Sparrow Photo 50: After-math Tatsuo “Little Glass Eye” Tsuchiya before the Yokohama War Crimes Commission sentencing. He is flanked by Maj. Louis Geffen, prosecutor, and Lt. Col. John Dickinson, defense attorney. 5 January 1946. (Photographer: Tom Shafer. © Bettmann/CORBIS) ‘Victor's Justice’? “The trial of the vanquished by the victors cannot be impartial no matter how it is hedged about with the forms of justice.” – U.S. Senator Robert A. Taft, October 5, 1946. The momentum of the Western World and Modern Japan collided at Mitsushima Prisoner of War Camp. Isolated in the Tenryu River valley of Japan’s Central Alps, a Lord of the Flies scenario played out where Bushidō culture and Western hypocrisy argued about how prisoners of war should be treated. How prisoners of war should be treated became the Rules of War. Japan ratified the Hague Convention. Japan, a military-run government, did not sign the Geneva Convention of 1929 though, in 1942, it did promise to abide by its terms. Among the ruins of Japan’s defeated capital, one of the Mitsushima guards would become the first person to be tried for war crimes against the Rules of War. At the Yokohama War Crimes Tribunal, the concept of the Rules of War would set the legal precedent upon which every successive trial would rely. Every murder, beating, summary punishment, brutal treatment, forced labour, medical experimentation, starvation rations, and poor medical treatment would rely on the effectiveness of the trial of a civilian guard and injured former corporal with the nickname “Little Glass Eye.”
Sparrow  Photo 50   After-math  Tatsuo    Little Glass Eye    Tsuchiya before the Yokohama War Crimes Commission sentencin...
Sparrow After-math With so much depending on the result, one would have expected every loose end to be firmly tied. Instead, any first year law student sitting through the trial of Tatsuo Tsushiya would have felt embarrassed to be present. To be fair, one can imagine the prosecutors sifting through all the affidavits to find some consistency between statements for what would appear to be a straightforward first case – a ‘slam dunk.’ Thousands of complaint forms were filed, sorted, then witnesses would need to be found. Remember, most prisoners of war were on their way home. But Mitsushima Camp had five different names. Matsushima appeared on the Gibbs Camp Report, Tokyo #2 Detached Camp appeared on Red Cross reports, Tokyo 3-B (or Number 3 Branch) on Japanese reports, and later in the war it was renamed Tokyo 12-B (or Number 12 Branch). The description of Tsuchiya varied greatly between affidavits. Another guard at the camp, Sadaharu Hiramatsu, had the nickname ‘Big Glass Eye,’ as well as ‘Glass Eye.’ The prosecution argued that Tsuchiya’s nickname in several affidavits was Glass Eye. Mark Gayn, a former Tokyo correspondent of The Chicago Sun who witnessed the trial, wrote in his book “Japan Diary”: “As evidence was unfolded, doubt vanished that this mild looking ex-farmer was a sadist, who delighted in inventing cruelties to be inflicted on the prisoners in the camp in which he was a guard.” 193 Gayn, however, added: “We all felt embarrassed watching the prosecutors handle the case.” “Their case was built on affidavits, some of which would not have passed the scrutiny of a police reporter, let alone a court of justice.” “The affidavits argued with each other. We snickered, but we felt uneasy and ashamed.” 194 Nonetheless, as Gayn remarked, “The purpose of the trials, I am told, is less to punish the guilty than to give the Japanese people a lesson in the futility of aggression.”195 Thus, it could, and has been argued, that MacArthur had more interest in establishing “Rules of War” for future international society than in ensuring only the guilty were punished. 196 A fundamental of law is that an accused be ‘tried.’ That is why it is called a trial. Much of the evidence presented was by affidavits from people who were not present to be cross-examined by the defence. Only a few ‘witnesses’ were present at the trial. None of them actually witnessed the beating of Robert Gordon Teas. Amongst the affidavits compiled in the Mitsushima Camp folder at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland was one by Raymond Kirch. He was in the same building when Teas died. He saw him die. 193 194 195 196 Kogure, Satoko. Justice Reaches Dead End. The Japan Times: Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.
