In World War II, over 36,000 American men, mostly military but some civilian, were thrown into Japanese POW camps and forced to labor for companies working for Japan's war effort. At Japan's largest fixed military prison camp, Mitsubishi's huge factory complex at Mukden, Manchuria, more than 2,000 American prisoners where subjected to cold, starvation, beatings, and even medical experiments, while manufacturing parts for Zero fighter planes. Those lucky enough to survive the ordeal required the efforts of an OSS rescue team and a special recovery unit to make it home alive.
Holmes, who spent two decades tracking down the POWs, shows conclusively for the first time that some Americans at Mukden were singled out for experiments by Japan's infamous biological warfare team.
Linda Goetz Holmes was the first Pacific War historian appointed to advise the government's Interagency Working Group declassifying documents on World War II crimes. The author of Unjust Enrichment: American POWs Under the Rising Sun and 4000 Bowls of Rice: A Prisoner of War Comes Home, she lives in Shelter Island, NY.
Praise for Guests of the Emperor
“Anyone wishing to understand the experience of American prisoners held by the Japanese during World War II will be well served by reading this book.”
— On Point, Winter 2012
“Guests of the Emperor, a slim but well-written and well-researched account replete with photographs, footnotes, and a bibliography. . . .This is a welcome addition to literature of the World War II American POW experience.”
— The Journal of America’s Military Past, Spring/Summer 2011
“Linda Holmes has a reputation as the leading American authority on Allied prisoners of war and this work fully measures up to the standard that one would expect from her. She describes Japanese brutality not merely for its own sake but attempts to explain the mental attitudes that led to it and the effect it had on the prisoners. It is the first book to shed light on the medical experiments carried out on some American prisoners and the author’s research has allowed some of the survivors to better comprehend what happened to their fellow prisoners.
Guests of the Emperor is a work of clarity that sheds new light on a subject that has not, until recently been studied in sufficient depth. It is pleasing that it has proved possible to publish it while some of the former prisoners are still alive. All too soon the events described will have passed from living memory and it is important that future generations can read a work that was researched and written with the aid of people who were there. It is illustrated with contemporary sketches, photographs and maps and makes a positive addition to the available literature on the suffering of Allied prisoners in the hands of Japanese. I thoroughly recommend it.”
—Journal of the Australian Naval Institute, June 2011, Issue 140