29 January 2011

Varieties of Kamtok (vs. Tok Pisin)

From West African Pidgin-English: A Descriptive Linguistic Analysis with Texts and Glossary from the Cameroon Area, by Gilbert Donald Schneider (Athens, Ohio, 1966), pp. 226-229. Each English phrase is translated into three versions: a. anglicized Kamtok, b. "broad" Kamtok, and c. Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea (the last being my translations). All varieties here are likely to be somewhat rural and old-fashioned.

ORTHOGRAPHY: Schneider writes the 7 vowels of Kamtok /a, ɛ, e, i, ɔ, o, u/ as a, e, ey, i, o, ow, u. Another source writes them a, eh, e, i, oh, o, u.
1. He married trouble.
a. hi don mari trobu.
b. i don mari trobu.
c. em i maritim trabel.

2. I stay in this town.
a. ay di silip fo dis tawn.
b. a di silip fo dis tong.
c. mi stap long dispela taun.

3. Do you have children?
a. yu get pikin?
b. yu get pikin?
c. i gat pikinini bilong yu?

4. They are pleased with my work.
a. dem di glad fo may wok.
b. dem di glat fo ma wok.
c. ol i laikim wok bilong mi.

5. My strength's gone.
a. may strong hi don finish.
b. ma trong i don finis.
c. strong bilong mi i go pinis. / mi no strong moa.

6. Our Bible is on the table.
a. wi baybl dey fo tebl.
b. wi bau dey fo tebu.
c. Baibel bilong yumi/mipela i stap long tebol. ('ours incl. you'/'ours excl. you')

7. Pineapple is good food.
a. panapl na swit chop.
b. panabu na shwit chop.
c. ananas i switpela kaikai.

8. They're having a meeting about coffee tomorrow.
a. dem get miting fo kofi tumaro.
b. dem get miting fo kofi tumaro.
c. ol i gat (wanpela) miting bilong kofi tumora.

9. Pardon me.
a. eskiys mi witi dis wan.
b. chus mi fo dis wan.
c. sori ya long dispela. (?)

10. This guava isn't sweet.
a. dis gwava now di swit.
b. dis gwava now di shwit
c. dispela yambo i no swit.

11. Your oil isn't good.
a. dat yu oyl now gud.
b. dat wuna oya now fan.
c. wel bilong yu i no gutpela.

12. He's not speaking the truth.
a. hi now di tok tru.
b. i now di tok tru.
c. em i no tok stret.

13. I can't sit on that chair.
a. ay now fit sidawn fo dat chea.
b. a now fit sidong fo dat chia.
c. mi no inap sindaun long dispela sia ya.

14. Come and scratch my back.
a. kom skrach mi fo bak.
b. kom kras mi fo bak.
c. kam skrapim baksait bilong mi.

15. We're going to the town.
a. wi di kamawt go fo tawn.
b. wi di komot go fo tong.
c. mipela i go long taun i stap. ('we're on the way to town')

16. Throw it on the ground.
a. meyk yu trowwey fo grawn.
b. meyk yu trowwey fo grong.
c. tromwe i stap long graun.

17. It has a strong odor.
a. hi di smel plenti.
b. i di simel plenti.
c. i gat strongpela smel (bilong en)

18. Who broke my pot?
a. wichman don browk may pot?
b. husman don browk ma pot?
c. husat i brukim sospen bilong mi?

19. My brother's in the house.
a. may broda dey fo haws.
b. ma broda dey fo has.
c. Brata bilong mi i stap (insait) long haus.

20. Go and sit down outside.
a. meyk yu gow sidawn fo awtsay.
b. meyk wuna gow sidong fo ausai.
c. go sindaun long arasait / ausait long haus.

21.Who owns that oil?
a. na wichman get dat oyl?
b. na husman get dat oya?
c. dispela wel ya i bilong husat/wanem man?

22. Come and give me another one.
a. kom giv mi oda wan.
b. kom gif mi ada wan.
c. kam givim/bringim mi wanpela moa / narapela ('more of same' / 'different').
(More polite is: Wanpela moa i kam!)

23. They have many possessions.
a. dem get plenti kagow.
b. dem get plenti kagow.
c. ol i gat planti samting.

24. The medicine causes itching.
a. dat medisin di skrach.
b. dat metsin di kras.
c. dispela marasin i mekim skin i sikrap.