Sparrow  After-math  With so much depending on the result, one would have expected every loose end to be firmly tied. Inst...
Sparrow After-math No one bothered to ask Kirch to be present. Kirch returned home to his old job in the United States Army Air Force. In an interview, here is what he had to say: The Author: “What do you think actually killed Teas?” Kirch: “Well, it wasn’t actually the beating that killed Teas that time. He was swollen with water [with beriberi]. I tell you, he was huge. And this old Dutch doctor, who was supposed to be a Dutch doctor, this was early in the time because Dr. Weinstein hadn’t come in yet. So he got a big hypodermic needle, a great big one and a pan, and he started drawing the water out this guy did. The Dutch doctor did. He was supposed to be a doctor. “He drew out one panful. It went so well he decided to do a second. On the second pan, he was about half way through it and the guy went into shock. My people don’t know what that is but I found what happened and the guys who were there told me, they witnessed it. The second time he was being drawn he went into shock and died.”197 Much of the evidence presented would breach the United States Constitution and the Articles of War. The objections by the defence to such evidence were overruled by the U.S. military commission, which argued that such protection could not be afforded to the accused as a former belligerent.198 By the end of 1943, 275 prisoners of war passed through Mitsushima camp. Of that number, 54 died at Mitsushima, Kanose, or the journey home. Of those who died in captivity, 25 were Royal Air Force, 9 were from The Sparrows, and 18 were American. Of the 221 liberated prisoners of war – all of whom were interviewed in Yokohama or Manila – only 64 laid a complaint about their treatment as prisoners of war. Of this number, 12 were from Royal Air Force, 3 from The Sparrows, 1 Dutch Doctor, 1 Royal Naval Doctor, and a staggering 47 were Americans. In other words, of the 67 Americans who survived the war, 70 percent laid complaints. Of the 162 British who survived, 10 percent laid complaints. Table 2: List of Mitsushima prisoners who laid war crimes complaints. Rank L.A.C. Sqd/Ldr. Maj. Name Duffy, James Blanchard, William Thomas Cory, Allan Murray Serial 965952 Cpl. Capt. Rogers, Harold G. Hewitt, Walter J. 979453 0-338977 T/Sgt. Roy, John C. 6896934 United States Army Affidavit Cpl. Atwell, John R. 37042049 United States Army Affidavit 197 198 317610 Force Evidence Royal Air Force Royal Air Force Affidavit United States Army Testimony, Questionnaire, Statement Royal Air Force United States Army Questionnaire, Statement Interview with Raymond Kirch. Valparaiso, Florida, U.S.A., 29 June 2004. Kogure, op cit. Trials Azuma Trial Nakajima Trial Nakajima Trial Nakajima Trial Nakajima, Shichino & Azuma Trials Shichino & Azuma Trials
Sparrow  After-math  No one bothered to ask Kirch to be present. Kirch returned home to his old job in the United States A...
