Related Posts


SHIRAKAWA POW CAMP Camp Opened: 06/06/43 – Camp Closed: 08/26/45 Shirakawa POW Camp was opened in June 1943 with the transfer of over 300 POWs from Karenko Camp. It was formerly a Japanese army training camp and barracks. The camp was near a wooded hillside occupying around 10,000 sq. meters and was surrounded by a bamboo fence. The buildings were one-story, made of wood with tile roofs and wooden floors. There were also stables for livestock (believed to have been used to house some of the POWs of lower rank); there was a cookhouse, infirmary, isolation hut, and bathhouse and latrines. It became known as the “officers’ camp”, as most of the men in the camp were senior officers, although there were quite a number of enlisted men there as well. The camp was in operation from June 1943 to August 1945, and there were from 300 – 500 POWs in the camp at various times. The POWs were forced to work at farming which was hard and back-breaking work for the older men on the starvation diet they were given. The POWs did cultivation and raised livestock – mostly for consumption by the Japanese. They also had to do such demeaning tasks as hauling water for the camp and emptying the contents of the latrines on the farm fields. The men did have some respite from the harsh life at times. For some months during 1944 they were allowed to write stories, poems, articles and sketches and publish them in a camp magazine called “Raggle Taggle”. Material was contributed by the officers and men and it gave a great boost in morale. After the war in 1947 a compilation of articles that had appeared in the camp magazine were compiled into a hardcover book of which only 400 copies were ever produced. Also, a Scout Rover Crew was started at Shirakawa Camp by some of the officers and a great number of former Boy Scouts – as well as some who had never been in Scouting, eagerly joined up. This group of men provided much needed care for some of the sick and weaker men and in keeping with the true spirit of Scouting, many good deeds were performed in the camp. Source:  Lost But Not Forgotten Photo Source:  Google Maps