Flowering of the Bamboo

William Triplett, II, Author Woodbine House $14.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-933149-01-4
This expose of a mass murder in Tokyo will intrigue true crime buffs. In 1948, a man dressed as a health official entered a bank and, claiming to have been sent to inoculate employees against dysentery, persuaded all 16 workers to administer poison to themselves. Twelve died. That the killer was expert in the use of poisons was clear, and the trail led to former members of the Japanese army's 731 Regiment, which had conducted wartime medical experiments on POWs. The unit had been granted immunity by the U.S. military government in return for sharing its medical findings, so that lead came to a dead end, according to Triplett, a Washington, D.C., freelance journalist. Eventually Sadamichi Hirasawa, an artist, confessed to the crime, although he was innocent, claims the author. Aged 93, he is still on death row. More than the story of a supposed miscarriage of justice, this dramatic book provides a look into the Japanese psyche and police work in a state emerging from feudalism and raises questions about the U.S. occupation forces in postwar Japan. Major ad/promo; author tour. October
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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