They may seems cute and cuddly, but rabbits have been known to take on such powerful adversaries and Napoleon and Jimmy Carter. Knowing this might make you breathe a sigh of relief that scientists have developed a game-changing weapon to use in the imminent Bunny Uprising. There’s only one catch: the marauding bunnies need to be exceptionally slow in order for the weapon to work.
The occasion for the research into this terrifying bringer of fluffy death was Second World War. The government of Japan was eager to find some way of leveling the playing field in the battle against the Allies. One option on the table was a death ray. The British had looked into their own death ray technology and abandoned it, pursuing the development of radar, instead.
Japanese scientists were inspired by a July 11, 1934 New York Times article in which Nikola Tesla bragged about inventing a “death beam” that could bring down 10,000 enemy aircraft from a distance of 250 miles. Japan decided it needed just such a weapon in its arsenal. The result was a massive investment into the development of the Ku-go (Death Ray).
The Ku-go research began in earnest at the Shimada City research facility in 1943. Scientists focused their attention on developing a device that — for starters, anyway — would be capable of disabling an aircraft. Once perfected, they figured they could then raise the scales to develop something as big as Tesla described.
Ku-go quickly became the scaled-down Japanese version of the Manhattan Project. The empire’s leading physicists were brought in to collaborate on the development of this super weapon. Among the scientists who worked on the project was future Nobel laureate Sin-Itiro Tomonaga.
Despite their best efforts, the war came to an end before Ku-go could see its full potential. The end result of their labors was a 20-cm magnetron with a continuous output of 100 kW. While not quite able to deliver on its goal of disabling an aircraft in flight, Ku-go did show itself to be up to the task of killing a rabbit from a distance of 1,000 yards — provided that the rabbit stand absolutely still and in the target for five minutes.
Further development of the Ku-go was halted by the end of the war and the destruction of the documentation into the death ray’s research. One can only hope that someone remembers how to reassemble the Ku-go to combat against the inevitable and fearsome Bunny Uprising to come.