Part 1 World War II
Section 2 Nagasaki in World War II
Chapter 1：Military Preparedness and Wartime Lifestyles
Military preparedness was strengthened in the Nagasaki Fortified Zone immediately before the outbreak of war in the Pacific in December 1941. According to the history compiled by the Japan Defense Agency, military orders issued in October called for the reorganization of the Nagasaki Fortress Headquarters, Nagasaki Fortress Heavy Artillery Regiment (1,193 persons, 9 horses) and Nagasaki Army Hospital (17 persons) into a special provisional unit commanded by Major General Nozaki Seiji and operating as part of the Western District Army. Moreover, in November Nagasaki Fortress Headquarters and part of the Nagasaki Fortress Heavy Artillery Regiment (387 persons) were reorganized to create the Nagasaki Fortress
Air Defense Regiment.
This was the state of military preparedness in the Nagasaki Fortified Zone at the beginning of World War II. In December, the detention center for immigrants in Umegasaki-machi was converted into the Nagasaki Army Hospital.
In 1942, Nagasaki Fortress Headquarters moved from Hokanami-machi to Minamiyamate-machi, a hillside location that commanded a view not only of Nagasaki Harbor but also the outlying islands with artillery installations.
In February the same year, the headquarters of the heavy artillery regiment (consisting of three troop units) was established on Iōjima, an island at the entrance to Nagasaki Harbor that extended the range of fortification further westward. Four ten-gauge cannons and two field artillery guns were installed on Iōjima to defend the entrance to Nagasaki Harbor, while four and two nine-gauge cannons were installed at the western tip of Kōyagishima and the northern tip of Kagenoshima, respectively, to defend the channels at Ōnakaseto and Kaminoshima. Also, four field artillery guns were installed at Nakao, Shikimi Village (now part of Nagasaki City) to provide cover for mines submerged at the mouth of the harbor.
Japan exercised complete control over the East China Sea from the outset of the Second Sino-Japanese War, but after the outbreak of World War II enemy submarines began to frequent these waters. On May 8, 1942, the Taiyo-maru, a Japanese army supply ship, succumbed to enemy submarine fire and sank about 300 km southwest of Nagasaki Harbor. 18
On May 17, shortly after the attack on the Taiyo-maru, the Nagasaki-maru, a 5,300-ton British-made passenger steamer on the regular service between Nagasaki and Shanghai, sank after accidentally detonating a Japanese mine near Iōjima. The Mitsubishi Hall at Dejima was used as a temporary receptacle for the recovered corpses, and the huge loss of life caused grief and consternation among the citizens of Nagasaki. On October 30, 1943, the Nagasaki-maru’s sister ship Shanghai-maru sank some 40 miles east of the mouth of the Yangtze River after colliding with the 10,000-ton Sakito-maru, which had been transporting soldiers to islands in the South Pacific. About 400 passengers and crew members were rescued by the Sakito-maru. This accident put an end to the regular Nagasaki-Shanghai service in operation since 1923.
On May 20, 1942, only three days after the tragic sinking of the Nagasaki-maru, the now fully-outfitted battleship Musashi and its crew left Nagasaki for Kure (Hiroshima Prefecture). In its wake the hemp blinds were removed from the No. 2 building berth at Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard, restoring the original brightness of the harbor. In reality, however, fundamental changes affecting every aspect of the lives of Nagasaki citizens had occurred, and even greater changes were to come.
After declaring war, the Japanese government proclaimed one military success after another, first the Pearl Harbor Attack on December 8, 1941, then the destruction of British warships in the naval battle off Malaya on December 10, the occupation of Guam Island on December 12, the occupation of Manila on January 2, 1942, the occupation of Singapore on February 15, the surrender of Dutch army units on Java Island on March 9, the landing on New Guinea on April 1, the occupation of the Bismarck Archipelago on April 8, the occupation of the Bataan Peninsula on April 11, and the occupation of Corregidor Island on May 7. These stunning successes came to an end on June 5, however, when Japan lost four major aircraft carriers in the Battle of Midway and saw its fortunes in the war suddenly reversed. While Japan withdrew from occupied territories and switched to the defensive, the Allied Powers initiated full-scale counterattacks.
