Although the wartime Japanese military administration of Indonesia was critical to the making of modern Indonesia, it remains shrouded in mystery, in part because of the systematic destruction of records following the Japanese surrender. These excerpts from personal memoirs of individual Japanese soldiers and administrators provide unique glimpses of the occupation—from the Japanese landing on Java and the Dutch surrender, to the independence proclamation in Jakarta, to the violence in Surabaya following the Japanese surrender. Through the eyes of Japanese at all levels of responsibility, we see the internal Indonesian turmoil, the struggle toward an independence movement, and the efforts of some Japanese to promote independence, despite the policies of imperial headquarters.
Not only does this collection illuminate modern Indonesian history, it provides students of Japanese history with a feeling for the variety of Japanese responses to the war effort. The Japanese Experience in Indonesia will therefore be of interest to Southeast and East Asian historians and political scientists, as well as to those with a more general interest in World War II.
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Beginning with the closing decade of European colonial rule in Southeast Asia and covering the wartime Japanese empire and its postwar disintegration, Tensions of Empire focuses on the Japanese in Southeast Asia, Indonesians in Japan, and the legacy of the war in Southeast Asia. It also examines Japanese perceptions of Southeast Asia and the lingering ambivalence toward Japanese involvement in Asia and toward the war in particular.
The memoirs of Marguérite Schenkhuizen provide an overview of practically the whole of the twentieth century as experienced by persons of mixed Dutch and Indonesian ancestry who lived in the former Dutch East Indies. The memoirs provide vignettes of Indonesian life, both rural and urban, as seen through the eyes of the author first as a girl, then as a wife separated from her husband during the Japanese occupation, finally as an immigrant to the United States after World War II.
Although the Japanese interregnum was brief, its dramatic commencement and equally dramatic conclusion represented a watershed in the history of the young state of Sarawak. In recent years, there has been a groundswell of interest in the war years, culminating in an attempt at reassessment of the Japanese occupation in Southeast Asia by Western and Japanese scholars as well as by those from Southeast Asia.