Akashi Yoji & Yoshimura Mako eds.  New Perspectives on the Japanese Occupation in Malaya and Singapore, Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2008

Chapter 9

Massacre of Chinese in Singapore and Its Coverage in Postwar Japan

                                                                           HAYASHI Hirofumi



Shortly after the British forces surrendered in Singapore on 15 February 1942, the Japanese military began an operation, called Kakyo Shukusei or Dai Kensho in Japanese and known in Chinese community of Singapore as the Sook Ching (Purge through Purification), in which many local Chinese were massacred.[1] Although the killings have been investigated extensively by scholars in Malaysia and Singapore , the sources available to them are limited, and Japanese documents have not been fully utilized in such research. One purpose of this chapter is to consider what Japanese sources can contribute to an understanding of what took place.

The first point to be considered is why the massacre took place, and the second is how the massacre has been presented in postwar Japan . Although even ex-Kempeitai officers involved have admitted the killings were inhumane and unlawful, little attention has been paid to the episode. While there has been valuable research carried out on the Japanese military administration of Malaya and Singapore , no reliable study has appeared in Japan . Moreover, while the Singapore Massacre is well known to scholars in Japan, similar killings carried out in the Malay Peninsula only came to the attention of the Japanese public in the late 1980s after I discovered documents relating to the Japanese military units involved.


Why did the Japanese Military Massacre the Chinese in Singapore ?

Aspects of the Massacre

On the night of 17 February 1942 , Major General Kawamura Saburo, an infantry brigade commander, was placed in charge of Japan fs Singapore Garrison. The next morning, he appeared at the Army Headquarters and was ordered by the 25th Army commander, Lieutenant General Yamashita Tomoyuki, to carry out mopping-up operations. He received further detailed instructions from the chief of staff, Lieutenant General Suzuki Sosaku, and a staff officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tsuji Masanobu. Kawamura then held consultations with the Kempeitai commander, Lieutenant Colonel Oishi Masayuki. The plan for a Purge through Purification of the Chinese population was drawn up in the course of these meetings. Under this scheme, Chinese males between the ages of 18 and 50 were ordered to report to mass screening centers for inspection. Those regarded as anti-Japanese were detained, loaded onto lorries, and taken away to the coast or to other isolated places where they were machine-gunned and bayoneted to death. [2]  In my survey of official documents of the Japanese military at the time, I found two sources that give a figure for the number massacred. One is Kawamurafs diary that shows the figure of 5,000.[3]  The other is an issue of the Intelligence Record of 25th Army (No.62, dated 28 May 1942) prepared by the staff section of the 25th Army.[4]  This secret record states that the number missing as a result of bombing and the purge was 11,110. This second record was important because it was drawn up as a secret document shortly after the purge took place. However, as this description is ambiguous and offers no basis for the figure, its credibility is open to question. This issue remains unsettled.

The mass-screening was carried out mainly by Kempeitai personnel between 21 and 23 February in urban areas, and by the Imperial Guard Division at the end of February in suburban districts. Most accounts of the killings include a map that shows the island divided into four sections, and explain that three divisions, the Imperial Guards, the 5th Division, and the 18th Division carried out the mass screening in suburban districts.[5] However, on 21 February, the 25th Army ordered both the 5th and 18th Divisions to move up into the Malay Peninsula and carry out mopping-up operations there.[6] The order assigned the Imperial Guard Division to mass-screening of non-urban areas of Singapore , and made the 5th and the 18th Divisions responsible for the rest of the Malay Peninsula . According to war diaries and other documents relating to these two divisions, neither played a role in the mass screening in Singapore . The British war crimes trial prosecuted the commander of the Imperial Guard Division, Lieutenant General Nishimura Takuma, on charges related to the Singapore Massacre, but not the commanders of the 5th or 18th Divisions. This version of events is correct, and the conventional map is wrong.

With regard to the background to the massacre, it is important to stress that the Purge through Purification was planned before Japanese troops landed in Singapore . The military government section of the 25th Army had already drawn up a plan entitled, "Implementation Guidance for Manipulating Overseas Chinese" on or around 28 December 1941.[7] This guidance stated that anyone who would not obey or cooperate should no longer be allowed to live. It is clear that the headquarters of the 25th Army had decided on a harsh policy toward the Chinese population of Singapore and Malaya from the beginning of the war. According to Onishi Satoru,[8] a Kempeitai officer who was in charge of Jalan Besar screening centre, Kempeitai commander Oishi Masayuki was instructed by the chief of staff, Suzuki Sosaku, at Keluang, Johor, to prepare for a purge operation following the capture of Singapore . Although the exact date of this instruction is not known, the Army headquarters was stationed in Keluang from 28 January to 4 February 1942 .


