Fukuoka #2
Gibbs Report

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Caution: The Gibbs reports were prepared post-war based upon assorted prisoner affidavits and, apparently, on the reports of the International Red Cross representatives in Japan who were notorious for their bias in favor of the Japanese.


FUKUOKA #2

PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS IN JAPAN AND JAPANESE CONTROLLED AREAS AS TAKEN FROM REPORTS OF INTERNED AMERICAN PRISONERS, LIAISON AND RESEARCH BRANCH, AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR INFORMATION BUREAU

By John M. Gibbs, 31 July 1946

Location, Prisoner Personnel, Guard Personnel, General Conditions, Movements

FUKUOKA CAMP #2 ON THE ISLAND OF KYUSHU. JAPAN

1. LOCATION:

This camp [Fukuoka #2] was located an the east side of Koyagi Shima about 5 miles out in the harbor from Nagasaki in the midwestern section of Kyushu Island. It was in a small cove at the water's edge and was about 1/2 mile south of the Kawanami Shipbuilding plant. To the west and south of the camp was a village, name unknown, but it was inhabited by the dockyard workers. Koyagi Shima is very hilly and it was necessary to cut a place out of the side of the hill in order to build the camp, even then it was very close to the edge of the water. Size of prison compound was 50' x 500' surrounded by a bamboo fence.

2. PRISONER PERSONNEL:

Maj. (later Lt. Col.) William K Horrigan, captured in Java was Senior officer, and with a detail of 160 Americans, reached Fukuoka Camp No. 2 an 7 Dec. 1942. Other officers in this detail were Maj. James A. Rinaman, Army Medical Carps who succeeded Maj. Horrigan, Maj. John W. Farley, Army Dental Carps; Lt. R.E. Michie and Lt. M.H. Straughan. There were 1290 Americans [Dutch & British?] prisoners at this camp when this detail arrived. Later some Australian prisoners arrived. Upon the departure of Col. Horrigan in Apr. 1945, the prisoner personnel was 1422.

3. GUARD PERSONNEL:

The Japanese camp officials were:

Maj. Katana, Camp Commandant.
Capt. Nasaki, Camp Commandant succeeding Katano
Lt. Matsumura, head of Japanese medical staff.
Sgt. Marina Hancha, Guard, Cruel. (This man fled the camp when it was liberated.)
Sgt. Estake, Guard, Cruel.
Corp. Masaaki Murai (Nickname: NAPOLEON; name added by Mansell-Tried & convicted- 8 years)
Supply Sgt. Yamakawa, crafty and thieving.
Mess Sgt. Yagoheiji Iwata - (Nickname: FLIP; name added by Mansell- tried & convicted- 12 years)
Interpreters: C. Haruyama and Akiyama.

4. GENERAL CONDITIONS:
(a) Housing Conditions: The American prisoners were housed in 2 large stucco an frame barracks partitioned off into roams about 30'x 60': Roofs, cement tile. Floor, cement. On either side of the rooms were double sleeping decks, 6' wide, the lower one 1-1/2' above the floor, and the upper with 5-1/2' elevation. Upright studding divided each deck into 7 bays. The floor width between decks was 8'. Ceiling elevation 10'. From 56 to 60 enlisted men were assigned to a single roam. The roams occupied by the officers also were 30' land but occupied by a smaller number of men. The barracks were not heated, and ventilation was very poor.

(b) Latrines: were installed in a separate building adjoining the barracks, of oriental squatting type, afforded semiprivacy. Cement tanks were underneath and they were allowed to overflow constantly. The latrine facilities were adequate, but far lack of attention the building was extremely foul all the time.

(c) Bathing: No special arrangement for bathing was made during the first year of occupancy. Later a steam bath (pool 15' x 30' x 4' located) in the bailer house was provided which improved conditions very materially. Water, which always was scarce, was brought from Nagasaki by a tanker and because of the uncertainty of maintaining an adequate supply, the water was piped to the camp from Nagasaki during the 2nd year. It was necessary to bail it before consumption.

(d) Mess Hall: Food was drawn from kitchen in buckets by prisoner couriers and carried to each room in the barracks.

(e) Food: The food situation at this camp was comparatively good up to Oct. 1943. Fish, rice, vegetables and meat, an occasions, were well prepared by the Japanese cooks, and served each day in fair quantity. In Oct. 1943 the ration was drastically reduced bath in quantity and variety. To illustrate:
(1) Prisoners performing hard labor in the shipyard were given 780 drams of rice per day.
(2) Light workers & convalescents were given 530 grams of rice per day.
(3) Officers not performing physical labor were given 350 grams of rice per day.

The food was allocated in bulk and usually was equally shared by the prisoners, officers and enlisted men alike. During the first 1 '/z years each prisoner was issued one canteen cup of water per day, however, this was increased after installation of the pipe line. The camp diet was not supplemented by Red Crass issue although the prisoners working at the shipyard were able to obtain additional items of food occasionally. Far a while bread was served at the noon meal but usually it was sour. However, goaded by hunger, it was eaten by the prisoners. Generally the quality of the mess was poor after October 1943.