The Japanese government began to strengthen domestic aerial defense systems after 13 American B-25 bombers conducted an air raid over Tōkyō on April 18, 1942. One measure was to establish the Western Air Defense Brigade as part of the Western District Army that same year. The strategic defense of the homeland was augmented by the successive formation of the Western Anti-aircraft Unit (inaugurated on June 1, 1944) and the Western Air Defense Unit (August 15, 1943). The mission of air defense strategy was “to protect Nagasaki, Hiroshima and other cities with the designated air defense forces in northern Kyūshū, to bring the greatest possible force to bear in the skies over key locations and thereby to shoot down all enemy aircraft.” 19
The air defense of the Nagasaki area began with the above-mentioned Nagasaki Fortress Air Defense Unit, but later the name changed with each realignment of military forces and the scale of the unit expanded. The major changes can be summarized as follows:
- November 1941 --- Establishment of the Nagasaki Fortress Air Defense Unit and installation of anti-artillery guns on Mt. Inasa and Mt. Hoshitori.
- October 1942 --- Renaming as the 21st Air Defense Battalion and establishment of military installations on Mt. Kompira and Kaminoshima.
- October 1943 --- Establishment of new defense installations at Kōsakaki, Kōyagishima, Nakanoshima and other locations as part of military expansion efforts.
- January 1944 --- Renaming as the 24th Air Defense Regiment (consisting of six antiaircraft companies and two searchlight companies).
- October 1944 --- Renaming as the 134th Anti-aircraft Regiment. Several enemy planes are shot down around this time.
The 134th Anti-aircraft Regiment (also known as Western Unit 8064) had headquarters in Minamiyamate-machi and a command unit on Mt. Nabekanmuri. The regiment’s anti-aircraft guns, searchlight and radar units were installed in some 20 locations including Mt. Kompira, Mt. Inasa, Mt. Hoshitori, Kōyagishima, Kaminoshima, Tōhakkei, Mt. Kazagashira, Nakanoshima, Aburagi, Tategami, Kosakaki, Kageno’o, Kogakura (Mino’o) and Doinokubi. The number of guns used by the regiment had increased to 40 from only six in the days of the Nagasaki Fortress Air Defense Unit. Mt. Nabekanmuri was also home to the Shohaku Meteorological Unit, part of the Western District Army’s weather observation division.
Nagasaki was the site of the Ōmura Regiment Headquarters, relocated from Ōmura City to Katafuchi-machi, Nagasaki City in 1940, and the 253rd Battalion’s Special Guard Unit with headquarters in Naminohira-machi.
The Special District Security Unit was established in Nagasaki in accordance with a military order issued on March 24, 1945. Comprising two companies and six platoons, the unit had headquarters in Minamiyamate-machi (in a former French convent school called “Maria-en”). The headquarters of the two companies were located at Mogi Elementary School and Nagasaki Commercial School (Aburagi-machi), respectively. Made up of reserves under control of the local command post, this unit was given responsibility for local security and differentiated from the aforementioned 253rd Battalion Special Guard Unit by the word chiku (district) at the beginning of its name.
