Statement of Zenichiro Mogami Related to Japanese Activities in Batangas in World War II
AGE: 29 years.
HOME ADDRESS: AKITA KEN, HIRATA GUN, MUTSUAI MURA, AZA NAKA MURA, 99 BANCHI
Q – What is your name, rank and organization?
A – MOGAMI, ZENICHIRO, M/Sgt. 17th Regiment, 2nd Bn., Japanese Army. I was the leader of the 4th Platoon of the Engineer Company. This platoon was attached to the 2nd Bn. While the other platoons were attached to the 17th Regimental Headquarters.
Q – Where were stationed in February and early March of 1945?
A – We were stationed about one (1) kilometer from the 2nd Bn. Headquarters at Dita.
Q – What was the strength of the Engineers Platoon?
A – There were nineteen men and myself.
Q – Who were the others?
1. Ishikagi, Kenjiro Cpl
2. Kawaguchi, Masanao Cpl
3. Tsuchida, Koichiro, Cpl
4. Shikamura, Toshio Cpl
5. Sato, Yoshinosuke L/Pvt
6. Sato, Hikokide L/Pvt
7. Sato, Matazo L/Pvt
8. Takahashi, Shusaku S/Pvt
9. Fujita, Tadashi S/Pvt
10. Miura, Sojiro Pfc
11. Sato, Kiyogi Pfc
12. Takahashi, Teruo Pfc
13. Saheki, Tetsuo Cpl
14. Watanabe, Tsujuri Pfc
15. Kudo, Ryuichi Pfc
16. Ishikawa, Eiko Cpl
17. Kitajima, Haruo Pfc
18. Kikuchi, Masao Pfc
19. Kikuchi, Isaburo Pfc
Q – Did your platoon go on any of the expeditions of the 2nd Battalion?
A – We furnished some men for the expeditions to Taal and to Bauan.
Q – How many men from your platoon went on the expedition to Taal?
A – Four and myself. These were Cpl. Kawaguchi, Masanao; L/Cpl. Sato, Matazo; S/Pvt. Takahashi, Shusako; and S/Pvt. Fujita, Tadashi.
Q – What officers were on this expedition to Taal?
A – Lt. Takemoto was in charge; Lt. Fukuoka, Lt. Hagino, W/O Sasaki, Umeo, and W/O Sadakatsu were the ones that I remember having gone on this expedition.
Q – What duties or assignments did these officers have in mopping up Taal?
A – Lt. Takemoto was in charge and all the officers had troops under them except Lt. Hagino. I do not know what their particular orders and assignments were.
Q – What did Lt. Hagino do?
A – He had no troops under him. He was from Headquarters, so I guess he was observing. He had charge, I think, of the food.
Q – How long did the expedition stay at Taal?
A – For three days and three nights.
Q – What were your duties and instructions on the expedition?
A – When we stopped before entering Taal on the first day and we received orders from Lt. Takemoto. Myself and my men were designated as flank security. Lt. Takemoto told us that we would not follow Col. Fujishige’s order of mopping up. He said that any Filipino in the area was anti-Japanese and was an enemy guerrilla so we were to shoot all, even women and children. Lt. Takemoto stated that this was the order of Col. Fujishige and that it must be carried out and that we must also burn buildings that the enemy could use.
Q – Did you and your men act as flank security for the entire three days?
A – Yes.
Q – Were you able to observe the actions of the main body of troops?
A – No. This was because we were out on the flank from about 1-½ kilometers to 2 kilometers.
Q – Did you carry out the order to kill Filipinos in the area?
A – We did not kill anyone. The first day that we were out on flank security, we came upon some Filipinos that were running away and we shot at them but did not hit them. On the other two days, we did not come across any Filipinos.
Q – Do you know if there were any Filipinos killed?
A – Yes. We came across a few in a rice paddy that were already dead.
Q – Did you hear how many Filipinos were killed?
A – I heard that the expedition killed Filipinos but I do not know how many were killed.
Q – Do you remember the date of the expedition to Taal?
A – I am not certain of the day, but it was during February, 1945.
Q – You stated that the 2nd Battalion went on an expedition to Bauan. Did your platoon go?
A – Some of it. Six of my men and myself went on this expedition.
Q – Who were these six men?
1. Kawaguchi, Masanao
2. Sato, Yoshinosuke L/Cpl
3. Sato, Hikohide L/Pvt
4. Sato, Matazo
5. Takahashi, Shusaku
6. Fujita, Tadashi
Q – What officers went on the expedition to Bauan?
