
28 June 1945
1. Date: 19 June 1945
2. Target. Fukuoka Urban Area (90.35)
3. Participating Units: 73rd and 313th Bombardment Wings
4. Number A/C Airborne: 237
5. % A/C Bombing Primary: 92.82% (221 primary and 2
6. Type of Bombs and Fuzes: E-46 and E-36, 500 lb.
to open 2500' above target, and AN-M47A2 incendiary bombs with
nose. [See above
for description of
7. Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1525 tons on primary and 13.3
8. Time Over Primary: 0011K -- 0153K
9. Altitude of Attack: 9000 -- 10,000 feet
10. Weather Over Target: 1/10-3/10
11. Total A/C Lost: 0
12. Resume of Mission: 73rd Wing strike photos showed
numerous fires in the built up area of the city. 1.3 sq. miles
(20%) of built up area. Medium and heavy A/A, meager to moderate and
inaccurate. Twelve E/A sighted made 4 attacks. Ten B-29's landed at Iwo
Fourteen B-29's were non-effective. Average bomb load: 14,399 lbs.
fuel reserve: 717 gallons.
From: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II, Volume Five
Data on aerial recon for targeting purposes by the 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, from March 1945
Targeting intel re Fukuoka gathered from interrogations of Japanese POWs, May 6, 1945 (Report dated June 18, 1945)
showing bombed areas in Fukuoka
(Fukuoka City Damage Assessment Report, June 19-20, 1945)
devastation of downtown Fukuoka,
Oct. 2, 1945 (See May
photo for comparison)
For more details, see TARGET: FUKUOKA.
Justification for incendiary air raids on Japan (May 1945)
See also this photo collection of underground factories, namely in department store basements. Many other buildings such as schools were even used for the war effort.
Fukuoka: Targeted for A-bomb? Per an interview of a mobilized student worker in Fukuoka after the war:
This file has a lot of info on air strikes against Japan plus some
trivia. Note references to KYUSHU with target cities and sites
Fukuoka was strafed numerous times: ASAF
at US bombing strategy in the
Pacific during WWII, see United
States Strategic Bombing Survey, Summary Report, (Pacific War)
D.C., 1 July 1946.
excellent site for a chronology of B-29 missions
against Japan including air crashes -->
Ago, April 1944. Of special interest are the comments from
some of the
actual crewmembers aboard the B-29s.
here for a very full list of links on B-29s and crewmen
stories, especially the America's War Against Japan
section. Click here
for a large map of
of Japanese cities.
Photo-packed website for the
Bomb Group (1st, 5th,
& 99th Squadrons) of the 20th Air Force
Airfield Raids of the 39th Bomb Group, with pics of Kanoya
Oita airfield targets
Bomb Group photos
of bombing of Yahata, August 20, 1944
April is a month to remember. Bataan fell on April 9,
1942, and the
largest contingent of American servicemembers were captured by the
-- nearly 10,000 Americans and more than 62,000 Philippines Scouts,
and Constabulary Forces. Of these, 650 Americans and between 5,000 and
Filipinos lost their lives during the infamous 100-mile-long Bataan
March, "the worst single atrocity committed against Americans" (see
April 9th is now National
Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.
the Death March remained particularly vivid in Richard Gordon's
mind. An American soldier lay by the side of the road, alive but in the
throes of a malaria attack. A Japanese tank came down the road. At the
last second, the tank driver, seized by a cruel whimsy, swerved and
crushed the ailing man. The next tank in the column went over his limp
body a second time, leaving it pressed into the pavement as though it
had been steamrolled. "You stand there watching a human being
flattened, well, that sticks in your mind forever," Gordon said. "It
was deliberate murder. He was nice, easy prey, just lying there. I'll
never forget that sight. I'll go to my grave wondering how people can
be that inhumane."
Once, Malcolm Amos saw nine
fellow prisoners shot because one man had tried to escape. The doomed
men dug their own pit, then kneeled by the edge for the executioner to
shoot them, one by one, in the back of the head, dropping them into
their shared grave. On another occasion, Amos saw an American tortured
by the camp guards. They stuck a tube in his mouth and turned on the
hose until the water pressure filled up his stomach. "Then they jumped
on his abdomen," Amos said, wincing with palpable disgust, "until his
innards was just torn all to pieces."
"For three years, we were always living on the
here," Richard Gordon said, "wondering what they were going to do to
us, where the next beating would come from. I don't think there's a man
who went through that experience who doesn't have some sort of
psychological scarring -- that certainly includes me. It takes a
permanent bite out of you."
