The Sea of the Devil

The Bermuda Triangle’s infamous association with disappearing boats and aircraft is known across the globe. Less well known is an area off the west coast of Japan which has an equally deadly history. It is an area where Japanese sailors fear to voyage; they call it ‘Ma-no Uni’ – the ‘Sea of the Devil’ or the Dragon’s Triangle.


Legend has it that huge restless dragons surface from their deep shelters to seize any unfortunate passing mariners. Japanese sailors have often recorded freakish occurrences in the area and talk of hearing terrible noises and seeing awful red lights.

They believe one particularly potent creature lives in an immense palace beneath the waves. They call this monster ‘Li-Lung’, the ‘Dragon King of the Western Sea’, and say his lair is decorated with the ships he has captured.

This mysterious zone stretches from western Japan to Yap Island in the south and Taiwan to the west. Like the Bermuda Triangle, it is seen as having an above average number of navigation and communication failures. In truth, this area of ocean bears a remarkable resemblance to its Western cousin. Both areas are known for extreme changes in weather conditions, unexpected fogs, tidal waves, seaquakes and hurricanes, and both have examples of agonic lines, lines upon which a compass needle will point true north and south. Their most unwelcome similarities are the truly horrifying levels of unexplained sinkings and disappearances.

By the late 1940s, the amount of ships being lost without trace in the region lead to the Japanese government declaring the area a danger zone. In the early 1950s they decided to dispatch a research vessel to study the area. Despite enjoying good visibility and calm seas, the Kaiyo Maru No 5 disappeared without trace on 24th September 1952. The lives of all twenty-two crew and nine scientists were lost. The vessel has never been found. It has only been in relatively recent years that these incidents of strange disappearances have been reported in the West.

To the Japanese, they are regular occurrences which stretch back for centuries and continue to this day. Whether it is dragons or not, the real evidence behind this ocean’s terrible secret remains on the seabed.

Unit 731

During the second Sino-Japanese War and World War II the Japanese military formed an infamous secret squadron whose goal was to research and develop biological and chemical warfare. This unit showed no remorse and carried out some of the most heinous experiments in human history on men, women, children, and infants. Thousands of civilian and military personnel were subjected to human experimentation.

Ping Fang was the headquarters of the Japanese Biological Warfare Unit 731. Often refered to as the “Asian Auschwitz” the facility had an airport, railway, dungeons medical facilities and an incinerator where the bodies of the victims were disposed of. The Japanese burnt most of Ping Fang to destroy the evidence of their crimes but the incinerator remains and is still used by a local factory that has taken over the complex.

In 1942, Shiro Ishii, began field tests of the germ warfare agents developed by Unit 731, He also began testing various methods of dispersion (i.e. via firearms, bombs, gas, clothing, etc.) on both Chinese prisoners of war as well as, operationally on battlefields and against civilians in Chinese cities. Some historians estimate that as many as, 200,000+ died as a result of the bio-weapons that were deployed. His unit also conducted physiological experiments on human subjects, including vivisections, forced abortions, simulated strokes, heart attacks, frostbite and hypothermia.

Arrested by the American authorities at the end of World War II, Ishii and Unit 731 leaders received immunity in 1946 from war-crimes prosecution before the Tokyo tribunal in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. Many of the scientists involved in Unit 731 went on to prominent careers in post-war politics, academia, business, and medicine. Ishii never spent any time in jail for his crimes and died at the age of 67 of throat cancer.

Initially set up under the Empire of Japan’s Kempeitai military police to develop weapons of mass destruction for potential use against Chinese, and Soviet forces. Unit 731, was officially disbanded in August of 1945, when the Russian’s invaded Manchukuo and discovered another of the highly secret Japanese programs. Unit 200 was researching bio warfare.

Unit 731 was divided into eight divisions:
Division 1: Research on bubonic plague, cholera, anthrax, typhoid and tuberculosis using live human subjects. For this purpose, a prison was constructed to contain around three to four hundred people.
Division 2: Research for biological weapons used in the field, in particular the production of devices to spread germs and parasites.
Division 3: Production of shells containing biological agents. Stationed in Harbin.
Division 4: Production of other miscellaneous agents.
Division 5: Training of personnel.
Divisions 6–8: Equipment, medical and administrative units.

