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Unit 731 Testimony Paperback – April 15, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 reader's attention. All in all a well balanced read." —Goodreads

About the Author

Hal Gold compiled the information in Unit 731 from information provided by the Central Organizing Committee for the Unit 731 Exhibitions in Tokyo, 1994—1995
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Original ed. edition (April 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804835659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804835657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hal Gold, Unit 731: Testimony (Yenbooks, 1996)
Over the fifty years since World War II, we have been made aware of atrocities committed during those years. We are most aware of Nazi Germany; less in the consciousness, but still a part of the common knowledge, is Stalin's treatment of Russians during and after the war. But the actions of the Japanese army in China during the thirties and forties-- and their ultimate consequences-- have gone largely unreported in the Western press. Americans were first made aware of the scope and depth of Japan's war crimes in the late 1980s by two investigative journalists, Williams and Wallace, in their book Unit 731: Japan's Secret Biological Warfare in World War II. Soon after, Godfrey Ho released the first of four exploitation films based on the activities of Unit 731, called Men Behind the Sun (a film partially subsidized by the Chinese government). Gradually, Americans became more aware of what happened (especially in the case of the Rape of Nanjing), but the numbers-- conservative estimates put the death toll in China between 1930 and 1945 at thirty million-- and the specific case of Unit 731 are still largely unknown to Americans.
Hal Gold fires another shot in the battle to set things right with his book Unit 731: Testimony. During 1993 and 1994, an exhibition based on the activities of Unit 731 toured Japan, and a handful of ex-Unit 731 personnel testified about their actions and the actions of others. It was the first time the Japanese government had allowed evidence that Unit 731 even existed to be publicized. Gold's book starts with a history of Unit 731, and then provides transcriptions of many of the testimonies given during the exhibition.
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Format: Paperback
Unit 731 Testimonial is written as a sort of follow-up to a nationwide tour of the Unit 731 exhibition in Japan. This exhibition sought to educate Japanese citizens on what had been until recently an ignored part of their history.
What made these exhibits intereresting, and this book, is that it worked as a forum for veterans and victims alike to recount their stories. Privates, doctors, secret police all came out to speak (some anonimously) about their role in the horrific activities of Unit 731.
Unit 731 Testimonial does not describe the history of the Japanese Bilogical Warfare research. Rather it concentrates on the actual experiences of people involved in the human experiments. Some of those quoted were truly ignorant of what Unit 731 was really doing, others had suspicions, while a few knew in detail. Some of those quoted did not actually participate in Unit 731's activities, but had been personally involved in similar atrocities and compelled by the exhibit to recount.
Unit 731 is invaluable as a resource in understanding the mentality of the Japanese involved in BW related atrocities during World War II.
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Format: Paperback
Although the majority of literature on WWII atrocities focuses on Nazi Germany and it's "Final Solution," other horrible acts were being committed as well in Asia by the Russians and Japanese.
Among these were Stalin's Gulags, the Japanese comfort women, Bataan Death March and Rape of Nanking.
Gold's book, "Unit 731: Testimony," takes a look at another wartime atrocity the Japanese have refused to own up to for the past 50 years: a program set up by the military to experiment with biological weapons on humans and other heinous human tortures that were expounded as "scientific advancement."
Gold's book is divided into two sections, a Historical Overview in which he explains how the idea of a human experimentation lab began in the Russo-Japanese War and became a horrific reality due to one man, Ishii Shiro; and a second section in which testimonies are given on criminal acts by the participants, including researchers, Kenpeitai officers, nurses and professors.
The historical overview lays out factual groundwork of Unit 731 and gives explicit details on some of the experiments, including live autopsies, biological tests and frostbite trials; which is some of the most disturbing literature I have ever read. Even as the bilogical weapons scare makes the headlines today, Gold gives proof that this isn't a new event in the world as the Japanese unleashed fleas with the Cholera disease on the Chinese citizens. After the war is over in 1945, Gold continues to explain how Unit 731 was covered up (with American help), and how some of the war-time criminals became wealthy professors and businessmen in Japan and set up world-wide companies like Green Cross.
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Format: Paperback
The past year I had the opportunity to work in Japan. I was excited about this as I have had a interest in Japan for a while. Before I say anything about the book I want to mention that all the Japanese people I met and befriended were/are some of the most honest and loyal people that I have had the pleasure to have met. However, one thing did bother me. I came across Unit 731 in an English speaking newspaper but I had no idea what it meant. I talked to one of my expat friends to see if he knew what Unit 731 was. I was shocked to find out the truth of Unit 731. What even shocked me more was the fact that most Japanese people deny that Unit 731 ever existed. I had some of my students write term papers about how people from other countries(the US) made these stories up to make Japan look bad. My girlfriend who is Japanese even has the same opinions as some of my students, even though she has read the book and many others that deal with subjects about Japan's war record. This book was helpful to understand the horrors of war which hopefully will not be repeated again.
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