A – Lt. Takemoto, Lt. Fukuoka, Lt. Takahashi, Lt. Owari, Lt. Hagino, and W/O Kato and W/O Kobayashi were the ones that I remember.
Q What duties did these officers have?
A – Lt. Takemoto was in charge and Lt. Takahashi, Lt. Fukuoka, W/O Kato and W/O Kobayashi had troops under them. Lt. Owari and Lt. Hagino were from Headquarters and had no troops, so I do not know what they did.
Q – What were your instructions?
A – Lt. Takemoto had me assign four of my men to him and then I and the other two men took a position near a stream in the back of the courthouse. We were instructed by Lt. Takemoto to capture any Filipino that tried to escape. If they were males, we were told to bring them to the church and if they were women or children, to bring them to the school building.
Q – Did you carry out these orders?
A – Yes. We took up our post but nobody tried to escape in our direction. Around 9:00 A.M., Lt. Takemoto came by and told us we could patrol in the town and to look for guerrillas. With the other two soldiers, I patrolled in the town and searched a couple of houses but we did not find any male Filipinos. In making this patrol, we passed the church and I could see a number of Filipinos in front of the church. After making this patrol, we returned to our post on the stream near the courthouse and remained there until about 12:30 p.m. We then left as there was a great deal of smoke from some of the houses that were being burnt and we then went to the point on the outskirts of town where he had stopped at daybreak before entering Bauan. We remained there until about 4:00 p.m. and then returned to Dita.
Q – What date did you go on the expedition to Bauan?
A – After Taal. Within a week.
Q – Do you know what happened to the Filipinos at Bauan?
A – Yes. One of the four men that was from my Engineer’s Platoon and who was sent with Lt. Takemoto told me about it.
Q – Who were these four men?
1. Kawaguchi, Masanao Cpl
2. Sato, Hikohide L/Pvt
3. Sato, Matazo
4. Fujita, Tadashi
Q – What were you told?
A – Cpl. Kawaguchi told me that under the supervision of Lt. Takemoto, he and the other three men killed the Filipinos with dynamite. He said that they used a box and a half of dynamite to do it.
Q – Where are these men now?
A – Cpl. Kawaguchi is missing, L/Pvt. Sato Hikohide is dead, L/Pvt. Sato, Matazo is missing and S/Pvt. Fujita is dead.
Q – Did the 2nd Bn. go on any other expeditions?
A – No.
Q – Were there any trials given to those that were killed at Taal or Bauan?
A – I do not know of any.
Q – Did you have an interview with Cap. Peoples and Sgt. Motoyoshi?
A – A talked with a Captain and an interpreter.
Q – Did you tell them at that time that you set off the dynamite in the building at Bauan; that you used a box and a half of dynamite; that you set it off by lighting the fuse with a match; that you set the dynamite off on the upper floor of the building in which they had the Filipinos and you were ordered to do this by Lt. Takemoto?
A – Yes.
Q – Now, from your story, you deny this?
A – Yes. I denied it also when I saw the Captain the second time. When I told this story, I did not tell the truth. I thought that as men from my platoon had done this, I was responsible for it and so that is the reason I told this story. On thinking it over, I decided to tell the truth.
Q – How were you able to give all the details of this incident if you were not present?
A – Cpl. Kawaguchi reported to me and told me all these things.
Also, I am familiar with dynamite and I knew from what equipment we had that it would have to be set off by using a match.
Q – How many men in your platoon do you know are still alive?
A – I believe there are twelve still alive.
Q – This leaves seven either dead or missing?
A – Yes.
Q – How many of your men were on the expeditions to either Taal or Bauan?
A – Six. The same four men that went to Taal went to Bauan and there were two men that just went to Bauan.
Q – How many of these six are alive?
A – I do not know of any being alive. They are all dead or missing.
Q – How do you account for the fact that all the men on the expedition are dead or missing while the remainder of the men of your platoon are still alive?
A – This, I presume, is the result of the aftermath of battle.
Q – Do you know anything of the mopping up around Cuenca?
A – No.
Q – Did you know anything about any other mopping up activities?
A – No.
Q – Do you know the officers of Col. Fujishige’s staff?
A – Yes.
Q – Did you see or hear any of them being at Bauan or Taal?
A – No.
Q – Did the Kempei Tai participate in either the expeditions at Taal or Bauan?
A – No.
[Sgd.] GUILLERMO G. GUZMAN
2nd Lt., INF (PA)
|Photo taken during the war crimes trials in Manila. Image credit: U.S. National Archives.|
1 “Statement of Zenichiro Mogami, part of the documentation in U.S.A. v Shumpei Hagino, et al.,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.