Japanese POW's in the USSR?

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varjag
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Japanese POW's in the USSR?

Post by varjag » 23 Mar 2004 13:47

Just read that 'the last' Japanese POW's in the USSR were returned to Japan IN 1992? Oh Lord - 47 years in the Gulag? How did anyone survive that - if true? Or - were Japanese POW's subject to some special treatment - being non-Soviet citizens? Have read somewhere that Japanese officers were force-fed when hungerstriking back in 1948-50. A treatment never available to the native 'Zeks' that were allowed to die as they pleased. Anyone have more info on Japanese in Soviet camps?

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hisashi
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Post by hisashi » 23 Mar 2004 18:08

Hi,
I don't know any fact exactly corresponding to your reading. The following is facts generally known in Japan.
Because diplomatic relations between Soviet and Japan delayed to be recovered under cold war, POWs in Soviet came back relatively later. Though most POWs in other country (except war criminals) returned to Japan by 1947, those in Soviet came back from 1946 to 1950. Once in 1950 Soviet government declared all were returned, but Japan claimed that so many Japaneses, who surely had been at Soviet's hands, remained not returned. Repeatedly Soviet showed a list of Japaneses in Soviet and explained many of them hoped to remain in Soviet. In 1957 the last list from Soviet states 568 Japaneses in Soviet hoped to be in Soviet. Note that in 1956, after the diplomatic relation was established, Soviet returned all war criminals to Japan, so all remaining persons were already Soviet citizens. The rest of Japaneses came back to Japan by 1953.
Japanese government and citizens suspected Soviet kept Japaneses as cheap labor force for Sivelia, but it was true that some Japaneses married with Russians and/or inclined to communism.
At least one of them visited Japan and returned to Russia in 1992 after the collapse of CIS. He had two sons in Russia and had worked for Soviet government.
It is unlikely that any Japanese stayed in camp until 1992; if so, I would notice that news in 1992.

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 23 Mar 2004 23:04

Did you hear about a Russian parliament member Irina Hakamada? I heard she was a doughter of a former Japanese POW, who decided so stay in the Soviet Union. Hakamada was the candidate for the president of Russia during the last elections. Her score was really not bad.

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13thredarmy
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Post by 13thredarmy » 24 Mar 2004 10:07

It's an interesting subject, estimates of as many as 300,000 japanese taken prisoner.

In Odesa, Ukraine the beautiful opera house is known by locals as the Japanese Opera House as it was rebuilt Jap. POW's. Away from the Soviet far east Jap. POW's were reportedly well treated by Russian civilians so it wouldn't surprise me if many really did want to remain in the SU compared conditins and shame which would await them at home.

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Post by varjag » 24 Mar 2004 11:18

Thanks v. much fella's for your thought-provoking replies. Surprise - the fact that some of them prefferred to stay in the USSR - and even married there, suggests a process where they were actually let out of the camps - but not allowed to leave the USSR.(?) General living conditions in the USSR would probably not have seemed as horrible to the average Japanese - as they would to a German or Italian - another explanation for this phenomenon.
And thanks '13th Army' for the snippet about the Odessa Operahouse - had never heard that one before. Perhaps Maisov or Musashi can furnish some figures of how many actually came back from Russia - of the odd 300 000 - reputedly taken prisoners by the Russians.

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hisashi
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Post by hisashi » 24 Mar 2004 12:47

Musashi wrote:Did you hear about a Russian parliament member Irina Hakamada? I heard she was a doughter of a former Japanese POW, who decided so stay in the Soviet Union. Hakamada was the candidate for the president of Russia during the last elections. Her score was really not bad.

Irina's father, Mutsuo Hakamada, was a communist who made policical asylum to Soviet just before the world war II and got the nationality of Soviet. He is far from POW; his brother, Satomi Hakamada, arrested in 1935 and was in prison until 1945 in Japan, became vice chair (No.2) of Japan Communist Party. She is going the way totally against her father and an uncle.

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 24 Mar 2004 20:10

13thredarmy wrote:It's an interesting subject, estimates of as many as 300,000 japanese taken prisoner.

From what I've read the Japanese captured in Manchuria by Soviets in Aug. 1945 were 594,000 (source: The Soviet Army Offensive: Manchuria, 1945). :?
Were only 300,000 soldiers kept as PoWs after the end of the war? :? By the way, do you know how many of them died after the capture?

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Post by Larso » 25 Mar 2004 08:35

Last year there was a story about a former Japanese soldier who was never released to return home. It wasn't as if he was in a Gulag all that time, as he married and had kids in the USSR. For whatever reason he was 'rediscovered' last year and went back to Japan to meet his relatives though he'd forgotten how to speak Japanese. It was an amazing story. I thought he may well have been 'forgotten' by the Soviet officials but managed to make a reasonable life for himself until there was no point in his going home.

In 'Devil on my shoulder' a former 13th Pz soldier remembered the day the Germans in his camp were finally released. There were 20 of them there but only nineteen names were 'on the list'. There was no suggestion that the other fellow was SS or whatever and being in line for further punishment, he was just forgotten or the victim of a beaurocratic (?) stuff up. I always wondered what became of that guy and indeed whether there were any others. I guess there were.......

