** World War II Pacific Theater: Japan -- Asia for the Asians

World War II: Japan -- Asia for the Asians

Figure 1.--This is the image that the Japanese were projecting of gklutonus Europan colomizers, especially the British. This post card we think was made in Japnese occupied Singapore. The printing on the back is in English and Indian languages on the front. We don't believe this post card could have been mailed in India so Japanese occupied Singapore with its Indian community and Indian POWs (1942-45) seems the likely oruigin. The languages look like Arabic and Indian (Brahmic) scripts. We believe that the Arabic is actually Malay based on the Jawi script. (This is how Malay was written before the arrival of the English.)

'Asia for the Asians' was not meerly a propaganda slogan, it had real meaning for the Europeans and Americans in the regions conquered by Japan as well as fo Asian nationsls. This policy essentially meant eradicating all Western ninfluence, mostly European, but in the POhilippines Amerucan ninflkuence. Anthis included eradicating the Europeans as well in the process. Of coursev this did not nman eraducatuing all foreign influence which is what the Asians natioanlosyss wanted. TThe Jaoanese oaln was not only to exopell Europeans, but to repace them. This all varied in the different territories, but involved establishing both POW and civilian internment camps. The conditions in these camps detriorated during the War and internes and POWs were beginning to starve by the ebd oif the War. If the War had not ended wghen it diud, few would have survived. At least there was some chance of survival for the Wesrterners. In China the Japanese simply killed Chinese POWs which gives you a good idea as to how serious the Japanese viewed Asia for the Asians. Not to mention the famines they caused asaesult of seizing food supplies. As regards Westerners it was a different matter. The Japanes were stopped at the eadstern frontier of India and thus fid not occuoy it. There was, however, a propaganda campaign. And there was the complicatioin of the Congress' Quit India campaign. The largest European population in occupied terrfitory was in the Dutch East Indies (DEI). There were some 300,000 Europeans (mostly Dutch) and Eurasians (mixed Dutch and Indinesians) residing in the DEI which tyhe Japanese seized (March 1942). The Dutch had no ida just what the Japanese polanned. They soon found out that the Japanese were implementing political, economic, and cultural policies that would nd any Dutch role and integrate the DEI as a Japanese colony in their reater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. The polict was Japanization despite a propaganda veneer of liberation. The Indobesians wre to become loyal subjects of the Emperor. There was no place for the Europeans. The Japanese imbuded with warior code of Bushido resulted in the mistreatment and often murder of POWs and the abuse of civilian internees. The Japanese proceeded to eradicate Dutch influence. And in the process committed terrible atricities and war crimes. [Borch] Of all the Western civilians falling into Japanese hands, the Dutch were the most brutally treated. And other Allied fiorces caoptured in the DEI, wspecially the Australians, including nurses, suffered horific treatment, msny mudred. [Tanaka] The policy of Asia for the Asians was also pursued in the Philippines where there were both America anPOWs and civilan internees. The situation in French Indo-China was different because Vichy France was a quasi ally until Grance was kliberated (August 1944). Most British POWs were taken in Singapore. British civilan internees were also taken in Singapore as well as China (mostly Hong Kong and Shangahai.


Borch, Fred L. "Asia for the Asians: Bushido, and Japanese War Crimes in the Netherlands East Indies, 1942 to 1946," im Military Trials of War Criminals in the Netherlands East Indies, 1946-1949$ (2017).

Tanaka, Yuki. John W. Dower (Foreward). Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II Asian Voices (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: 2017).


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Created: 5:23 PM 12/18/2021
Last updated: 5:23 PM 12/18/2021