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The history of Unit 731


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One of the lesser known atrocities of the 20th century was committed by the Imperial Japanese Army’s Unit 731. Though many details of this unit’s activities are still uncovered, I tried to write down some of the mainpoints and connections to the Zombies story. Be wary: Many of the following words are shocking and disgusting, making me questionizing faith in humanity once again. That's also my second purpose of this post: Making you all familiar with these horrific events we neglected in our history class and TV documentaries.


General info


Unlike the Nazi's horrible acts concerning human experimentation, Japan's horrific activities of “Unit 731” remained one the most closely guarded secrets of World War II for over 40 years. Unit 731 was a biological- and chemical warfare unit set up in 1938 in Manchuria with the aim of developing biological weapons. The unit used thousands of Chinese civilians and Russian POW's as human guinea pigs to breed and develop killer diseases. Many of the prisoners, who were murdered in the name of research, were used in hideous vivisection and other medical experiments, including barbaric trials to determine the effect of frostbite on the human body. Experiments were performed using living human beings infected with diseases such as the plague and anthrax and then eviscerated them without anesthesia to see how the diseases infected human organs.


“The fellow knew that it was over for him, and so he didn’t struggle when they led him into the room and tied him down. But when I picked up the scalpel, that’s when he began screaming. I cut him open from the chest to the stomach, and he screamed terribly, and his face was all twisted in agony. He made this unimaginable sound, he was screaming so horribly. But then finally he stopped. This was all in a day’s work for the surgeons, but it really left an impression on me because it was my first time.”

Female prisoners were forced to become pregnant for use in experiments. Human targets were used to test grenades positioned at various distances and in various positions. Flamethrowers were tested on humans. Humans were also tied to stakes and used as targets to test pathogen-releasing bombs, chemical weapons, and explosive bombs as well as bayonets and knives. In other tests, subjects were deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death; placed into low-pressure chambers until their eyes popped from the sockets; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; electrocuted; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood; exposed to lethal doses of x-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with sea water; and burned or buried alive. Some tests had no medical or military purpose at all, such as injecting horse urine into prisoners' kidneys or amputating limbs and resewing them to other stumps on the body. Unit 731 was a place of torture that was, in the minds of many Unit 731 workers, a necessity in order to win the war.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor shi no numa arm attached poster

This poster can be found in the main hut in Shi no Numa. It could be a reference to Peter's body missing an arm but also to the cruel limb amputating 'experiments' Unit 731 performed.


Division 9


Unit 731 was officially divided into 8 Divisions, with the Zombieverse adding a secret ninth. Division 9's purpose was researching Element 115 and potentially using it to develop weapons. The Emperor was the most interested in the Element's capability to rezurrect dead corpses. The Division also performed 'regular' Unit 731 experiments (concerning pathogens, viruses, bacteria, etc) combined with 115. Plague-infected fleas, bred in the laboratories of Unit 731, were spread by low-flying airplanes upon Chinese cities. This military aerial spraying killed tens of thousands of people with bubonic plague epidemics. An expedition to Nanking involved spreading typhoid and paratyphoid germs into the wells, marshes, and houses of the city, as well as infusing them into snacks to be distributed among the locals. Division 9 continued this trend of using insects, water contamination and spores, however, the 115th Element seemed to have unearthly effects on nature. As a heavy unstable and quickly decaying element, 115 had a co-effect as a large mutation factor in the genes of flora, fauna and fungi. Water caused plants to mutate into species never encountered before, fungi grew into large blobs seemingly harming both humans and zombies upon breathing in the spores.


To ease the conscience of those involved, the prisoners were referred to not as people or patients but as “Maruta”, or wooden logs. The amount of wood in Shi no Numa, or the Rising Sun Facility, is striking to me. Though I cannot find a source right now, I believe I once read about a secret Unit 731 facility that was nicknamed "the woodmill". This most likely referred to the amount of 'logs' that were held there, but I could also see this might relate to Shi no Numa, a facility built of almost exclusively logs.


Now the test subjects being called logs could also relate to another effect of the spores: Enabling a symbiosis between 115-infected plants and 115-infected living dead. What we call Thrashers are basically both humans and logs together in one living organism.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor zetsubou no shima spores

Just like other Unit 731 divisions released pathogen infected fleas, rats and mice, Division 9 fucked up 115-infected archea. What might have been bred as a potential weapon now resides in the dark, humid cavern system underneath Pohnpei.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor zetsubou no shima spider boss

The cages found around the Island Facility show us that Division 9 captured the dog-sized offspring of the gigantic spider, and they might've tried to control them in a desperate final attempt to turn the tides of the Pacific War.




During the final months of World War II, Japan planned to use plague as a biological weapon against San Diego, California. The plan was scheduled to launch on September 22, 1945, but luckily, Japan surrendered five weeks earlier.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor soviet invasion of manchuria

During August 1945, the Red Army launched an offense on Manchuria, the area in Northern China that also housed most of Unit 731's facilities. Ministries in Tokyo ordered the destruction of all facilities and incriminating materials, including those in Pingfan. Potential witnesses, such as the 300 remaining prisoners were either gassed or fed poison while the 600 Chinese and Manchurian laborers were shot. For all we know, zero prisoners ever left the gates of Unit 731. As the Japanese scientists wanted to avoid prosecution under the Soviet legal system, the scientists of Unit 731 (including the surviving members of Division 9) made a deal with the US. They were granted immunity in exchange for providing the US their research on biological warfare and data from human experimentation. The US also acquired the Elemental Shard.


The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal heard only one reference to Japanese experiments with "poisonous serums" on Chinese civilians. The Japanese defense counsel argued that the claim was vague and uncorroborated and it was dismissed for lack of evidence. Although publicly silent on the issue at the Tokyo Trials, the Soviet Union pursued the case and prosecuted twelve top military leaders and scientists from Unit 731, receiving sentences ranging from 2 to 25 years in Siberian labour camps. But also in the Soviet tribunal is believed that Unit 731 members had given information to them regarding their biological experimentation for judicial leniency. This was evidenced by the Soviet Union building a biological weapons facility in Sverdlovsk using documentation captured from Unit 731 in Manchuria. This disaster is sometimes referred to as the 'biological Czernobyl'.

The United States used to intel and scientists acquired by the deal to built Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) facility in Utah (the Dugway sheep incident was a result of a leaking nerve gas from this station). This facility is a chemical and biological weapon test site, though following the public attention drawn to Area 51 in the early 1990s, UFOlogists and concerned citizens have suggested that whatever covert operations may have been underway at that location, if any, were subsequently transferred to DPG. They believe aliens are being studied here as well.

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