KAMLOOPS KID: Treason treated with a rope

The Kamloops Kid had a problem.

It was a length of the hangman’s rope. His name was on it.

Kanao Inouye — AKA The Kamloops Kid — carries the dubious title of the last Canadian hanged for treason.

The Japanese-Canadian fanatic committed a litany of horrors on Allied prisoners of war, many of them on his fellow Canadians during the Second World War.

As Canada wrestles with what to do with Islamic extremists and their ladies auxiliary now rotting in detention camps in Syria, Inouye’s story is instructive.

In the days following the war, the Allies had moral clarity about what to do with traitors and war criminals. They would be tried and if found guilty, they would swing.

ISIS rock star Jihadi John would have been swinging from a rope had he committed his crimes during the Second World War.

Born in Kamloops in 1916, Inouye had a normal, happy childhood by all accounts.

His father had been a soldier with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War and was honoured for his bravery.

But before the Empire of the Sun unleashed hell in the Pacific, Inouye returned to the old country where he tortured for the Emperor.

At his trial, Sgt. Arthur Ranee painted Inouye in sinister hues.

“Inouye went out of his way to be offensive to the Canadian prisoners,” Ranee testified. “He continually directed very foul and abusive language at them.”

Canadian troops captured during fighting in Hong Kong in 1941. For many, the worst was yet to come. NATIONAL ARCHIVES

It got much worse.

The Kamloops Kid’s war began as an interpreter for the Japanese Army at their notoriously inhumane POW camps.

Larger than the average Japanese soldier, he was described as “handsome, bright and terribly mean.”

That role eventually evolved into a position with Japan’s sinister version of the Gestapo, the Kenpeitai, seeking out spies and traitors in Hong Kong.

A visit from the Kenpeitai nearly always meant death.

“He made it known that he had been called a ‘yellow bastard’ in Canada and that now he was top dog,” one soldier recalled.

Rifleman William Allister called him “a monster, driven mad with hate for all things white. His craving for vengeance was awesome.”

Many of the survivors of Japanese prison camps were literally skeletons by the time they were released. NATIONAL ARCHIVES

When the Kamloops Kid — by now a proficient torturer and master of cruelty — was nabbed in the chaotic days after the Americans obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he had a serious problem.

Inouye was nabbed in the Kowloon area of Hong Kong after being spotted by former Canadian POWs.

His lawyers argued that he was a Japanese citizen, not Canadian, and therefore could not be tried for treason.

Unfortunately for him, there was that messy bit about his birth certificate proffered by Canadian military intelligence.

He used water torture and burned men with cigarettes in a sadistic orgy of evil. Other victims were beaten with a dog whip.

In the Hong Kong courtroom in 1947, Inouye’s victims glared at him with “vehement hatred.”

Canadian, British and Chinese soldiers testified he was responsible for the deaths of at least eight Canadians.

But more than these brave men who had survived torture, beatings and starvation in the death traps that were Japanese camps, there was a woman.

Mary Violet Power, 55, a proper British woman, faced down the Kamloops Kid.

She had been arrested in June 1944, and her husband had already died at the hands of the Japanese.

Now, Inouye was torturing her.

Free at last. Canadian POWs sprung from Japanese prison camps at the end of the war. Their suffering was unimaginable. NATIONAL ARCHIVES

A soaking towel was placed over her head and then the Canadian poured water over her face to simulate drowning. It continued until she vomited.

And then Inouye went at it again, hanging Power by her arms, her feet barely touching the floor. They left her like that for almost seven hours,

“Some of these acts involved such wanton and barbarous cruelty that it was a mere accident of fate whether the victims survived or not,” prosecutor Lieut. Col. J.C. Stewart sneered at Inouye, calling his actions “an outrage against humanity.”

It was determined he was directly implicated in the deaths of men who hadn’t survived the torture sessions.

Further, being a British subject by birth (as Canadians were considered at the time) he had violated the 1351 Treason Act by “adhering to the King’s enemies”.

At a second trial, Inouye was slippery and doubled-down on being Japanese, declaring his devotion to the emperor and the sickos in the Kenpeitai.

“My mind and my body belong to the Japanese Emperor!” he testified.

Judge Sir Henry Blackall had seen enough of the Kamloops Kid’s theatrics.

It took a jury 10 minutes to unanimously find Inouye guilty.

He shuddered when Blackall donned the black cap to pronounce the death sentence.

On Aug. 27, 1947 he was hanged on the gallows at Hong Kong’s Stanley Prison.

His last words?

“Banzai!”

And then he swung.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies