Topic: Japan/Japanese military history
A Fu-Go (ふ号[兵器], fugō [heiki], lit. "Code Fu [Weapon]"), or fire balloon (風船爆弾, fūsen bakudan, lit. "balloon bomb"), was a weapon launched by Japan during World War II. A hydrogen balloon with a load varying from a 33 lb (15 kg) antipersonnel bomb to one 26-pound (12 kg) incendiary bomb and four 11 lb (5.0 kg) incendiary devices attached, it was designed as a cheap weapon intended to make use of the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean and drop bombs on American cities, forests, and farmland. Canada and Mexico reported fire balloon sightings as well.
The Japanese fire balloon was the first ever weapon possessing intercontinental range (the second being the Convair B-36 Peacemaker and the third being the R-7 ICBM). The Japanese balloon attacks on North America were at that time the longest ranged attacks ever conducted in the history of warfare, a record which was not broken until the 1982 Operation Black Buck raids during the Falkland Islands War.
The balloons were intended to instill fear and terror in the U.S., though the bombs were relatively ineffective as weapons of destruction due to extreme weather conditions.
- "Fu-Go Balloon Bomb" | 2019-12-08 | 42 Upvotes 10 Comments
The Jewel Voice Broadcast (玉音放送, Gyokuon-hōsō) was the radio broadcast in which Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa 昭和天皇 Shōwa-tennō) read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the Greater East Asia War (大東亜戦争終結ノ詔書, Daitōa-sensō-shūketsu-no-shōsho), announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II. This speech was broadcast at noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945.
The speech was probably the first time that an Emperor of Japan had spoken (albeit via a phonograph record) to the common people. It was delivered in the formal, Classical Japanese that few ordinary people could easily understand. It made no direct reference to a surrender of Japan, instead stating that the government had been instructed to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration fully. This created confusion in the minds of many listeners who were not sure whether Japan had surrendered. The poor audio quality of the radio broadcast, as well as the formal courtly language in which the speech was composed, worsened the confusion. A digitally remastered version of the broadcast was released on 30 June 2015.
- "Jewel Voice Broadcast" | 2019-11-07 | 30 Upvotes 3 Comments
The Lockheed bribery scandals encompassed a series of bribes and contributions made by officials of U.S. aerospace company Lockheed from the late 1950s to the 1970s in the process of negotiating the sale of aircraft.
The scandal caused considerable political controversy in West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan. In the U.S., the scandal nearly led to Lockheed's downfall, as it was already struggling due to the commercial failure of the L-1011 TriStar airliner.
- "Lockheed Bribery Scandals" | 2020-02-01 | 43 Upvotes 7 Comments
Unit 731 (Japanese: 731部隊, Hepburn: Nana-san-ichi Butai), also referred to as Detachment 731, the 731 Regiment, Manshu Detachment 731, The Kamo Detachment, Ishii Unit, Ishii Detachment or the Ishii Company, was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) of World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Imperial Japan. Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China), and had active branch offices throughout China and Southeast Asia.
Its parent program was officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (関東軍防疫給水部本部, Kantōgun Bōeki Kyūsuibu Honbu). Originally set up under the Kempeitai military police of the Empire of Japan, Unit 731 was taken over and commanded until the end of the war by General Shirō Ishii, a combat medic officer in the Kwantung Army. The facility itself was built in 1935 as a replacement for the Zhongma Fortress, and to expand the capabilities for Ishii and his team. The program received generous support from the Japanese government up to the end of the war in 1945.
Unit 731 and the other Units of the "Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department" were biological weapon production, testing, deployment and storage facilities. They routinely tested on human beings (who were referred to internally as "logs"). Additionally, the biological weapons were tested in the field on cities and towns in China. Estimates of those killed by Unit 731 and its related programs range up to half a million people.
The researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation. Other researchers that the Soviet forces managed to arrest first were tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949. The Americans did not try the researchers so that the information and experience gained in bio-weapons could be co-opted into the U.S. biological warfare program, much as they had done with German researchers in Operation Paperclip. On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii, can probably be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as 'War Crimes' evidence". Victim accounts were then largely ignored or dismissed in the West as communist propaganda.
- "Unit 731" | 2019-10-05 | 131 Upvotes 30 Comments