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Mobility Humanities Colloquium – 6

2019/01/03 – Crossing the boundaries to survive: Japanese POWs’ Experiences through the Allied Interrogation Reports

Lecture Information

  • SpeakerYasuko Hassall Kobayashi (Osaka University)

Time : 2019/01/03 Thur. 14:00
Place : #1106, New Millennium Hall, Konkuk University

Wars cause extraordinary movements of people, and WWII scattered Japanese around the Asia and Pacific region. Both English and Japanese literature has studied soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army and has created particular representations of them during WWII: that they refused to surrender, and took their own lives when defeated in order to show their loyalty to the emperor or to save themselves from the national shame of becoming prisoners of war. A source of such representations in English is documents produced by military information agencies, such as the Allied Translator and Intelligence Service (ATIS) and Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO). Both were inter-Allied organizations and played a vital role in winning the psychological war in the Asia and Pacific region. Besides stereotypical views of Japanese Imperial Army soldiers, documents produced by both ATIS and FELO reveal much richer tales narrated by Japanese POWs. Having experienced extraordinary movements through the war, those POWs were now able to view Japan differently and attempted to survive by crossing borders between Japan and the enemy country. Through interrogation, Japanese soldiers met Australian or American officers as individuals for the first time, to talk about their views about the war, surrender, and so forth. This is about tales of individual cross-social experiences.