Unfortunately, from what I can tell, every single country’s military has people in it that seem to make that statement a truism more often than the actual war’s battles and hardships make it.
I’m talking about those individuals who circumvent the spirit of battle and rather than concentrate their ire on the enemy state’s military take things to another level by raining hell upon the civilian population.
One such “person” was Kodaira Yoshio (小平 義雄, surname first), a Tochigi-shi (Tochigi City), Tochigi-ken (Tochigi Prefecture) Japanese man who raped and killed a lot of women.
Born on January 28, 1905, Kodaira joined Japan’s Imperial Navy in 1923 at the age of 18, apparently to avoid his parental obligations to the unwed mother of his child.
He was part of Japan’s activities in war time activities in China, and is known to be one of the few Japanese people to have actually stated that Japan had committed atrocities in China before the actual beginning of the Second Sino (China)-Japanese War that began in July 7, 1937, culminating in Japan’s defeat at the end of WWII on September 9, 1945.
For Japan and China… WWII actually began 2+ years earlier than in Europe… and 4+ years earlier than for the U.S.
While in China, Kodaira says he killed six (6) Chinese soldiers in 1928… but soldiers… so I suppose that’s kosher.
However, while dates and actual numbers of victims aren’t available, Kodaira did admit to multiple rapes of Chinese civilian women while there…
Like a lot of Japanese military men stationed in China, Kodaira frequented brothels - the cheap ones... which may have tickled his sexual urges...
Kodaira confessed that in 1927 he once accompanied four to five of his Navy cohorts when at a place known as in Taku Forts (aka Dagu Forts, also called the Peiho Forts - forts located by the Hai River estuary, in Tanggu District, Tianjin municipality, in northeastern China), where they broke into the home of a Chinese family, tying up and locking the father in a closet before stealing jewelry and raping the women.
As part of this gang, they (or Kodaira himself, according to some website versions) plunged a bayonet into the belly of a pregnant woman and pulled the fetus out of her.
While Kodaira actually did that or not, he does admit to being there and actually partaking of the activities that evening.
Kodaira himself admitted that he did a lot of unspeakable things while in China… but since it was against Chinese women, no one really gave a crap. Again… the number of women he raped, and the number killed is known only to him.
He did receive a medal from the Imperial Navy for his service in China... whatever that means.
After returning back to Japan in 1932, Kodaira married a woman… the daughter of a Shinto priest… who didn’t like Kodaira… but the two were wed over his objections… but after his wife left him to move back home with her father because he had a child by another woman, Kodaira went on a rampage against her disloyalty to him.
No… the irony was lost on him that his fathering a child by another woman was the disloyal action… so he went to her father’s house on July 2, 1932, attacked and killed her father with an iron rod, and hurt six others.
He was arrested, and sentenced to 15-years of hard labor. But, thanks to a general amnesty of 1940, he was released, working as a civilian at a naval facility in Tokyo.
As you might expect during war when most of the young men were out fighting the Chinese, many of his co-workers were women… and being a sick bugger, he would go and spy on them when they took a bath after work.
He took things to that inevitable next level on May 25-1945 when he raped and strangled to death one of his female co-workers: Miyazaki Mitsuko (surname first), who was just 19-years-old. He placed her lifeless body behind an air-raid shelter on the naval facility.
It was 1945… May… Japan was badly losing the war—only a matter of time—so even though the police were looking for the missing young woman, no one found her until much later.
Success at raping and murdering a woman and not getting caught only fueled Kodaira’s lust to do it again.
On June 22, 1945, Kodaira raped and strangled 30-year-old Ishikawa Yori (surname first).
Speeding up his timetable, Kodaira raped and strangled:
- Nakamura Mitsuko, 32 – July 12, 1945;
- Kazuko Kondo, 22 – July 15, 1945;
- Matsushita Yoshe, 21 – September 28, 1945;
- Shinokawa Tatsue, 17 – October 31, 1945;
- Baba Hiroko, 19 – December 30, 1945.
|One of Kodaira's victims being examined by 1946 Japan's version of a CSI (crime scene investigation).|
With the early victims being raped and murdered in shorter and shorter time gaps, the fact that Kodaira did not commit a violent act between July 15 and September 28 seems highly unlikely to me.
I’m sure he did, but either he didn’t admit to them later or he simply lost count… but if he continued to commit his crimes in late September after Japan’s surrender, he surely wasn’t concerned about committing them in July-September….
His next victim – known victim – was Abe Yoshiko, 15 – on June 30, 1946.
Midorikawa Ryuko, 17 – August 6, 1946…
Kodaira’s plan after the war had ended was to lure women by promising to help them get food from the illegal black markets that had popped up all over Japan, including in multiple locations in Tokyo.
With young Midorikawa, Kodaira struck up a friendship and stupidly met her parents and gave his real name.
Then Midorikawa disappeared on August 6, 1946 after supposedly going to a job interview – her body found a few days later at Zoioji Temple in Tokyo… with another body found nearby eventually identified as Shinokawa Tatsue… well, the police started looking for Kodaira as a person of interest after talking with Midorikawa’s parents.
Talked to by the police Kodaira freely confessed to all his crimes, and was eventually sentenced to death on August 20, 1947.
He also confessed to 30+ rapes – the victims survived his attacks.
Before his trial, however, he said that three of the 10 victims he was charged with he did not murder… so the court only brought charges of seven murders against him.
On October 5, 1949, Kodaira was hanged for his crimes at Miyagi Prison.
Apparently just before being executed Kodaira calmly smoked a cigarette.
Some people claim that Kodaira was a product of his time spent in the military – but if that was 100% true then everyone in the Japanese military in China would have been raping and murdering women when they got home.
No… Kodaira always had something wrong inside him.
It might be correct, however, to state that his murderous rages and sexual appetite towards women may have been awakened while he was in China and part of the military that seemed to not be too concerned about his actions… but to be certain, I would have to have been a psychiatrist who interviewed him… a psychiatrist with 2017 knowledge of mental illness.
But certainly one could assume that the Japanese was culpable in not curtailing Kodaira… and that Japan’s prison system of granting a murderer amnesty in 1940 was also to blame. Or that he never received adequate rehabilitation while he was in prison for murdering his wife’s father and beating her family.