Unit 731
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Basic Information

During the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945, The Imperial Japanese Army conducted covert human experimentation including biological and chemical warfare research and development, and as a result managed to involve itself in some of the most dreadful, if not most well known, of Imperial Japan's War Crimes. The formation mostly closely associated with these crimes was Unit 731 (Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department, Kwantung Army1), based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China).

At least 3,000 men, women, and children are known to have fallen victim to Unit 731 alone. Most of these victims were Chinese2and were subjected to experimentation in various areas of research. The areas of research included Vivisection, Germ warfare attacks, Frostbite testing, infectious disease propagation (including Syphilis), Rape and forced pregnancy and Weapon testing.

Interestingly enough, the researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation, instead of being tried for war crimes.

The work of the various Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification groups has obvious parallels in the work carried out by various German research teams - notably that led by Joseph Mengele, but this appears to be one unusual case in which someone was more regimented than the Germans.


Game and Story Use

  • The Characters were experimented on and received super powers.
  • The party is charged with saving a person from this facility.
  • In a fantasy setting, these experimentations are of magical transmutation types … or just general biothaumaturgy.
  • The experiments have lead to a world out break of a super bug.
  • Any Japanese Weird War 2 stuff will originate from here - although the Pacific theatre is not as well covered for WW2 fantasy as the European one.
  • Anything could potentially have been paperclipped from here to the US … and then forgotten about in deep storage.
  • Presumably the Russians and/or Chinese have also had a punt at salvaging what they could… the Russians certainly salvaged enough material to develop their own biological weapons facility.
  • Expect collaboration with the Black Dragon Society (Sonderkommando Thule's less famous Japanese opposite number).
  • Using the shamanistic character of Japanese Shinto and quite a lot of the other religions prominent in the area, some very unpleasant spirits could well have been involved. Not to mention the obligatory bad place on the site of the primary facility.
    • In fact, the atrocities might well have had the primary purpose of attracting the required spirits.
  • Harbin is not that far from the Mongolian playgrounds of the barking mad occultist Von Ungern-Sternberg
  • This is a great example of what can be hidden under a relatively bland title - the name suggests a unit that probably spends a lot of time digging latrines, not a biological warfare research group
    • This could go both ways - imagine some sort of conscientious objector who, realising that they'll never get away with actually refusing call up, decides to volunteer for what sounds like an innocuous sort of MOS (like volunteering as a medic, perhaps, for the less well educated). He assumes the funny looks he gets at the recruiting office are because very few people volunteer to work with shit. And then he reports for duty in Manchuria…
  • Just because the US government granted them immunity, doesn't mean that everyone did. A Chinese version of the Simon Wiesenthal organisation could be plot worthy.
    • For a recycled version, hunters could extend to things like the GCU Grey Area (aka. The Meatf**ker).
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