Some of the experiments conducted by Unit 731 and its subsidiary units included:

Vivisection, victims were subjected to live autopsy without anesthesia whereupon they were purposefully infected with diseases (including pregnant women who were impregnated by doctors). The reasons for this was to study the effect on human organs and avoid decomposition from affecting results, amputate limbs to study blood loss and the effects of rotting and gangrene (some limbs were later attached to the other side of the body), parts of the stomach, liver, brains and lungs were often removed to observe the effects.

Weapons testing, grenades, mortars and other explosive devices were detonated near living targets to determine the effects with regards to different distances and angles. So they could determine how long victims could survive with their sustained injuries while others were tied to stakes and were subject to the use of biological bombs, chemical weapons, and other explosive material.

Germ warfare, male and female prisoners were injected with venereal diseases in the disguise of inoculations (or sometimes infected via rape) to determine the viability of germ warfare, victims were infested with fleas in order to communicate the disease to an organism which could be later dropped onto a populace. Fleas themselves were also tainted with cholera, anthrax, and the bubonic plague, as well as, other plagues. These were later dropped in the guise of clothing and supplies which resulted in the estimated death of another 400,000 Chinese civilians. This was the origin of the “flea bomb” which infected large geographic areas and polluted land and water.

In other experiments victims were hung upside down to observe how long it took for one to die due to choking and the length of time until the onset of embolism occurred after inserting air into ones blood stream.

Many think these atrocities were overlooked because The United States feared that the Soviet Union might acquire Ishii’s expertise and records through a secret deal. Allied POWs had a lot of stories to tell about biological experimentation on humans. Prosecutors at the Tokyo War Crimes trials were warned not to investigate the specific crimes and by 1948, all Unit 731 members were offered immunity in exchange for data and co-operation.

The discovery of the bodies beneath Tokyo, broke a cover-up which lasted for more than four decades. Suddenly, allied servicemen started telling about their ordeals. Joseph Gozzo, a former aviation engineer, had glass rods inserted in his rectum during his internment. He said “Damn right I remember; I can’t believe our government let them get away with it”.

Ex-POW, Frank James, shared his memories with a US House of Representatives sub-committee in 1986: “We were just pawns. We Always knew there was a cover-up”. The House of Representatives hearing lasted just half a day and only one of 200 US survivors was permitted to testify in front of the chief archivist for the US Army. The official report said that files provided by Ishii were returned to Japan in the 1950s and copies had not been made.

Initially, the US and Japanese governments denied that atrocities had occurred but when official information was made public from General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters that stated that the investigation of Unit 731 was “under the direct supervision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The utmost secrecy was essential in order to protect the interests of the United States and to guard against embarrassment.” Finally, in 1993, US Defence Secretary William Perry declassified records of WWII biological experiments.

For more information on Unit 731 there is also a documentary titled “Unit 731: Nightmare in Manchuria” and a graphic movie titled “Man Behind the Sun“.

Via in Part by: AboveTopSecret and DawnOfDarkness

Yonaguni – Jima

One of the greatest discoveries in the history of archaeology was made off Japan. There, spread over an amazing 311 miles on the ocean floor, are the well-preserved remains of an ancient city. Or at the very least, a number of closely related sites. A structure thought to be the world’s oldest building, nearly twice the age of the great pyramids of Egypt, has been discovered. The rectangular stone ziggurat under the sea off the coast of Japan could be the first evidence of a previously unknown Stone Age civilization, say archeologists. The monument is 600ft wide and 90ft high and has been dated to at least 8000BC. which is remarkably early for the kind of technology that has been used for carving it. The oldest pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, was constructed more than 5,000 years later. The structure off Yonaguni, a small island southwest of Okinawa, was first discovered 75ft underwater by scuba divers 10 years ago and locals believed it was a natural phenomenon.

While some say these ruins are the remnants of the missing Continent of Mu, other archeologists attribute them to be the outcome of unexplained geological processes, although, when you see the finely designed hallways and staircases, this ‘natural phenomenon’ idea will appear sheer out of place.

The megalith was discovered quite accidentally by a sport diver in 1995, when he had strayed beyond the permissible limit off the Okinawa shore. The interesting thing about this massive stone building is that it had arches made of beautifully fitted stone blocks bearing resemblance with the building architectural style of the Inca civilization. Debates were rife about the ruins being associated with the prehistoric Motherland of Civilization. Surveying the ruins takes time and skill because of the rough oceanic currents.

