Thursday, May 3, 2012

Books on Japanese Occupation in World War II

This is a selection of books that includes references to life under the Japanese Occupation during World War II:

Red Star over Malaya: Resistance and Social Conflict During and After the Japanese by Cheah Boon Kheng. Red Star Over Malaya is an account of the inter-racial conflicts between Malays and Chinese during the final stages and the aftermath of the Japanese occupation. As Japanese forces retreated into the big cities, the Chinese guerrillas of the communist-led resistance movement, the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), emerged from the jungle and took control of some 70 per cent of the country's smaller towns and villages. The ensuing conflict involving the Malayan Communist Party, the Malay population, and the British Military Administration marked a crucial stage in the history of Malaya. Based on extensive archival research in Malaysia, Great Britain, Japan and the United States, Red Star Over Malaya provides a riveting account of the way the Japanese occupation reshaped colonial Malaya, and of the tension-filled months that followed surrender. This book is fundamental to an understanding of social and political developments in Malaysia during the second half of the 20th century.

The Japanese Wartime Empire, 1931-1945 edited by Peter Duus; Ramon H. Myers and M. R. Peattie. This is Volume 3 of a 3-volume series on modern Japanese colonialism and imperialism by Japanese and international specialists. Part 1 explores aspects of Japan's wartime empire and the formal colonies of Korea and Japan. The 4 essays in Part 2 deal with Northeast Asia including the cultural construction of Manchukuo, the management of Manchuria, and the economic integration policies for Japan, Manchuria and North China. Part 3 looks at the Southward Advance of 1936-41, Thailand's role, and the Occupation Elites in Southeast Asia after 1941. The final section has reflective studies on Comfort Women, the Post-War Legacy and a comparative study of the Japanese and German Empires of WWII. With black-and-white photographs and index.

That's How It Goes: The Way of the 90-Year Life Journey of a Singapore Eurasian by F.A.C. “Jock” Oehlers. In this engrossing and heartwarming autobiography, Jock Oehlers brings readers with him on his life's journey, from a carefree young boy growing up in Colonial Singapore, through the terror and hardship of the Japanese Occupation, to becoming a respected Professor of Oral Surgery and successful oral surgeon in modern-day Singapore. His recollections are a timely reminder that an honest, decent and kind man can have a successful and happy life and be a valued member of the community. This is a moving and inspiring account of the life of a Singapore Eurasian. This second edition includes additional details as well as a complete Part II covering his life in Australia after he emigrated there. Includes an attached CD featuring his song "That's How It Goes" performed by his grandson Jamie Oehlers, an internationally known and award-winning jazz performer.

The Japanese Occupation of Borneo, 1941-1945 by Ooi Keat Gin. The Japanese occupation of both British Borneo - Brunei, Sarawak and North Borneo - and Dutch Borneo in 1941 to 1945 is a much understudied subject. Of particular interest is the occupation of Dutch Borneo, governed by the Imperial Japanese Navy that had long-term plans for 'permanent possession'. This book surveys Borneo under Western colonialism, examines pre-war Japanese interests in Borneo, and analyses the Japanese military invasion and occupation. It goes on to consider the nature of Japanese rule in Borneo, contrasting the different regimes of the Imperial Japanese Army, which ruled the north, and the Navy. A wide range of issues are discussed, including the incorporation of the economy in the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere and the effects of this on Borneo's economy. The book also covers issues such as the relationship with the various indigenous inhabitants, with Islam and the Muslim community, and the Chinese, as well as topics of acculturation and propaganda, and major uprisings and mass executions. It examines the impact of the wartime conditions and policies on the local multiethnic peoples and their responses, providing an invaluable contribution to the greater understanding of the significance of the wartime Japanese occupation in the historical development of Borneo.

Historical Sabah: The War by Danny Wong Tze Ken. This carefully documented account of WWII and the Japanese Occupation in Sabah draws on all accessible records and archival material. The volume recounts: Japanese and anti-Japanese activities in Sabah 1937-41; the history of the North Borneo Volunteer Force 1938-42; the advent and course of the Occupation 1942-45, including the imposition of $50 million Blood Money; the tragedy of Allied POWs and the gallantry of Sabahans who helped them; the Uprisings of 1943 and 1945; the Death Marches of 1945; the Z Force and other guerrilla activities; the Sandakan massacres at the end of the War; a Japanese woman's memoir of life in Sabah; and the establishment of the Petagas War Memorial. With black-and-white photographs, listings of primary and secondary source material, and index.


  1. Hello, I'm looking for books on the Japanese occupation of China (1937). Do you know of any good ones?

  2. Thank you for your inquiry!

    We have created a new post on books concerning the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945: