The Three Human Bombs
September 30, 2009 5:19 AM Subscribe
The scene was the siege of Shanghai, the year 1932. It was more than half a year since the Mukden Incident had provided a pretext for Japan to invade Manchuria and begin moving down through Northern China. Three Imperial Japanese soldiers from an engineering division died in a bomb blast that took out a section of the Chinese fortifications, allowing Japanese forces to surge through the breach and advance. The fallen soldiers became known as the "Three Human Bombs" (Bakudan Sanyushi / 爆弾三勇士). Memorials were built and murals were painted and the Three Human Bombs were remembered as gallant and selfless heroes who gave their lives for the greater good of Japan, lauded on stage, in film, and in song. A military medal was created to award heroism in honor of the three. Problem is, it was all a lie. The story of the Three Human Bombs was one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the early twentieth century.
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