, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 245-248
Date: 30 Oct 2012

Jin-Bao Nie, Nanyan Guo, Mark Selden, and Arthur Kleinman (eds): Japan’s wartime medical atrocities: comparative inquiries in science, history, and ethics

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The book edited by Jin-Bao Nie, Nanyan Guo, Mark Selden, and Arthur Kleinman is 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. An undefined number of Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, and Russian civilians and prisoners of war—on the order of thousands or tens of thousands—were subjected to medical experimentation, vivisection, and other atrocities. The program started to operate in 1936 and was conducted within a network of secret facilities spread across several major Chinese cities and in Singapore. The core of the network was “Unit 731,” based in Harbin, Manchuria. The whole network was established by the Japanese Army Military Medical School, headquartered in Tokyo. The head of Unit 731 was General Ishii Shiro (1892–1967), a physician and biologist. The pr ...