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Unit 731 Testimony: Japan's Wartime Human Experimentation Program

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  366 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This is a riveting and disturbing account of the medical atrocities performed in and around Japan during WWII.

Some of the cruelest deeds of Japan's war in Asia did not occur on the battlefield, but in quiet, antiseptic medical wards in obscure parts of the continent. Far from front lines and prying eyes, Japanese doctors and their assistants subjected human guinea pigs to
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 15th 2006 by Tuttle Publishing (first published March 15th 1996)
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3.71  · 
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 ·  366 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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The Brain in the Jar
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
In the anime Paranoia Agent, the state of victimhood rescues people. People suffer from all kinds of stress – sometimes personal, sometimes moral – and and an American-looking dude hits them with a baseball bat. Once they get hit and fall unconscious, no one really cares about their past life. It’s all about helping the poor victims.

I don’t know how much the creator knew about Unit 731, but that anime is obviously tied to the atom bomb. Saying the atom bomb rescued the Japanese from admitting th
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
A Wound That Still Festers ..., December 26, 2010

Surprisingly little mention is made of Japanese atrocities committed during their "divine expansion" in the 1930s and 1940s; especially in the Western Hemisphere, where the Holocaust and Nazi brutality are so well-documented they seem to provide the very definition of "atrocity". Arguably, no country suffered longer in World War II than China, starting with Japan's occupation of Manchuria throughout the final days of World War II. Some of the horr
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars!

“The Chinese had a saying about us, that Japan had a ‘three-way complete policy: burned completely, killed completely, and pillaged completely.’ Yet, when we were doing those things, we had no sense of guilt or of doing anything wrong. It was for the emperor-for the country!”

Unit 731 remains one of the darkest and least known chapters of Japan’s occupation of Manchuria. This may be due in part to the US’s role in striking a deal with the head researchers. In exchange for handing over t
First-hand accounts by Japanese army Unit 731 members who conducted or were closely involved in human experiments in WWII published by a reputable publisher, Tuttle. These first-hand accounts are from the Unit 731 Exhibition that took place in Japan during 1993 and 1994. Furthermore, many other books that cover this period make evidential reference to this work in order to support their statements.

Very good organization and substantiation as foll
Daniela Celhay
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So the Japanese also had their special facilites in Manchuria for testing bioweapons. Unlike the Russians, they performed testing on humans, mostly Chinese prisoners. The main objective was to kill a large number of people at the lowest possible cost, so they worked mostly with Plague on rats and fleas.

Some of the experiments had nothing to do with advancing the capability of germ warfare, or of medicine. Like the frostbite experiments, beheadings or a combination of shooting, amputation, asphyx
Anna Kaling
Sep 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
It's important that these testimonies are read and the existence and activities of Unit 731 aren't swept under the carpet.

But this is not the book to bring Unit 731 into the public eye. The material is badly arranged and presented. The narrative is disjointed and bland, and doesn't give any more information that you can get from Unit 731's wikipedia article. In fact the whole book felt like an internet search, flitting from one topic to another with no flow.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Do not read this book if you are sensitive to violence. This book is extremely disturbing. I read it to understand more about war atrocities and learn more about this unit, which I have come across a few times. Again, this is a horrific time in Japanese history. Once again, we are faced with what human beings are capable of. Some of the things depicted in this book are hard to stomach.
Royce Ratterman
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good entry-level work concerning some of the atrocities perpetrated during World War II - the Japanese version of 'Auschwitz', whose unit leader was Ishii Shiro, who held the rank of lieutenant general at the end of WWII.
A great addition to your other works related to this topic, Operation Keelhaul (Yalta), and the multiple 'crimes' ignored by USA President Roosevelt (D), and General Douglas McArthur, which included the Unit 731 coverup... in exchange for the USA obtaining information about fi
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Unit 731 is an almost unbelievable story of the Japanese and Russian war, as well as, it's aftermath and subsequent war between China and Korea in the 30's and 40's. The book tells of the unspeakable atrocities that the Japanese committed in these time of war that rival even the Nazi regime. Some would question why anyone would read a book with the horrible events that took place in top secret biological and chemical testing facilities in which humans were the main subjects of horrific diseases ...more
Bernie Weisz
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Bernie by: In bibliography of "factories of Death" by Sheldon H. Harris
Written By Bernie Weisz Historian Contact Title of Review: "WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE "HIPPOCRATIC OATH?"

