High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by historygeek2021 » 18 Mar 2021 04:32

I noticed recently that the Japenese suffered an extremely high portion of their casualties in their Pacific island battles with the United States as deaths (close to 100% in many, many battles). In nearly every battle throughout history, most casualties take the form of wounded. But in the Pacific theater, there were very few wounded Japanese, and also very few taken prisoner.

When this comes up, it's usually dismissed as the Japanese being fanatical zealots who fought to the death and all killed themselves, but, I can't help but think that what really happened is that racist American marines murdered the Japanese. But America won these battles, and there were very few if any Japanese survivors, so who can dispute what the Americans say?

Does anyone know any good resources on this?

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021 04:45

historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 04:32
I noticed recently that the Japenese suffered an extremely high portion of their casualties in their Pacific island battles with the United States as deaths (close to 100% in many, many battles). In nearly every battle throughout history, most casualties take the form of wounded. But in the Pacific theater, there were very few wounded Japanese, and also very few taken prisoner.

When this comes up, it's usually dismissed as the Japanese being fanatical zealots who fought to the death and all killed themselves, but, I can't help but think that what really happened is that racist American marines murdered the Japanese. But America won these battles, and there were very few if any Japanese survivors, so who can dispute what the Americans say?

Does anyone know any good resources on this?
Yes, but given your statement on what you "think" happened above and apparent inability to find the existing sources on your own, what evidence would persuade you otherwise?

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by historygeek2021 » 18 Mar 2021 05:23

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 04:45
historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 04:32
I noticed recently that the Japenese suffered an extremely high portion of their casualties in their Pacific island battles with the United States as deaths (close to 100% in many, many battles). In nearly every battle throughout history, most casualties take the form of wounded. But in the Pacific theater, there were very few wounded Japanese, and also very few taken prisoner.

When this comes up, it's usually dismissed as the Japanese being fanatical zealots who fought to the death and all killed themselves, but, I can't help but think that what really happened is that racist American marines murdered the Japanese. But America won these battles, and there were very few if any Japanese survivors, so who can dispute what the Americans say?

Does anyone know any good resources on this?
Yes, but given your statement on what you "think" happened above and apparent inability to find the existing sources on your own, what evidence would persuade you otherwise?
I'm asking if anyone knows more about this.

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 2211
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by Cult Icon » 18 Mar 2021 05:44

I have several, but mostly not on American war crimes against the Japanese- more about Bushido and Zen & how this cultivated an environment of fanaticism. It must be emphasized that you must understand Buddhism to have a little understanding of Bushido. Without understanding of Buddhism it is difficult for a Westerner/Christian/Secular humanist to understand the far different ethical logic pertaining to Bushido & life and death.

The "Hagakure", the book of the samurai was popular among Japanese soldiers and is essential reading on Samurai ethics. Samurai and Zen by DT Suzuki

Brian Daizen Victoria has several books, including Zen at War and Zen War Stories that explore the connection between Japanese Zen and Japanese nationalistic militarism.


There is detailed book about American racist proproganda, particularly against the Japanese on WW2 called "War without Mercy". The book has a large photo gallery of such paraphernalia.

https://www.amazon.com/War-Without-Merc ... 0394751728

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by historygeek2021 » 18 Mar 2021 06:11

Cult Icon wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:44
I have several, but mostly not on American war crimes against the Japanese- more about Bushido and Zen & how this cultivated an environment of fanaticism. It must be emphasized that you must understand Buddhism to have a little understanding of Bushido. Without understanding of Buddhism it is difficult for a Westerner/Christian/Secular humanist to understand the far different ethical logic pertaining to Bushido & life and death.

The "Hagakure", the book of the samurai was popular among Japanese soldiers and is essential reading on Samurai ethics. Samurai and Zen by DT Suzuki

Brian Daizen Victoria has several books, including Zen at War and Zen War Stories that explore the connection between Japanese Zen and Japanese nationalistic militarism.


There is detailed book about American racist proproganda, particularly against the Japanese on WW2 called "War without Mercy". The book has a large photo gallery of such paraphernalia.

https://www.amazon.com/War-Without-Merc ... 0394751728
Thanks. I'm sure there were many fanatical Japanese soldiers who fought to the death and committed suicide rather than surrender. I just have a hard time believing that all of the Japanese did this. Most battlefield casualties are wounded. How does a wounded man kill himself? Did the Japanese have a dedicated "honor force" that murdered its own wounded so they wouldn't be captured? How were they able to kill every last one of their soldiers before the U.S. marines arrived to take them prisoner?