Sparrow After-math Cpl. S/Sgt. Pvt. Pvt. Pvt. Gnr. Cpl. A.C.2. A.C.2. P.F.C. Sgt. Cpl. Pvt. Cpl. A.C.2. P.F.C. Sgt. Pvt. P.F.C. S/Sgt. P.F.C. S/Sgt. Med.Off. 2nd Class P.F.C. Lt/Surg. Cpl. Bandish, William E. Bass, James O. Berry, Cullen W. Bitner, James E. Bolin, Bedford F. Bridger, Kenneth Arthur Bullock, Reginald Chow, Swee Soon Chua, Teong Swee Cupp, Burlin C. Duncan, Joseph J. Dunn, Eugene C. Ennis, Earl E. Evans, Henry Gill, Rajindra Singh Groves, James T. Marble, Vernon B. Martindale, Donald A. Richards, William R. Rouse, Samuel J. Spencer, Paul R. Sutterfield, James E. Van Slooten, Nicolaas 6971025 6227209 6250483 13022538 34049133 Wasson, Wayne N. Whitfield, R.G.S. Campbell, Kenneth C. 38012123 P.F.C. Dement, David A. 14014561 Cpl. Peil, George J. 14042451 P.F.C. P.F.C. P.F.C. Pvt. Pvt. Fg Off. Gnr. Sgt. S/Sgt. Lilly, Donald C. Gavord, Charles B. Holland, Pete B. Kirch, Raymond S. Kolilis, Fred L. Power, Christopher Telford, John Wilson, Jack D. Mitchell, Arthur J. 15061732 20842474 14014943 14014390 20956487 S/Sgt. Pratt, Dorris R. 6960136 1st/Sgt. Snodgrass, Clifton O. 6824973 Sgt. Tison, Thomas P. 6973420 A.C.2. Capt. Pvt. Sjt. 1st/Sgt. Sgt. Sgt. Sgt. P.F.C. Sgt. P.F.C. P.F.C. Cpl. Pvt. L/Bdr. A.C.2. Cpl. Campbell, Robert Addie Faulkner, Ace E. Fields, Bernard A. Fullock, Leslies Edmond Goff, Marshall W. Gordon, Albert R. Holstein, Jay Ivy, John B. Vallerga, Simone N. Brokaw, Glenn D. Grassick, Paul A. Hyde, Revis C. Jones, Eugene Mann, William H. Quennell, William J.H. Robertson, John S. Steele, Arvil L. 35001552 20843956 6472998 19052177 35100656 6977685 19050911 18049853 6842414 18050440 14002078 13001451 1826640 6286742 6864512 308907 7040173 6253514 12007158 20500721 6265784 19052525 32045386 35001515 6396050 6292899 33043704 1453708 6861252 United States Army United States Army United States Army United States Army United States Army Royal Artillery Royal Air Force Royal Air Force Royal Air Force United States Army United States Army United States Army United States Army Royal Air Force Royal Air Force United States Army United States Army United States Army United States Army United States Army United States Army United States Army Dutch Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit Affidavit United States Army Affidavit Royal Navy Affidavit United States Army Affidavit, Questionnaire United States Army Affidavit, Testimony United States Army Affidavit, Testimony United States Army Deposition United States Army Questionnaire United States Army Questionnaire United States Army Questionnaire United States Army Questionnaire Royal Air Force Questionnaire Royal Artillery Questionnaire United States Army Questionnaire United States Army Questionnaire, Statement United States Army Questionnaire, Statement United States Army Questionnaire, Statement United States Army Questionnaire, Statement Royal Air Force Statement United States Army Statement United States Army Statement Royal Air Force Statement United States Army Statement United States Army Statement United States Army Statement United States Army Statement United States Army Statement United States Army Testimony United States Army Testimony United States Army Testimony United States Army Testimony United States Army Testimony Royal Artillery Testimony Royal Air Force Testimony United States Army Testimony
Sparrow  After-math  Cpl. S Sgt. Pvt. Pvt. Pvt. Gnr. Cpl. A.C.2. A.C.2. P.F.C. Sgt. Cpl. Pvt. Cpl. A.C.2. P.F.C. Sgt. Pvt....