Rebuttal of the Defense

Let us, for the moment, consider the justification or defense for the actions of the Japanese army presented by some writers and researchers in Japan .

One of the major points is that the Chinese volunteer forces, such as the Dalforce, fought fiercely and caused many casualties among the Japanese. This is supposed to have inflamed Japanese anger and led to reprisals against local Chinese.[9] Most of the British volunteers, such as the Straits Settlements Volunteer Forces (SSVF), Federated Malay States Volunteer Forces (FMSVF), were not in fact thrown into battle but stayed back in Singapore . As for the Dalforce, about 600 personnel of four companies from among the 1,250-strong nine companies were sent to the battle front. Around 30 per cent of the Dalforce personnel either died in action or were later killed during the Purge through Purification.[10] It is generally said in Singapore that  the Dalforce personnel fought fiercely.[11] Although I do not question their bravery, their role seems much exaggerated. The volunteers of Dalforce were equipped only with outdated weapons. Japanese military histories make no reference to Chinese volunteers during the battle of Singapore , and report that the opposition put up by British forces was weaker than expected. The greatest threat to the Japanese was artillery bombardment.[12]

During the second half of the 1940s and during the war crimes trial of 1947, no Japanese claimed that losses suffered by Japanese forces at the hand of Chinese volunteers contributed to the massacre. As noted above, the 25th Army had planned the mass screening even before the battle of Singapore . This sequence of events clearly rebuts the argument.

A second point raised is that the Chinese in Malaya were passing intelligence to the British and that Chinese guerrillas were engaged in subversive activities against Japanese forces during the Malayan campaign, for example by flashing signals to British airplanes. The Kempeitai of the 25th Army was on the alert for such activities during the Malayan campaign, but made only two arrests. Kempeitai officer Onishi Satoru said in his memoirs that they had been unable to find any evidence of the use of flash signals and that it was technologically impossible. Thus, this line of argument is refuted by a military officer directly involved in the events.[13]

A third explanation offered for the massacre is that anti-Japanese Chinese were preparing for an armed insurrection, and that the law and order situation was deteriorating in Singapore . They claim that a purge was necessary to restore public order, and this point was raised at the war crimes trial in Singapore .[14] One piece of evidence cited by the defense during the trial was an entry in Kawamurafs personal diary for 19 February that ostensibly said looting still continued in the city. The same evidence was presented to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. However, the diary actually says that order in the city was improving.[15] The extract used during the trials was prepared by a task force of the Japanese army set up to take counter-measures against war crimes prosecutions by the Allied forces. It is clear that the evidence was manipulated.

Otani Keijiro, a Kempeitai lieutenant colonel in charge of public security in Singapore from the beginning of March 1942, also rejected this line of defense, rebutting Japanese excuses and severely criticizing the Japanese atrocities in Singapore .[16] Onishi likewise stated that he had not expected hostile Chinese to begin an anti-Japanese campaign, at least not in the short term, because public security in Singapore was getting better.[17]

The fourth argument is that staff officer Tsuji Masanobu was the mastermind behind the massacre, and that he personally planned and carried it out.  Although Tsuji was a key figure in these events, I believe that researchers have overestimated his role. At the time of the war crimes trials, Tsuji had not been arrested. As soon as the war ended, he escaped from Thailand to China , where he came under the protection of the Kuomintang government because he cooperated with them in fighting the communists. He later secretly returned to Japan in May 1948 where he was protected by the US military, namely G2 of GHQ.[18]  In this situation, the defense counsel attempted to pin all responsibility on Tsuji alone. This point will be discussed in more detail later.


Reasons for the Massacre

Let us now examine the reasons why such atrocities were carried out by the Japanese in Singapore . I limit the discussion to internal factors of Japanese military and society.