On May 23, 1945, with the tide of war turning against Japan, the Nagasaki Fortress Defense Unit and other military units in the districts of Nagasaki and Isahaya joined to form the 122nd Independent Mixed Brigade commanded by Lt. Gen. Taniguchi Motojiro. This brigade served as a field army, working closely with the Navy to protect Nagasaki and nearby Nishisonogi Peninsula and Shimabara Peninsula. The units under the brigade’s direct control included the Nagasaki Fortress Defense Unit, the 253rd Battalion Special Guard Unit and the 134th Anti-aircraft Regiment. Moreover, the Isahaya District Unit (Tachibana Defense Unit), Chijiwa District Unit and Iōjima District Unit were placed under the control of the brigade. The reorganization of several of the units comprising the brigade’s major force, however, was undertaken in Ōsaka, a factor that contributed to the late arrival of troops in Nagasaki. In the interval between the atomic bombings of August 6 and August 9, only the brigade’s artillery and engineering units, part of the communication unit, and two of five independent infantry battalions managed to reach Nagasaki. 20
The following table outlines the position, armaments and personnel of the 134th Anti-aircraft Regiment in Nagasaki at the time of the atomic bombing:
The personnel and stationing of the 134th Anti-aircraft Regiment
|1st Company||Mt. Inasa||six guns||approx. 200 persons|
|2nd Company||Mt. Hoshitori||six guns||approx. 200 persons|
|3rd Company||Kōyagishima||six guns||approx. 200 persons|
|4th Company||Mt. Kompira||six guns||approx. 200 persons|
|5th Company||Kosakaki||six guns||approx. 200 persons|
|6th Company||Kaminoshima||six guns||approx. 200 persons|
|Independent platoon||Nakanoshima||two guns||approx. 70 persons|
|7th Company||Headquartered in Kōyagishima|
|1st Squad||Iōjima||16 persons|
|2nd Squad||Kurinoura, Kōyagishima||16 persons|
|3rd Squad||Fukahori||16 persons|
|4th Squad||Kaminoshima||16 persons|
|Radar Detection 1st Platoon||Iōjima||10 persons|
|Radar Detection 2nd Platoon||Doinokubi||10 persons|
|5th Squad and Headquarters||Kōyagishima||100 persons|
|6th Squad||Doinokubi||16 persons|
|7th Squad||Mitsubishi Shipyard||16 persons|
|8th Company||Headquartered in Tōhakkei|
|1st Squad||Mino’o||16 persons|
|2nd Squad and Headquarters||Tōhakkei||84 persons|
|3rd Squad||Mt. Kazagashira||16 persons|
|4th Squad||Mt. Kompira||21 persons|
|5th Squad||Aburagi (Fudanotsuji)||21 persons|
|6th Squad||Mt. Inasa||21 persons|
|7th Squad||Nakanoshima||21 persons|
|8th Squad||Doinokubi||21 persons|
|(The above figures are based on a memorandum by Eguchi Tadaatsu and Nagata Iehiro as well as an interview with Matsuda Masayoshi.)|
These defense forces were supplemented by the Nagasaki Military Police Squad and the Nagasaki Patrol Unit of the Sasebo Naval Guard (also called the Nagasaki Naval Defense Unit). The major task of the latter was to defend munitions factories placed under naval control, that is, the shipyard, arms factory, and electrical and steel works run by the Mitsubishi Co., as well as to maintain discipline among the naval personnel stationed in Nagasaki.
In contrast to Japan’s succession of military victories in the Pacific in 1942, government control over the distribution of commodities at home became increasingly severe. From New Year’s Day 1942, salt was placed on the list of rationed items. Soy sauce and miso (fermented soy bean paste) were added on February 1, and even clothing came under the ticket rationing system. The ration of soy sauce was only 3.7 go (about 550 g) per person per month, while miso was allotted in daily rations of six monme (about 22 g) per person. As a result, women’s organizations and youth groups began organizing workshops on simple ways to make soy sauce. Since the manufacture of cotton clothing for civilian use was already prohibited, recycled fibers and artificial silk were in common use as alternatives. The following year the government stepped up its efforts to simplify clothing. One key measure was to stress economic restraint by strictly limiting the distribution of clothing and enforcing a point-value ticket purchasing system. It was at this time that women began wearing monpe (loose-fitting trousers), not only when taking part in defense drills and volunteer work, but also whenever they went outside.
