Unbelievably Inhumane Japanese Torture Methods Used During World War II

Many nations committed many terrible acts during WWII. However, Japanese transgressions in that period stand out as especially horrific and brutal. Not only did the Japanese use inhuman methods as part of their interrogations, but full units were set up for experimenting on living human beings. The following is a list of truly sickening methods and human experiments committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

  • Japanese Soldiers Ate Prisoners Alive

    Japanese Soldiers Ate Prisoners Alive
    Photo: Unknown / Wikipedia Commons / Public Domain

    There have been many well-documented reports of Japanese soldiers dining on their enemies. Supplies were running low throughout the Pacific Theater, so the Japanese began selecting prisoners at work camps to consume. In some cases, soldiers cut flesh from still-living prisoners.

    While some cannibal soldiers were themselves starving, others had ample provisions and only engaged in cannibalism as a means to terrorize prisoners or strengthen the soldiers' bonds with one another by engaging in this taboo act as a group.

  • Women Were Assaulted, Forcibly Impregnated, Then Dissected Alive

    Women Were Assaulted, Forcibly Impregnated, Then Dissected Alive
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Soldiers forcibly impregnated female prisoners, whose condition was then used to "study" pregnant women and fetuses. The Japanese were keen on knowing if syphilis could be transmitted between mother and child, so pregnant prisoners were intentionally infected with the disease.

    Pregnant women were vivisected, and female prisoners were also subjected to grisly sexual experimentation.

  • Japanese Doctors Removed 'Fresh' Organs from Living Prisoners

    Japanese Doctors Removed 'Fresh' Organs from Living Prisoners
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    At the infamous Unit 731 where Japanese scientists conducted abhorrent acts on mainly Chinese POWs, it was common practice to remove subjects' organs or to cut off their limbs without the administration of painkillers or anesthetics.

    One particularly ghastly act was the removal of a prisoner's stomach, after which the esophagus and small intestine would be directly linked. Others had their limbs removed and then reattached elsewhere on their body as a pointless, cruel "experiment." Some had samples of their brains and livers removed while they were still alive.

  • Prisoners Were Slowly Impaled On Growing Bamboo Shoots

    Quick-growing bamboo provided a natural tool to slowly harm and eventually end prisoners. Japanese soldiers tied Allied prisoners down over a bed of sharpened bamboo shoots. Bamboo can grow a couple of inches per day, and the persistent plant can penetrate flesh.

    Over days, the bamboo climbed right through the soldiers, impaling them, until they expired.

  • Prisoners Were Terminated In Centrifuges Or High-Pressure Chambers

    How long can a person survive without food and water? In addition to dehydration and nutrition deprivation, Japanese scientists toyed with the fragility of prisoners' lives by spinning them in centrifuges until their insides could no longer handle it.

    They were also curious about the amount of pressure that human bodies could withstand, so prisoners were placed into high-pressure chambers while the pressure dial was cranked up.

  • The Japanese Froze Prisoners' Limbs And Then Stripped Them To The Bone

    To run "tests" on frostbite's effects, doctors froze the prisoners' appendages, then doused the limbs with hot water to observe the painful results. In some cases, the flesh would be stripped away, revealing only bare bone, with the prisoner still alive.

    Doctors would then amputate the limb and move on to the next.