In the first place, it should be noted that the Japanese occupation of Singapore began ten years after the start of Japan fs war of aggression against China . After the Manchurian Incident in 1931, Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria, setting up the puppet state of g Manchukuo h (State of the Manchus) in 1932. The Japanese army faced a strong anti-Japanese campaign and public order, as a result, remained unstable and to which it responded by conducting frequent punitive operations against anti-Japanese guerrillas and their supporters. Under normal circumstances, those arrested in these operations should have been apprehended and brought to trial for punishment. However, Japan forced Manchukuo to enact a law in September 1932 that granted authority to army officers, both Japanese and Manchurian, and police officers to execute anti-Japanese activists on the spot without trial. This method of execution was usually called Genju Shobun (Harsh Disposal) or Genchi Shobun (Disposal on the Spot) by the Japanese military.[19] Once this law was in place, the Japanese military and military police killed suspects on the spot during punitive operations without trial or investigation. Those killed included not only guerrillas but also civilians, including children, women, and aged people unable to bear arms. Such inhuman methods were made legal in Manchuria . Further, such methods prevailed among the Japanese military, and Genju Shobun was regularly used throughout China during the war.[20]

Yamashita Tomoyuki, 25th Army commander directing the invasion of Malaya , played an important role in the evolution of the Genju Shobun method. As chief of staff of the North China Area Army in 1938-1939, he formulated an operational plan for mopping-up in northern China that made use of Genju Shobun in Manchuria by way of the Provost Marshal, China who had been stationed in Manchuria as a Supreme Adviser to the Military Government Section of Manchukuo.[21] At the time, the Chinese communists had a number of strongholds in northern China . After Yamashita was transferred, the plan undertook an intensive cleanup operation called the Sanguang (Kill All, Loot All, and Burn All; the Chinese character for Sanguang is used as a Japanese word that literally means three lights) Operations in 1940; which involved unbridled killing, looting, and burning during which numerous people were massacred and deported. Yamashita was the link that connected Japanese atrocities in Manchuria and North China with those in Singapore .

During the final phase of the war, Yamashita was appointed commander of the 14th Area Army in the Philippines , where he surrendered to US forces at the end of the war. While he had trouble with anti-Japanese guerillas in the Philippines , he commented to the deputy chief of staff that he had dealt harshly with the local population in Singapore , so they became docile.[22]

The army order that began the gPurge through Purificationh in Singapore and Malaya was issued to the Singapore Garrison Commander, Kawamura by Army Commander Yamashita. When Kawamura presented Yamashita a report of the operations on 23 February, Yamashita expressed his appreciation for Kawamurafs efforts and instructed him to continue the purge if needed.[23] Yamashita was not a puppet of Tsuji but an active instigator of the Singapore Massacre.

A third important point is that the headquarters of the 25th Army included other hardliners aside from Tsuji and Yamashita. A notable example was the deputy chief of the military government of Singapore and Malaya , Colonel Watanabe Wataru.[24] He was the mastermind behind the forcible donation of $50 million and the gImplementation Guidance for Manipulating Overseas Chineseh, which set out the fatal consequences of non-compliance. His earlier career included time spent as chief of a secret military agency in both Beijing and Harbin . He delivered a speech at the Army Academy in 1941 advocating the use of strong pressure against those who "bent their knees" to the British and thereby betrayed East Asia . The lesson he derived from his experience in China was that Japan should deal harshly with the Chinese population from the outset. As a result, the Chinese population of Singapore was regarded as anti-Japanese before even the Japanese military landed.

In a sense, Japanese aggression in Southeast Asia was an extension of the Sino-Japanese War.

Fourth, among Japanese military officers and men there was a culture of prejudice and discrimination toward the Chinese and other Asian people. These attitudes had deepened following the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and were deeply embedded within the Japanese population as a whole by the 1930s.

A final consideration is the notion of gpreventive killingh. In Japan , preventive arrest was legalised in 1941 through a revision of Chian Iji Ho [Maintenance of Public Order Law], which allowed communists and others holding dangerous thoughts to be arrested and held in custody even if no crime had been committed. A number of detainees were tortured to death by the police, in particular the Tokko  special political police. The Singapore Massacre bears a close parallel to this method of preventive arrest and summary execution.

It is clear that the Singapore Massacre was not the conduct of a few evil people, but rather a product of a long period of Japanese aggression against China and other Asian countries.