In response to government commodity regulations, Nagasaki City established a Commodity Department at City Hall in April 1942 to handle the administrative work related to rationing. In October 1943, as part of efforts to streamline this process, Nagasaki City combined the ration books and tickets previously issued for each item into one comprehensive ration book covering more than 40 daily goods, including grain (rice and wheat), noodles, sugar, liquor, cooking oil, dairy items, soy sauce, miso, vinegar, clothing, fuels (such as charcoal), soap and matches. Now almost everything eaten and used in daily life was subject to either regulation or rationing, and any auspicious occasion when extra rations were doled out, even in tiny quantities, elicited joy among the public. Similar quotas were imposed on sales in department stores, through measures such as the Special Fund Procurement Act, Leather Conservation Order and Youth Employment Regulations. 21
Before long, fresh fish and vegetables were also rationed at the neighborhood association level, with pickles and ceramics following soon after. Finally tobacco was placed on the list in November 1944, with allotments set at six cigarettes per person per day.
A Nagasaki branch of the elite civil defense and para-military organization, the “Young Men’s Imperial Rule Assistance Corps,” was established in March 1942. The Nagasaki branch advanced the directives of imperial rule by supervising various local organizations, such as the National Patriotic Industrial Association, the National Patriotic Agricultural Association, the National Patriotic Commercial Association, the National Patriotic Shipping Association, the Great Japan Women’s Association (established by the amalgamation of the Patriotic Women’s Association and the Women’s National Defense Association in July 1942) and the Great Japan Young Men’s Association.
The annual report of one womens’ youth organization (covering the period from December 1, 1941 to December 8, 1942) shows that the members engaged in activities such as gymnastic exercises, early morning running, winter hiking exercises, recycling of tea dregs and charcoal bags (delivered to Nagasaki City Hall by young men’s organizations), collection of plumbing payments, promotion of savings, participation in municipal funerals, air defense efforts, emergency first-aid training, preparation of comfort pouches and letters of encouragement to soldiers (letters were subject to censorship by the military police and inappropriate phrases were deleted), as well as short-term volunteer labor at Kyūshū Confectionary Company, Nagasaki Corporative Canning Company, Himi Village and Koga Village. These are probably exemplary of the activities conducted by other women’s and men’s youth organizations at the time.
In November 1941, the Japanese government promulgated the National Patriotic Labor Cooperation Act. Neighborhood associations, private companies, schools and other organizations responded by forming “Patriotic Labor Cooperation Units,” events that led to a conspicuous increase in volunteer labor efforts. Although also working on a short-term basis, these units provided a continual source of manpower for the construction of defense facilities and labor in agricultural villages, mines and military-related factories.
As the Second Sino-Japanese War and then World War II dragged on, wartime regulations became increasingly stringent and the nation struggled under a strictly budgeted economy.
With the Essential Industry Amalgamation Act (promulgated in August 1941), regulation committees were established to oversee each industry, and various corporations formed during the period extending from November 1941 through to the next year. A series of other orders and policy announcements followed, leading to a reduction in the number of businesses and companies that were redundant or unproductive. These included the Company Authorization Act (requiring new businesses to obtain government permission) in December 1941, the Retail Business Consolidation Plan in April 1942, and the Company Consolidation Act promulgated in May and effectuated in June 1942. 22 In Nagasaki, the process of streamlining the business sector continued until 1943.
Many companies had already closed or switched fields of business due to factors such as the conscription of owners and management personnel and the rationing of resources, but the implementation of the new, stricter standards forced virtually every business entity to regroup. However part of the war effort, these adjustments caused great suffering among those affected.
The printing industry is one example. Of the 141 printing companies in Nagasaki Prefecture, 84 or about 60% went out of business during the period, that is, 30 out of 44 or 45 in Nagasaki, 27 out of 35 or 36 in Sasebo, nine out of 12 in Shimabara and the rest in Isahaya and Ōmura. 23 Similarly, the 300 companies manufacturing wooden ships throughout the prefecture were consolidated into 19 companies. Other industries were similarly streamlined, leaving only a minimum number of distribution centers, stores and factories in business.
