The Asian Holocaust: Forgotten Horrors

April 13, 2018

Most people know about the atrocities committed during the European Holocaust. Hitler’s enactment of the “Final Solution” led to the death of an estimated ten-to-twelve-million human beings. At the same time, similar acts committed by the Empire of Japan occurred in Asia.  There should be more education which covers the Japanese regime during the Age of Imperialism, The Second Sino-Japanese War and during World War II.

In the early 20th century, Japan’s goal was to acquire more territory for natural resources. Japan has little natural resources of its own. The invasion by the Japanese into Pacific and East Asian territories caused mass destruction and loss of life. Japan took the lives of hundreds of thousands Chinese men, women and children – civilians and soldiers of the Republic of China – during the invasion of Nanking, China in 1937. In addition, up to eighty-thousand women were sexually assaulted by Japanese soldiers and many civilians were subjected to cruel and unusual forms of torture. The end of World War II, however, brought little closure to the mass devastation caused by the Japanese; as General Matsui Iwane and his Lieutenant, Tani Hisao were tried and executed.

Unthinkable operations, including human experimentation committed by Nazi doctors and physicians, were widespread. Nazi concentration camps wanted to test the limits of the human body. Similarly, the Japanese Empire created “Unit 731” to research warfare, by using lethal human experimentation and procedure, between the years of 1937 and 1945. Led by Lieutenant-General Ishii Shrio, its headquarters in Harbin, China employed over three-thousand Japanese researchers who would carry out horrific means of scientific analysis with the help of Japanese soldiers, on captured prisoners. Their experiments varied from implanting disease into individuals (to see its affects on certain organs), seeing how long one could with stand freezing temperatures, recording the reactions from survivors of chemical and radioactive warfare, carrying out vivisection on conscious prisoners, and artificially impregnating captive women. In total, an estimated three-thousand Russian, Korean, Mongolian and Chinese died, just at Harbin alone.

Many other camps similar to Unit 731 have been documented, but the total number of deaths caused by these units remains unknown.

Other atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II included cannibalism, starvation, mass executions, forced prostitution and incest.

It is imperative that we continue to discuss all events related to genocide in order to see a brighter future, not just the popular ones. Recognition of the Asian Holocaust and all of its victims is necessary to better understand why such horrendous crimes are committed, and how those crimes can eventually lead to genocide.