Narratives of the Singapore Massacre in Postwar Japan

Negative Campaign against War Crimes Trials in the 1950s

Although the Singapore Massacre has not generated much interest among the Japanese people in the postwar period, there has been some discussion of what took place. In this section, I will discuss the evolving narratives of the Singapore Massacre in postwar Japan .

Singapore Garrison Commander Kawamura Saburo published his reminiscences in 1952, at a time when Japan was recovering its independence.[25] This book contains his diaries, personal letters, and other materials. In one letter to his family, he expressed his condolences to the victims of Singapore and prayed for the repose of their souls. The foreword to the book was written by Tsuji, who managed to escape punishment after the war, and Tsuji showed no regrets and offered no apology to the victims. Although I do not know who asked Tsuji to contribute the foreword, I believe his text accurately reflects the atmosphere in Japan at the time as described below.

 During the 1950s, the Japanese government, members of parliament, and private organisations waged a nationwide campaign for the release of war criminals held in custody at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo .[26] Both conservatives and progressives took part in the campaign, arguing that minor war criminals were victims of the war, not true criminals. A Japanese government committee was in charge of recommending the parole and release of war criminals to the Allied Nations. The committeefs recommendations are still closed to public in Japan , but can be read in the national archives of the UK and USA .

As an example of this committeefs recommendations in 1952, the British government was asked to consider parole for Onishi Satoru, who took part in the Singapore Massacre as a Kempeitai officer and was sentenced to life imprisonment by a British war crimes trial.[27] The recommendation says that the figure of 5,000 victims of the Singapore Massacre was untrue and that his war crimes trial had been an act of reprisal. Although this recommendation was not approved by the British government, it reflects the Japanese governmentfs failure to admit that mass murder occurred in Singapore [28]. Among the Japanese people, the war crimes trials were, and still are, regarded as mock trials of little value.


Japanese Response to Accusations by Singaporeans in the 1960s

Beginning in 1962, numerous human remains dating from the Occupation were found in various locations around Singapore . Prolonged discussions between the Singapore and Japanese governments relating to these deaths led to a settlement in 1967, a matter that was reported in the Japanese newspapers, but only as minor news. For example, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun stated that a Japanese official involved in the negotiations as saying that no executions by shooting happened in Malaysia .[29] The Asahi Shimbun reported that it was hardly conceivable the Japanese military committed atrocities in Indonesia and Thailand .[30] Another Asahi report criticized the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Singapore , saying it should not stoke hatred by propagating stories of barbarity by the Japanese military during the war.[31]

  In 2003, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released documents relating to the negotiations between Singapore and Japan during this period.[32] The Japanese government had made use of a report prepared in 1946 by an army committee chaired by Sugita Ichiji, a staff officer with the 25th Army.  To counter the war crimes prosecutions, the report admitted that about 5,000 people had been executed, but excused the killings on several counts.[33]

This figure, according to a written opinion by an official at the Ministry of Justice who was in charge of detained war criminals, was an exaggeration, the correct figure might be about 800. The Asahi Shimbun reported this number with apparent approval.[34] Additional figures come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which accepted that the Japanese military had committed mass murder in Singapore , but some Japanese foreign ministry documents state that the number of victims was 3,000, while others use 5,000. One ex-foreign ministry official sent a letter to the Foreign Minister saying that Japan should repent and apologize in all sincerity, but this attitude was exceptional among officials.

On the negotiations with Singapore , the Japanese government rejected demands for reparations but agreed to make a ggesture of atonementh by providing funds in other ways. What the Japanese government feared most was economic damage as a result of a boycott or sabotage by the local Chinese should Singapore fs demands be rejected. The agreement with Singapore was signed on the same day as a similar agreement with Malaysia . Singapore was to receive 25 million Singapore dollars as a free gift and another 25 million Singapore dollars in credit, while Malaysia was to receive 25 million Malaysia dollars as a free gift.[35]

To the last, the Japanese government refused to admit legal responsibility for the massacre or to carry out a survey. The mass media in Japan did not examine what had happened in Singapore and Malaya during the war. It is no exaggeration to say that the Japanese media at that time showed no inclination whatsoever to confront Japan fs war crimes or war responsibility.


