China | Harbin

Unit 731 Museum Harbin

China Discovery Tour

Harbin | China

01 Jan 2020 | New Year’s Day | Wed

Day 05 of 18

  • Drive to Unit 731 Museum
  • Unit 731 Museum Harbin
  • Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo
  • Lunch | Chinese Dumpling
  • Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

Unit 731 Museum Harbin

When you first walk into the Unit 731 Museum you will be greeted by the following large sign written in six different languages…

The Exhibits of Evidence of Crimes Committed by Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army

Think of this message as a warning for you to prepare yourself for what comes next!

Unit 731 short for Manshu Detachment 731 and also known as the Kamo Detachment was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that engaged in lethal human experimentation and biological weapons manufacturing during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and World War II. Unit 731 was based in 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. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes committed by the Japanese armed forces. Unit 731 routinely conducted tests on human beings who were dehumanized and internally referred to as “logs”. Experiments included disease injections, controlled dehydration, hypobaric chamber experiments, biological weapons testing, vivisection, amputation, and weapons testing. Victims included babies, children, and pregnant mothers. Victims came from different nationalities, but the majority of them were Chinese. Additionally, Unit 731 produced biological weapons that were used in areas of China not occupied by Japanese forces, which included Chinese cities and towns, water sources, and fields. Estimates of those killed by Unit 731 and its related programs range up to half a million people.

– Wikipedia Unit 731

When planning our trip to Harbin, China it was all about visiting the beautiful Ice & Snow Festival – nothing else. It was later when we started researching the surrounding area that we came across the Unit 731 Museum. A museum located on the actual site of some of the most horrific experiments ever performed on humans – WHAT!, also in Harbin?!? Like most people, we had never heard of this place or knew anything about its history. Unfortunately, because of its content, this is not one of those “feel good” kinds of places. There is no doubt that most will walk away feeling very disturbed about all the atrocities and cruelty that they will witness and learn about in this museum.

The Imperial Japanese Army, in 1938, set up Unit 731 in Japanese-occupied China with the purpose of developing biological weapons (operating until 1945). This included conducting large-scale human experiments using prisoners, primarily Chinese prisoners of war and civilians, deliberately with infectious agents, bacteria, and viruses (such as plague, anthrax, cholera, tuberculosis, syphilis, and typhoid), along with many other atrocities (such as frostbite testing, vivisection (surgeries without anesthesia), weapon testing (death by bombs, guns, bayonets, swords, knives, flamethrower), depriving of food and water, prolonged X-ray exposure, tested effects of high G-forces).

For nearly 40 years, the horrific events that took place at Unit 731 remained one of the most guarded secrets of World War II, and it was not until 1984 that Japan finally acknowledged any wrongdoing.

The Unit 731 Museum is extremely well done and seems very well funded and organized. The museum covers this horrific event in amazing detail with displays (including multimedia) unlike anything we’ve ever seen before (such as the full-scale model of the entire Unit 731 facility – located under the museum glass floor – very impressive display!).

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