Seiichi Morimura, who exposed the atrocities committed by the Japanese army's Unit 731, dies at 90

Streaming HUBJuly 25, 2023

TOKYO (AP) – Renowned Japanese mystery writer Seiichi Morimura, whose nonfiction trilogy “The Devil’s Gluttony” exposed human medical experiments conducted by a secret Japanese army unit during World War II, died Monday. He was 90 years old.

His official website and publisher Kadokawa said Morimura died of pneumonia in a Tokyo hospital.

“Akuma no Hoshoku” or “The Devil’s Gluttony”, which began as a newspaper series in 1981, became a bestseller and caused a nationwide sensation over the atrocities committed by Japanese Imperial Army Unit 731 in China.

According to historians and former unit members, from their base in Japanese-controlled Harbin in China, Unit 731 and related units injected prisoners of war with typhus, cholera and other diseases as research into germ warfare. It is also believed that Unit 731 performed vivisections and beheaded prisoners in tests of endurance.

Morimura began contributing articles to magazines while working in hotels. He won the prestigious Edogawa Rampo Prize for his mystery fiction in 1969 and the Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1973.

Born in 1933 in Saitama, just north of Tokyo, Morimura survived the harsh American bombing of the Tokyo area at the end of World War II and developed pacifist principles. He wrote a book about his commitment to defending Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution and opposing nuclear weapons. He joined protests in 2015 against a reinterpretation of the constitution to allow more military activity by then-prime minister Shinzo Abe.

His 1976 novel “Ningen no Shomi” (“Proof of the Man”), a mystery about the murder of a young black man, exposed the dark side of post-war Japan and was made into a film.

Another popular novel, “Yasi no Shomi” (“Proof of the Wild”), published a year later, depicts a massacre plot in a remote village.

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