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Japan's Wartime Medical Atrocities: Comparative Inquiries in Science, History, and Ethics (Asia's Transformations) Hardcover – August 17, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

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"[I]t is essential reading for those interested not only in the ethics of human experimentation but also in the ways in which basic humanitarian values become compromised by nationalism and double standards of morality... I can best sum up the merit of this book by quoting its dedication page: 'To all victims of medical atrocities for whom justice has never been fully served'. Beyond doubt, this volume does much to honour this dedication through its meticulous scholarship and its unwavering assertion of the inalienable worth of every human being." - Alastair V. Campbell; Asian Bioethics Review March 2012 Volume 4, Issue 1

"The book has a number of strengths, not least in drawing together a wide and varied expertise on the subject. The research based on freshly harvested archival materials is particularly compelling... [T]his is an extremely important volume which serves to remind us of the aspects of the Asia Pacific war that remain to be fullt addressed and acknowledged. The book should be of interest to academics, students and the general reader and deserves to be read widely." - Caroline Rose, University of Leeds, UK; Pacific Affairs: Volume 85, No. 2 - June 2012

"Japan’s Medical Atrocities succeeds in discussing many issues related to the inhumane and immoral medical experiments on defenseless Chinese victims duringWorldWar II, and the disappointing lack of justice brought to bear on Dr. Ishii Shiro and most of his colleagues after the war." - John E. Van Sant, Ph.D., Department of History, University of Alabama-Birmingham, USA; Journal of the History of Medicine

"Nie et al. have done a valuable service in making the story of Japense human experimentation widely accessible and ensuring that English speakers do not easily dismiss it as an aberrant history. Japan's Wartime Medical Attocities demonstrates with painful clarity that, much more than merely someone else's problem, Japan's wartime medical history must serve as a lesson in past crimes, historical truth and hustice for all." - Frederick R. Dickinson; Japan Review, Vol. 24 (2012)

"a valuable and finely written multidisciplinary exploration of a hidden chapter of contemporary history. It sheds light on the medical atrocities committed by the Japanese Government, its army, and its scientific community from the late 1930s through World War II, mainly in China.[…] A remarkable aspect of the book is that it alternates views, specifically focusing on the Japanese case with observations regarding other situations, namely, the German and the American ways of dealing with the legacy of wartime atrocities. […] The thoughtful insights and observations the book contains go well beyond the case of Japan. They are a valuable contribution to the overall debate on memory of past atrocities, justice, and the politics of reconciliation." - Paolo De Stefani, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

About the Author

Jing-Bao Nie is an Associate Professor at the Bioethics Centre, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand, and honorary adjunct professor at Hunan Normal and Peking Universities, China.

Nanyan Guo is an Associate Professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Japan.

Mark Selden is a Research Associate in the East Asia Program at Cornell University, USA and a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

Arthur Kleinman is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Medical Anthropology and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, USA.

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Product Details

  • Series: Asia's Transformations
  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415583772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415583770
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,971,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an academic and quasi-academic work with each chapter by a different individual researcher or writer. Many historically interesting facts are presented. Reading it, however, is a challenge because the varying bias of each author.

The background language in each chapter clearly favors the cultural point of view of its writer. In some cases one feels that the writer expects his ideology to be believed and adopted by the reader. Even more egregious are chapters that explicitly try to equate historically accurate actions of the WWII Japanese Army human experimentation units to the post-war reaction of the United States, the Soviet Union and other countries to the official Japanese program of deliberate experiment to death on a large scale. In other words, some of the writers try to spread and share the blame for the Japanese atrocities before and during WWII among all the belligerents. This, of course, implies they favor more revenge (and compensation) be taken on the leadership and members of Japanese Army Units 731, 1855, 1644, 8604, 9420, the "Tama Unit" and indeed all other Japanese medical and pharmaceutical organizations, and the 10,000 and more personnel in the Ishii network, right up to the Emperor himself and the heads of past and current Japanese governments.

Thus, some chapters verge on propaganda, while others actually achieve it. Balanced presentations seem not to be a priority.
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