Japanese atrocities Japanese lust for massacre and torture in China and the Philippines. Japanese soldiers were instructed in the beheading and bayoneting of prisoners, to harden them “for the task of murdering,” and to the numb them to the human instinct against killing non-combatants. When however we turn to detailed accounts of Japanese atrocities, there is little evidence that they were designed to be displayed in order to control the affected population. In her research for her important book, The Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang was told that the Japanese consciously cultivated a tactic of atrocity to demoralize China, as the Mongols had before them.
Conspiratorial colonels Japanese attitudes towards atrocity varied widely, reflecting profound differences within the military itself. Both Nanking and the Philippines were nominally under the command of generals (Matsui and Homma) who, hopeful of good relations with the conquered, disapproved of atrocities and tried vainly to prevent them. Both were overruled by colonels with conspiratorial backgrounds and secret connections to Tokyo, who had a different objective. Both colonels, Prince Asaka at Nanking, Tsuji Masanobu in the Philippines, issued and partially enforced the same inflammatory command: “Kill all prisoners.”þ At Nanking another conspiratorial colonel, Hashimoto Kingoro (founder of the secret Sakurakai or Cherry Society), arranged for the provocative shelling of British and American gunboats, the Ladybird and the Panay.
Note Historians have not yet agreed on the motives of the conspiratorial colonels; but Tsuji's at least appear to have been to cleanse Asia of those who (at Singapore and in the Philippines) had collaborated with westerners.
Manila atrocity Atrocities of the rape of Nanking were replicated just before the Japanese evacuation of Manila in 1945, when troops “impaled babies on bayonets, raped women, beheaded men and mutilated the corpses.”þ In addition other cities and regions in China were sprayed with fleas carrying plague germs.
- Three-all campaign (“Loot all, kill all, burn all”) North China, where Communist guerrillas were prevalent, produced orders to kill every person in the region; and a million or more may have died, 1941.