Sparrow After-math All the British experienced the same conditions as the Americans and yet seven times as many Americans felt that they were the victims of war crimes. How come? The prisoners were either regular army before the war, volunteers, or conscripted. They either endured traumatic captivity on Bataan, neglect on the Siam-Burma Railway, farcical conditions on Java, or reasonable treatment on Timor. Each soldier’s attitude was forged by their military and captivity experiences before they arrived in Japan. Those interviewed spoke of an ‘American bravado’ where, if they weren’t exaggerating their heroics in battle, they were exaggerating their resilience in captivity. It is true that the Americans did suffer on the Bataan Death March, at Camp O’Donnell, Camp Cabanatuan, and the hellship journey to Japan. The number of deaths reinforce this. However, was what happened at Mitsushima the fault of all the guards who were punished? Walter Hewitt – promoted to Major after the war199 – was instrumental in presenting evidence at the war crimes trials of Mitsushima and Kanose guards. He relied heavily on the war diary of Les Chater, who did not present evidence. By his own admission, Hewitt was present to ‘balance the books.’200 What ‘balancing the books’ meant was a perception of proportionality for the deaths at Mitsushima. An eye for an eye. Vengeance. Payback. In other words, in the eyes of Hewitt, all the deaths at Mitsushima could not be avenged by the execution of just one guard. To show the rest of the world that conditions at Mitsushima were worse than other camps, the number of guards executed and imprisoned needed to reflect it. The irony of the first war crimes trial is that Tsuchiya was found guilty of charges that he shouldn’t have been found guilty of and cleared of charges that he probably was guilty of. Tsuchiya was sentenced to life ‘confined at hard labour.’ After the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, the Allied occupation ended. Japan’s “full sovereignty” was restored, Japan was absolved from reparations to its wartime victims, and war criminals were freed. Tsuchiya was released in 1952 after serving six years at Sugamo Prison. Retrospectively, he probably served the right sentence. While acknowledging the legal flaws and unfair nature of the trial, “their true significance was far greater,” argues Toshiaki Manabe, a Yokohama-based lawyer and co-author of “The Stars and Stripes At the Court,” which explores War Crimes Tribunals in Japan. 201 Manabe believes that the most important aspect of the trials was not the rights and wrongs of so-called “victor’s justice,” but that it was an attempt to establish an international justice system by standing accused war criminals before an international court. 202 When the war appeared to not be turning in Japan’s favour, the Tokyo HQ for POW Camps reshuffled the guards and commanders. The Mitsushima Camp 199 200 201 202 All United States personnel liberated from prisoners of war camps were promoted one rank. Chater, Leslie H. (with Hamid, Liz). Behind the Fence: Life as a POW in Japan, 1942-1945: The Diaries of Les Chater. Vanwell, 2001. Appendices. Kogure, op cit. Kogure, op cit.
Sparrow  After-math  All the British experienced the same conditions as the Americans and yet seven times as many American...
Sparrow After-math Commander, Sukeo Nakajima, was sacked and replaced with his second-incommand, Capt. Tatsuro Kubo. Nakajima was then promoted to captain, which conflicts with the so-called reasons for him being replaced – being the loss of so many prisoners in his charge. Other guards involved with the reshuffle were mostly those known for their brutality. Sgt. Mutsuhiro Watanabe, known as “The Bird,” was relocated twice after Omori – first to Noestu and to then Mitsushima. In 1945, General Douglas MacArthur included Watanabe as number 23 on his list of the 40 most wanted war criminals in Japan.203 Only after the 1951 Peace Treaty did Watanabe emerge from hiding. He became a successful life insurance salesman. Other guards in the reshuffle included PFC Keitaro Fukijima and Sgt. Kanemasu Uchida, who were sent to Kanose POW Camp. Fukijima was implicated with The Bird in several beatings at Omori HQ Camp. Uchida accumulated a charge sheet of over forty separate incidents at three camps. Colonel Kunji Suzuki only received a life sentence, yet many of the guards and commanders under him were executed. The second trial of Mitsushima guards was the trial of five, including the Camp Commander Captain Sukeo Nakajima. Only four former prisoners testified – two British and two American. There was general disappointment at the Tsuchiya verdict of life imprisonment. The prosecution was going for death penalties. The specifications of the charges ranged from negligence that resulted in deaths, to stealing Red Cross supplies, to physical acts of brutality. The physical acts of brutality were well documented. There was general consistency between affidavits, war diaries, and those interviewed. Some