Failed Experiment: WWII Japanese Humanoids

To follow-up on a comment made by a very inquisitive student of history, we will be focusing in on what part humanoids had in the Japanese war effort during WWII.

WWII was a time of grave danger for the world made worse by rumors of robotic humans (humanoids) who could fight on the side of the Axis forces.

Japanese amateur inventor Yasutaro Mitsui invented the humanoid in 1932 but was killed two days after he unveiled it to the public. His friends picked up the project and were able to complete it within two years. In 1942 the Japanese government analyzed the humanoids for their usefulness in the war effort.

At first the humanoids were used in the mess halls, but they killed several of the officers when asked to wash the dishes. As mentioned before, the original inventor had been killed – he too had asked his humanoid to wash the dishes. The humanoids were then used in the battlefield but proved to be conspicuous and easy targets for enemy foot soldiers and US Navy ships and planes.

It was in October 1943 when the Japanese saw their usefulness as kamikaze pilots. Many of the Japanese pilots had refused to go on suicide missions because of a popular Japanese saying that said, “An elephant’s toenail only need be clipped once.” The saying stirred within the pilots the deep emotions they held for their wives, girlfriends, and mothers. The pilots who refused to carry out the kamikaze attacks were required to give up their aircraft to a humanoid pilot.

An unsuccessful kamikaze attempt by a radio-controlled humanoid.

Kamikaze attacks were supposed to be highly-accurate but the humanoid attacks were largely ineffective. The radio-control technology was primitive, and the humanoids were unable to execute evasive maneuvers against enemy aircraft and anti-aircraft guns. In the end, it was the Allies who won the war and the Japanese (and their humanoids) who suffered bitter defeat.

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1 Response to “Failed Experiment: WWII Japanese Humanoids”


  1. 1 Wally Lamark October 20, 2008 at 11:17 am

    So this is when the Japanese started their famous electronics industry. It’s a good thing for the United States that the Japanese electronics weren’t very good at this time!

    How many war machines were manufactured for the Japanese Air Force? Do they have any left for museums?


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