25. Who rang the bell?
a. wichman don ring bel?
b. husman don ring bel?
c. husat i pulim/paitim belo? ('pull/strike')

26 January 2011

Common People's Christianity in Gunma, 1880s

From: American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan 1859–73, by Hamish Ion (UBC Press, 2009), pp. 269-271:
Although many missionaries, unlike their Japanese colleagues, came from rural farming backgrounds (and thus possibly had a better appreciation of the importance of farming to national strength), they were restricted to the treaty ports. Unless missionaries were employed at Japanese schools or obtained leave to go into the interior for health reasons, they were not free to leave the treaty ports. Thus, the rural evangelistic effort had by necessity, to be largely conducted by Japanese evangelists. By 1884 thirteen churches had been established in the Kantō prefectures." Kudō Eiichi has pointed out that the ten years from 1877 to 1887 saw a tremendous growth in the Protestant movement, much of which came from the creation of new churches in rural areas." This growth owed a lot to the activities of students who had studied in Tokyo or Yokohama, where they had contact with Christians returning to their hometowns and villages in the provinces Back-up to the activities of returned Christians came from members of the new city churches in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and Kobe, joined shortly afterward by students from the Nihon Kirisuto Ichi Kyōkai Shingakkō in Tsukiji and the Dōshisha school in Kyoto.
As Christian activities in Annaka and Maebashi reveal, one of the first areas to be opened up was Gunma Prefecture, an agricultural area to the west of Tokyo with strong ties to the silk-exporting trade through Yokohama. The opportunities for rural economic development as a result of the silk trade helped to open this area to Western machinery and Western ideas. It was in Kiryū that evangelists belonging to the Shin Sakae Kyōkai were able to establish their first church among the rural folk in this important region. In its early years, the Kiryū Kyōkai lacked both a permanent worship place and a resident minister. It grew nevertheless because of the energy of visiting evangelists and its own members. In sharp contrast to many of the first converts in Yokohama and Tokyo, who were shizoku (descendants of samurai), the Kiryū Christians belonged to merchant and farming families. Indeed, the first shizoku member of the church, Ishii Yasaemon, became a member in August 1883 and was the 117th person to be baptized in that church. In microcosm, the challenges that the Kiryū Kyōkai faced help to explain how a Christian community was able to take root in a country area and shed more light on what church activity entailed for country Christians. Sumiya has pointed out that Gunma Christians were different from their counterparts in other places where shizoku had made up the majority of converts because Gunma Christianity was the common people's Christianity (heimin no kirisutokyo). This was certainly true in the case of the Kiryū Kyōkai....

Between 1878 and 1888, twelve churches were established in the prefecture, with a total membership of 1,466. Among them was the independent church Nishi Gunma Kyōkai, Takazaki Kyōkai, established in May 1884 by Hoshino Mitsuta. The evangelistic power and vitality of the young Dōshisha graduates who formed the vanguard of the Kumiai Kyōkai's endeavour in Gunma is reflected in the ownership of these twelve churches: nine belonged to the Kumiai Kyōkai, and only one each to the Nihon Kirisuto Ichi Kyōkai, the Baptists, and the Methodists. The majority of the churches were on the main road leading west across Honshu toward Niigata, as was the case in Kiryū, Maebashi, Takasaki, Annaka, and Harashi. Some of these also were on the route of the railway – Isesaki, for instance. Ōhama has pointed out that Gunma Prefecture had 985 Christians in its churches in 1888 and ranked fifth in terms of numbers of Christians living in Japanese prefectures or major cities, and, at 14.75, fourth overall in terms of Christians per thousand of population.
This adds new perspective to our visit to international Ota City in Gunma, which is now home to Japan's largest Braziltown and has the highest proportion of foreign workers of any prefecture in Japan.

25 January 2011

Tokugawa Internationalists in Shizuoka, 1870s

From: American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan 1859–73, by Hamish Ion (UBC Press, 2009), 159-160:
In mid-November 1871, [Edward Warren] Clark arrived in Shizuoka as the first westerner free to teach Christianity outside the treaty concessions.

In the early 1870s, Shizuoka was by no means a simple provincial town in a prefecture well known for its mandarin oranges and tea. It was the ancestral home of the Tokugawa shoguns, and, as mentioned, it was there that Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun, retired after the Meiji Restoration. Many of his former retainers followed him there into semi-exile, and approximately six thousand ex-Tokugawa samurai were living in Shizuoka and its vicinity in late 1871.

Even though it had lost political power with the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa family initially hoped that it might regain its former control of Japan. For this reason, in the autumn of 1868, the Tokugawa family established the military academy at Numazu, approximately thirty miles from Shizuoka, with the leading Western studies scholar, Nishi Amane, as its first headmaster. They were able to marshal a very impressive roster of Dutch and English specialists. With less overtly militaristic aims in mind, the Tokugawa authorities also founded in late 1868 the Gakumonjo in Shizuoka, which in November 1868 began offering classes in English, French, German, and Dutch. There were two headmasters, Mukōyama (Mukaiyama) Komura and Tsuda Shin'ichi, the former a Chinese studies specialist. Nakamura Masanao was also listed as a Chinese studies specialist faculty member. The Tokugawa authorities drew some of the best Japanese foreign-language teachers so that the school would be regarded as equal to the Yokohama Gogakujo in its foreign-language offerings and to Edō Kaiseijo in its Chinese studies. There were some sixty teachers at the Shizuoka school, among them Sugiyama Sanhachi, a Dutch studies specialist. By 1871, this Shizuoka school was the higher education centre of a network of eight or nine junior schools, which the Tokugawa family had established in Shizuoka Prefecture. The purpose of the Gakumonjo was to provide education in Western studies for the sons of ex-Tokugawa samurai. Entry to the school was restricted to those of the samurai class and, importantly, tuition was free. Among the followers of the ex-shogun there was, very naturally, considerable resentment against the new Meiji government, as the déclassé samurai were living in conditions of great hardship and suffering. Katsu Kaishū and other Tokugawa elders thought that by educating the sons of ex-samurai in Western science at least, some of the former Tokugawa influence in Japan could be regained. Moreover, as the demand for experts in Western studies increased, there would be employment opportunities for these young men. In recognizing the future need for Western studies specialists, the progressive spirit of the Tokugawa exiles in Shizuoka Prefecture was clear, albeit directed toward the restoration of their own power rather than the good of all Japan.

Since the Gakumonjo's founding in 1868, the Tokugawa authorities had wanted to hire a Western teacher for it. After all, the Gakumonjo had been founded to teach Western subjects – English, French, German, and Dutch languages; mathematics, and Western science – as well as traditional Chinese studies. The need for a Western professor became increasingly acute as the Gakumonjo expanded. By November 1871, it had grown to such an extent that it had been divided into four schools: the Shogakujo, the Denshujo, the Shugakujo, and the Shizuoka Honkō (formerly the Gakumonjo). What these divisions meant in practical terms was that Western subjects were now being offered from primary school through to the highest academic level, and to students ranging from young boys to mature men in their thirties. Compounding educational problems posed by expansion was the simply [sic] reality that English had replaced Dutch as the major language of Western studies. The shortage of English-language teachers became clear when, in 1871, the Tokugawa authorities sent Sugiyama Magoroku, the son of Sugiyama Sanhachi, to learn English in Yokohama instead of continuing his Dutch studies. As well as learning English, Sugiyama converted to Christianity and became in 1872 a member of the Yokohama Christian Band. Sugiyama was not the only convert from Shizuoka among the first group of the Yokohama Band; Shinozaki Keinosuke also came from there.

Japanese Attitudes toward Urakami Christians, 1868-1871

From: American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan 1859–73, by Hamish Ion (UBC Press, 2009), pp. 100-101, 121-122:
In June 1868, A. Bertram Mitford, then serving as British consul in Osaka, wrote a most interesting letter about Japanese views on the Urakami Christians. Mitford had polled his Japanese friends, very likely the same politically well-connected friends who had provided him with the political intelligence on the imperial side that allowed the British to navigate skilfully through the tortuous months leading up to the Restoration. Mitford observed how little sympathy there was for the Urakami Christians among Japanese of all classes because they had begun to openly preach the Gospel in defiance of the government's prohibition. He stressed that the Japanese thought the Roman Catholic priests were trying to gain secular as well as spiritual power through their proselytizing activities in Urakami, known as a hotbed of anarchy and revolution. He also pointed out that a new Roman Catholic bishop had been appointed with the ill-chosen title of "bishop of Japan," which Japanese regarded as "thoroughly offensive to the pride of the nation." The Japanese saw the crisis in political terms: as a challenge to the political power of the government. According to Mitford, the Japanese already believed that Roman Catholic fathers were exerting an unfortunate influence on the Urakami Christians by forbidding them, to sell flowers as decoration in local temples and shrines and by preaching sedition and treason, which had led to the tearing down of images of the native gods. The spectre of religious warfare was raised.