(f) Medical Facilities: Two large roams had been set aside far hospital cases. When the detail of 160 men reached this camp in Dec. 1942 there were 1 English and 3 Dutch doctors to care far the sick prisoners.
The American doctors and medical orderlies in this detail handled all of the American hospital cases. During the first winter the death rate was extremely high, averaging about 1-1/2 deaths per day with 3 as the maximum for the entire camp. The principal causes of death were pneumonia, dysentery, beriberi and infections, and even then, if medicines ha been available, the death rate would not have been as high. All surgery was performed by the Japanese doctors based on diagnoses of the American doctors. The Japanese doctor was pronounced to be responsible for the death of several men because of his unreasonable policies and reluctance to use remedies at hand.

(g) Supplies:
(1) Red Cross, YMCA, other Relief. As usual the Japanese camp officials were hoarding the supplies received from the American and British Red Cross societies. To illustrate, small quantities of medical supplies were issued in April 1943 and was duplicated about one year later. The commandant refused to release additional medical supplies after April 1944 notwithstanding a considerable supply in store. For a period of 2-1/2 years the prisoners received 3 % Red Cross food parcels each year. The Japanese camp officials expropriated Red Cross supplies quite openly.
(2) Japanese Issue: The officers were fairly well clothed in badly worn Japanese Military Uniforms but the enlisted men working in the shipyard were very inadequately clad and suffered greatly from the cold. Many cases of pneumonia developed. Particularly lacking were such items as sweaters, coveralls, wool shirts, socks & handkerchiefs. The issue of medicine & medical supplies was niggardly & Red Cross supplies were hoarded.

(h) Mail:
(1) Incoming: A small quantity of mail was received in 1944 and 1945. Next of kin parcels, a few in number, were received but were rifled. Articles were removed before delivery to the prisoners and the parcels were so badly repacked by the Japanese examiner that much waste occurred. Many of the items were in such shape that they were destroyed by the prisoners.
(2) Outgoing: The prisoners could not send letter mail but were permitted to use cards occasionally.

(i) Work: The type of work carried on in this camp was ship building and ship repairs. The prisoners performed such services as caulking, riveting, welding and gas cutting and composing hammer gangs. Officers below the rank of major were compelled to work until about 1 June 1944, after which time they were compelled to work in the garden. The American detail of prisoners at first totaled about 120 prisoners, but by reason of weakness and other forms of debility the number soon dropped to about 70. The working personnel was,arbitrarily, determined by the Japanese medical officer whose selections were often made against the advice of the American medical officers. Working conditions were dangerous due to lack of safety measures. Many prisoners were killed and a large number were seriously injured which could have been prevented through even rudimentary precautions upon the part of the ship building company. The work hours were long and very few holidays were given.

(j) Treatment: The prisoners were forced to work under any weather conditions although inadequately clothed and under nourished. Fever in excess of 102 was the only excuse for release from work provided the prisoners could move around. Beatings were numerous and 2 guards named Hancho and Estaki were particularly cruel. To illustrate a civilian [Reed, Harry Eldron] about 50 years of age taken prisoner on Wake Island, who refused to work on account of sickness was beaten into unconsciousness with clubs on 3 occasions during the same day. The guards would revive him by the inhuman water treatment, and the beatings would be renewed.. The prisoner died the same day as a direct result of this treatment [2 days later]. The Japanese medical officer pronounced the cause as heart failure and the American medical officer was compelled to enter in his report "death by heart failure." In this camp, as in the most of the other Japanese prison camps, the prisoners, through malnutrition were suffering from beriberi, dysentery, diarrhea and general debility.

The camp commandant took but little interest in the administration of this camp. He and his medical officer were charged by the prisoner personnel of condoning individual beatings and mass punishment. Thievery by his staff and refusal to take steps to provide adequate food, clothing and medical supplies.

(k) Pay:
(1) Officers: The same as Japanese officers of comparable rank, were paid 20 yen per month and the remainder in postal savings.
(2) Enlisted men: 10 to 20 sen per day.

(I) Recreation: There were two phonographs in prisoners quarters. Through the YMCA, a supply of baseballs, gloves, basketballs, volleyballs, ping pong and all accessories had been provided but none of this equipment could be used without consent of the Japanese camp administration.

(m) Religious Activities: None until the summer of 1943 when, upon arrival of an Australian Catholic Priest, mass was said twice monthly. No Protestant services were conducted.

(n) Morale: Poor

5. MOVEMENTS:

A group of 6 men in leaving #2 on 25 April 1945 passed through Nagasaki and Fukuoka, thence by steamer to Fusan, Korea, and then by train to Hoten #2 at Mukden Manchuria. Camp was liberated 13 Sept. 1945 (known to have included, Hollis G. Allen (131st FA), M.A.Strughan (131st FA) and P. Egan (MS Francoll?).