- - - - - - - - - -
It has been said that Bataan was a "dress
for Vietnam. Certainly the experience there offered important lessons
(about military preparedness, overextension, and commitment) that the
planners in Vietnam seem generally to have ignored. As in Vietnam, the
Bataan men found themselves fighting an extremely foreign enemy in
unfamiliar jungles of tropical Asia, waging a battle that was doomed to
fail. And as with Vietnam soldiers, the men of Bataan had to return
home with an unspoken stigma, the awkward status of having "lost." Many
of the syndromes and illnesses associated with Vietnam veterans were
suffered 25 years earlier by the American captives of the Japanese
nightmares and night sweats, bouts of profound depression, mysterious
symptoms that VA hospital doctors were reluctant to diagnose and treat,
and all the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder (although it
was not then dignified with a name). Fred Baldassarre, an industrial
engineer from Hayward, California, was all too familiar with these
symptoms. Baldassarre is the son of a now-deceased Bataan veteran, and
he had come on this trip, in part, to understand some of the
peculiarities in his father's character. "I don't ever recall him not
fighting that war," Baldassarre told me over San Miguel beers. "He
couldn't stop fighting it. The war was always in his head -- like
ambient noise. He was probably the most affectionate human being I've
ever met, but at the same time he was prone to these incredible rages
of temper. He would just snap. He was a very tough guy, but certain
things would make him bawl like a baby. When I was draft age during the
Vietnam War, he would get hysterical when the little envelopes came
from the draft board. He would plead with me, 'Don't go.' He was
willing to do anything to help me become a draft dodger. He'd say, 'You
have to trust me on this. You don't want to go to war.' He just flat
out told me, 'I've served enough for both of us. You don't have to
Malcolm Amos' daughter, Lanae Hagen, recalled
experiences growing up in Iowa. "You could always tell when Dad was in
one of his moods," she said. "We'd wake up in the morning, and his
mattress would be on the floor. We'd find the radio out in the yard.
Sometime during the night, he had thrown it out the window, broken the
glass. He didn't even know he'd done it. My mom had to have her own
bedroom. We knew that we just had to leave him alone when he'd get in
one of his moods. 'Cause there was no dealing with him." (Shortly after
our trip, Lanae Hagen succumbed to long-standing heart and lung
Another child of a Bataan veteran who accompanied
was Charlie Wyatt, a businessman from Houston. For Wyatt's father, the
war manifested itself in the ritual of a weekly manicure. "I think that
he was trying to rid himself of all physical traces of what he went
through in the camps," Wyatt told me. "You see, the Japanese had pulled
out all of his nails once. If he could look at his hands and see that
they were clean and free and nice-looking, well, he was trying to push
that to the back of his mind. Then all of a sudden something would
happen. He'd be thinking of the pain he'd been through and then boom --
he'd black out. We had no idea when it would occur next. Once it
happened while he was driving a car. He was taking me to school and all
of a sudden -- boom! -- we're in a ditch, smashed into a tree, and my
head's up against the windshield."
--- Hampton Sides in Blood Brothers,
AARP Modern Maturity Magazine, November/December
1. Death March Tales by
Ray died on April 26, 1998. He was the first ex-POW I
contacted by e-mail
(thanks to Dick Murphey in Phoenix) and from whom I received my first
of info on Camp #1 -- the Gibbs Report. It is said that WWII
are dying at a rate of 10 per day.
2. Bataan by George Idlett
I've been corresponding with George "Doug" Idlett for over 3 years. He
at POW Camp 5B in Niigata. He sent me an assortment of messages he
describing his experiences in Bataan, including the Death March: "I
possibly tell all that happened on the Death March, but I will say that
you may have read in many other books, it really happened. I have never
anything that I thought was untrue. I saw enough to know that it did or
3. My Hitch in Hell by
Hitch in Hell, Chapter 4
This is an excellent book -- a must-read. See Books
& Videos. For more on Tenney, see
Visit also his
Burials & Cremations
The death roster shows a total of 154 American, British,
Australian names. The DATE OF DEATH is recorded with the
of Showa first, then the month and day; hence, "20.2.24" would be Showa
(1945), February 24. For Australian and British POW searches, there are
search engines at the Australian
Memorial site and the Commonwealth
Memorandums re 1st
Army Hospital and Shime Crematorium
I have yet to find all of the photographs mentioned
be somewhere in other Fukuoka files at the National Archives. I wish I
Hospital room where POWs were kept
I, ROBERT E. HUMPHREYS, certify that the above
taken in my
presence, on or about 22 December, 1945, at the 1st Fukuoka
Hospital, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan, and that it accurately
room where POW from that camp were housed during convalescence, as it
on that date.
