Pu Yi as Witness

In his 1946 testimony at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Trials), Pu Yi, the former Emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, proved to be an exceptionally difficult witness. The following extract from the IMFTE Proceedings (p. 4,085) seems to capture the obdurate and unproductive nature of his eight-day appearance at Tokyo. Q. On what date was Manchukuo established as a … Continue reading Pu Yi as Witness

Germ Warfare and Panda Diplomacy in Tokyo: Unit 731 Excavations

This is a cross-post from my Japanese War Crimes blog. — AC Unit 731, the bacteriological warfare research wing of the Kanto Army in Manchuria, has been discussed in Japan with varying degrees of postwar intensity, but this discovery in Tokyo last week (via the Guardian) seems poised to bring the activities — and the difficult subject of history in Sino-Japanese relations — back out … Continue reading Germ Warfare and Panda Diplomacy in Tokyo: Unit 731 Excavations

Stories to Follow

I recommend you watch how these stories develop, since most of them have yet to be really reported in the Anglophone press: 1. Legacies of Japanese imperialism in Manchuria Chinese government organizations and affiliated NGOs are engaged in a struggle to get the old Unit 731 facility (the commemorative site for Japanese biological weapons research and atrocities outside of northeastern city of Harbin) listed as … Continue reading Stories to Follow

BW Use in the Korean War: Questioning the Record

Although Russian documents have allegedly put this controversy to rest, scholars and governments continue to probe at the question of communist allegations of American bacteriological weapons use in the Korean War.  Both North Korea and the PRC continue to maintain in their textbooks and war museums that the U.S. used bacteriological weapons (themselves originally developed by Japanese Unit 731 in Harbin in the 1930s) over … Continue reading BW Use in the Korean War: Questioning the Record

Unit 731: Korean Victims and World Heritage

As anyone who has read Sheldon Harris’ essential book Factories of Death can tell you, the actions of the Japanese Kwantung Army’s “Water Purification Unit” 731 based outside of Harbin were ghastly and inhumane in the extreme.  And although Unit 731’s mastermind, that European traveller and student of WWI, Ishii Shiro, tried to have the whole immense facility razed before the Soviet Red Army arrived … Continue reading Unit 731: Korean Victims and World Heritage


Everybody loves stories, facts mixed in with dangerous interpretive tinctures.  But today is a day of no comment, of comet-less commas, of post-somatic traumas which embalm us with twisted tatoos of Sarah Palin’s soft-from-unemployment-yet-ready-for-stigmata palms. What a wicked few days its been among the commentariat — probably the only thing really worth reading stems from Alabama, and the mind of one Qiang Zhai.  Nothing has … Continue reading Stories