The Industrial Division at Nagasaki City Hall oversaw the closing down or conversion of small and medium-sized businesses in the city following the enactment of the Company Authorization Act in December, 1941. Although the figures are only the tip of an iceberg, the number of companies that closed, relocated and changed fields of business was 884, 97 and 95, respectively. In 1944 the corresponding figures were 687, 109 and 119. 24
The repercussions of industry streamlining extended to the workers of the companies, many of whom were drafted into labor service. This was also the reason for the merging or closing down of the “youth schools” that trained students for work. The eleven schools that existed in April 1944 were amalgamated into the following four (six including affiliated schools): East Youth School (established at Kaminagasaki Elementary School), West Youth School (Asahi Elementary School), South Youth School (Tomachi Elementary School) and North Youth School (Nishiurakami Elementary School). The affiliated schools, Minami Ōura Elementary School and Doinokubi Elementary School, remained just as before. Even after amalgamation, however, the number of students continued to decline.
The full-scale mobilization of both male and female students began more or less simultaneously with the streamlining of businesses.
On June 9, 1938, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Ministry of Education released a document entitled “The Implementation of Mass-mobilization for Labor Projects,” marking the first instance of intervention in the field of education. As a result, students were called upon to provide labor for organizations such as the Patriotic Charcoal Production Movement and the Movement to Increase Food Production, but after the enactment of the National Patriotic Labor Cooperation Act in November 1941, national policy made it compulsory for males between 14 and 40 and single females between 14 and 25 years of age to enlist for labor service. The legislation even extended to school children; from 1942 mobilization was initiated on the basis of the maxim “labor service = education.”
This trend became even more pronounced after Japan’s entry into World War II. On April 28, 1943, a cabinet resolution entitled “Guidelines for the Formation of Patriotic Labor Units” institutionalized the units which in the past had been formed on a voluntary or spontaneous basis.
On June 25, 1943, the government followed up by adopting the “Guidelines for the Mobilization of Students during Wartime” and by issuing a Ministry of Education directive regarding its implementation. Both documents reflected the intention to exploit students as a military resource.
In July 1943, the first “student patriotic unit,” a group consisting of 1,336 university, high school and vocational school students, reported for work at the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard. Other units were mobilized for work at the Mitsubishi Arms Factory, Kawanami Industries Kōyagishima Shipyard and Mitsubishi Steelworks. The patriotic units established at schools above the junior-high level by order of the Ministry of Education in August 1941 had been engaged exclusively in the effort to expand food production, but after July 1943 the students were moved into the field of weapons building.
Benefits for students were repealed year by year, and soon university and vocational school students were graduating half a year early, and all school programs above the junior-high level were reduced in duration by one year. In September 1943, the government abolished the conscription deferment system, exempting only students in science and technological courses, and conscripted the first students for military service on December 1 the same year. People referred to this as gakuto shutsujin, or “students going off to war.” Wearing school hats and white sashes and seen off by their colleagues in companies and factories, many of the students went directly into military service. At the Mitsubishi Steelworks, every single member of the first student patriotic unit, consisting of about 50 students from the Kagoshima School of Economics, was conscripted for military service.
In 1944, the minimum age for mobilization, which in the past had been set at the junior high school level, was lowered to include children in the higher grades of elementary school. Children from schools outside the city of Nagasaki and even Nagasaki Prefecture were also subject to mobilization. The mobilization of children continued from June 1944 to May 1945. Initially, the duration of service was not defined, but in March 1944 the Japanese government passed a resolution entitled “Guidelines for Student Mobilization as Part of Emergency Wartime Measures” making it possible to extend the period of service to one year, although in the final stage of the war even this limitation was abrogated. In every grade in every school (including universities and vocational schools), a teacher was assigned to oversee the mobilized students, often working and even living with them on a daily basis. In the case of schools in the city of Nagasaki, students were dispatched for work, not only in munitions factories, but also at Nagasaki Railroad Station, Urakami Railroad Station, locomotive depots, Nittsu Shipping Co., and civil defense corps.
