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.
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
Guard Personnel, General Conditions, Movements
FUKUOKA CAMP #2 ON THE ISLAND OF KYUSHU. JAPAN
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
Sgt. Estake, Guard, Cruel.
(Nickname: NAPOLEON; name added by Mansell-Tried
& convicted- 8 years)
Supply Sgt. Yamakawa, crafty and thieving.
Mess Sgt. Yagoheiji
- (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
(d) Mess Hall: Food was drawn from kitchen
in buckets by prisoner couriers and carried to each room in the
(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
(3) Officers not performing physical labor were given 350 grams of rice
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
(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.
(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
(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.
(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 102º 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
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.
(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
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?).