Dissect them alive: chilling Imperial that order could not be disobeyed





HIRAKATA, Japan -- For 62 years Akira Makino spoke not a word of what he had done. But to those who knew him well it must have been obvious that he was a man with a tortured conscience. Why else would he have returned so often to the obscure, mosquito-blown town in the southern Philippines where he experienced such misery during the Second World War? He set up war memorials, gave clothes to poor children, and bought an entire set of uniforms for a local baseball team.

Last year, at the age of 83, he embarked on a gruelling pilgrimage to 88 Buddhist temples in Japan. After number 40 he collapsed from heat exhaustion, having permanently injured his knees. “My wife didn’t like me going back to the Philippines —- she called me ‘war crazy’,” said Mr Makino, a frail old man who lives alone in Hirakata, near Osaka. “But she let me go anyway. Right up until she died three years ago, I never told her. But over time I think she realised.”

Only in the twilight of his life has Mr Makino begun to talk about the secret he carried for more than 60 years...


comments powered by Disqus