I will check out War Without Mercy. Sounds like it's exactly what I'm looking for.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021 07:10

historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 05:23
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 Mar 2021 04:45
historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 04:32
I noticed recently that the Japenese suffered an extremely high portion of their casualties in their Pacific island battles with the United States as deaths (close to 100% in many, many battles). In nearly every battle throughout history, most casualties take the form of wounded. But in the Pacific theater, there were very few wounded Japanese, and also very few taken prisoner.

When this comes up, it's usually dismissed as the Japanese being fanatical zealots who fought to the death and all killed themselves, but, I can't help but think that what really happened is that racist American marines murdered the Japanese. But America won these battles, and there were very few if any Japanese survivors, so who can dispute what the Americans say?

Does anyone know any good resources on this?
Yes, but given your statement on what you "think" happened above and apparent inability to find the existing sources on your own, what evidence would persuade you otherwise?
I'm asking if anyone knows more about this.
See:

Doyle, Robert C. (2010). The Enemy in Our Hands: America's Treatment of Enemy Prisoners of War, from the Revolution to the War on Terror
Gilmore, Allison B. (1998). You can't fight tanks with bayonets: psychological warfare against the Japanese Army in the Southwest Pacific
Straus, Ulrich (2003). The Anguish of Surrender: Japanese POWs of World War II

Eugen Pinak
Member
Posts: 1021
Joined: 16 Jun 2004 16:09
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by Eugen Pinak » 18 Mar 2021 13:47

historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 04:32
I noticed recently that the Japenese suffered an extremely high portion of their casualties in their Pacific island battles with the United States as deaths (close to 100% in many, many battles). In nearly every battle throughout history, most casualties take the form of wounded. But in the Pacific theater, there were very few wounded Japanese, and also very few taken prisoner.

When this comes up, it's usually dismissed as the Japanese being fanatical zealots who fought to the death and all killed themselves, but, I can't help but think that what really happened is that racist American marines murdered the Japanese. But America won these battles, and there were very few if any Japanese survivors, so who can dispute what the Americans say?

Does anyone know any good resources on this?
I can see two fault in your logic.
1. Total lack of evidence about US soldiers murdering scores of Japanese prisoners.
2. Many evidence about Japanese soldiers (and civilians) killing themselves - out of fanaticism, propaganda or other reasons.

Of course, this doesn't mean, that all US soldiers were all saints, who never hated Japanese and never killed a single Japanese prisoner. You can find mentions of this even in official US histories. But regular and mass murders for years without a single evidence or witness - sorry, I don't believe in miracles.

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by historygeek2021 » 18 Mar 2021 14:04

Eugen Pinak wrote:
18 Mar 2021 13:47
historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 04:32
I noticed recently that the Japenese suffered an extremely high portion of their casualties in their Pacific island battles with the United States as deaths (close to 100% in many, many battles). In nearly every battle throughout history, most casualties take the form of wounded. But in the Pacific theater, there were very few wounded Japanese, and also very few taken prisoner.

When this comes up, it's usually dismissed as the Japanese being fanatical zealots who fought to the death and all killed themselves, but, I can't help but think that what really happened is that racist American marines murdered the Japanese. But America won these battles, and there were very few if any Japanese survivors, so who can dispute what the Americans say?

Does anyone know any good resources on this?
I can see two fault in your logic.
1. Total lack of evidence about US soldiers murdering scores of Japanese prisoners.
2. Many evidence about Japanese soldiers (and civilians) killing themselves - out of fanaticism, propaganda or other reasons.

Of course, this doesn't mean, that all US soldiers were all saints, who never hated Japanese and never killed a single Japanese prisoner. You can find mentions of this even in official US histories. But regular and mass murders for years without a single evidence or witness - sorry, I don't believe in miracles.
"Researchers for a TV series to be broadcast on Channel 4 this month have unearthed disturbing and previously unseen footage from the Second World War which had languished forgotten in archives for 57 years.The images are so horrific senior television executives had to be consulted before they were considered fit for broadcast.

