Thursday, September 18, 2008

Days of the Beer, September 18

The beer for today is Matsushima Brewing Company Helles.

On September 18, 1944, the British submarine HMS Tradewind torpedoed the Junyō Maru, a Japanese cargo ship.

Specifically, the Junyō Maru, was transporting 1,377 Dutch, 64 British and Australian, and 8 American prisoners of war. The ship also had 4,200 Javanese slaves. The ship was headed for Sumatra.

The Junyō Maru was known as a "hell ship". These ships were used by the Imperial Japanese Navy to transport Allied pirsoners of war, to Japanese areas, to use the people as forced labor. The prisoners were crammed into cargo holds with little air, food, and water for trips that would last weeks. Many prisoners died from asphyxia, starvation or dysentery.

Some of the POWs became delious due to the heat, humidity, and lack of oxygen, food and water.

During World War II, Japanese ships would sometimes mark their weapons transports with red crosses, but they didn't mark the "hell ships" which often led to these ships being targeted by Allied submarines and aircraft.

One of these ships the Oryoku Maru, carried 1,620 survivors of the Bataan Death March. While in route, it was bombed by American planes.

The Junyō Maru, disaster was the worst where 5,640 of the POWs died after the ship was sunk.

About the beer:

Its flavor is similar to that of beer offered at the famous German beer festival, Oktoberfest. The fine creamy foam is beautiful and the refreshing aftertaste heals you gently.
Matsushima Brewing Company is located in Matsushima in the Miyagi Perfecture Japan.

In honor of the 5,640 POWs who lost their lives on the Japanese Hell Ship, have a Japanese Helles beer, if you can find it.

For more on how great the Japanese were during World War II, here's some good reading material for you.

Hell Ship

Bataan Death March

Unit 731

Comfort Women

Just keep reading

Humanity, we are awesome!

Remember, this stuff only happend 60 some years ago. How much have we (humans) changed in that time? Will it happen again? We'd like to think not, but the Khmer Rouge was doing similar stuff back in the 1970's, 30 years ago.

Go world!

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