Unit 731, vivisection, and entertainment that teaches us to forget

First we will note that Pumpkin Scissors was awesome.

Second we will note that Pumpkin Scissors is totally misleading.

In real life, Japan had a human experiment division called Unit 731.


They didn’t sacrifice Japanese soldiers – at least not primarily. Mostly they worked on prisoners.

The test subjects were selected to give a wide cross-section of the population and included common criminals, captured bandits and anti-Japanese partisans, political prisoners, and also people rounded up by the Kempeitai for alleged “suspicious activities”. They included infants, the elderly, and pregnant women.

They did a bunch of useful but unethical experiments, such as vivisection and germ warfare tests. Actually, such tests might have been ethical if the test subjects had given informed consent and if there had been no outside pressures (like a gun held to the head of a loved one). If I volunteered as a guinea pig for vivisection, it would be more noble than just killing myself out of boredom. Possibly God would still burn me in Hell, but a volunteer is very different from a coerced prisoner. Even if they had been doing experiments on Japanese soldiers who didn’t really volunteer, that would be very different than doing them on foreign prisoners. War crimes against foreign prisoners are the reason countries come up with “laws of war” treaties.

Now, in Pumpkin Scissors, the secret experiments are done by various units such as 901, 903, 906. Obviously the author knew about Unit 731 in real life, but he wanted to forget. So instead of the guinea pigs being powerless victims, the guinea pigs are portrayed as nationalist soldier-heroes who get superpowers at the cost of great suffering, and who then use those superpowers to turn war into a super-hero brawl.

This is propaganda. Stupid kids who don’t investigate their own past will hear about the real life Unit 731, and get it mixed up with fictional super-soldier experiments. They will hear some Korean complaining about Unit 731, and they’ll think, “What, I remember that TV show. The doctors were just trying to give them super-powers…”

Fiction always leaves some kind of impression on your mind. Sometimes I love fiction, but I know it’s a bad influence. Pumpkin Scissors is a show that I really enjoy, but I know it’s bad for its audience.


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