The Japanese Experience in Indonesia: Selected Memoirs of 1942-1945

The Japanese Experience in Indonesia: Selected Memoirs of 1942-1945

The Japanese Experience in Indonesia: Selected Memoirs of 1942-1945

The Japanese Experience in Indonesia: Selected Memoirs of 1942-1945


Although the wartime Japanese military administration of Indonesia was critical to the making of modern Indonesia, it remains shrouded in mystery, in part because of the systematic destruction of records following the Japanese surrender. These excerpts from personal memoirs of individual Japanese soldiers and administrators provide unique glimpses of the occupation from the Japanese landing on Java and the Dutch surrender, to the independence proclamation in Jakarta, to the violence in Surabaya following the Japanese surrender. Through the eyes of Japanese at all levels of responsibility, we see the internal Indonesian turmoil, the struggle toward an independence movement, and the efforts of some Japanese to promote independence, despite the policies of imperial headquarters.

Not only does this collection illuminate modern Indonesian history, it provides students of Japanese history with a feeling for the variety of Japanese responses to the war effort. "The Japanese Experience in Indonesia" will therefore be of interest to Southeast and East Asian historians and political scientists, as well as to those with a more general interest in World War II."


Most of those interested in the history of Indonesia find the Japanese occupation a period of extraordinary importance but very difficult to access. Japanese is not part of the standard equipment of Indonesians or Indonesianists, and most researchers must therefore seek assistance in consulting even the most standard of Japanese sources. This book aims to ease that problem in a small degree, while demonstrating how much more material is available to those willing and able to overcome the language problem.

Translation from Japanese is difficult - more difficult than we appreciated in planning this venture. This has had to be a team effort, requiring extensive consultation and revision at every stage. Anthony Reid and Oki Akira planned the volume, selected the extracts, interviewed some of the authors and took final responsibility for the product. Jean Carruthers located and translated the Japanese texts of Okada Fumihide, Suzuki Seihei, and Shibata Yaichiro. Oki Akira translated the remaining Japanese texts. Jennifer Brewster and Anthony Reid edited all the translations with frequent consultation back to the original translator.

With the exception of Imamura, Inoue, Miyoshi and Shibata, the authors of the texts chosen for translation were still alive and able to cooperate with the preparation of this book. We thank them all for their assistance and their permission to publish these translations.

We are also grateful to Nakamura Mitsuo for much expert advice and assistance, and to Shimizu Hajime for his assistance at many points.

We thank Robyn Walker, Judy Poulos, Rosemary Taylor, Julie Gordon and Karen Haines for typing the book, and Lio Pancino of the Department of Human Geography, ANU, for preparing the maps. For permission to reproduce illustrations we thank Mr Fujiwara Iwaichi (1), the Imperial War Museum, London (19, 20), Mr Kiyamoto Shizuo (7, 14, 15), Mr Nishijima Shigetada (8, 11, 13), Professor Mugroho Notosusanto (9), Mr Okada Fumihide (6), Photo Ipphos (18), and Mr Saito Shizuo (3, 4, 5).

In romanizing Japanese words we have followed the Hepburn system as used in Nelson The Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary (Tokyo, 1962), though for technical reasons diacritic marks are used only in the Glossary and Index. We have retained the original order of Japanese names, with the family name first. Square brackets represent interpolations by the editors, who also provided all footnotes unless otherwise stated. Asterisks indicate that a passage has been omitted.

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