What are the habits of Japanese prisoners surprised Soviet citizens

History 25/01/20 What habits of Japanese prisoners surprised Soviet citizens

After the Second World war and Japan’s surrender, and captivity in the Soviet Union was more than a million Japanese soldiers and officers. Until the beginning of 50-ies of the Japanese POWs worked in USSR on restoration of cities, logging, mining, and road construction.

What is remembered of the Soviet people, the Japanese prisoners?

eating behavior

After the war, the USSR was starving all the winners, and the losers the prisoners. However, the diet of the Japanese as representatives of countries not attacked the Soviet Union, was still better than the ration of German prisoners of war. They relied somewhat more bread, fats and meat than the Germans. The diet also included rice (300 grams per person per day) and a traditional Japanese seasoning from the bean — miso (60 grams). Of course, these rules are almost never performed, especially in the early postwar years, because of theft, but also because of elementary shortage in the USSR such products as rice and miso. However, the Japanese eat rice, though not in the quantities as they would like. They didn’t like that the rice resembles porridge, gruel, but hunger – not my aunt. The Japanese, unlike Germans, Hungarians and other prisoners have tried to behave decently and not beg for bread winners. Sometimes, of course, anything but in General the Japanese behave according to the memoirs of the Soviet people, observe their work, much more restrained than others. Japanese prisoner of war Kiuchi Nobuo, who left an illustrated diary of his stay in the Soviet Union, writes that committing petty theft of food or other acts familiar to hungry people, he and his companions felt keenly the shame.

the Reason for the surprise Soviet people were and the way to mix food together in one bowl, and so is not sharing meals in “first” (liquid) and second (solid). Another “culinary oddity” YAPancev, mentioned working with them on “Amurstal” Russian workers: the prisoners would make it and eat snakes, frogs and grasshoppers, which they themselves had caught.


In the land of the rising sun personal hygiene was elevated to the rank of worship. Even homeless on the streets of Japanese cities look neat and clean. To maintain cleanliness in the conditions of the pow camp was very, very difficult. However, the Japanese tried. According to the memoirs of the same Kiuchi Nobuo, bath they were arranged quite rare and were given very little water per person (it says “Cup”, but this seems a figurative expression, to show how water was scarce). So the Japanese took every opportunity to put himself in order. The inhabitants of the cities in which he worked Japanese prisoners of war, they say that sometimes you could see the Japanese, who bathed naked in standpipes, did not hesitate others. There is also the case in national traditions. In Japan, nudity is not considered shameful, and in the baths men and women bathe together.


Discipline also in the blood of the descendants of the samurai. In the memories of the radio operator Viktor Kosolapov, who fought in the far East, there are lines in which it affected the discipline of the Japanese. Even in captivity, they continued to obey their officers. For this reason, to maintain order among Japanese prisoners of war did not make special work. All functions in the implementation of the daily routine took over their officers.


In captivity, the Japanese struck the Soviet people and their appearance. However, the reason for this was not always national peculiarities. In the cold season, prisoners were given clothes, what was in the warehouses. Therefore, it is often possible to see a Japanese man in a shabby jacket and budenovka. Summer Japanese officers tried to walk in its form, and wear “geta” is a traditional flip-flops on a wooden sole. These flip-flops they were making themselves out of tarpaulin and wooden chocks.

Questioningwestoe attitude to work

Despite the situation of prisoners and very difficult working conditions, the Japanese showed a surprisingly conscientious attitude to business. Red army soldier Mikhail Shevchuk, whom he appointed foreman of a brigade of the Japanese who built barracks on the island of Paramushir, recalled that he was surprised by the discipline of the Japanese and their diligence. The barracks was built very efficiently and without delay. The resident of Khabarovsk A. Loud, who saw Japanese prisoners of war in the construction of his native city in the years of postwar childhood, recalls that he worked for the subjects of the Mikado sometimes better than Soviet citizens. They were outraged when they are customized, because the speed is to the detriment of the quality! In the memories Kioti Nobo the cry of Russian guards: “Hey, jabonski, scare, scare!” (“Hey, Japanese guy, hurry, hurry!”) occurs quite often. In many cities and villages of the Far East still show the buildings erected by the Japanese, noting their strength

Olga Melnikova

© Russian Seven

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