The Japanese were too diplomatically astute to deny the excellence of Christian teaching but did argue that "the school of Urakami is but a bastard form of Christianity," that the Roman Catholic priests were not famihar enough with the Japanese language to explain the dogmas of their religion, and that the Urakami Christians had little in common with true Christian. This argument was in keeping with a common snub about the missionaries language ability, with the hint that the Japanese knew a little bit more about the true nature of Christianity and of Urakami Christian beliefs than the Roman Catholic missionaries did. Mitford wrote, "The Japanese claim a high degree of merit for their own faith, which for centuries has taught the people the duties of children and parents, husbands and wives, masters and servants, brothers and friends. This is the religion which the people understand; the mystic doctrines of the Fathers only bewilder them." Mirroring the contemporary position, he then added, "The danger of a little knowledge in matters of religion is shown by the Taiping Rebellion, which founded on a few Christian tracts, at one time threatened to lay waste the Chinese Empire." Elements of Christianity could be seen in the ideology of the Taiping rebels, and 1868, the year in which Mitford was writing was only four years after that destructive rebellion's final defeat. Although it is difficult to see the Urakami Christians leading a rebellion with the same impact on Japan as the Taiping had on China, the new government saw them-as a danger because they could spark a resurgence of armed Tokugawa opposition to the government's rule. In any case, despite Western ministers' calls for the Meiji government to take a more moderate stance, Mitford thought the government was still going ahead with its policy to scatter the Urakami Christians throughout the territories of different daimyo. Mitford's intelligence was very good, for this scattering of Christians was, in fact, carried out. It was all about politics and political power.


In late November 1871, the British diplomat Ernest Satow had dinner with Kido Kōin, a senior member of the Meiji government, during which Kido said "he respected highly the Christian religion and was in favour of introducing it into Japan or at least of allowing its practice." Certainly, this would appear to be a volte-face on the part of someone who was instrumental in carrying out the new government's policies against the Urakami Christians in 1868. But by late 1871, Kido was concerned with currying favour with the Western powers in advance of the Iwakura embassy's imminent departure for the West. The persecution of Christians was an issue that was not going to go away quietly. As Helen Hardacre has pointed out, the question of religious freedom was "a tremendous stumbling block in the achieving of the main goal of Japanese diplomacy at that time," that is, the revision of the treaties of 1858. When the Iwakura embassy was confronted with the issue of religious freedom, Japanese Christians had already been largely brought to heel.

The Meiji government was quite prepared to take down the public notice boards of edicts prohibiting Christianity (this was, in itself, an economizing measure, as the notice boards were expensive to maintain), but it had no intention of altering its proscription of Christianity. The timing of the removal of the public notice boards was dictated not by Western diplomatic pressure but by the Japanese government in light of its preparations to mitigate the potential harmful consequence to Japan of this action. The Japanese people understood from the example of the Urakami Christians what could happen if they became Christians. Given their determination during the Urakami crisis, it is quite clear that the Meiji oligarchs were not going to allow Christianity to gain headway in Japan. The removal of the notice boards was interpreted by missionaries as the start of a new era in which Christianity could be openly propagated among the Japanese, but it was, in reality, a hollow gesture by a government that had no intention of stopping its search for counter-Christian measures to contain Christianity. Indeed, the major beneficiaries of the dismantling of the anti-Christian notice boards were not Christians but Buddhists, who were now seen as playing an important part in countering any major Christian advance – with the removal of the notice boards, the Meiji government, which had previously been persecuting Buddhists as part of its attempt to promote Shinto, now looked to Buddhists to help them resist the spread of Christianity outside the treaty settlements (something that the government feared might be a possible and undesirable consequence of removing the proscription edicts from public view). Certainly, Ōhama Tetsuya sees Buddhist attempts to counter Japanese Christian evangelistic activities in the provinces becoming particularly pronounced in 1881 and 1882 at a time when Buddhist intellectuals were also trying to discredit Christian theological ideas. Christianity had failed in Japan before it was actively propagated among the Japanese. Missionaries, of course, did not recognize this. Their energies were directed toward overcoming all obstacles to their religious goal of spreading the Christian message throughout Japan. Optimism was a marked, if not an essential, characteristic of their work.