Publications in the 1970s

There were, however, some honest responses in the years that followed. In 1967 Professor Ienaga Saburo, famous for his history textbook lawsuit against the Japanese government, published a book entitled The Pacific War that dealt with the Singapore Massacre.[36] In 1970, the monthly journal Chugoku [ China ] published a feature called, gBlood Debt: Chinese Massacre in Singapore h, the first extended treatment in Japan of the Singapore Massacre.[37] The piece was mostly written by Professor Tanaka Hiroshi.

The 1970s also saw publication of reminiscences by some of those directly involved in the Massacre, and by people who witnessed or heard about it, including Nihon Kempei Seishi [The Official History of the Japanese Kempeitai] by the Zenkoku Kenyukai Rengokai [Joint Association of National Kempei Veterans],[38] Kempei by Otani Keijiro, and Hiroku Shonan Kakyo Shukusei Jiken [Secret Memoir of Singapore Overseas Chinese Purification] by Onishi Satoru. Onishi Satoru was a Kempeitai section commander who took part in the Massacre. In his book he admitted that the gpurificationh was a serious crime against humanity, but he claimed that number of victims was actually around 1,000.[39] Otanifs book severely criticizes the Japanese military, stating that the gpurificationh was an act of tyranny and claiming that the action should be criticized from a human perspective.[40]

Although veteransf associations usually justify or deny that inhuman acts had taken place, the Joint Association of National Kempei Veterans has admitted that the massacre was an inhuman act.[41] A few writers who were stationed or visited Singapore during the war have also published memoirs in which they record what they had heard about the Singapore Massacre.[42] On the whole, nobody denied that the Japanese purge in Singapore was an atrocity against humanity and historians began to pay attention to the episode. However, it failed to catch the attention of the Japanese people.


Development of Research in the 1980s and 1990s

The situation changed in 1982, when the Ministry of Education ordered the deletion of passages relating to Japanese atrocities in Asia from school textbooks, and instructed textbook writers to replace the term gaggressionh with less emotive terms, such as gadvanceh.[43] This decision was severely criticized both domestically and abroad, and the issue generated interest in Japan regarding the behavior of the Japanese military in other Asian countries during the war. A growing number of historians began to conduct research into Japanese atrocities, including the Nanjing Massacre.[44]

In 1984, while the textbook controversy continued, a bulky book called Malayan Chinese Resistance to Japan 1937-1945: Selected Source Materials was published in Singapore . Sections of this volume were translated into Japanese in 1986 under the title Nihongun Senryoka no Singapore [ Singapore under Japanese Occupation], allowing Japanese to read in their own language the testimony of Singaporeans concerning wartime events.[45] The main translator was Professor Tanaka Hiroshi, mentioned earlier as the author of a magazine feature about the Singapore Massacre.

Another significant publication was a 1987 booklet by Takashima Nobuyoshi, then a high school teacher and now a professor at Ryukyu University, entitled Tabi Shiyo Tonan-Ajia E [Letfs travel to Southeast Asia].[46] Based on information Takashima collected during repeated visits to Malaysia and Singapore beginning in the early 1980s, the booklet discussed atrocities and provided details of the gMemorial to the Civilian Victims of the Japanese Occupationh and of an exhibition of victimsh mementos at the Sun Yat Sen Villa. The volume served as a guidebook for Japanese wishing to understand wartime events or visit sites of Japanese atrocities. In 1983 he began organising study tours to historical sites related to Japanese Occupation and to places where massacres occurred in Malaysia and Singapore .

In 1987, I located official military documents in the Library of the National Institute for Defense Studies, Defense Agency that included operational orders and official diaries related to the massacres of Chinese in Negri Sembilan and Malacca in 1942. Newspapers throughout Japan reported these findings, the first time public attention had been focused on the killings in Malaya .[47] The document showed that troops from Hiroshima had been involved in atrocities in Negri Sembilan and this information came as a major shock to the people of Hiroshima , who had thought themselves as victims of the atomic bomb and had never imagined that their fathers or husbands had been involved in the massacres in Malaya .[48] 

In 1988, several citizenfs groups jointly invited Chinese survivors from Malaysia to visit Japan , and held rallies where Japanese citizens listened in to their testimony. A book that included these statements was published in 1989. [49] Also in 1988, the Negri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall published a book in Chinese called the Collected Materials of Suffering of Chinese in Negeri Sembilan during the Japanese Occupation, and the following year Professor Takashima and I published a Japanese translation of this volume.[50] Another source of information was the history textbook used in Singapore by students in lower secondary school, Social and Economic History of Modern Singapore 2, which was translated into Japanese in 1988. The material it contained concerning the occupation attracted the attention of Japanese readers, particularly teachers and researchers.[51]