ROBERT E. HUMPHREYS
Legal Section, GHQ, SCAP
LEGAL SECTION, GHQ, SCAP, TOKYO
MEMORANDUM: 9 January, 1946
SUBJECT: Captions for Pictures taken at the 1st Fukuoka
the Shime-machi Crematorium
TO: Lt. Col. Richard E. Rudisill, Chief, Investigation
Herewith submitted is a list of the captions of the
taken at POW
Camp 1, Fukuoka-Ken, Fukuoka-Shi, Hakozaki-Cho, Shindate, with respect
the 1st Fukuoka Army Hospital where the prisoners from Camp 1 from both
and Mushiroda were sent, and of the crematorium at Shime-machi,
Fukuoka-Ken where most of the POW dead were sent for cremation. [See
for photo of similar
crematory in Moji
One pack---four pictures---
1) Room where most of the convalescent POW
2) Operating room of the Hospital
3) No good---poor exposure
4) Interior of crematory at Shime-Machi, with T/4 Taro Shimomura
5) Exterior view of crematory.
CHARLES V. RAMEY, 1st. Lt. CE
Legal Section, GHQ, SCAP
Most POWs who were at Camp #1 arrived on a "hellship," so named because
the terrible conditions on board and the intense suffering those
brought about. Daws has a very good chapter on these "slave ships." Unjust
Enrichment by Holmes has a list of all the POW transports and
companies that owned them (Appendices B - D). Read also her chapter on
in Hell," from which comes this excerpt:
Official Japanese records tell a
story: of 55,279 Allied POWs transported by sea, 10,853
drowned, including 3,632 Americans. At least 500
at sea from disease and thirst....The destination of 90 percent of
those vessels was Japan.
Three-quarters of all POW shipments came through the northern Kyushu
of Moji. A very moving documentary to watch is Sleep
My Sons: The
Story of the Arisan Maru. The greatest
transport ship disaster
in history is the sinking of the Junyo Maru -- only
out of 5,655 American, Australian, British, Dutch,
and Javanese laborers. By comparison, 1107 sailors and marines died
the USS Arizona was sunk at Pearl Harbor.
(Click for larger image, in Japanese)
Grim facts about
|According to Japanese figures, of the 50,000 POWs
shipped, 10,800 died at sea. Going by Allied figures, more Americans
died in the sinking of the Arisan Maru than died in the weeks of the
death march out of Bataan, or in the months at Camp O'Donnell, which
were the two worst sustained atrocities committed by the Japanese
against Americans. More Dutchmen died in the sinking of the Jun'yo Maru
than in a year on the Burma-Siam railroad. The total deaths of all
nationalities on the railroad added up to the war's biggest sustained
Japanese atrocity against Allied POWs. Total deaths of all
nationalities at sea were second in number only to total deaths on the
railroad. Of all POWs who died in the Pacific war, one in every three
was killed on the water by friendly fire.
Then there was the Oryokko Maru [Oryoku-maru],
the POW transport with the highest number of officers in the holds,
more than a thousand, more than one in four of them field grade, and by
far the highest proportion of officers to enlisted men, two to one. Yet
of all ships, the Oryokko Maru was the one where the worst, most
uncontrollable madness broke out, and broke out earliest, starting on
the very first night and turning into killing by the second night. More
than a thousand American officers could not, or at any rate did not,
summon up discipline enough to stop Americans from killing each other.
[See Schwartz affidavit]
Was it simply that the Oryokko Maru had the
worst level of unbearable heat, the worst lack of water, the worst lack
of oxygen, prisoners in the worst shape when they were loaded aboard,
and the worst stress from being attacked? In other words, was
everything simply over the human physical edge? Who can say? No one
could possibly have been keeping exact figures on nutritional and
health status, ounces of water per man per day, maximum temperature in
degrees Fahrenheit, and the relativities of oxygen and carbon dioxide
in the air, in every hold of every POW transport. Short of verifiable
and verified facts, and conceding that neither Unit 731 nor anyone else
set up those prisoner transports as controlled experiments in national
behavior, it does appear that POWs of all nationalities were subjected
to essentially the same dreadful stresses in the holds. Yet only
Americans killed each other. [For
a possible explanation for these killings, see Fossey affidavit.]
--- Gavan Daws, Prisoners
of the Japanese
(Click on image to enlarge)
About the voyage of the Oryoku Maru, there seems
a misunderstanding because of a difference in the shipping lists.
