WW2 Japanese Military Brutality Explained

The audio episode explains the 8 causes of Japanese military brutality during World War II, written and narrated by Dr. Mark Felton, an author and leading authority on the WWII in Asia.

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Disclaimer: All opinions and comments expressed in the ‘Comments’ section do not reflect the opinions of War Stories with Mark Felton. All opinions and comments should contribute to the dialogue. War Stories with Mark Felton does not condone written attacks, insults, racism, sexism, extremism, violence or otherwise questionable comments or material in the ‘Comments’ section, and reserves the right to delete any comment violating this rule or to block any poster from the channel.

Credits: YouTube Creative Commons; WikiCommons; Google Commons; Mark Felton Productions; War Stories with Mark Felton
Music: “Pursuit” licenced to iMovie by Apple, Inc.
Source: ‘A Perfect Storm – Japanese Military Brutality in World War II’ by Mark Felton, Routledge History of Genocide, 2015.


  1. The Japanese did literally nothing wrong, they did absolutely nothing different then any other Empire has done throughout history whether from Europe or elsewhere. The only reason this whole was crimes spiel is pushed is because the Japanese gave the world a run for their money and beat the shit out of them for years all on their own as a small Island nation which humiliated the Allied powers. They have spent nearly a century now shaming the Japanese for simply fighting a war for their survival and prosperity just like the rest of the world was doing at the same exact time and without the Atomic Bomb the Allied armies could have never won. And they would have never dropped a atomic weapon on a European power. It's pathetic you keep blaming all of this on "Ultra Nationalism" as if there is anything wrong in the slightest with Nationalist ideology.

  2. Jesus gave the reason the Japanese soldiers committed atrocities.
    “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

  3. A museum of Japanese war atrocities needs to be opened in Tokyo by international interests and close media reporting over events if the Japanese try to shut it down.

  4. Oh wow the British didn't commit any war crimes? Your history lessons are very one sided. The British and americans bombed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Germany. The US dropped an atomic bomb on a civilian populations. This is deeply disgraceful for you to leave that out and pretend that only Germans, soviets and Japanese committed vat crimes.

  5. It's curious that the Germans after committing countless atrocities on the eastern front, were desperate to surrender to the American or British forces rather than the Russians, in full knowledge of the heinous crimes they committed to the Russian people and forces. They feared reprisals. The Japanese simply did not have any scrupules about the atrocities they inflicted on civilians or military personnel, the Japanese military just did not care, as it suited their purposes. In any case the Russians came late into the war in the far east, so did not have the same history, it was in the end just a question about surrendering to the Americans only.

  6. I used to ask my dad about his grandad who served as MP in Burma during the second world war about his opinion of the Japanese. It sounded shocking to me at the time, when my dad responded that my great grandad absolutely despised anything Japanese and was disgusted by them all. I knew of the brutality that occurred but I assume knowing and witnessing first hand is probably the line that makes a man change from impartiality to hatred. I myself understand the foundation for this brutality now, explained in this video, but it is easy for me to look at these events with a critical eye when I am far removed from them.

    Great video Mark, as always!

  7. If you are willing to take your own life at the smallest mistake it means your own life is worth less than the values or principles you have been taught, in such a case it is easier to understand that someone else's life is worth even less.

  8. I can honestly say that after listening to this and many other of mark’s videos that I feel less sympathy for the “average soldier” on the militaries of this time. As far as I’m concerned they’re all guilty of horrible war crimes and deserved the bombs and bullets that they received almost to the point of saying they got off too light.

  9. I like how nowadays a lot of contemporary military historians say this was just a part of Japanese military culture. I have a long list of military historians who have done this and will expose them in a trickle down format so I can launch my new youtube channel and then disappear after accidentally leaking a video of me beating my down

  10. Dr. Felton is one of the finest historians in our modern time. I cannot say enough good things about him and his work. I wonder if he and Richard B. Frank could sit down and just talk about war with Japan. A series of them talking I think would be a fabulous contribution to history. Bill

  11. I grew up across the street from a Japanese tortured and starved vet who had lost the use of his legs. It was very sad as his family never complained and he would always smile at me whenever I saw him outside, which was rare. My mom told me that he weighed almost nothing when he had returned from the war.

  12. It’s kind of disturbing how little most people know or care about the many Japanese perpetrated atrocities. Murder, Rape, Inhuman medical experiments every bit as insane and prolific as the Nazis.

