Affidavit of Jiro Nakahara
IPS Doc. #3347
SUPREME COMMANDER FOR THE ALLIED POWERS
International Prosecution Section.
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL FOR THE FAR EAST.
I, Jiro NAKAHARA, being duly sworn upon oath, make the following statement:
1. My name is Jiro NAKAHARA. I was born in the Territory of Hawaii, of Japanese parents, in 1920. I came to Japan in 1938. My registered domicile is Yamaguchi Ken, Oshima Gun, Shiroki-Mura, Tononyu.
2. The Japanese Naval General Staff in November 1942 called me in to work as a civilian radio monitor at the Japanese Naval Foreign Broadcast listening post. In February 1943, I was ordered to go to Truk Atolls. I returned to Japan in October 1943, and worked on the listening post in the Naval Headquarters at Tokyo until February 1944. In that month Commander ARIIZUMI of the Japanese Submarine I-8 went to the Navy Ministry in Tokyo and asked for a civilian radio monitor for the I-8, and I was assigned to that duty on written order sealed by the Vice-Chief, Naval General Staff.
3. I boarded the I-8 at Kure and we left Japan in February 1944, and headed for Penang. We stayed in Penang for a week and then went into the Indian Ocean on a patrol south of Ceylon, which lasted from March until May 1944.
4. In March 1944, the I-8 sank a Dutch ship named TJISALAK. About a half hour after the torpedoes hit the ship, the submarine surfaced. Commander ARIIZUMI ordered me to come to the conning tower and to call by megaphone to the lifeboats to come to the submarine. I was told to tell the people in the lifeboats to board the submarine one by one, to go to the foredeck and sit down there, and that they would be shot if they looked back. As they boarded the submarine they were stripped of life belts, watches and all other possessions except their clothes. There were about 100 persons consisting of passengers and crew.
5. The Captain of the ship, the radio man, the engineer officer, about four other men, and a woman passenger were taken below in the submarine.
6. As the prisoners boarded the submarine, their hands were tied behind their backs. After most of the prisoners had been seated on the deck forward, four members of the submarine crew went up and brought the prisoners back, one by one, and they were killed. As soon as I heard what was going on, I went below to the officers' messroom. I was called up again by the Senior Officer to tell them again that they would be shot if they looked back. I did not actually witness the killings, but according to the members of the crew, the survivors of the torpedoed ship were clubbed, slashed with swords and shot to death. This continued for about one hour. The Senior Officer, Lieutenant HONDA, told me to stay on the foredeck and kept telling me to tell the prisoners to face toward the front, otherwise they would be shot if they looked back.
7. I had returned to the officers' messroom when the submarine submerged. Commander ARIIZUMI ordered me to act as interpreter in questioning the prisoners who had been taken below. The interrogations were held in the officers' messroom. He first questioned the woman. She was taken to the forward crews' quarters. About an hour later I went to that room. I asked the woman if there was anything that she wanted. The only thing she said was that she wanted a cup of water, so I brought it to her. She told me that she was in Japan for some time before the war started, that she was an American Red Cross worker, and that she was on her way to Bombay, I think. While I was talking to her the Senior Officer and four sailors came in. They had two rifles. The Senior Officer said to me in Japanese that she would have to be shot. I did not tell her but I think she knew what was going to happen. It was then night time. The sailors took the prisoners up on deck one by one and shot them; at least I think so, because some of the crew afterwards told me that they were shot. Just before she was taken, I couldn't look her in the face. She told me that she knew what was going to happen. The Senior Officer told me to ask her if she wanted to be blindfolded and her hands tied. She said she didn't and he said that was okay. Just before she left she said, "Sayonara," the "Sayonara" was addressed to all of the crew. I do not remember whether they completed the interrogations of the men prisoners before the woman was executed or not.
8. The Master of the Dutch Ship had been brought below with his hands tied behind his back. He told me to tell Commander ARIIZUMI that it was contrary to International Law to have his hands tied. When I interpreted that statement to ARIIZUMI, he said "Bakayaro (fool), this is war." The Master of the TJISALAK also asked ARIIZUMI to be kind and lenient with the crew of the Master's ship. After they finished interrogating him, I think they took him to the forward crews' quarters. I saw him there at the time I was talking to the Red Cross worker.
