The Other Side of Pacific War

"When I was giving a lecture to my students at university I asked them what countries Japan fought against at the Pacific War. The answer came; the United States, China, England... None of them, however, named South East Asian countries. Those names of countries somehow left their mind," Ms. Aiko Inomata, the Special Assistant of Japanese Embassy in Indonesia, started her lecture which was held at Jakarta Japanese School. She continued, "As many of you know, the war was called 'Daitoa Senso' (大東亜戦争East Asian War) at the first stage. But after the war the cabinet discussed and fixed upon 'Taiheiyo Senso' (大平洋戦争Pacific War) as an official name of the war from the direct translation of the way the United States called it. Since then Japanese have had only a dim recollection of the fact that South East Asian countries were the battle front of the Pacific War."


The purpose of approaching Asian countries was to get resources which used to be gained by the United States. In spite of Japanese intention of amicable procedure, Japan met disapprovement of Holland who had colonized the area, and was obliged to use armed force. On December 8th, 1941, the same day the Japanese Force attacked Pearl Harbor, it drove on Peninsular Malaysia and Luzon, Philippines. The force advanced south ward and made a successful surprise attack by a parachute descent on Menado and Palenbang. On March 1st, 1942, the Force attacked Java Island and caused the Dutch Force to surrender on the 9th.


Japanese intrusion was accepted by Indonesian people with little protest. This was owing to Japan's ingenious propaganda that Japan was going to release Indonesia from oppressive domination by Holland, taking into account the previous failure in China and Singapore. A song of "Indonesia Raya (The Great Indonesia)", which was prohibited to sing under Holland domination was put on the air all over Indonesia through the Radio Tokyo. Japanese parachute troops into Menado and Palemban was connected with the prophecy in the twelfth century, "A white man will dominate Indonesia for three hundred years, and a yellow man on a white horse will fly down from the northern sky to release Indonesia from oppression by a white man. After this yellow man dominates for a short time until corn ripens, the happy time will come," and this let Indonesian people entertain hope.


Dutch policy was an obscurantist one; the mob doesn't need an education to be instigated easily and only a few selected people can get education to act as a medium for the infiltraition of their idea into the mob. On the other hand, Japanese policy in education was a thoroughgoing one by reason that dual education was not good."


They founded schools for the general public throughout the country and named them "Kokumin Gakko" (国民学校 national elementary school). They educated children according to the Japanese curriculum and included Japanese language in the lessons.  They standardized one language among hundreds o dialects. To make the spirit of the Japanese way generally know to people, they organized 'Tonarigumi' (隣組 neighborhood association) , 'Seinendan' (青年団 youth association) and women's association and often held institute classes for them. To win hearts of Muslim people who account to more than 80% of the population the force supported Muslim leaders and explained to them that the war was a holy war against Christianity.


Propaganda was another measure. They promoted the Japan Film Company, the national policy film company, and established a film studio. They sent travel film theaters to villages to screen two new films and two documentary films weekly. They inaugurated Java Radio Broadcasting controlled by NHK and Java Newspaper controlled by Asahi Newspaper.


Owing to this brainwashing there was little anti-Japan resistance, although it is a solid fact that slaughter was committed against those who were insubordinate to the policy.


Ms Inomata showed the audience some video tapes whose original films were thought to be incinerated to destroy evidence of Japanese force's action in Indonesia, and were lighted upon among materials possessed by Holland a few years ago. In films were heard many Japanese words such as Dainippon, Kunren, Kushukeiho and song of Tonarigumi which was translated into Indonesian language beginning with the same phrase 'Ton 

Ton Tonkararinto Tonarigumi.'


In a way Japanese occupation of Indonesia is still affecting the existing Indonesian organization. The language the force chose just for their convenience' sake has since been the standard language in Indonesia and Tonarigumi system is still maintained in a society under the Indonesian name of RT (Rukan Tettanga). The daily life in Indonesia looks different from the one in Japan, but there is a glimpse of Japan, old Japan in the war time, and it is felt that the historical fact of the Pacific War is still alive here in Indonesia.


#55 Parkway Vol.6 No.4 August 1992





「大学で講義をしていたときのことですが、太平洋戦争で日本はどこの国と戦ったかと尋ねたところ、アメリカ、中国、イギリスなどの答えが帰ってきました。けれど、誰一人として、東南アジアの国を挙げる学生はいませんでした。頭の中にないのです。」と、在インドネシア日本大使館特別補佐官の猪俣愛子さんはジャカルタ日本人学校での講義を始めた。 「ご存知とは思いますが、戦争は始め、『大東亜戦争』と呼ばれていました。戦後、閣議により、アメリカが使用していた言葉をそのまま訳した『太平洋戦争』が正式な名称として定められました。以来、東南アジア諸国が太平洋戦争の戦線であったという事実は、かすかな記憶となってしまったのです。」


アジア諸国侵攻の目的は、それまで米国が得ていた資源を日本が手に入れることだった。日本は友好的に運ぼうとしていたが、植民化していたオランダが不服を示し、武力を使わざるを得なくなる。日本軍は、真珠湾を攻撃した1941年12月8日と同じ日、マレーシア半島とフィリピンのルソン島に侵攻した。軍は更に南進し、パラシュート降下でメナドとパレンバンの奇襲に成功した。 1942年3月1日、軍はジャワ島を攻撃し、9日にはオランダ軍を降伏させる。








もうひとつの対策は宣伝活動である。国策映画の会社である日本映画会社を興して、映画スタジオを設立した。移動映画館を村に送り、毎週、新しい映画2本とドキュメンタリー映画2本を上映した。 NHKが管理するJavaラジオ放送と朝日新聞が管理するJava Newspaperを発足させた。







ある意味、日本のインドネシア占領は、現在のインドネシア組織にも影響を与えていると言える。軍の都合だけで選ばれた言葉がインドネシアの標準語となり、隣組組織がインドネシア語のRT(Rukan Tettanga)という名のもとで続けられている。インドネシアの日常生活は日本とは違って見えるが、戦時中の日本、いや日本を垣間見ることができ、インドネシアでは太平洋戦争の歴史的事実が今なお生きているように感じらる。