While terrible World War II atrocities were committed by many nations during the conflict, Japanese war crimes in that period stand out as especially horrific and brutal. Not only did the Japanese use inhuman torture 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 torture methods and human experiments committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
(**Warning: graphic and disturbing content**)
Japanese Soldiers Ate Prisoners Alive
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 Raped, Forcibly Impregnated, Then Dissected Alive
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. Female prisoners were also subjected to horrific sexual experimentation, rape, and abuse.
Japanese Doctors Removed "Fresh" Organs from Living Prisoners
At the infamous Unit 731 where abhorrent acts were conducted on mainly Chinese POWs by Japanese scientists, 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 pieces of their brain and liver hacked out while they were still alive.
Prisoners Were Slowly Impaled On Growing Bamboo Shoots
Quick-growing bamboo provided a natural tool to slowly torture and kill 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 were dead.