The following schools were engaged in mobilization efforts (the names are those used at the time) 25:
Universities and Vocational Schools
Nagasaki Medical College, Nagasaki Medical College Medical Department, Nagasaki Medical College Pharmaceutical Department, Nagasaki School of Economics, Nagasaki Teachers Training School, Nagasaki Prefectural Women’s Vocational School, Kwassui Women’s Vocational School and Junshin Women’s Vocational School
Junior High Schools
Nagasaki Prefectural Junior High School, Nagasaki Prefectural Keihō Middle School, Nagasaki Prefectural Technical School, Nagasaki Prefectural Fisheries School, Nagasaki City Commercial School, Nagasaki City Second Commercial School, Kaisei Junior High School, Chinzei Junior High School and Toryo Junior High School
Nagasaki Prefectural Women’s High School, Nagasaki City Women’s High School, Kwassui Women’s High School, Junshin Women’s High School, Kakumei Women’s High School, Nagasaki Women’s Commercial School, Keihō Women’s High School, Tamaki Women’s Vocational High School, Josei Women’s Vocational High School and Gyokuei Women’s School
Elementary Schools 26
Fuchi Elementary School, Ōura Elementary School, Nishiurakami Elementary School, Kaminagasaki Elementary School, Katsuyama Elementary School, Irabayashi Elementary School, Sako Elementary School and Nishizaka Elementary School
Schools in Nagasaki Prefecture (outside the city of Nagasaki)
Nagasaki Teachers Training School for Youth, Nagasaki Prefectural Isahaya Junior High School, Nagasaki Prefectural Isahaya Women’s High School, Isahaya Women’s School, Nagasaki Prefectural Ōmura Junior High School, Nagasaki Prefectural Ōmura Women’s High School, Ōmura Women’s Vocational School, Nagasaki Prefectural Sasebo Junior High School, Nagasaki Prefectural Sasebo Technical School, Sasebo Saibi Women’s High School, Sasebo Women’s Commercial School, Nagasaki Prefectural Tsushima Women’s High School, Nagasaki Prefectural Kōka Women’s High School, Yagami Elementary School, Nagayo Elementary School, Yue School, Shiomi Elementary School, Egami Elementary School, Kitaarima Elementary School and Konagai Elementary School
Schools in Saga Prefecture
Saga High School, Saga Teachers Training School, Saga Prefectural Commercial School, Saga Prefectural Imari Commercial School, Saga Prefectural Karatsu Commercial and Industrial School and Saga Prefectural Takeo Women’s High School.
Schools in Fukuoka
Kyūshū Imperial University, Kyūshū Imperial University’s Technical Vocational School, Kyūshū School of Economics, Kurume Technical Vocational School and Fukuoka Teachers Training School
Schools in Kumamoto Prefecture
High School No. 5, Kumamoto Technical Vocational School, Kumamoto Women’s Teachers Training School, Kumamoto Prefectural Commercial School, Kumamoto Prefectural Technical School, Kumamoto City Commercial and Industrial School, Yatsushiro City Commercial School and Kumamoto Prefectural Hitoyoshi Junior High School
Schools in Kagoshima Prefecture
High School No. 7, Kagoshima Economic Vocational School, Kagoshima Prefectural Izumi Women’s High School and Hishikari Elementary School
Schools in Ōita Prefecture
Ōita School of Economics
Schools in Miyazaki Prefecture
Miyazaki Prefectural Miyakonojo Commercial School
Schools in Hiroshima Prefecture
Hiroshima Prefectural Junior High School No. 3
Schools in Tōkyō Prefecture
Tōkyō Imperial University
Schools in Ōsaka Prefecture
Ōsaka Imperial University
The Japanese government adopted a decision to mobilize women in July 1943, following the introduction of measures for industry streamlining and the mobilization of students. All women unmarried and under the age of 25 were subject to mobilization. Under the direction of the Imperial Rule Assistance Corps, young women’s associations organized labor cooperation units and the first was mobilized in October. Wrote one of the mobilized women: “One hundred of us vowed at Suwa Shintō Shrine that we would work hard to increase production for the nation and then marched to the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Arms Factory wearing naval monpe, white headbands and armbands provided by the labor cooperation
unit.” 27 The mobilization referred to here was comprised of several hundred women engaged to work at the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Arms Factory, including 25 from Karatsu, Saga Prefecture. All of the women began labor service under circumstances similar to those described above.