Perhaps this will explain it a bit clearer:
The Oryoku Maru was a 7,862 ton cargo ship that
departed Manila on 13 December 1944 with the following lists of
....-30 Not Americans
1,500 Japanese Troops
547 Japanese Women & Children
1,127 Crewmembers & survivors
other shipwrecked ships
4,763 On Board
(plus 728 ashes of war dead)
On 14 December it was bombed and strafed by
the US carrier Hornet at 0300 Hours. Result: 50 dead; then after dawn
the Oryoku Maru was sunk by another bomb. Many of the POWs were shot
and died while trying to swim toward shore:
1,333 Made it to the beach
.....-1 Death on the beach
On 20 & 21 December, survivors were
Of these, 1,070 were placed aboard the Enoura
Maru and 286 on the Brazil Maru. 16 died on the Enoura Maru
and 5 died on the Brazil Maru. New Year's Eve was at Takao and 6 more
died on the Brazil Maru. On 6 January 1945 all of the remaining POWs
were moved to the Enoura Maru in Takao Harbor. The Enoura Maru was
bombed, a bomb hit the hold and killed about another 300. About 900
POWs remained and they were moved back to the Brazil Maru.
On the 14th of January 1946 the Brazil Maru was
underway as part of a convoy bound for Japan. Another 15 died before
sailing and about 40 POWs died daily during the 18 day voyage from
Formosa to Moji, Kyushu, Japan. At Moji, there were only 450
survivors from the original 1,619 POWs, which tells us that
1,169 POWs were murdered in transport by the Japanese!!!
Wm. E. Braye
CWO W3 USA Ret.
View design diagrams of these ships: Oryoku-maru
From the Cooper
a very heart-wrenching account, The Death Cruise
from Manila to Japan, in which Col.
Cooper describes life and
death aboard the Oryoku-maru, the Enoura-maru
Brazil-maru. Read also the George
Weller dispatches about the Cruise of Death
as they appeared
in the Chicago Daily News, November 1945. See more
in-depth article here
in the San Francisco Chronicle (to be transcribed
For more, read the Schwartz
See also the Shreve Diary
(Shreve was one
of the American officers on board) from which I take this short
When I finally
reached the deck the air was so fresh in comparison to the hold that
you were really overcome, simply by the amount of oxygen which you
could take into your lungs. Several of the men fainted when they first
came out into the fresh air.
Another file, The
Oryoku-maru Story, a trial
document from the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, was found on the Internet
This is an excellent website for further information.
From Jim Erickson, Associate Professor, Department of
University (see his website
Japanese for more information on hellships):
Here is the roster of men from the Oryoku Maru who
went to Fukuoka #1 (CSV file, 14K). There are 193
names which matches the number reported in numerous accounts. 53 men
from the Oryoku Maru died at Fukuoka #1 and 2 died in Jinsen Korea
leaving 138 survivors to be liberated from Jinsen.
George Brundrette, who died July 4, 1945,
last man from the Oryoku Maru voyage to die in Japanese hands. He was a
Texas Aggie -- class of 1933.
There are also some amazing photos showing the
Be sure to visit Mark Kelso's excellent
site on the Oryoku-maru story, dedicated to his grandfather
in Kokura Hospital shortly after arriving in Moji.
A must-read here -->
American Prisoners of War Rescued after the sinking of the Japanese
Shinyo Maru, by the USS Paddle, SS 263, on 7
September 1944 by Eugene
Photo of either the
or Brazil-maru, and
of a similar transport ship being sunk.
number of prisoners of war imported to Japan proper was never large
enough to assist the war effort significantly. (Indeed, in light of
what is know of various types of POW sabotage, their contribution may
well have been negative.) A survey in June 1944 showed that about
16,000 POWs were engaged in productive work such as mining,
shipbuilding, stevedoring, freight handling, iron, steel, and other
manufacturing, and civil engineering work. These figures should be
contrasted with Germany, where by early 1943, 1,170,000 Allied POWs
(excluding Soviet prisoners) were integrated into the war economy of
...there was a major shift of POW workers into
as the end of the war neared. Without coal and ore, the Japanese
economy was strangling. In January 1945 there were 244,571 Japanese
full-time coal mine workers, 28,047 Japanese short-time workers,
133,515 Koreans, 6,423 POWs, and 7,750 Chinese in a total work force of
420,306. Thus POWs made up only 1.5 percent of coal miners. Clearly,
the relative contribution to the labour pool by POWs was minimal.
Nevertheless, the demand for workers was endless, and more and more
POWs were shipped north to the Home Islands.
From: Long Night's Journey Into Day
by Charles G. Roland