Tom Hanks Fact of the Day 1

In honor of Tom Hanks’ apparent belief that the two sides in World War II were both equally evil, I am going to start a new series.

Today’s Fact: In the Japanese-occupied Philippines alone, at least 131,028 civilians and Allied prisoners of war were murdered.

Reading Material:

The Manila Massacre

The Manila massacre refers to the February 1945 atrocities conducted against Filipino civilians in Manila, Philippines by the Japanese troops during World War II.

To avoid needless violence and civilian deaths, and also to preserve as large a force as possible to continue defensive operations in rural Luzon, Imperial Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita had ordered a complete withdrawal of Japanese troops from Manila. However, 10,000 marines under Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi disobeyed Yamashita’s orders and remained in Manila along with some IJA stragglers.

Various credible Western and Eastern sources agree that the death toll was at least 100,000. The massacre was at its worst in the Battle of Manila. During lulls in the battle for control of the city, Japanese troops took out their anger and frustration on the civilians caught in the crossfire. Japanese troops looted and burned, and brutally executed, decapitated and abused women, men and children alike, including priests, Red Cross personnel, prisoners of war and hospital patients.

Vivisecting Live Prisoners:

In 2006, former IJN medical officer Akira Makino stated that he was ordered—as part of his training—to carry out vivisection on about 30 civilian prisoners in the Philippines between December 1944 and February 1945. The surgery included amputations. Ken Yuasa, a former military doctor in China, has also admitted to similar incidents in which he was compelled to participate.

The Bataan Death March:

A Japanese soldier took Dyess’ canteen, gave the water to a horse, threw the canteen away. In a broiling sun, the prisoners were herded through clouds of dust. Men recently killed lay along the road, their bodies flattened by Japanese trucks. Patients bombed out of a field hospital were pushed into the marching column. At midnight the entire group was penned in an enclosure too narrow to allow any of them to lie down. They had no water — a Japanese officer finally permitted them to drink at a dirty carabao wallow.

…Along the road in the province of Pampanga there are many wells. Half-crazed with thirst, six Filipino soldiers made a dash for one of the wells. All six were killed. As we passed Lubao we marched by a Filipino soldier gutted and hanging over a barbed-wire fence. 

Before daylight on April 15 we marched out and 115 of us were packed into a small narrow-gauge box car. The doors were closed and locked. Movement was impossible. Many of the prisoners were suffering from diarrhea and dysentery. The heat and stench were unbearable. I made that march of about 85 miles in six days on one mess kit of rice. Other Americans made ‘the march of death’ in 12 days without any food whatever.

 Murdering Prisoners:

  • 14 Dec 44. Palawan, Philippines. About 100 army and 50 marines had been warned if the US invades, they would be killed. When American planes attacked, Lt. Sato led 50 soldiers to pour buckets of gasoline on the entrances to shelters and ignite it. As the men came out they were bayoneted, shot or clubbed. — Told by one of five survivors who escaped through a fence, shedding his burning clothes. Last Man Out1.
  • Miscellaneous Treatment of Filipino Civilians.

  • Manuel Awatin, sixty years old, was the lone survivor of a group of fourteen who were lined up on a river bank. Two were mothers each carrying a small child. Awatin saw the two children snatched from their mother’s arms and smashed against the trunk of a coconut tree. Then they bayoneted the mothers along with the other twelve men, including Awatin. He alone survived this ordeal.
  • Francisco Dominisce was roasted alive. His hands and feet were tied, then a pole was passed through the openings of the hands and feet and placed over an open fire.
  • Esteban Fernandez was caught hiding in a box. The Japanese shut the lid, locked it and threw him into an open fire.
  • Felipe Mendes’s feet were tied with wire and one end of the wire was attached to the aft end of a Japanese launch. Mendes was thrown overboard and dragged behind the launch. He managed to move his legs and thus kept from drowning. The Japanese officer ordered him hauled aboard, neatly chopped off his legs and threw him back overboard. He was last seen being attacked by a large shark.
  • Jose Reyes had a wire passed through his cheeks like a halter and led around for three days as an example to others. After those three days he was bayoneted.
  • Question after Reading:  Do you think any rage American soldiers might have shown towards the Japanese was as a result of racism or because of outrage over what the Japanese did?



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