In 1939 World War Two began, but even by this point Japan had already begun its invasion of China two years earlier. Even now a little over 70 years after the war began, researchers are still uncovering the horrors of that war. And now finally the bones of some of the skeletons of the most mysterious and horrifying experiments of that war have arisen giving credence to some of the atrocities of what is arguably the world’s most devastating war to date.
Horror stories of the Imperial Japanese Army’s notorious experiments were so shocking and terrifying that they rivaled even those of Josef Mengele. The terrible secrets of Unit 731 have been speculated for long to be nothing more than rumors, but a recent discovery by authorities has set in motion the potential for proof of these terrible experiments. In 1989 a mass grave of over 100 bodies was discovered in Tokyo during construction of a new building, but for whatever reason the bones were wrapped up in red tape and left in a vault for over 20 years. The controversial issue was left locked away until recently when Tokyo authorities announced they would look into the issue and solve the mystery once and for all.
The bones themselves, belonging to captured soldiers and civilians, still bore some of the most traumatic wounds including sawed and broken bones and drilled skulls. Unit 731 was primarily active in China after the Japanese invaded where tests were conducted on civilians as well as soldiers, many of them Americans. Included in the tests were experiments of a biological, bacteriological, and chemical nature, sometimes using what would be termed today as weapons of mass destruction.
As the experiments have been largely removed from the history books, this discovery and investigation will be of particular import, as it uncovers one of the aspects of war that many would have quickly forgotten. If the old adage that history must be remembered, lest it repeat itself has any basis in truth, then this is most certainly an important aspect of World War II that must be remembered to ensure the sanctity of human life is better respected in the future. With so many talks of abuse in military prisons, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the conditions were even worse, but those who fell in the name of these horrific experiments must be remembered. That aspect is yet another that will be considered for the investigation as there will be a real attempt to learn the identities and therefore fates of those who were lost in the name of science.
According to a nurse who tipped off investigators, who claims to have been connected to the experiments, the bodies were buried in a mass grave to hide the evidence of the research from Allied forces after the invasion had begun, and the second world war was finally itself dying. One can only hope that those who suffered will, if they have the capacity to realize it in a post-mortem state, find some peace knowing that their fates will at least to some limited degree be understood and remembered to ensure it doesn’t happen again.