The Three Human Bullets

Nikudan Sanyushi, the “Human Bullets, 3 Brave Warriors” or “The Three Human Bullets”. There are many well known allied war heroes, but except for some famous fighter aces not much is know about their Japanese counterparts in the west.

In 1932 three Engineers of the 24th Kurume regiment named Takeshi Eshita, Yuzuru Kitagawa and Inosuke Sakue died while detonating a long bamboo pipe filled with explosives in the line of enemy fortifications. Posthumously they became celebrated war heroes. There is  some debate whether they knowingly sacrificed themselves or if the explosive device detonated too early, nonetheless their effort was heavily exploited for propaganda purposes and they became the subject of songs, poems, stage plays and movies.

A monument for the “Three Human Bullets” was erected in Tokyo, you can see the “Bangalore torpedo” style explosive device

After Japan lost the second World War the monument was removed. The statue of Takeshi Eshita remains at a graveyard

Painting at a shinto shrine

Sake cup with an image of the “Three Human Bullets”

Monument at Yasukuni Shrine

Label on a 78rpm record, a song about the “Three Human Bullets”

You can listen to one song here:

~ by m1pencil on December 25, 2010.

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