9. When ARIIZUMI finished interrogating the Master of the Dutch ship, the radio officer of that ship was interrogated by the Communications Officer of the submarine, and I acted as interpreter. Then an Engineering Officer was interrogated by the First Officer of the submarine. I never saw any of the prisoners after I left the forward crews quarters.
10. I heard Commander ARIIZUMI telling Lieut. HONDA and the medical officer and on other officer in the officers' mess of the I-8 on the day after the sinking of the TJISALAK that the Naval General Staff had ordered that all survivors of the sunken ships were to be killed. I think HONDA passed this order to the crew. All of us obeyed orders from ARIIZUMI because we knew he was ruthless. His nickname among the crew was GYANGU, meaning gangster.
11. Commander ARIIZUMI had told me during the interrogation of the Master of the ship that the Japanese Naval Headquarters had issued an order that everybody on board enemy vessels was to be slain. He also told us not to tell anybody about the slaying of the prisoners.
12. As soon as the first patrol was finished we came back to the base at Penang. When we got back I told Commander ARIIZUMI that I couldn't go on another trip because I was suffering from spinal sclerosis, and I am supposed to wear a cast. He told me if I didn't go I would be court-martialed. I knew I could not be court-martialed because I was a civilian.
13. We left Penang on the second patrol after spending about three weeks there making repairs. This second patrol continued from early June until early August 1944. This patrol was in the same area as the first. In July the I-8 sank the SS NICOLET. In this second sinking it was exactly the same story as in the sinking of the TJISALAK three months earlier. As soon as the submarine fired the torpedoes, it surfaced. Upon orders of Commander ARIIZUMI, I called through the megaphone for the survivors to come aboard the submarine. Again survivors were stripped of all their belongings except their clothing, were bound, and sent forward under guard to sit down on the foredeck. There were about 80 survivors who came aboard the submarine. After the Master of the NICOLET and other prisoners had been taken below, the rest of the survivors, according to what I heard from the crew, were brought back one by one and killed by shooting, bayoneting, clubbing or by slashing with swords.
14. The Master of the NICOLET, the radio man, an engineer, a State Department man and maybe some others who had been taken below, were interrogated. The Master of the NICOLET was questioned by Commander ARIIZUMI, the radio man by the Communications Officer, and the engineer by the engineer of the submarine. They were the same people who did the questioning on the first patrol. Again I was the interpreter. I heard that all the prisoners were executed aboard the submarine, except the Master and the State Department man, and the only prisoner whom I later saw leaving the submarine was the State Department man. The State Department man was thin and had a beard. He asked me for a razor but the Captain told me that I could not give him one, and I told a Petty Officer, who, I think, gave him a razor. I told the State Department man that he would get along better if he would cooperate more with the Japanese personnel. He thanked me. This was while we were anchored at Penang but I had not gotten off the ship. I remember we brought him back to Japan in the I-8. I later saw him at Yokosuka.
15. I did not see any of the executions but I was told by other members of the submarine crew that some of the prisoners that were taken below were beheaded and that Commander ARIIZUMI did some of the beheading personally. I saw the Engine Room Divisional Officer wiping blood off of his sword after some of the executions and wash his hands in disinfecting water.
16. Since I was a civilian on the ship and also because I was a Nisei, I was not trusted by many members of the I-8 crew and they did not tell me everything that happened.
17. I returned to Japan on the I-8 in September 1944 and resumed my work as a civilian radio monitor at the Naval General Staff, where I worked until August 1945. Soon after I reported back at Naval General Staff I was told by the Chief of the Third Section not to relate my experiences overseas. I heard later that Captain ARIIZUMI killed himself at the end of August 1945. I have read in ARIIZUMI's official naval personal service record that he was promoted to Captain in October 1944.
18. I have never been questioned at the Naval General Staff, or elsewhere by the Japanese Naval or Foreign Office personnel in regard to the events which I have described in this statement. I never heard that any of the members of the I-8 crew were questioned in regard to these events by Japanese Naval or Foreign Office personnel. I was first interrogated in regard to these events by Lt. W. Salter, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, of the Legal Section, General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, on 13 June 1947, and then at later dates by Mr. Thomas C. Fisher of the Legal Section, GHQ, SCAP.
(s) Jiro Nakahara.Tokyo, Japan.
I, Jiro NAKAHARA, being duly sworn on oath, state that the foregoing statement has been read by me, and that this statement, consisting of four pages is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 6th day of January 1948.
Japanese Atrocities - The S.S. Jean Nicolet
-- Table of Contents --