Col. Masatoshi Fujishige's Request for the Retrial of Lt. Mikio Taneichi, 1946 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Col. Masatoshi Fujishige's Request for the Retrial of Lt. Mikio Taneichi, 1946 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Col. Masatoshi Fujishige's Request for the Retrial of Lt. Mikio Taneichi, 1946

Colonel Masatoshi Fujishige was the officer of the Imperial Japanese Army in charge of all Japanese forces in the Province of Batangas at the time of the liberation. He was tried as a war criminal after the end of World War II, was found guilty and eventually hanged. In this document, Fujishige wrote an appeal to the Judge Advocate’s Office of the Western Pacific Command of the United States Armed Forces, appealing for a retrial of a young officer under his command, one Lt. Mikio Taneichi. This document offers information about the thinking among the hierarchy of the Japanese Army at the time of the liberation, as well as Fujishige’s hardly surprising low opinion of the Filipino people.

The pages contained herein are now declassified and were part of compiled documentation1 of war crimes trials conducted by the United States Military Commission after the conclusion of World War II. This transcription has been corrected for grammar where necessary by Batangas History, Culture and Folklore. The pagination is as it appeared in the original document containing the statement.

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June 1946

Judicial Affairs


I, Colonel FUJISHIGE, Masatoshi, the undersigned, formerly the Commanding Officer of the Fuji Army Group, respectfully present this letter to the Chief of the Judicial Affairs of AFWESPAC for the purpose of requesting a retrial of 1st Lt. TANEICHI, Mikio, formerly a company commander in the 17th Infantry Regiment under the command of the Fuji Army Group, who was convicted on a false charge.

It is apparent for the reasons enumerated below that the charge convicting him with the death penalty for having raped a woman in the municipality of Tanauan in Batangas Province on the 10th of February 1945 is absolutely and totally groundless. I sincerely hope that my testimonies stated below will be accepted and a retrial of the case be considered and granted.

In making the following testimonies, I hereby swear that my statement is true and correct.


1. The first reason is the character of 1st Lt. TANEICHI, Mikio.

He was graduated from the Military Academy of the Japanese Army in 1942, and was commissioned in May of the succeeding year. He was promoted to 1st Lt. in August 1944, and appointed a company commander. He has a noble, obedient and frugal character. He is a man of the best character throughout the Fuji Army Group. Peaceful and humane, he considers the rights of other people much more than his own. As a result of this highly developed character, he has won the full trust of his seniors and the respect of the people.

Such being his character and personality, it is absolutely impossible that he should ever have committed such a crime against humanity as to rape a woman.

2. The second reason is that he could never leave his post on account of his duty as the company commander.

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I had issued the following order on 7 February 1945, to Company Commander TANEICHI, stating his duties therein:

“The Company #7 will proceed to Tanauan as fast as possible and will be ready to take effective offense against U.S. para-troops, which are expected to land at a nearby area of said town. In order to carry out this order, the whole company will be gathered at one spot and will be ready to get into offensive action without missing a single moment.”

My judgment of a possible landing of U.S. para-troops around Tanauan had arrived as a result of the landing of some U.S. para-troops at Tagaytay on 3 February 1945. Therefore, I issued the above-mentioned order to TANEICHI’s Company, so that the company could meet the possible landing.

There was, therefore, not a single time for the company commander to leave his post. The order had bound him to stay at his post all of the time. Especially, judged from the viewpoint that he had to be prepared for swift action at any moment, it was utterly impossible that he, who has a high sense of responsibility, could leave his post and approach a woman.

3. The third reason is the difference in the description of the features. I was informed from reliable sources that a woman who claimed to be the woman having been raped testified at the court that the color of the teeth of the man who had raped her was white. However, many of Lt. TANEICHI’s teeth are covered with silver. Moreover, as a result of a sickness which always kept fever in his mouth, the color of his teeth had changed considerably. It was doubtless that the color of his teeth was quite different from the original color and nobody could have mistaken the color. It was impossible that the woman could have mistaken the color of his teeth in such an occasion as “rape.” It is obvious, therefore, that the rapist of the woman is a person other than Lt. TANEICHI.

4. The fourth reason is that there are some contradictory points between the dates when the Tanauan garrison made a mopping-up operation against the guerrillas and when the said case happened.

5. It was on the 9th of February 1945 that the Tanauan garrison made the operation against the guerrillas. I had ordered TANEICHI’s company that in case the said operation was to start, TANEICHI’s company would send a small unit and help 1st Lt. Yamada, the

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commander of the garrison.

In accordance with this order, I believe, 1st Lt. TANEICHI sent a small unit to Commander YAMADA and helped him. THEREFORE, had there been any crime committed by 1st Lt. TANEICHI, the crime must have been committed on the 9th. However, the woman is reported to have alleged that it had happened on the 10th. The raped woman could never have been mistaken about the date on which a very important event happened to her. Moreover, 1st Lt. TANEICHI, while sending small troops to Commander YAMADA, in accordance with my order, never left his post in the company under such a tense situation as stated in Reason No. 2.

Besides, there were a number of units in the Tanauan district, other than those under the command of Garrison Commander YAMADA. This fact gives me a strong conclusion that had there been any crime, it must have been committed by one who belonged to another unit.

5. The fifth reason is the common nature of the Filipino people to commit perjury.

As is undoubtedly known to you, it is a conspicuous national characteristic of the Filipino people to commit perjury, fondness of unnecessary exaggeration and of being echoes.

It is commonly observed in their daily life that they allege false testimonies with nonchalance, once they find their situation against them. This fact has been clearly testified and proved at the court by the testimonies of so many witnesses. Moreover, the Filipino people have a hostile feeling against the Japanese Army; there is not a bit of good sentiment toward the people of the Japanese Army. It is a prevailing tendency among the Filipino people to entrap defeated Japanese soldiers whether they had really committed any crime or not.

It is not difficult to imagine, therefore, that such people may point their fingers at any one of several accused Japanese who are lined up and declare, “He is the man responsible for the crime.” In the cast of 1st Lt. TANEICHI, too, it is only an example to show the dishonesty of the Filipino people.

The above stated five points are to prove the innocence of Lt. TANEICHI. The decision of the Military Tribunal, which was based on the testimony of only one woman, is regrettable enough for the

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United States of America, considering the fact that it has a high probability of not only inviting suspicion and distrust of the people of the world, but inheriting a false disgrace and dishonor for the generation to come.

I pray from the bottom of my heart that my testimony, hereby made, will be accepted and that a retrial of the case be granted for the sake of righteousness and humanity.

On this occasion, may I wish every happiness blessed on you.

Respectfully yours,

Masatoshi FUJISHIGE,
Formerly, Commanding
Officer of the
Fuji Heidan

Manila War Crimes Trial US Army
Photo taken during the war crimes trials in Manila.  Image credit:  U.S. National Archives.

Notes and references:
1 “Statement of 1st Lieutenant Taiichi Yamada,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.
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