The massacre of Koreans in "Unbroken"Hillenbrand mentions this episode twice, though totally unrelated to the story of Zampeini. She must have a persuasive source.
First it appears in an episode where the Japanese guards learned a news about Saipan;
"That same month, American forces turned on Saipan's neighboring isle, Tinian, where the Japanese held five thousand Koreans, conscripted as laborers. Apparently afraid that the Koreans would join the enemy if the American invaded, the Japanese employed the kill-all policy. They murdered all five thousand Koreans." (p. 354 in my paperback)
You know, Saipan fell on July 9, 1944 and the Marines turned on Tinian on July 24, 1944, in only two weeks. So, she means the brutal Japanese Army murdered 5,000 Koreans almost at one time. Is it that easy to kill 5,000 human beings? Doesn't any one of them resist or fight back? For this part, I feel like she describes them as helpless, powerless cattle or something.
At the same time, the brutal Japanese were afraid of Koreans because they might join the Americans and revenge them, according to Hillenbrand. If they are that powerless, it won't matter even if they join the enemy.
She presents two contradictory images of Koreans. Her description...confusing, weird...
For the second time, it appears in Chapter 32. In the beginning of Chapter 32, she depicts the joy of POW's at the surrender of Japan. Then, suddenly she starts listing up the Japanese so-called brutal conducts;
"In its rampage over the east, Japan had brought atrocity and death on a scale that staggers the imagination...(so much cruelty)...Thousands of other POW's were beaten, burned, stabbed, or clubbed to death, shot, beheaded, killed during medical experiments, or eaten alive in ritual acts of cannibalism....(and more)...
In accordance with the kill-all order, the Japanese massacred all 5,000 Korean captives on Tinian, ...They were evidently about to murder all the other POW's and civilians in their custody when the atomic bomb brought their empire crashing down." (pp. 502-503)
I am sure that she needed so much resentment toward Japanese to list up this many. Now Koreans are called as "captives." Why she wrote this part? What is her message to us? Does she simply hate the Japanese? Or, she wants to justify the very last part, America's atomic bombings on Japan?
For each part, she repeats "kill-all policy or order." This phrase comes from "Three All's Policy; kill all, burn all, and loot all," which is Anti-Japan activists' favorite term. Where did she learn?
Hillenbrand's sources for the massacre in TinianShe presents two sources for this incident in the back.
First one is;
Eric Lash, "Historic Island of Tinian, " Environmental Services, October 2008, vol. 1, 2nd edition.
At first I wondered if it is a book, but the publisher is not given. So, it's not a book. Then I thought it might be an academic journal called Environmental Services. But I could not find such a journal. I also searched with the title of article and/or the author's name. Nothing hit. Probably it is something like a pamphlet.
This book is a million seller. If she emphasizes her accuracy and fairness, she should present something accessible to everybody as a source.
2ne one is;
Major General Donald Cook, "20th Air Force Today," 20th Air Force Association Newsletter, Fall 1998.
I have got this one. This is a newsletter issued by 20th Air Force Association. It is a newsletter, definitely not an academic journal to publish academic research.
What is 20th Air Force Association? This is the association of former B-29 pilots under the 20th Air Force during WWII. The 20th Air Force was formed in 1944 specifically for the bombardment mission on Japan. The members include ones that carried out the Great Tokyo Air Raid, performed the atomic bombs attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and other attacks all over Japan during WWII.
The 509th Composite Group belongs to the 20th Air Force
They have the internet site.
Interesting photos on the site:
Mt. Fuji and B-29's
And one more
It is easy to imagine the members' attitude toward the atomic bombing.
In 1995 there was a controversy about the exhibition project of Enola Gay with the photos of Hiroshima casualties at the Smithsonian Institution. The members of the 20th AF Association were of course among those who strongly opposed the project.
The source of Hillenbrand for the massacre on Tinian is the article in the issue of Fall 1998;
"There were no Japanese atrocities?" by Lt. General James V. Edmundson, USAF, Retired.
