How were Japanese prisoners treated by the Allies in World War 2?
Indications are that overall, all POWs were treated well and humanly during their internment. As the following will attest, few Japanese prisoners were taken and little is written about them. Much more can be found about Italian and German POWs. The statement from one of the sources that state that a Japanese prisoner died in a Utah hospital is some indication of conditions, as this try provision was not always, seldom in fact. afforded to U.S. prisoners of the Japanese and Germans. I have found that no matter how this is phrased in a search, the results come back referring to American POWs of the Japanese, and not Japanese POWS of America. Because of this, only assumptions can actually be made, based on other facts. As the information, such as it is, is readily available, this is still a tough question to address. In the following source the statement is made: Of these, about 7,000 Italians and 8,000 Germans were sent to Utah Shigeo Shibata died on 31 July 1944 in Bushnell Hospital, Brigham City, Utah and is the only Japanese POW in the Fort Douglas Military Cemetery. No other Japanese POWs were known to have been imprisoned in Utah. Japanese Prisoners of War in Utah http://www.gentracer.com/JapanesePrisonersofWarinUtah.html This would indicate that there were few total Japanese prisoners of war held in the U.S. Another source states: As the war progressed the total number of prisoners of war interned in the United States greatly increased and ultimately reached 425,806 by the end of June, 1945. Of this total, 371,505 were Germans, 50,052 Italians, and 4,249 Japanese. U T I L I Z A T I O N O F P R I S O N E R S O F W A R I N T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S D U R I N G W O R L D W A R I I : T E X A S , A C A S E S T U D Y http://www.rootsweb.com/~txrober2/TissingI.htm The reasons for the low numbers displayed in the Utah source and the Texas source is the fact that so few Japanese were willing to surrender. The books and stories for battles in the Pacific often use the phrase "the Japanese would fight to the last man, some choosing suicide over surrender." As example, at the battle of Iwo Jima, the Japanese strength was 22,000 troops with a death toll of 21,800. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Iwo_Jima At the battle for Okinawa the number of Japanese killed was over 76,000. There were about 107,000 Japanese or civilians killed or captured; many preferred suicide to the disgrace of capture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa In his work, Silent Victory, Clay Blair reports of American submarines sinking Japanese warships and merchants and other Japanese craft abandoning survivors in the water. That this was a mission essential, on the part of the other Japanese craft or simple abandonment, is a matter of conjecture. The following is written of treatment of German prisoners. Coddling and closely associating with the prisoners was strictly prohibited, although citizens of the town understood that decent treatment of the prisoners in America would mean decent treatment of American POWs in Europe. This "no close association" rule did not hold for long. Many employers formed close bonds with the prisoners that lasted even after the men were repatriated. Some even allowed the prisoners to read and listen to the radio, which also was strictly prohibited. http://www.ottawaherald.com/ottawaguide/2000/ww2.html This may not come anywhere close to answering the basic question, but again, so little is written about the small number of Japanese prisoners. You also have to remember that US front-line troops intensely hated Japanese military personal. This was due to US perceptions of the treatment that US soldiers received from their Japanese captors. US troops were well aware that Allied prisoners were tortured and murdered and therefore were extremely reluctant to take Japanese prisoner. Also, another factor was that Japanese soldiers would often feign surrender only to attack their Allied captors. This meant that Allied soldiers saw taking Japanese prisoners as too much of a risk and therefore would often shoot them when they surrendered or during transport. Given these conditions I personally do not condemn their actions.