Women’s cooperation units were mobilized on several subsequent occasions from various parts of Nagasaki Prefecture, including Iki, Goto and other remote islands and Saga, Kumamoto and Kagoshima Prefectures, and all of the women were assigned to positions in military supply factories.
The promulgation of the Women’s Volunteer Labor Act in August 1944 resulted in the renaming of the labor cooperation units as teishintai, which literally means “body offering units” but is translated here as “volunteer units.” Women who had completed their term of service in cooperation units were re-mobilized as members of volunteer units. The cooperation unit term of service was six months and could be extended to nine months, but that of the volunteer unit was 12 months and, as in the case of men, was later made indefinite. In Nagasaki, a total of 516 women were mobilized as follows for service in volunteer units: 165 and 91 at the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Arms Factory (first and second mobilization), and 260 at other factories (third mobilization).
The sphere of mobilization was further extended to include young Koreans conscripted for labor service, Allied prisoners-of-war, and convicts serving sentences in jail. From 1944 to 1945, approximately 2,400 Koreans worked at the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard (with housing in Kibachi Dormitory), 300 at the Kawanami Kōyagishima Shipyard (Anpo Dormitory), and 110 at the Mitsubishi Steelworks (Kongo Dormitory).
In October 1942, Fukuoka POW Camp No. 2 Branch was established at Nagahama, site of the Kawanami Kōyagishima Shipyard. This camp accommodated 1,227 Allied POWs, all of whom worked at the Kōyagishima Shipyard. In January 1943, Fukuoka POW Camp No.14 Branch was established on the site of the former Kunimitsu Cotton Mill, then part of the premises of the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard’s Saiwaimachi Factory. The latter camp accommodated approximately 480 Allied POWs, all of whom worked at the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard.
Convicts serving sentences in jail were first mobilized for labor service in December 1944, some 479 (540 at one point) being allocated to the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard. 28 Convicts from Nagasaki Prison in Isahaya were organized as the “Nagasaki Shipbuilding National Defense Unit” with headquarters and housing shared with Allied POWs in the former Kunimitsu Cotton Mill. These men worked at the Saiwaimachi Factory and Ōtao Factory.
At the Kawanami Fukahori Shipyard located near the entrance to Nagasaki Harbor, convicts from Kagoshima Prison were organized as the “Fukahori Shipbuilding Unit.” Although the exact number is unknown, it is said that as many as 1,000 or 2,000 convicts worked there.
The collection of metals to boost the war effort began with the so-called “gold concentration campaign,” a national survey conducted on July 1, 1939 to determine how many people owned how much gold. Although still not mandatory, 15,145 people holding gold items in Nagasaki were encouraged to sell these to the government.
In August 1941, the Japanese government promulgated the Ordinance for the Collection of Metals as part of the National Mobilization Act. As a result, the collection of metals began at various levels of society throughout Nagasaki, including city residents, organizations and social facilities.
Nagasaki City conducted a preliminary survey to determine the situation in this city. According to the Nagasaki City Administration Report: “The extent of iron, copper and other metals available for collection in Nagasaki was investigated to provide basic information to be used when special collections are conducted in the future. The survey was initiated at 12:00 midnight on September 10 and completed on October 13.” The actual collection of metals, which was conducted from December 15, 1941 through to the following year, focused on dispensable household items.
By 1943 the acquisition of military resources became an urgent priority, and the Japanese government launched a correspondingly aggressive campaign to collect metals. The collection of metals in Nagasaki proceeded as follows:
- February 26-April 2 (37 days) --- Special collection of metals from Shintō shrines, Buddhist temples, Christian churches, graveyards, etc.