As might be expected, there was a backlash to these initiatives. It was claimed that Japanese troops killed only guerrillas and their supporters, and that the number was much smaller than reported. Responding to these allegations, I published a book in 1992 entitled Kakyo Gyakusatu: Nihongun Shihaika no Mare Hanto [Chinese Massacres: The Malay Peninsula under Japanese Occupation][52] that substantiated in detail the activities of the Japanese military in Negri Sembilan during March 1942, when several thousand Chinese were massacred. Since then there has been no rebuttal by those who would not concede the massacres in Malaya apart from personal attacks and corrections of trifling details that have no effect on the central argument.[53]

In 1996, the Singapore Heritage Societyfs book, SYONAN: Singapore under the Japanese, 1942-1945 was translated into Japanese.[54] This book introduced to Japanese readers the living conditions and suffering of Singaporeans under the Japanese occupation in a comprehensive way. Further information appeared in a book I published entitled, Sabakareta Senso Hanzai: Igirisu no Tainichi Senpan Saiban [Tried War Crimes; British War Crimes Trials of Japanese]. This volume contains an account of the Singapore Massacre based on British, Chinese and Japanese documents.[55]


The Rightist Backlash and the School Textbook Issue after the year 2000

In the 1990s, some Japanese high school history textbooks began to provide information on the massacres in Singapore and Malaya , although they devoted only one or two lines to the events. More recently, chauvinistic campaigns and sentiment have become rampant in Japan . A number of ultra right books now claim that the Nanjing Massacre is a fabrication, that the Japanese military took good care of comfort women, and so on. Under pressure from the Ministry of Education, the Liberal Democratic Party, and other right-wingers, statements in school textbooks about Japanese atrocities have become less common, and the Minister of Education said in 2004 that it was desirable for descriptions of Japanese atrocities to be dropped.[56] Moreover, teachers who give lessons about Japanese aggression and army atrocities are often subjected to criticism by local assembly members or municipal education boards.

Descriptions of the Singapore massacre in high school history textbooks are particularly rare. According to research in the 1990s, just 8 out of a total of 26 textbooks referred to the event.[57] The most widely used textbook states simply that gatrocities took place in Singapore and elsewhereh.[58] Other textbooks say that the Japanese army massacred tens of thousands of overseas Chinese in Singapore and Malaya , but even these descriptions are limited to one or two lines, and give no details. Anyone who dared set a question about the atrocities for a university entrance examination could expect attacks not only from right-wingers but also from MPs belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The situation is similar with regard to junior high schools history textbooks. In the eight textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education in April 2005 for use from 2006, descriptions of Korean forced labor have all but disappeared, as has the term gcomfort womenh. Overall, references to Japanese aggression and atrocities have been drastically reduced under pressure from the Ministry of Education, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the right-leaning mass media. If the current ultra-nationalistic trend strengthens, it seems likely that even the few descriptions of the Singapore massacre that do exist will be eliminated in the near future.



Work by Singaporean and other researchers has produced information about the Singapore massacre but it seems to me that there is room for further research. In particular, what seems to be lacking is collation of documents in the various languages: English, Chinese, and Japanese. While Singapore citizens have accounts of the Massacre and the suffering caused by the Japanese occupation, students in Japan are unable to imagine what happened in Singapore and Malaya during the Japanese Occupation. Few Japanese students have any opportunity to learn about the Occupation, and the many Japanese who visit Singapore each year generally have no awareness of the killings or of the wartime suffering of Singaporeans. It is difficult to redress the balance, but if Japan is to achieve full reconciliation with the people of Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries and gain their trust, steps in the right direction must be taken.


[1] The Japanese term gShukuseih was used by the Japanese Army at the time. In Chinese community of Singapore it is usually called gSook Chingh.   

[2] Regarding details of the decision-making in the 25th Army, see Hayashi Hirofumi, Sabakareta Senso Hanzai [Tried War Crimes: British War Crimes Trials of Japanese](Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1998) and eSingaporu Kakyo Shukusei[Massacre of Chinese in Singapore ]f Nature-People-Society: Science and the Humanities, Kanto-Gakuin University ,  No.40, Jan. 2006.