The uproar of protest against the deportation of the Urakami Christians came from Western diplomats and not from missionaries in Yokohama. In this, there is a residue element of anti-Roman Catholic sentiment that saw the persecution of the Urakami Christians as something involving the Roman Catholics and having little to do with Protestants. "Those horrible papists," Verbeck (who was by no means unusual among Protestant missionaries in his contempt for Roman Catholics) was wont to call Roman Catholic priests. Yet, it is evident that anti-Christian Japanese polemicists saw Protestant missionaries as being as bad, if not worse, than their Roman Catholic counterparts. The Japanese government argued that the Japanese who wanted to learn about things Western found missionaries, in contravention of the treaties, forcing them to read the Bible as an English textbook. From the government's perspective, private religious beliefs would be tolerated so long as the individual believer did not challenge the public policies of the government. Thus, in the opinion of the Meiji government, the Urakami Christians were not being persecuted for their private religious beliefs but because they had defied established authority.

17 January 2011

Sumatra, Dec. 1945: The Japanese Army Retaliates

From A Japanese Memoir of Sumatra, 1945-46: Love and Hatred in the Liberation War, by Takao Fusayama (Equinox, 2010), pp. 121-123:
Maj. Gen. Sawamura, the regiment commander, who had been so patient thus far, had at last run out of patience. The compassion and compunction he felt for his soldiers, who had been cruelly killed [by Indonesian nationalist youths] while restraining their fire in accordance with his orders, rested heavily on his heart. He reported the situation and his resolution to the divisional headquarters by wireless and asked the divisional commander for permission to attack the Indonesians. The surprised divisional commander sent a telegram to warn against such a rash act and sent his senior staff officer, Lt. Col. Muromoto, to Tebing in a hurry.

The Communist party in North Sumatra had not joined in the attack on the Japanese. Instead, it maintained connections with the divisional headquarters, expressing its willingness to cooperate. Since the road to Tebing under the control of the Indonesian youths seemed to be too dangerous for a Japanese car, Lt. Col. Muromoto used a Communist party jeep, for the journey.

In general, the behavior of the Indonesian Communist party in Sumatra toward the Japanese was completely different from that of the party in Java. The Communists generally did not like the fact that Indonesian independence was supported by the Asian nationalism of the Japanese, and in Java they sought to cause hatred and trouble between the Japanese and the local people. The Communist party in East Sumatra, however, had never caused any trouble for the Japanese. Instead, it had been cooperative. The head of the party was Abdul Xarim, a famous independence leader who had often been imprisoned by the Dutch. He was released by the Japanese army and became an active cooperator as the head of the Fatherland Defense Association to inspire Indonesians in Sumatra to patriotism and Asian nationalism, mobilizing young people for the defense services. When he became head of the Communist party after the war's end, all the Japanese were very surprised. But his party did not cause any trouble, unlike the Communists in Java. He was in reality a nationalist, and resisted Dutch colonialism as well as the control of the international Communists. He was, therefore, expelled by Communist headquarters in Java some years later.

Staff Officer Muromoto, arriving in Tebing, found the situation was much more serious than his division headquarters had guessed. It seemed difficult to sway the resolve of Maj. Gen. Sawamura, whose many beloved subordinates had been killed. In addition, it was believed that the Japanese would continue to be killed if no response was made to the massacres. Consequently, Lt. Col. Muromoto finally agreed that Tebing should be attacked. He reported his opinion to the division commander who responded by granting his permission. Maj. Gen. Sawamura immediately announced the order to attack. The soldiers of the 5th Regiment, who were watching this process with bated breath, simultaneously stood up in high spirits.
His Excellency Sawamura has ordered an attack. The regiment commander, who thus far prohibited any attack, has finally given his permission. Comrades, be pleased. We will retaliate for you. His Excellency Sawamura has ordered retaliation at last.
At 3 o'clock on December 13, a battalion commanded by Maj. Takayasu Seno that was well known for its smart operations, left Bahilang. Before departing. Commander Seno warned all his troops: "This is a war against the youth party. Attack them resolutely. The enemy, however, is only the radical youth party. Never injure any other inhabitants. Anyone damaging the name of our glorious Imperial Guard Regiment will be strictly punished."

