Info required about biological weapons

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Acolyte
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Info required about biological weapons

Post by Acolyte » 13 Mar 2007 18:10

Greetings everyone,

I'm writing a short essay for a university course about the biological weapons program of Japan before 1945. I'd be glad to be directed to websites in English with reliable information about this subject. Any help will be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Acolyte

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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 14 Mar 2007 03:32

Here is Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Part I: Warfare, Weaponry, and the Casualty, (Office of the Surgeon General, US Army, 1997).

This is a large-format text of more than 700 pages, but for your purposes you will be interested in chapter 2 "A History of Chemical and Biological Warfare" pages 31-44, and chapter 18, "Historical Overview of Biological Warfare" pages 415-418. Both of these cover Japan's germ warfare program under the infamous General Shiro Ishii.

Osaka City University professor Takashi Tsuchiya gave this presentation to an international science and history congress in Beijing in 2005. The bibliography is outstanding, but much of it is Japanese sources not easily available outside that country -- or even in it, my guess would be.

This essay is a shorter, similar exposition by the same author, in connection with a International Bioethics journal.

Chinese (Taiwan) author Tien-wei-Wu, wrote this paper, similar to what he wrote for the Chinese Holocaust Museum in California (original paper and site are unavailable while the site is under construction, apparently). It focuses more on the shameful American deal allowing Ishii to escape prosecution for war crimes in exchange for what findings he was willing or claiming to give. Wu seems less scholarly but makes his point, and although I myself don't agree with all he wrote.

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Since you asked for on-line sources for a short paper, I gave just the above for a start.

There have been some outstanding books about Japanese BW in recent years, but they often imply just how much we don't know. The Japanese references have not been more widely translated for the most part. Many of them naturally rely on the testimony of surviving Unit 731 participants since leading figures such as Ishii, Kitano, and others would not have talked openly of course. Many of these are compiled in English in Hal Gold's Unit 731 Testimony (Tuttle Publishing, 1996).

One of the better-known confessors who participated in Unit 731, Yoshio Shinozuka, appeared in an article, "Weapons of Mass Destruction" for National Geographic magazine (May 2002, pages 12-13). In it he holds a model photo of a vivisection in progress. This model was one of a series from a privately-sponsored exhibit about Unit 731 that toured Japan in 1993.

Probably one of the best technical sources is the late Sheldon Harris' Factories of Death (Routledge Books, revised edition 2002). He covers various other wartime Japanese BW activities, many far away from Unit 731. Harris, like almost all authors on Japanese BW, relied on the excerpts of Soviet transcripts of Materials on the Trial of Former Servicemen of the Japanese Army Charged with Manufacturing and Employing Bacteriological Weapons (Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1950).

Most popular short mention of Japanese BW focuses mainly on Unit 731 in Manchuria. But there were associated Units 100 and 516, and other BW centers like Unit 1855 at Peking, Unit 1644 at Nanking, Unit 8604 at Canton, and Unit 9420 at Singapore. This does not count many small field BW units reported in Japan, its territories, and throughout occupied Asia.

I strongly believe that there is much more to be discovered about the BW program, even today. Hal Gold made a similar point in his book's introduction. Such new findings will probably be in fragments. But like the perpetrator testimonies, these too should be put on wider historical record no matter how fragmentary they are.

If I can be of more assistance. please let me know.

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Acolyte
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Post by Acolyte » 14 Mar 2007 19:32

Excellent! Thanks for all the links!

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