Submerged stone structures lying just below the waters off Yonaguni Jima, are most likely the ruins of a an ancient Japanese city sunk by an earthquake about 2,000 years ago. That’s the belief of Masaaki Kimura, a marine geologist at the University of the Ryukyus in Japan who has been diving at the site to measure and map its formations for more than 15 years.

Professor Masaki Kimura, a geologist at Ryukyu University in Okinawa, was the first scientist to investigate the site and has concluded that the mysterious five-layer structure was man-made. “The object has not been manufactured by nature. If that had been the case, one would expect debris from erosion to have collected around the site, but there are no rock fragments there,” he said. In the waters around Okinawa and beyond to the small island of Yonaguni, divers located eight separate locations beginning in March 1995. The discovery of what appears to be a road surrounding the building was further evidence that the structure was made by humans.

Sokushinbutsu Self-Mummified Monks

Sokushinbutsu were Buddhist priests who took their own lives in such a way that they became mummies and were revered for their spirit and dedication.

Popular in northern Japan, especially around the Yamagato Prefecture, the practice of becoming Sokushinbutsu is believed to a tantric ritual from Tang China, brought to the Land of the Rising Sun by the founder of Shingon Buddhism.

In the second part of the Sokushinbutsu process, the monk ate only the bark and roots of pine trees, and consumed a poisonous tee, made from the sap of the urushi tree. Commonly used to laquer bowls, the sap contained Urushiol, which caused him frequent vomiting and the loss of bodily fluids. This stage took another 1,000 days.

Regarded as the ultimate test of self-denial, the procedure of becoming Sokushinbutsu had the Buddhist monks go through several years of self-induced torture. During the first stage of the process, a priest would take on a diet of seeds and nuts, while taking part in rigorous physical exercises that stripped them of all their body fat. This stage lasted for 1,000 days.

Finally, the self-mummifying monk locked himself in a small stone tomb that barely allowed him to assume a permanent lotus position. The tomb was sealed and a small air tube remained the monk’s only connection to the outside world. He was given a bell, and each day he would ring it so that the people knew he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing the air tube was removed and the tomb completely sealed.

While foreigners might think Sokushinbutsu monks had to be mad to go through such a long and painful process just to eventually kill themselves, they were actually raised to the status of Buddha and revered in Shingon temples across northern Japan. To them, this reward was more than enough.

Until it was outlawed, in the late 18th century, it is believed hundreds of monks attempted to become Sokushinbutsu, but many of them failed. Only between 16 and 24 Sokushinbutsu mummies have been discovered in Japan. Although this practice has been illegal for sometime now, a new Sokushinbutsu was discovered in July 2010, right in Tokyo.

Via: OddityCentral

New timelapse from Japan

Paul Frankland, aka Woob, has provided “Paradigm Flux”, a new track of his, as the soundtrack for this new time lapse piece. Paul is among the most acclaimed ambient musicians of his generation and has created several milestones of the genre, including the well loved Woob 1194 and Woob 4495 albums.

If you like great evocative, cinematic ambient music combining organic elements with world and dub influences, by all means check out his latest album, “Repurpose”: woob.bandcamp.com/album/repurpose

“Paradigm Flux” is available here: woob.bandcamp.com/album/paradigm-flux-ep You can also find an interview regarding the process of making time lapse movies on his blog here: season9.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/floating-point-an-interview-with-samuel-cockedey/

Via: Vimeo By: Samual Cockedey
All rights reserved to their respective owners.

Kori no Suizokukan – Japan’s Frozen Aquarium

As a way of battling the summer heatwave in Japan this year, Kori no Suizokukan has created a frozen aquarium that helps keep visitors cool while browsing the exhibit.

Kori no Suizokukan is located in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture and features around 450 specimens of around 80 species of marine wildlife, all captured at a nearby sea port. Visitors can enjoy a brief break from the scorching sun and admire all sorts of fish, crabs or octopuses, as well as unusual objects like action figures, bottles of sake, or flowers, all embedded in huge blocks of ice.

The Frozen Aquarium was inaugurated, in Kesennuma’s fish market, in 2002, and uses flash-freezing technology to conserve fresh specimens and keep them looking so good.

The frozen aquarium is a welcome tourist attraction in the heat but, visitors can only spend a few minutes inside. Temperatures inside the aquarium reach -20 degrees Celsius, a special suit is needed to keep people from becoming part of the exhibit themselves. Without these special suits, visitors would start feeling the effects of hypothermia after about five minutes.

Via: OddityCentral Photos via Crave