Ofuna - Location of Secret POW Camp

Ofuna - Location of Secret POW Camp American History Biographies Disasters History Social Studies World War II Tragedies and Triumphs

The Japanese government never registered Ofuna—a POW-interrogation camp near Yokohama—as a place where prisoners were held. The Allied powers did not even know it existed until after the war.

It was located at 35° 20′ 40″ N, 139° 33′ E, about two blocks south of the Ofuna station.  The camp was situated within an angle created by railroad lines. It measured about 180 square feet and was surrounded by barbed wire measuring 10 feet high.

Prison guards showed Allied POWs no respect until after they lost the war (as reported by the Australian press).  People rescuing the POWs were shocked at what they saw:

...The majority ol the prisoners were Americans, shot down over Japan. There were a few British but no Australians, although some had passed through the camp.

They stated that a Swiss representative who had visited the camp a few weeks ago, had told them that Ofuna was an unregistered camp and he had not heard of its existence till then. He was horrified by the condition of some prisoners who were living skeletons. He ordered the removal of 34 of them to hospital.  

Seventy per cent, of the prisoners were suffering from beri beri. Some of the more recent prisoners, chiefly survivors from B29's shot down during the first raids, told their stories with bitter rage.

Misery of Petty Tyranny

Others who had been longer in this Japanese hell camp recited a terrible story of brutality, sadism, starvation and a long, slow, misery of petty tyranny by guards trying to outdo each other in humiliating white men...

This photo—from the U.S. National Archives—depicts the yard of Ofuna prison.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Mar 15, 2017

Media Credits

Image of the prison yard, Ofuna, online courtesy U.S. National Archives.


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"Ofuna - Location of Secret POW Camp" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 17, 2020.
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