Mass Suicides on Saipan and Tinian, 1944

An Examination of the Civilian Deaths in Historical Context


In stock

About the Book

When the Americans invaded the Japanese-controlled islands of Saipan and Tinian in 1944, civilians and combatants committed mass suicide to avoid being captured. Though these mass suicides have been mentioned in documentary films, they have received scant scholarly attention. This book draws on United States National Archives documents and photographs, as well as veteran and survivor testimonies, to provide readers with a better understanding of what happened on the two islands and why. The author details the experiences of the people of the islands from prehistoric times to the present, with an emphasis on the Japanese, Okinawan, Korean, Chamorro and Carolinian civilians during invasion and occupation.

About the Author(s)

Alexander Astroth lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Alexander Astroth
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: 51 photos, 5 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7456-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3516-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part 1: Before 1944
1. Prehistory and European Colonization 15
2. Japanese Takeover of Saipan and Tinian 30
3. Cultures and Societies of Saipan and Tinian 44
4. The ­Asia-Pacific War and Islands’ Militarizations 62
Part 2: 1944
5. Saipan and Tinian Invasions 73
6. Mass Civilian Suicides 85
7. Causes of the Mass Civilian Suicides 105
8. ­Non-Suicide Deaths 127
9. Civilian Internment Camps 153
10. Number of Civilian Deaths and Suicides 164
Aftermath 169
Chapter Notes 179
Bibliography 199
Index 211