[3]  Kawamurafs diary is preserved in the National Archives of the UK in London .

[4]  This document is preserved in the Library of the National Institute for Defense Studies [LNIDS], Defense Agency, Tokyo .

[5] For example, National Archives of Singapore , The Japanese Occupation, 1942-1945 (Singapore: Times, 1996), p. 68.

[6] The operational order of the 25th Army and the order of the 5th Division dated 21 February 1942 in LNIDS.

[7] gKakyo Kosaku Jisshi Yoryo [Implementation Guidance for Manipulating Overseas Chinese]h in LNIDS.

[8] Onishi Satoru, Hiroku Shonan Kakyo Shukusei Jiken [Secret Memoir Overseas Chinese Massacre in Singapore ] (Tokyo: Kongo Shuppan, 1977), p. 69 and p. 78.

[9] This claim is prevalent among researchers in Japan . It is believed even by those who are not right-wingers. I have not clarified who put forward this reason for first time.

[10] The Dalforce file in gBritish Military Administration, Chinese Affairs, 1945-1946h (National Archives of Singapore).

[11] There are numerous books with such assertion, in particular, books in Chinese.

[12] Rikujo Jieitai Kanbu Gakko [ Ground Staff College , Ground Self-Defense Force], Mare Sakusen [The Malay Campaign] (Tokyo: Hara Shobo, 1996), pp. 240-1.

[13] Onishi, Hiroku Shonan Kakyo Shukusei Jiken, pp. 87-8.

[14] Furyo Kankei Chosa Chuo Iinkai [Central Board of Inquiry on POWs], gSingaporu niokeru Kakyo Shodan Jokyo Choshoh [Record of Investigation on the Execution of Overseas Chinese in Singapore ], 23 Oct. 1945 (Reprinted in Nagai Hitoshi (ed.), Senso Hanzai Chosa Shiryo [Documents on War Crimes Investigation] ( Tokyo : Higashi Shuppan, 1995).

[15] See Hayashi Hirofumi, Sabakareta Senso Hanzai, p. 224.

[16] Otani Keijiro, Kenpei [The Military Police] (Tokyo: Shin-Jinbutsu Oraisha, 1973), p. 189.

[17] Onishi, Hiroku Shonan Kakyo Shukusei Jiken, p. 86.

[18]  The intelligence files on Tsuji are preserved in Boxes 457 and 458, Personal Files of the Investigative Records Repository, Record Group 319 (The Army Staff), US National Archives and Records Administration.

[19] Asada Kyoji and Kobayashi Hideo (eds.), Nihon Teikokushugi no Manshu Shihai [Administration of Manchuria by the Japanese Imperialism] (Tokyo: Jicho-Sha, 1986), p. 180.

[20] See Onishi, Hiroku Shonan Kakyo Shukusei Jiken, pp. 88-92.

[21] Boeicho Boei Kenkyusho Senshi-bu [Military History Department, National Defense College , Defense Agency], Hokushi no Chian-sen, Part 1 [Security Operation in North China ] (Tokyo: Asagumo Shinbunsha, 1968), pp. 114-30.

[22] Kojima Jo, Shisetu Yamashita Tomoyuki[Historical Narrative Yamashita Tomoyuki](Tokyo: Bungei Shunjusha, 1969), p. 325.

[23] Kawamurafs diary. See also Hayashi, Sabakareta Senso Hanzai, p. 220.

[24] See Akashi Yoji, gWatanabe Gunseih[Military Administration by Watanabe], in Akashi Yoji (ed.), Nihon Senryoka no Eiryo Mare Shingaporu [Malaya and Singapore under the Japanese Occupation, 1941-45] ( Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 2001).

[25] Kawamura Saburo, Jusan Kaidan wo Noboru [Walking up Thirteen Steps of the Stairs] (Tokyo: Ato Shobo, 1952).

[26] See Hayashi Hirofumi , BC -kyu Senpan Saiban [Class B & C War Crimes Trials] ( Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 2005), ch. 6.

[27] FO371/105435(National Archives, UK ).

[28]  Later, he was released in 1957.

[29] Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 3 Nov. 1966 .

[30] Asahi Shimbun, 20 Sept. 1967 .

