During WWII, the Japanese were accused of canibalizing POWs in some of the more isolated camps. Wikipedia's article on Japanese War Crimes provides some context:
Originally Posted by newshutr
Many written reports and testimonies collected by the Australian War Crimes Section of the Tokyo tribunal, and investigated by prosecutor William Webb
(the future Judge-in-Chief), indicate that Japanese personnel in many parts of Asia and the Pacific committed acts of cannibalism
against Allied prisoners of war. In many cases this was inspired by ever-increasing Allied attacks on Japanese supply lines, and the death and illness of Japanese personnel as a result of hunger. However, according to historian Yuki Tanaka: "cannibalism was often a systematic activity conducted by whole squads and under the command of officers".
This frequently involved murder for the purpose of securing bodies. For example, an Indian
Changdi Ram, testified that: "[on November 12, 1944] the Kempeitai beheaded [an Allied] pilot. I saw this from behind a tree and watched some of the Japanese cut flesh from his arms, legs, hips, buttocks and carry it off to their quarters... They cut it [into] small pieces and fried it."
In some cases, flesh was cut from living people: another Indian POW, Lance Naik
Hatam Ali (later a citizen of Pakistan
), testified that in New Guinea
the Japanese started selecting prisoners and every day one prisoner was taken out and killed and eaten by the soldiers. I personally saw this happen and about 100 prisoners were eaten at this place by the Japanese. The remainder of us were taken to another spot 50 miles [80 km] away where 10 prisoners died of sickness. At this place, the Japanese again started selecting prisoners to eat. Those selected were taken to a hut where their flesh was cut from their bodies while they were alive and they were thrown into a ditch where they later died.
Perhaps the most senior officer convicted of cannibalism was Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana
), who with 11 other Japanese personnel was tried in August 1946 in relation to the execution of U.S. Navy airmen, and the cannibalism of at least one of them, during August 1944, on Chichi Jima
, in the Bonin Islands
. The airmen were beheaded on Tachibana's orders. As military and international law did not specifically deal with cannibalism, they were tried for murder and "prevention of honorable burial". Tachibana was sentenced to death, and hanged.[
So, if you're in a Benihana and the chef slips during the knife juggling, you don't have to throw out the meal just because his finger is in there with the shrimp.