I have always associated bamboos with pandas in a very cute and adorable way. I mean come on, look at this guy. So much stealth.
But then I read about Bamboo Torture. Before anything else, one should realise the power of growing bamboo. A bamboo can grow immensely fast. We are talking multiple feet in a single day.
And it is strong. Like really strong. Here’s some bamboo growing out of the asphalt. It pierced the f***ing concrete!
Now, I’ll get straight into it (much like the technique).
It is said that this technique was employed by the Japanese during World War II on prisoners of war. Apparently, US officers who survived the POW camps later recounted the method of torture.
Although this theory has not been confirmed yet, there is a huge possibility that it may have really been used.
What did they really do in bamboo torture?
They would basically tie down a soldier horizontally, facing upward, over growing bamboo shoots.
The sharpened shoots would then start growing and impale the back of the person. Slowly, and very much painfully so, it would start piercing through the body and finally come out the other side. Eventually, there would be multiple shoots coming out of different parts of the body.
Death would be inevitable but slow, making it all the more painful. It was like falling on a bed of nails.
But did it ever happen? Or was it just a myth?
Well, the Mythbusters, who are popular for testing hypotheses and theories that were once believed to be true, decided to test this too.
They made a torso using ballistic gelatin, a material which requires the same amount of pressure to puncture as the human skin. Initially, they had kept it over the bamboo in a greenhouse. But the heat from the sun melted the gel and the bamboo got poisoned and couldn’t grow after the initial penetration.
They then put everything on the roof and modified the torso. The bamboo grew right through and reached over 10 feet. Yup, that high. So they too deemed the torture technique very much plausible.
Apart from them, like I said, soldiers too have reported finding mutilated bodies of Allied soldiers that seemed to have been through the same type of torture.
I don’t know if this was just a method of teaching other POWs to behave or if it was a way of extracting information. But this has got to be one of the most horrific ways to die. That too after you have seen the spoils of war.
An article on BBC read:
The Japanese soldiers, because of the corporal punishment given to their own soldiers for minor acts of discipline infringement, became harsh to their prisoners.
Never thought bamboo could be used for something so horrific.
Feature image source: bamaboopropagation