After closing off the four exits to the city with small groups of troops, the main force rushed into the town from the south with two tanks at its head. Field cannons were not used in this attack because the soldiers did not want to injure the general public. The youths of Pesindo resisted at the entrance with fierce firing, but the tanks opened the way, crushing the barricades, and soldiers followed behind on foot. The youths were surprised as the Japanese soldiers' bullets, which had never before been directed against Indonesians, began to hit them. They retreated, gathering in their headquarters in the central square. They shot from all windows with rifles and machine guns, but ran out when the tank guns hit the house. The battalion thus occupied the house in a short period of time. The street fighting continued until late in the day and several Japanese soldiers were killed or wounded. Since the troops closing the road to Medan at the Padang Bridge initially concealed themselves behind the west bank, a large group of the radicals who tried to run out across the bridge became victims of the machine guns from a Japanese ambush.

The next day, with the cooperation of Indonesian policemen and moderate inhabitants, the occupying force searched the entire city and arrested the hidden radical youths and agitators. Those arrested were examined again and anyone proved to be a friend of the Japanese was released. Parapat, the Tebing Branch leader of the Fifth Corps, was one of those released. Some fifty remaining radicals were later killed and buried in a corner of the central square. All the Indonesians in the city were astonished by the unexpectedly severe attitude of the Japanese army who had looked so faint-hearted after losing the war.

08 January 2011

Help Chinese PLA Unit 37341 Translate

Friends of ours who know we like Pu'erh tea from Yunnan, China, recently gave us a disk of it that proved to be very rich in flavor, with the additional attraction of one of the worst Chinese-to-English translations I think I've ever seen. The translation goes awry in spelling, grammar, word-choice, and even typography. Here's an image of the little slip of paper that came inside the package.
Yunnan Jingmai Hill Old Trees Tea

Now here's a transcription of the original English translation.


This article chooses to use Yunnan Jingmai hill old trees tea is raw material, was steam, rumple, nhibitted by traditional craftbut become, that tea Fa-Etty strengthen to show the milli-, green and yellow bright aroma pure and unadulterated of the teaEsoup, the tase joss-stick and return sweet hold out for long time. Often drimking can help the dig-Eest, go to greasy, the pure spirit of adsolute deing is great. Come to wine etc. This,article more Ch-Een is more fragrant can be collect in dry, well ventilated, avoid the light to have no strange Esmell of environment.
Kunming, Guanduqu, Yongjiu tea factory processing
Chinese People's Liberation Army 37341 Troops, produce in Zhongyi

And here's my first, painfully crafted attempt to make sense of the passage. My Chinese is as bad as Unit 37341's English. Corrections and suggestions are most welcome.

Yunnan Jingmai Hill Old-growth Tea

This product is made from select, old-growth tea bushes in the Jingmai Hill region of Yunnan. Traditional methods of steaming, rubbing, and pressing into shape make this tea into stout cords yielding a broth of yellow-green brightness, pure fragrance, mellow taste, and lingering sweetness. Drinking it regularly can aid digestion, counteract oily food, [magically clear the air, purify something, reduce flatulence?] refresh the mind, overcome alcohol, etc. This product will retain its fragrance as it ages if it can be stored in a dry, well-ventilated place away from light or strange odors.
Processed by Yongjiu Tea Factory, Guandu District, Kunming
Product of Chinese People's Liberation Army Unit 37341, Zhongyi

06 January 2011

Origins of the Indonesian National Army

From A Japanese Memoir of Sumatra, 1945-46: Love and Hatred in the Liberation War, by Takao Fusayama (Equinox, 2010), pp. 38-42:
The Allied Forces began a full-scale advance on Indonesia by the end of September [1945]. Three British-Indian divisions commanded by Lt. Gen. Sir Phillip Christison advanced to Indonesia, with two divisions allocated to Java and one division to Sumatra. Before leaving Singapore for Indonesia, Christison declared that his army was landing in Indonesia only for the purpose of disarming the Japanese and had no desire to intervene in the domestic affairs of the Dutch East Indies.

