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Kempeitai & Torture


The Kempeitai, was the latter which did most of the work. In Syonan, there were three units of the Kempeitai: the Syonan Branch Kempeitai, the Water Front Kempeitai and the Special Policing Kempeitai. They were under the command of the Third Branch Kempeitai of the Southern Expeditionary Forces, which controlled Singapore, the Peninsula, and the Linggi Islands. The function of the Kempeitai was not limited to military policing alone; it had also to maintain public peace and security. It exercised plenary powers of arrest and interrogation over military and civilians alike. The method of interrogation employed by the Kempeitai or the Garrison was usually torture

Torture usually came first and investigation afterwards. Accounts of Japanese torture are numerous; I need here only give a few instances of it. A suspect undergoing interrogation might be subjected to all sorts of beating by various instruments, kicking and boxing, slapping and ju-jitsu throw, burning in the tender parts with cigarette ends or electric charges, pins being driven into nails, hanging by thumbs or ankles, and the infamous water-treatment. Besides these, detained persons were subjected to inhuman prison conditions calculated to break the toughest resistance. Males and females were usually not separately confined, and cells were small, badly ventilated, infested with bugs and insects, and of foul sanitation. Food was merely sufficient to keep a person alive. The whole proceeding of Japanese torture can be summarised in two words: "unspeakable horror." Few ever survived these inhumanities.

The Kempeitai and the Garrison relied for their intelligence on the Tokko and their vast number of agents who infiltrated into every walk of life and every place. The whole tragedy was that the Kempeitai or the Garrison invariably believed what their informers said who not unusually made false accusation against people out of selfish interests. These "running dogs" were hated and feared.