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Japanese Orders For Prisoners At Sea

Below is a facsimile of orders issued to Allied prisoners transported to Japanese prison ships as promulgated by the Commander of the Prisoner Escort, Navy of the Great Japanese Empire. As may be seen, threat of the death penalty covered such breaches of discipline as talking without permission and raising loud voices and using more than two blankets. The offer of preferential treatment in clause 6 must have provoked smiles from the prisoners - not merely on account of its pidgin-English.

Commander of the Prisoner Escort - Navy of the Great Japanese Empire


1. The prisoners disobeying the following orders will be punished with immediate death.

(a) Those disobeying orders and instructions.(b) Those showing a motion of antagonism and raising a sign of opposition.(c) Those disordoring the regulations by individualism, egoism, thinking only about yourself, rushing for your own goods.(d) Those talking without permission and raising loud voices.(e) Those walking and moving without order.(f) Those carrying unnecessary baggage in embarking.(g) Those resisting mutually.(h) Those touching the boat's materials, wires, electric lights, tools, switches, etc.(i) Those climbing ladder without order.(j) Those showing action of running away from the room or boat.(k) Those trying to take more meal than given to them.(l) Those using more than two blankets.

2. Since the boat is not well equipped and inside being narrow, food being scarce and poor you'll feel umcomfortable during the short time on the boat. Those losing patience and disordering the regulation will be heavily punished for the reason of not being able to escort.

3. Be sure to finish your 'nature's call', evacuate the bowels and urine before embarking.

4. Meal will be given twice a day. One plate only to one prisoner. The prisoners called by the guard will give out the meal quick as possible and honestly. The remaining prisoners will stay in their places and wait for your plate. Those moving from their places reaching for your plate without order will be heavily punished. Same orders will be applied to handling plates after meal.

5. Toilet will be fixed at the four corners of the room. The buckets and cans will be placed. When filled up a guard will appoint a prisoner. The prisoner called will take the buckets to the centre of the room. The buckets will be pulled up by the derrick and be thrown away. Toilet papers will be given. Everyone must co-operate to make the room sanitary. Those being careless will be punished.

6. Navy of the Great Japanese Empire will not try to punish you all with death. Those obeying all the rules and regulations and believing the action and purpose of the Japanese Navy, co-operating with Japan in constructing the New order of the Great Asia which lead to the world's peace will be well treated.

The End

(Submitted by COFEPOW member Cliff Morris)