The 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet of the Japanese navy commanded by Vice Admiral Yaichiro Shibata and the Mixed Defense Brigade of the Japanese army commanded by Major General Shigeo Iwabe were stationed in Surabaya. They were caught in a serious dilemma between their wish to hand over their arms to Indonesians and the prohibition by the Allied Forces. Fortunately, something happened to resolve their dilemma. On September 21, a Dutch advance officer, Captain Huijer, unexpectedly landed in Surabaya accompanied by only a few soldiers. Displaying his authority as the victor, he defiantly ordered the Japanese commanders to surrender to him immediately and to leave their arms under the guard of the Indonesian authorities until the Allied Forces took them over. Because Captain Huijer used to live in Surabaya, he thought that most Indonesians would be obedient to the Dutch when they returned, just like before. He did not know that the attitude of the Indonesian people had completely changed during the Japanese occupation.

When the Indonesians rushed to the Japanese barracks, Vice Admiral Shibata and Major General Iwabe ordered their soldiers to hand over all arms without resisting, explaining that in obeying the orders of Captain Huijer, the Japanese forces were to disarm themselves, leaving their weapons in the care of the Indonesians until the Allied Forces received them. The Indonesians thus obtained 26,000 rifles, 600 machine guns, cannons, anti-aircraft guns, and other weapons in the space of a few days. A large amount of war funds were also secretly given to the Indonesians by a naval paymaster, Lt. Kazuyuki Mike. A great Indonesian military power was thus established for the first time.

On October 5, President Sukarno announced the foundation of his public security force, Tentera Keamanan Rakyat (TKR) and steadily expanded the army by gathering together the former volunteer and auxiliary soldiers trained by the Japanese. Ten divisions in Java and six in Sumatra were organized.

On October 26, the 49th British-Indian Brigade of 5,000 landed in Surabaya. The Indonesian force in Surabaya, who were well-armed with Japanese weapons, resolutely risked a night attack taught by the Japanese and completely destroyed the brigade, killing the commander. In early November, the British forces made an all-out counterattack on Surabaya, with one complete division of 24,000 and the support of shelling from warships and bombing from airplanes. Indonesian anti-aircraft guns given by the Japanese shot down three of the planes. The street fighting continued until November 12. The Indonesians tenaciously continued to resist with the song of "Merdeka atau Mati [Freedom or Death]" blaring through loud speakers....

In addition to the establishment of the independent government, the Indonesian soldiers who had been trained by the Japanese as Giyugun [義勇軍 'Loyal Manly (=Volunteer) Army' or] Heiho [兵補 'Soldier Assistant/Probationary'], and discharged at the time of the Japanese surrender, quietly gathered back at the Giyugun barracks. They were organized into the public security force, the TKR, with educated youths appointed to various positions as commanders.
A further category of labor mobilized by the Imperial Japanese military was known as 挺身隊 teishintai 'offer self/body corps' (Kor. Chongshindae or Jeongshindae), which included various sorts of organized physical labor battalions, including those euphemistically called "comfort women" (従軍慰安婦 jūgun ianfu 'serve-military comfort/consolation/amusement-women').

04 January 2011

Japanese Revolutionaries in Indonesia, 1945-46

From the Introduction by Saya Shiraishi to A Japanese Memoir of Sumatra, 1945-46: Love and Hatred in the Liberation War, by Takao Fusayama (Equinox, 2010), pp. 9-11, 13-14:
I have three namelists in front of me which I acquired during the course of my research on the Japanese occupation of North Sumatra. They were composed by a former Japanese military officer in Medan, East Sumatra, and dated May 11, 1952. The title of the first list reads, in Japanese, "Namelist of the Japanese who died in battle or of illness in/around Medan." It contains 102 names, each with information concerning the person's "former military affiliation," "hometown" in Japan (one, however, is from Korea, one from Taiwan), and a brief record of how and where he died. A certain "Shimada," for example, "died during the fight against the Dutch in front of Siantar Railroad Station, July 27, 1947. An art college graduate, an excellent painter."

Three notes at the end of the list inform the reader that there are 88 additional Japanese who reportedly died in the region, among them the 83 who were massacred in Tebing Tinggi in December 1945 (see below, Chapter 8), but their names are unknown. There may have been further deaths which have not been confirmed. With the few exceptions of those who died of malaria or other illnesses, "most are martyrs to Indonesian independence who fell in battle against the Dutch."