I will post this article in the end of this post.
So, who is Lt. Gen. Edmundson? I found some pictures.
Lt. Gen. James V. Edmundson was stationed in Hawaii when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, and he was flying over Tokyo Bay when the Japanese representative sighed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on Missouri in 1945.
What is his article about? The article is in pp.5-6 of the Newsletter.
He sounds very upset about the Enola Gay exhibition project in 1995. He calls the scholars who originally planned this project as revisionists. He accuses them, claiming that they are trying to label Americans as the aggressors, while the Japanese were simply trying to defend their country.
He lists up so called Japan's brutalities just as Hillenbrand did; the Rape of Nanking, in which Japan murdered 200,000 Chinese (it was 200,000 in 1998!), the Bataan Death March, killing of 100,000 Filipino civilians, and more.
Then, finally, he mentions the Japanese massacre of 5,000 Koreans. As it is important, I will copy all of his words.
"I am personally aware of another event that has received no public notice, but demonstrates who the real racists-and butchers-were in that war. The B-29 group I commanded was stationed on the island of Tinian during the war's final months. Several years ago, some of our members went back to Tinian, and, at the invitation of the local government, dedicated a monument to the Americans who lost their lives flying from there. It was a colorful ceremony. But our people saw another monument on Tinian, placed by the Republic of Korea, to commemorate the 5,000 Korean civilians who had been taken to Tinian by the Japanese as slave labor, mostly to cut sugar cane. Once it became obvious to the Japanese that the Americans were about to land on Tinian, they summarily executed the 5,000 Koreans, to prevent their ever helping Americans.
These are not nice stories, but are true and documented, and while it seems a shame to bring them up now that Japan is a Free World ally, they deserve re-telling so long as our brilliant young professors insist that we were the bad guys in that long-ago war."
What do you think of his words?
You know, he implicitly confesses that he did not know such massacre when he was stationed in Tinian for the last few months of the war!
The battle of Tinian was over in August 1944, and the New York Times article reported there were 2400 Koreans in Tinian in February 1945. And Lt. Gen. Edmundson did not know the incident though he was there for the last few months of the war. The number does not match. There was no benefit for the Japanese Army when the enemy was about to come.
This is the source that Hilldenbrand presented for the Japanese massacre of 5,000 Koreans. Lt. Gen. Edumundson did not visit the site by himself, or did not see the monument by himself. He is simply telling the story that he heard from someone else.
Only with this source, Hillenbrand tries to give another label of brutality to the Japanese. Is her research fair and accurate? It can't be! We don't accept this.
Tinian...five thousand...I did a bit more research about this. Then, I found the monument of Koreans with captions. I found this on the site of Hotel called Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino. It is the historic site guide page.
This is the monument for Korean casualties in the Marianas;
Caption says, "Korean monuments - These monuments were erected to honor Korean civilians, mostly laborers, killed during the battle of Tinian. About 5,000 Koreans died in the Marianas during World War II."
You can find this monument on any other tourism site of Tinian.
It is very confusing, yes. But, 5,000 Koreans died (not slaughtered by Japanese!) in the Marianas, not in Tinian only. Probably Edmundson's fellow misunderstood, or Edmundson himself was confused, or distorted the story because he was outraged at that time. But no massacre on Tinian.
Wikitravel of Tinian also says that the monument on Tinian is to commemorate 5,000 Koreans died in the Marianas.
"The exact figure is unknown, however, it is understood that approximately 5,000 Korean civilian laborers died in the Marianas during the Pacific War. There is a small cluster monuments on the island placed there in their memory."
Plus, Japan and Korea never get along well after WWII. Korea never fails to claim "apology and compensation" for any minor flaw by Japan. For this matter, however, we have never heard such a request.
I searched by typing Tinian, island, and massacre in Hangul. The results were all about aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Why Hillenbrand needed to insert this episode twice even though it is totally unrelated to Zamperini and the source was so unreliable. Is this by her own intention? Or did anyone ask her to do so?