- May 14-June 3 (20 days) --- Collection of metal items still possessed by ordinary households, designated facilities, etc.
- June 23-25 (3 days) --- First emergency collection of metals from designated local government facilities.
- September 15-26 (12 days) --- Emergency collection of category 1 metals (1943) from designated local government facilities and ordinary households.
- November 19-22 (4 days) --- Emergency collection of cannon shells and other metal objects from the reclaimed land at Nakanoshima. 29
On August 13, 1943, a survey was conducted in each neighborhood association regarding the number of metal buttons possessed by ordinary households, and a total of 86,366 metal buttons were collected in exchange for buttons made of other materials. The metal buttons worn on middle school uniforms were also subject to emergency collection.
The cannon shells mentioned above were mostly trophies from the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) on display in parks and ordinary homes. To prevent the accidental explosion of these shells during air raids, the military police collected them and sank them in the ocean off Takashima. 30
On July 1, 1943, the Nagasaki Prefectural government organized the “Nagasaki Prefectural Working Unit for the Emergency Collection of Metals (Unit Leader: Hashimoto Kazutaya) centering around the Nagasaki Metal Collection Co. as a special organization to promote the emergency collection of metal items. On May 1, 1944, the unit was given further powers to collect metals as the war advanced into its last critical stage. It was this unit that took the bronze plating from the famous main torii gate at Suwa Shintō Shrine.
The collection of metals changed from an emergency measure to a last desperate attempt to secure resources for the war. The collections over a period of two years all but exhausted the supply of metal objects in Nagasaki. Encouraging each other with the words “for the sake of our country,” ordinary citizens offered up everything from religious ornaments to skillets, pots, window grids, iron fencing, copper shingles and rain troughs. The collected items also included the bronze horse from Suwa Shintō Shrine, the ox statue from Sakanoue Temmangu Shrine, ancient bells and other metal objects from temples thoughout the city (excluding some big bells), precious statues of Ninomiya Sontoku (placed in many elementary schools) and busts of historic figures such as Motoki Shozo, Ueno Hikoma, Philipp Franz von Siebold and Matsuda Gengoro. The collection of metals was enforced until the end of the war and came to include household aluminum products, empty cans, old bicycles and even jewelry. 31
17 National Defense College War History Office (ed.), Hondo kessen junbi <2> Kyūshū no bōei (Preparations for War on the Japanese Mainland <2> The Defense of Kyūshū)(Tōkyō: Asagumo Shimbunsha, 1972) ^
18 Ibid. ^
19 Ibid. ^
20 Ibid. ^
21 Hamaya hyakka ten niju nen shi [The 20-Year-History of Hamaya Department Store]) ^
22 Hyaku nen no ayumi- juhachi ginko [The 100-Year History of Eighteen Bank]) ^
23 Nagasaki insatsu hyaku nen shi [100 Years of Printing in Nagasaki]) ^
24 Nagasaki City (ed.), Nagasaki shisei rokujūgonenshi (Sixty-Five-Year History of the Nagasaki Municipal Administration)(Nagasaki,1959) ^
25 Ikinokori taru warera tsudoite (We the Survivors Gather) ^
26 At the time, elementary schools were called kokumin gakkō, which literally means “national citizen’s school.” ^
27 Nagasaki Labor Cooperation Unit (Before and After the Atomic Bombing, 19, Miyoko Hirayama) ^
28 Punishment in Wartime, edited by the Correction Association ^
29 Nagasaki City (ed.), Nagasaki shisei rokujūgonenshi (Sixty-Five-Year History of the Nagasaki Municipal Administration)(Nagasaki,1959) ^
30 From an interview with (Mr.) Hashimoto Kazutaya. ^
31 Hashimoto Kazutaya, Kunan no michi wo koete (Beyond the Road of Hardship) in Hashimoto shokai shashi (History of Hashimoto & Co.) ^