  13. 🥃-Cheers Dr.Felton❕👍🏻👍🏻👏🏻
    Excellent Narration, your skill as a Storyteller an Ability to Vividly immerse your Listener's Mind, into any Theater or Subject spoken on is simply phenomenal, Yourself➕World War 2 are carrying the Torch🕯️& Keeping our History known, and most Important told w Honesty & Accuracy, Thank Ye‼️#NeverForget via▫️Nashville, TN🇺🇸

  14. Is there a book in the works on this subject? I would be very interested in reading it should you decide to publish such a work. Given the export and popularity of karate and other Japanese martial arts, and the related literature, after World War Two there is a huge gap in Western popular historical understanding concerning the complete notion of "samurai culture" as opposed to the one sold in existing popular translations. Most troubling to an old soldier like me is the fact that an existing book by a certain Western philosopher on "The Warrior Ethos" fails to factor in the off-battlefield behavior of soldiers into his arguments. Having served in the Army I think most people would be surprised at how rare battle can be and that most of what soldiers do doesn't technically fall under the remit of "The Warrior Ethos". In my view non-soldiers and even non-line military personal fail to distinguish between proper battle and its subsequent requirements and all the non-battle "Dead Space" surrounding the actual clash and its differing requirements.

    I am inclined to view all true "battle" as unitary and indivisible. In those times of true battle, the morality is vastly different from the "dead space" moments prior to it. What made the Japanese truly reprehensible was not their behavior during "battle" where just about anything goes, kamikaze, banzai and all the rest, but rather their behavior off the battlefield or at the end of a battle. All such actions away from the true battlefield should not rightly be referred to in any context as "warrior actions" rather they speak towards something entirely different. Something not worthy of being referred to as "warrior" in any sense of the word!

  15. Brutality is used through history, as a means of controlling the masses and preventing rebellions. Humiliating others is a means for self elevation and unifying the masses. Entertainment was quite poor and life boring. This was a way of excitement, adventure and glory for the Japanese, in the ww2 era. They felt threatened and surrounded by foreigners, who they already viewed as devils.
    The Japanese elite felt they needed to use maximum aggression and brutality, to instil fear in their enemies and break the myth of foreign supremacy.
    They knew that the mass surrenders by the British and allies was a conspiracy to drain their resources and man power. So they refused to allow this to happen and rejected the Geneva convention.
    They also knew of the racism against them by the foreigners, so they had no reason to not be racist themselves.
    The individual soldiers were like mindless drones, void of Christian values and unrestrained.

  16. So let me guess… The German/Prussian Army Influenced/Taught the Japanese Army how to be like them… Why am I not surprised ??? Birds of a Feather Flock Together !

  17. Looking at Japan today it seams to me obvious how radical indoctrination can change a whole population with authoritarian power,that a combination of these principles applied together in the 30,s and 40,s were dieity worship in a human form thats corruptable,political manipulation,monetry support only for the regimes cause ,cultural manipulation (half truths) ,radical hegenomy with authoritarian leadership, comparisons of history compared to a perverted authoritarian regime,rascism,changed schooling indoctrination throughout schools,military,political leadership,emperor manipulation or divine manipulation by radical leadership (one party rule),with different branches.A pyramid system that was strengthened as it went down the line to the average citizen. Its a sad ,but real factor in human history,and wars and how they are fought,and the tactics used.Twisted Authoritarian Leadership, needs common sense to overcome tyranical dictatorship.

  18. I get the Bushido code, but when they themselves are the aggressors in a war that is unprovoked, they have no right to treat prisoners the way they did. I am confident that far fewer necks were stretched than should have been and I believe the Emperor was as culpable as any of the war cabinet or generals and admirals. I think the people would have been much more accepting of a republic than MacArthur and his cronies have led us to believe they would. The everyday person was starved bombed, had their homes burned down and all because the war warlords and the emperor picked a fight they had no chance of winning. It took three years, eight months and some change for the U.S. and its allies to bring down the two worst state thugs in the world. Imagine if there was no Germany out of control and needing to be put down? How long would it have taken with all of our industry focused on destroying Japan? I think Japan attacking the U.S. was one of the worst blunders in the history of warfare. Somehow Japan must have equated the United States with Imperial Russia. They attacked us without warning, just like they did to Russia and they must have thought were were more or less the same. So a backwater country that is barely industrialized is equal to the most powerful nation on the planet. They thought they were going to get some breathing room with their sneak attack. They must have been seriously short of breath after Midway. They must have been fighting over that asthma puffer like there was no tomorrow and for some of them there really was no tomorrow.

  19. These reasons are not an excuse. The Japanese have never fully faced their barbarity and criminality. They should never be allowed to forget. They need a strong reminder now that all the people who remember the cost of their brutality are dying out.

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