Archival documents that shed light on the activities of “Detachment 731” were opened relatively recently at the request of Katsuo Nishiyama, a professor at the University of Medical Sciences. And this “organization” became widely known after the publication of the book “Devil’s Kitchen” by the Japanese scientist Morimura Seiichi. In the preface, the author honestly warns that after reading you can lose faith in humanity.
“Detachment 731” was officially called the General Directorate for Water Supply and Prevention of the Kwantung Army, its main tasks were the development of bacteriological weapons and the study of the limits of the capabilities of the human body.
The idea to create such a type of weapon appeared in the late 1920s, then the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR were considered as probable opponents. The head of the work was a Japanese microbiologist, Shiro Ishii, who visited the leading European laboratories for this.
It was decided to build their own Japanese laboratories near the city of Harbin on the territory of occupied Manchuria, and they started working in 1936 and existed until 1945. For nine years, about 3,000 people have passed through the hands of specialists, and they have been subjected to cruel experiments. Most of them were Chinese – 70%, about 30% – Soviet citizens and very few Koreans, Mongols and others.
Experiments, which were called exclusively “logs”, were infected with the most dangerous diseases and watched their torment, everything was documented in detail, photographs were taken, and artists were attracted to capture the process in colors. Experimented also on children and pregnant women. Those who recovered were infected again. In addition, experiments with vivisection were carried out, people were deprived of vital organs and watched what was happening to them.
The experiments were ended on August 9, 1945, when Soviet troops entered Manchuria, and the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The laboratories were blown up, ordinary members of “Detachment 731” was captured by the Soviet Union and were sentenced to different terms. Only senior officers and Shiro Ishii managed to escape to Japan. In exchange for their freedom, they handed over the documents that the US military managed to save.
Ciro Ishii reached the rank of lieutenant general and died in 1959. There is evidence that he continued cooperation with the Americans. Other officers in the last years of his life ventured to share the memories that formed the basis of the book of Morimur Seiichi.