"The film, shot in colour, was taken by an unknown combat cameraman in 1944 during fighting on the Pacific Island of Peleliu. It includes scenes of American soldiers shooting Japanese wounded as they lie prone on the ground.

"In another scene on the Japanese island of Okinawa a year later, a US soldier is filmed dragging a wounded enemy from a hiding place. Although the man has his ankles tied together, two bullets are fired into his knees and then, while he is still moving, shots are fired into his chest and head."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/ ... reducation

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by historygeek2021 » 18 Mar 2021 14:20

This appears to be the documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CFagMPyD8Q

Eugen Pinak
Member
Posts: 1021
Joined: 16 Jun 2004 16:09
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by Eugen Pinak » 18 Mar 2021 16:32

historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 14:04
"Researchers for a TV series to be broadcast on Channel 4 this month have unearthed disturbing and previously unseen footage from the Second World War which had languished forgotten in archives for 57 years.The images are so horrific senior television executives had to be consulted before they were considered fit for broadcast.
...
Cool. Now all you need to prove your theory is something like 300000 to 500000 more evidences of Allied soldiers killing Japanese POWs... as well as Japanese, New Guinean, Philippine, Polynesian, etc. witnesses of their crimes.

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by historygeek2021 » 18 Mar 2021 16:35

Amazing that people are so quick to deny the possibility that American marines committed the same atrocities that basically every other country's soldiers committed in every war ...

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 920
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by Gary Kennedy » 18 Mar 2021 17:25

I think the central problem is that you have already reached your conclusion. In your argument it is inconceivable that the IJA would behave in a different manner to other armies, across the same or similar periods, when it came to surrender. Similarly that there would be any different outcome as regards wounded men between the Japanese, US, German, Soviet, etc armies. Because there was such a huge disparity and you have concluded the cause widely regarded for this cannot be true, there must be another reason.

You can add plenty more examples in this thread of abhorrent behaviour towards Japanese troops by Allied troops. The sum of those incidents will not entirely explain the disparity between fatalities and PoWs in the Japanese forces. It is perfectly possible for that reality to coexist with the reality that the driving force behind the scale of death of Japanese soldiers, sailors and airmen was due to the doctrine of their own service. The USMC did not invent the suicide tactics used by the IJA against US tanks, and the USN did not invent the kamikaze form of attack against warships. The Japanese implemented and accepted those tactics themselves. They did embrace suicide as a tactic. Overlaying the more widely held dismissal of that view on the Imperial Japanese psyche of the 1930s and 1940s and assuming they believed in the sanctity of human life in a way that you can recognise don't make it true.

Gary

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by historygeek2021 » 18 Mar 2021 17:33

Likewise, you have reached your conclusion that the Japanese were different from everyone else in human history and all decided to kill themselves.

You also believe the Americans were different from everyone else in history and wouldn't possibly commit mass murder.

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 920
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by Gary Kennedy » 18 Mar 2021 17:51

Well I haven't said either of those absolute statements.

Did the IJA use soldiers as munitions? Did the IJN use pilots as components of flying bombs? Did they plan to incorporate more human beings as the guidance system for weapons? Yes. Does that make them different from the armies they fought? Yes it does.

Did Japanese soldiers, sailors and civilians kill themselves? Yes, they did.

These are established facts and they have a great bearing on your question re the high death rate in the Japanese forces. If you're fashioning an argument surely they must be addressed?

Gary

User avatar
Takao
Member
Posts: 3301
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 19:27
Location: Reading, Pa

Re: High Japanese death rate in Pacific island battles

Post by Takao » 18 Mar 2021 19:41

historygeek2021 wrote:
18 Mar 2021 16:35
Amazing that people are so quick to deny the possibility that American marines committed the same atrocities that basically every other country's soldiers committed in every war ...
That atrocities took place is not the question...But how prevalent were they. The information presented so far have been isolated incidents.

Further, film clips only show one side of the story. Were any of the marines interviewed to give their experiences fighting the Japanese? I am reminded of that famous Vietnam War photo where the VC is shot in the head - There is no explanation with the photo that the VC had just participated in the execution of an ARVN officer & his family.

Return to “WW2 in the Pacific & Asia”