The (In)Human Experiments

The most infamous events that happened in Unit 731, was the human experiments. Unit 731 had numerous experiments done. Ishii and the doctors believed that anesthesia would tamper with the dissection, so often people died on the lab tables, or were killed later. These experiments all were researches on how to further medical boundaries, and to help Japan’s secret biological warfare. Victims were captured people from occupied lands of Japan, or POWs (prisoners of war). A doctor’s “god-given mission,” Ishii said, was to block and treat disease, but the work “upon which we are now about to embark is the complete opposite of these principles.” All the “doctors” began their career with Unit 731 immensely terrified of performing the experiments on their fellow humans. All the screaming and agony had left quite an impression on them the first time they performed surgery, but as time past, the doctors became more and more immune to the suffering of their patients. They thought of the torture as a natural routine and began to see this abuse in a different light. The doctors involved in Unit 731 referred to the patients as “marutas”, in other words logs. This seemed to be a sign that they no longer even considered their patients as humans, but in fact, a helper to their research. Many doctors were of Shinto belief- a type of Confucianism-like belief- which states to reach for being nice and generous to all. To never do evil. But what happened? Probably, they were more concerned about Japan, and wanted to further Japan into victory- even at a horrifying cost. Japan was gripped by nationalism at the time, and wanted to win the war… under the cost of lives taken by the experiments.

A picture of a model made to imitate the actions of Unit 731 in a Chinese Museum

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