Part of the "Hippocratic Oath" states: "I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect". This did not occur to the medical community nor Hirohito, Japan's "Divine Emperor" during
Jul 13, 2017 added it
Can't get myself to rate this book. I'm glad I read it as I hadn't known about the unit before a fiction short story based off it. I would classify the book as a psychological historical book. It's strange to read how the Japanese war criminals differ from American war criminals. None really seem to show that much regret or the saying "If I could to back in time, I wouldn't do it" mindset which is baffling. They're conditioned to not think about their actions just do what the Emperor wants.

It al
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Horrifying history.

The fact that the capacity exists in some people to treat other humans ... other men ... women and children ... babies, in this way is terrifying, and beyond understanding. They are monsters ... unfeeling, uncaring, heartless, sadistic monsters. That is the only explanation. No normal person could do the things these men did and be able to live with themselves. I thought I could never read anything as sickening as Holocaust memoirs but the Japanese military during that time fr
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
An Ok book a little hard for me to really Get into,i expected it to be a «hard to put down « book but it wasnt ,i Thought it was more written from a historical perspective so it was actually kind of a boring read.
William Napier
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nippon horror

The Japanese imperial army and the entire medical and ancillary services were murders! These people make Stalin and Hitler look like neophytes.
Robert Beveridge
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Hal Gold, Unit 731: Testimony (Yenbooks, 1996)
[originally posted 15Feb2001]

[ed. note 2013: I revised out some misconceptions about the film adaptation, most notably the commonly-held misconception in the late nineties that Tun Fei Mou was a pseudonym for Godfrey Ho, who directed the second film, Laboratory of the Devil. Which, by the way, I have since seen, and it's crap.]

Over the fifty years since World War II, we have been made aware of atrocities committed during those years. We are most awar
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am a tutor and one of my Chinese students introduced me to this topic. I knew the Japanese were guilty of war crimes during WWII but I did not realize the extent. Unit 731 was an experimental biological warfare lab which was set up in Manchuria. Prisoners, mostly Chinese and Koreans but including some POWs, were subjected to injections of plague bacteria, were tied to poles in the open and had various germs dropped on them from above, were purposefully infected with syphillis, and more. While ...more
Frank Kool
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
"History is a nightmare from which I'm trying to awaken."

Unit 731: Testimony is an unrelenting exposition of one of history's darkest episodes. Whereas most people are already familiar with Josef's Mengele's disturbing experiments in Auschwitz, the large-scale use of human subjects in Japan's research into battlefield medicine and biological warfare have thus far remained obscure.

More than historical awareness, this book is important because it gives us something that most books covering the Ho
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
First of all let me preface this review by saying that I had to read it for a class, so my rating is a little lower because of that. I didn't enjoy this book, but it might have been because I was made to read it.

This book gives a good basic overview of Unit 731, both historically and in the form of testimony from those that worked in the unit. The writing is a bit dry, but then again so is a lot of historical writing. Half of the book is a record of Unit 731's activities in China, the career of
Michael Flanagan
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww-2
A fascinating but disturbing read. The author splits this book up into two sections, the first being the history of the unit and the second testimonies from those who served in it. Coming into this book with only a basic knowledge of what this unit represented I walked away with a good understanding of it. The author tackles what is a difficult subject matter in a engaging manner that brings the full horror of live human experimentation and all that it encompasses to the readers attention. All i ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
The first half of this book is fairly dry and historical, but very relevant to understanding the testimonial in the second half of the book. The second half is where you can fully grasp the personal conflicts and social mores that played into these atrocities committed by the Japanese. The second half, "Testimonies",is extremely compelling, and is you don't feel like reading all 256 pages, definitely read this section.
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this book is very insightful and i enjoyed reading it. there is plenty of detail with in the organization and tells the full truth and i can easily put myself in the shoes of the victims, and the people that were caught up in the war. i want to learn more from both sides of the war.
Jason Townsend
Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it
The most worthwhile part of this book were the testimonies given in its second half. it's first half history section was decent though overall I felt like such an important subject should have been covered in more detail.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it liked it
I read this as part of the history of horror film I took in college. I still shudder when I think about the book or the movie.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent history of Japanese war crimes during WWII. This is a must read for anyone interested in WWII.
Dave Friedman
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I commissioned and edited this book as a young editor at Tuttle Publishing.
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Rather dull treatment of what should be a fascinating topic.
Anthony Hensley
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enlightening read

A different perspective on the second World War that I was previously unaware of. A truly fascinating read that I would recommend to others.
Feb 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who wish to cultivate or further their hatred towards the japanese
even hitler gets some objectivity now and then
John Poor
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author did well in writing of the political, cultural, and personal motivations underlying this aspect of Japan's history, without creating a book of gore and brutality.
Kely Torres
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
very interesting
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