Eugene (J. Baker)
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Post by Eugene (J. Baker) » 25 Mar 2004 13:26

594 000 it is number of Japanese captured all over Manchzhuria, North Korea, South Sakhalin and Couril islands, incl. 170 generals and 26000 officers.

After 28 aug. 1945 Soviet state defense council published order #9898-ss and interned 500 groups of POWs (1000 men per group, probably more). As mentioned in article on http://www.japantoday.ru/japanaz/v18.shtml clear number of dead and killed is unknown but it is about 60 000-80 000, 80% of which died in winter 1945-1946.

since 1946 till 1956 about 500 000 of POWs were repatriated.

Last official group of POWs (1025 men) was repatriated 23 Dec. 1956

Now about 200 000 former POWs are alive and about 60 organizations of former POWs exists in Japan.

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 25 Mar 2004 18:26

Thank you Eugene for your detailed info. :)

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Post by Eugene (J. Baker) » 26 Mar 2004 15:14

DrG wrote:Thank you Eugene for your detailed info. :)


You welcome :)

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Japanese POW's in the USSR?

Post by Simon Gunson » 28 Mar 2004 18:25

The Soviets attacked Manchuria and Korea after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fighting did not stop in Korea until late september 1945.

Some of those captured were reputedly nuclear scientists of Japan's project to build an atomic bomb in North Korea. Others were involved with Unit 731 which pursued biological warfare methods. Methinks the real reason why Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed was to force Japan's surrender before Stalin could capture these laboratories.

Some of those captured in Manchuria may have been Indians fighting for Japan recruited by Indian nationalist Chandra s Bose. Bose was sent by Hitler on the U-180 to help with Japan's war effort against the British.

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Japanese POW's in the USSR?

Post by Simon Gunson » 01 Apr 2004 05:00

Eugene's answer is corroborated by something I read in a book called Unit 731 by Peter Williams and David Wallace, which gave "estimates" of
600,000 Japanese prisoners and 80,000 killed by Soviet advances from 14 August 1945

8)

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Post by Richard Daehler » 26 Jun 2004 21:12

Japanese POW in the SU:
:|
My graduation thesis at Zurich/Switzerland University is titled
"The Japanese Prisoners of War in the Soviet Union 1945-1956.
How they describe their vicissitudes with texts and pictures".
129 pages, plus each 18 pages of English, Russian and Japanese
abridged versions. The abridged versions are available by email,
the full text on CD Rom, free of charge.

My dissertation thesis, to be completed in 2007:
"The Japanese and German Prisoners of War in the Soviet Union
1945-1956. Comparison of accounts". The frame of this diss.
is available in German/English/Japanese/Russian.

I am interested in contacts with people active in the same field.

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Klemen L.
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Post by Klemen L. » 29 Jun 2004 00:56

Just read that 'the last' Japanese POW's in the USSR were returned to Japan IN 1992?


I think that this refer to a visit of a former Japanese POW who stayed in Soviet Union after the war, married a local girl and returned to Japan for the first time in early 1990s. As it has been already stated here few of them remained in USSR and started a new life. A Soviet document of 1949 contains the following numbers of POWs in USSR: 2,079,000 Germans, 1,220,000 Non-Germans (Italians, Romanians, Hungarians, Poles and others, including few Belgians, Dutch, Danish etc.) and 590,000 Japanese. According to the report 590,000 POWs died in the gulags. Another report on the other hands says that Soviets took 2,388,000 Germans, 1,097,000 other European soldiers (mostly Italians, Hungarians, Romanians, Belgians, Dutch, French, Poles…) and 600,000 Japanese. s far as the Japanese are concerned most of them died in the hars winter of 1945-46, when according to the estimates of the Japanese government one in ten perished in Soviet captivity.

Maisov:
Irina's father, Mutsuo Hakamada, was a communist who made policical asylum to Soviet just before the world war II and got the nationality of Soviet.


Question for Maisov: Do you know how did he escape to USSR? Did he choose the same path as Okada spouses (she was a famous actress in Japan before the war and he was a known Japanese communist) in late 1930s, who escaped to USSR on Karafuto after tricking the Kempetai and Border Guards?

Last official group of POWs (1025 men) was repatriated 23 Dec. 1956


Eugene: Where were most Japanese POWs taken to? To Dalstroi, Kargopollag, Minlag, Vorkutlag, Rechlag, Yyatlag, Gorlag, Steplag? Do you happen to know when the first gulags were opened on Sakhalin Island? My map of Gulags at their zenith in 1939-1953 show that Sakhalin housed two gulag camps – one around Koton or Smirnyh and another one in the north around Oha.

129 pages, plus each 18 pages of English, Russian and Japanese abridged versions. The abridged versions are available by email, the full text on CD Rom, free of charge.


Richard, I would be very much interested in reading your manuscript! How can I obtain it?

lp,

Klemen

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