of those who laid the complaints were, however, caught stealing Red Cross supplies and food meant for prisoners. If the guards didn’t deal harshly with a prisoner, the other prisoners would deal to them. At Kanose, when a prisoner was caught stealing food, Azuma beat the prisoner with a stick. American M/Sgt. John Roy said, “If I was holding [that stick], I would kill that God damn son of a bitch!” Some specifications where guards punished prisoners for theft of food were dismissed. All guards charged with stealing Red Cross supplies were found guilty. The strange finding of the trial was that ‘Shorty’ (Rikio Shioiri: the Medical Sergeant) was given a life sentence but other guards were executed. Shioiri was responsible for deciding who was fit to work and who wasn’t. He conducted naked physical inspections of prisoners outside in sub-zero temperatures. Most of the deaths at Mitsushima occurred under his care. Sadaharu Hiramatsu, known as ‘Big Glass Eye,’ was found guilty of being responsible for the deaths of prisoners during the period that he was absent on leave to care for his sick family. He was a decorated soldier, injured in China. He was a disciplinarian, not a sadistic brute. He was also a local who had status. No complaints of brutality were made against him. He was executed due to Hewitt’s ‘balancing the books’ as well as confusion with ‘Little Glass Eye.’ Punk and Rivet Tooth were brutes. They stole, they beat, but they did not kill. 203 Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken. Random House, 2010.
Sparrow  After-math  Commander, Sukeo Nakajima, was sacked and replaced with his second-incommand, Capt. Tatsuro Kubo. Nak...
Sparrow After-math Mushmouth did kill. He was the interpreter – the link between the camp commander and the prisoners. He was incompetent and he concealed it. Nakajima’s absence from camp handed power to Mushmouth. Mushmouth went beyond his powers to decide who was fit to work. He sent prisoners to their deaths. The decision to execute Nakajima and Mushmouth were justified. Based on the evidence collected, the other guards should have received a sentence whereby they would have been released by 1952. Shioiri and Speedo (Kirishita) received the right sentences. In other words, three guards were executed on poor evidence and legal methods at the time. The third trial of Mitsushima guards was a mismatch. Smiler – the second in charge of the camp – was tried alongside Shichino and Big Speedo (Nojima). Shichino petitioned that he should not have been tried alongside the other two. Based on the evidence collected at the time and since, he should not have been tried at all. In fact, he should have received a medal for his bravery. Shichino begged, bought, and stole medical supplies to treat prisoners. He arrived at the end of January 1943. By that time, 20 had died and the sickbay was full with more than 40. Twenty-five would die of respiratory and digestive failure during the next five months that Shichino was at the camp. No one spoke against Shichino. No one blamed him for causing anyone’s death. He was caught in the midst of a witch-hunt. The other guards at the trial, Big Speedo and Smiler, were responsible for the food at the camp. They fed barley and white rice to prisoners with sensitive digestive tracts – the result of malaria and diarrhea. The undercooked barley ripped through the intestines of the vulnerable prisoners, causing inflammation. It was only after Shichino’s intervention that Nakajima started to observe the food being cooked and served. Due to Nakajima’s regular absences from the camp, Smiler was effectively in control. He should have reigned in Mushmouth and the other guards. He didn’t and prisoners died. In the end, his death sentence was warranted. Big Speedo received a life sentence and was released in 1952. That sentence was fair. The war crimes tribunal failed Shichino three times. He tried to be heard separately and turned down. He was then sentenced to 25 years. Even the clemency requests were turned down. Hewitt, who had a copy of Chater’s diary, clearly stated that Shichino used his own funds to buy medicine for the prisoners. Hewitt should have stressed this point. He didn’t, which is a smear on Hewitt’s character. Hewitt also failed Hiroshi Azuma, the Kanose Camp Commander. Even though Chater, Morris, and Hewitt handed Azuma a signed a letter of commendation to protect Azuma from prosecution, Hewitt gave evidence that led to Azuma receiving a 7-year sentence. Only after protests from other prisoners did Azuma receive clemency. The trials of other accused war criminals for the death of The Sparrows is just as disappointing. The trial of Sergeant Major Eiji Yoshinari, the commander of the Tofuku Maru, and Ship’s Master Shiro Otsu was clumsy. On one 31-day voyage, with two stops on the Mekong and Taiwan, 27 died and most arrived in Japan sick. The sick did
Sparrow  After-math  Mushmouth did kill. He was the interpreter     the link between the camp commander and the prisoners....