[31] Asahi Shimbun, 18 Sept. 1963 .

[32] These documents are open to the public at the Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[33]  See footnote no.14.

[34] Asahi Shimbun, 29 Sept. 1963 .

[35]  Hara Fujio, gMaleishia, Shingaporu no Baisho Mondaih [Reparation Problem with Singapore and Malaysia ], Senso Skinin Kenkyu [The Report on Japan fs War Responsibility], No. 10, Dec. 1995.

[36] Ienaga Saburo, Taiheiyo Senso [The Pacific War] (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1967).

[37] gKessai: Singaporu no Chugokujin Gyakusatsu Jikenh [Blood Debt: Chinese Massacre in Singapore ], in Chugoku [ China ], vol. 76 (Mar. 1970).

[38] Tokyo : Private Press, 1976.

[39] Onishi, Hiroku Shonan Kakyo Shukusei Jiken, pp. 93-7.

[40] Otani Keijiro, Kempei, p. 189.

[41] Zenkoku Kenyukai Rengokai, Nihon Kempei Seishi, p. 979.

[42] For example, Terasaki Hiroshi, Senso no Yokogao [Profile of the War] (Tokyo: Taihei Shuppan, 1974), Nakajima Kenzo, Kaiso no Bungaku[Literature of Recollection], vol. 5 (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1977), Omata Yukio, Zoku Shinryaku [Sequel: Aggression] (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1982), and so on.

[43] See Rekishigaku Kenkyukai [The Historical Science Society of Japan], Rekishika wa naze Shinryaku ni kodawaruka [Why Historian adhere to Aggression] (Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1982).

[44] Composed of historians and journalists, Nankin Jiken Chosa Kenkyu Kai [The Society for the Study of Nanjin Massacre] was established in 1984. It remains active, although the scope of research has been extended to Japanese atrocities in China and the rest of Southeast Asia .

[45] Tokyo : Aoki Shoten, 1986.

[46] Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 1987.

[47] This article was delivered by the Kyodo News Service and came forth on newspapers on 8 Dec. 1987 .

[48] As mentioned before, the 5th Division conducted Purge through Purification throughout Malay Peninsular except Johor. The headquarters of the Division in peace time was situated in Hiroshima and soldiers were conscripted in Hiroshima and neighboring prefectures.

[49] Senso Giseisha wo Kokoro ni Kizamukai [The Society of Keeping War Victims in our Heart], Nihongun no Maresia Jumin Gyakusatu [The Massacres of Malaysian Local Population by the Japanese Military] (Osaka: Toho Shuppan, 1989).

[50] Originally published in 1988. The Japanese translation was as follows: Takashima Nobuyoshi & Hayashi Hirofumi (eds.), Maraya no Nihongun [The Japanese Army in Malaya ] (Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1989).

[51] Ishiwata Nobuo and Masuo Keizo (eds.), Gaikoku no Kyokasho no nakano Nihon to Nihonjin [ Japan and Japanese in a Foreign Textbook] (Tokyo: Ikkosha, 1988).

[52] Tokyo : Suzusawa Shoten, 1992. As for arguments of right-wingers, see Chapter 8 of this book.

[53] See, for example, two articles by Hata Ikuhiko in the journal Seiron, August and Oct. 1992 and Professor Takashimafs and my responses in the same journal on two occasions in Sept. and Nov. 1992.

[54] Tokyo : Gaifusha, 1996.

[55] Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 1998. 

[56] See Hayashi Hirofumi, gNihon no Haigaiteki Nashonarizumu wa Naze Taito shitakah[Why the Japanese Chauvinistic Nationalism has gained power] in VAWW-NET Japan (ed.), Kesareta Sabaki: NHK Bangumi Kaihen to Seiji Kainyu Jiken[Deleted Judgement: Interpolation of  the NHKfs TV Program and the Politicianfs Intervention] ( Tokyo : Gaifusha, 2005).

[57] Zenkoku Rekisi Kyoiku Kenkyu Kyogikai[The National Council for Education of History] (ed.), Nihonshi Yogo-shu [Lexicon of the Japanese History Textbook] ( Tokyo : Yamakawa Shoten, 2000), p. 291.

[58] Shosetsu Nihonshi [The Details of Japanese History] ( Tokyo : Yamakawa Shoten, 2001), p. 332.