All the deaths took place after August 15, 1945, the date marking the "end" of World War II for Japan. This record provides a basis for the claim that there were more Japanese casualties during Indonesia's revolutionary war than during Japan's three-and-a-half year occupation of the tropical land.

The second list contains 97 names of the "members of the Japanese Association in Medan." It provides such data as birth date, age, former military affiliation, family address in Japan, current address, marriage and children, current occupation. These men were living in Medan with their families (presumably Indonesian-born) as "mechanics," "automobile repairmen," "plantation clerks," "pharmacists," "blacksmiths," "judo instructors" etc. Their birth dates range from 1907 to 1923. When the list was prepared in 1952, they were 29 to 45 years old. Some had already lived in Sumatra for ten years since the Japanese landing in the island in 1942.

I was also told in interviews I conducted during my research that, in addition to the names listed here, there must be other Japanese who when they married entered the wives' families, becoming Muslims, acquiring Indonesian names, and being lost to their fellow Japanese. A few more names would then be mentioned of those who had come to the Dutch East Indies before World War II, had subsequently been recruited to serve in the Japanese occupation government, and then remained on in Indonesia which had apparently become their home.

The third list contains 20 names, with their family addresses in Japan, of people who in 1952 had just been sent back by ship to Japan from Medan. I met some of these returnees in Tokyo in 1974. One said that he was happy that he had been able to come back to Japan, had started life anew, and was planning to write a memoir after his retirement. Indeed, his book was published some years later. Another made it clear that he had been "forced" by the Indonesian government to leave the village in Aceh where he was farming. According to his old friends, he had close trusting relationships with the religious and political leaders in Aceh, among them the charismatic Tgk. Daud Beureueh who was to lead a revolt against the government in 1953. Two others did not want to talk about their experiences. They were working for the Japan-Indonesia petroleum trade and their "past" was currently both an asset and liability It was not an "unforgettable, exotic" experience, but their life was still tied to it.

During the 1970s, large numbers of war-time memoirs were written* and published in Japan. Among them, the "Indonesian experience" of sharing with young revolutionaries their historical moment (the period of the revolutionary war rather than Japan's occupation of the land) was remembered with unfading enthusiasm. The experience was something too significant for the veterans to let it vanish from their life.
    *The combined figure is significant enough considering the fact that by the end of World War II, (1) in the whole of Sumatra, there was only one division (Konoe-Daini Division) in the north and one brigade in the south; (2) due to the drastic reduction in the numbers of Japanese soldiers, the "division" barely managed to maintain its structure through incorporating the hastily organized Giyu-gun forces of local youths (at least 15 companies and 4 platoons in Aceh, 4 companies and 3 platoons in Medan) into its rank and file. See Saya Shiraishi, "Nihon Gunsei Ka no Aceh [Aceh under the Japanese Military Administration]" Southeast Asia: History and Culture [Tokyo] 5 (1975): 141.
The readers of this "documentary novel" written by Takao Fusayama will perceive the zeal with which his story is narrated. It is also his dedication that has brought his recollections across the Pacific. He not only published his memoir in Japanese, but also took the pains to translate it into English himself and search for an English-speaking audience. This unceasing commitment to the memory of the brief period of their youth, during which the lives of some hundreds of Japanese young men actually did change, is the notable feature shared by other memoirs as well. Behind their narratives we find this zeal for life. It is there, because it was their own life. Their own youth. We hear in this book, the voice of hundreds of youths whose "personal" life-stories in a "foreign" land have been edited away.

It is through this voice, however, that we may come closer to understanding the nature of the revolutionary war and the "stateless youth" who fought it. One of the former Japanese "deserters" [!] once answered my question as to why he had not returned home, "Oh, it was just natural for me to stay there." He did not choose to be sent to Sumatra as he did not choose to be born a Japanese. He found, nevertheless, that his life should belong to Sumatra whose natural beauty he loved dearly. He had had enough of the military, enough of the state's arbitrary control over his life. He had never forgiven the state, Japan, that had intruded into his life and, upon his graduating from college, sent him out to the warfront. He was a revolutionary youth "himself."

His story is yet to be written. Takao Fusayama's account of his own experiences, however, will open up and invite more attention to this unexplored field.