Sparrow After-math not disembark at either stop; medicine was not distributed. The ship was not marked according to The Hague and Geneva Conventions indicating that prisoners of war were aboard. Although Otsu was found guilty, Yoshinari was acquitted. There is no documentation indicating the sentence given to Otsu. The only accused war criminal tried in Australia to be executed was Kempei-Tai Lieutenant Colonel Yujiro Yutani. Yutani was originally sentenced to 10 years with hard labour for killing ‘Dummy’ Armstrong and Harry Martin while in custody. For some unknown reason, Yutani was transported to Rabaul and executed there. Based on the evidence presented at the original Darwin trial, Yutani should have been executed for the torture and death of the two Sparrow Force soldiers. Hewitt’s desire for ‘balance’ is grossly undone by the precedent it set. While the United States tried to sway the moral compass in its favour in order to set some type of moral high ground, the way the trials were conducted generated a resentment amongst the Japanese. The trials effectively became show trials due largely to the process and admissibility of evidence. There is further resentment of the United States due to their conduct since the war crimes trials. While the International Criminal Tribunal is built on the foundation of the war crimes trials after the war, the United States do not want their soldiers to be subject to the same jurisdiction. Satoko Kogure sums up the current state of the moral compass: There is a direct line that can be drawn from the tribunals to the reinforcement of the Geneva Conventions in 1949. And later, in 1993, the U.N. Security Council established the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg and Tokyo -- the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda followed it in 1994. And in July 2002, when the International Criminal Court (ICC), a permanent war-crimes tribunal based in the Hague, was established according to an international treaty of 1998, the process begun in 1945 appeared to have reached its logical and desired conclusion. However, by consistently opposing the ICC in order to exclude its own troops from accountability under a system of international law first established by its own government, the United States is threatening to unravel much, if not all of the progress of the last 60 years. Military scandals such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay have forced the U.S. to drop its requests at the U.N. for exemption for its nationals from prosecution at the ICC, but it has managed to secure bilateral immunity agreements with some 90 countries, ostensibly by threatening the withdrawal of the U.S. economic and military aid. And last July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a foreign aid bill that included the approval of an amendment prohibiting Economic Support fund assistance to any country that is a part of the ICC and has not yet signed the immunity agreement. If it can be argued that MacArthur’s bending of the rules of international law are justified because of the precedent they set and developments they
Sparrow  After-math  not disembark at either stop  medicine was not distributed. The ship was not marked according to The ...
Sparrow After-math facilitated, can the same be said of current U.S. actions that weaken accountability and reintroduce the notion of victor’s justice with the greater good sacrificed for political expediency? 204 The moral compass clearly sways according to who wins conflicts. Might is right. Herman Goering was not charged with the Blitz, largely due to how the Allies bombed German cities like Dresden. Stalin wasn’t charged for the many atrocities against Germans. No American was tried for bombing a Japanese civilian target. The Second World War was won by the Russians doing the Allies’ dirty work. Today, whenever the UN Security Council raises concerns about human rights abuses, China and Russia abstain or veto intervention. The USA are not a member of the International War Crimes Court because they fear US soldiers would be tried, even though the jurisprudence was founded by them at Nuremburg and Yokohama. So much for moral high ground. Effectively, the way the United States conducted itself during the Class A, B, and C war crimes trials in Japan was ‘Victor’s Justice’ because the same standards applied to the Japanese were not applied to the conduct of their own soldiers. 204 Kogure, op cit.
Sparrow  After-math facilitated, can the same be said of current U.S. actions that weaken accountability and reintroduce t...