Forgotten Captives in Japanese-Occupied Asia: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Forgotten Captives in Japanese-Occupied Asia

1st Edition

Edited by Kevin Blackburn, Karl Hack


328 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

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Experiences of captivity in Japanese-occupied Asia varied enormously. Some prisoners of war (POWs) were sent to work in Japan, others to toil on the ‘Death Railway’ between Burma and Thailand. Some camps had death rates below 1 per cent, others of over 20 per cent. While POWs were deployed far and wide as a captive labour force, civilian internees were generally detained locally.

This book explores differences in how captivity was experienced between 1941 and 1945, and has been remembered since: differences due to geography and logistics, to policies and personalities, and marked by nationality, age, class, gender and combatant status. Part One has at least one chapter for each ‘National Memory’, Australian, British, Canadian, Dutch, Indian and American. Part Two moves on to forgotten captivities. It covers women, children, camp guards, internee experiences upon the end of the war, and local heroines who fought back.

By juxtaposing such a wide variety of captivity experiences – differentiated both by category of captive and by approach - this book transcends place, to become a collection about captivity as a category. It will interest scholars working on the Asia-Pacific War, on captivities in general, and on the individual histories of the countries and groups covered.


"Recommended. Most levels/libraries." -- CHOICE, Jan 2009 Vol 46. No. 05

'…this collection is a useful contribution not just to the field of wartime Southeast Asia, but to the social history of war generally.' - BEATRICE TREFALT, Monash University, Japanese Studies 29/1

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Background 1. Captivities in the East: Contrasting Experiences, Contrasting Narratives Karl Hack and Kevin Blackburn Part 2: National Memories 2. Memory and the POW Experience: The United Kingdom Sibylla Jane Flower 3. Beyond Slogans: Assessing the Experiences and the History of Australian Prisoners of War of the Japanese Hank Nelson 4. Monument and Ceremony: The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial and the Incorporation of Prisoners of War in ANZAC Lachlan Grant 5. Americans under Nippon Scott Corbett 6. Canadian Experience of the Pacific War: Betrayal and Captivity Gregory Johnson 7. Dutch Experiences in Japanese Captivity Remco Raben and Peter Keppy Part 3: Forgotten Captivities, Contrasting Narratives 8. Remembering War and Forgetting Civilians: The Ambiguous Position of Civilian Internees in Commemorations of the Pacific War Christina Twomey 9. Dutch Civilians in Indonesia, 1942-1945: Crime and Authority in Japanese Camps Jacco van den Heuvel 10. Dutch Evacuees in Thailand, 1946: Waiting to Go Home Arno Ooms 11. Japanese Guards in Film and Memory: ‘White Skin, Yellow Commander' Kaori Maekawa 12. Women and Children Internees: Comparing and Contrasting Experiences by Gender and Youth Bernice Archer 13. Hide and Seek: Children of Japanese Fathers and Indies European Mothers Eveline Buchheim 14. The Colonial Subject as Heroic Captive: Sybil Kathigasu and Elizabeth Choy in Biography and Autobiography Lim Pui Huen 15. A World Wide Myth: Ian Watt and the Myth of the Bridge over the River Kwai Roger Bourke 16. The Men Who Never Were: Indian POWs in the Pacific 1941-1945 Gerry Douds

About the Editors

Karl Hack is Lecturer in History at the Open University, Milton Keynes, England.

Kevin Blackburn is Associate Professor in History, Humanities and Social Studies Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Asia has undergone immense and far reaching changes: war, revolution, occupation, industrialization. This series includes in-depth research on aspects of economic, political and social history of individual countries as well as more broad-reaching analyses of regional issues.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / General
HISTORY / Military / General
HISTORY / Military / Naval
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General