Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Japanese camp commandants

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tilburg, The Netherlands
    Posts
    12

    Default Japanese camp commandants

    Many of the Japanese camp commandants during the Japanese occupation in the former Dutch East Indies were often Koreans instead of Japanese.
    I am talking about the many Japanese internment camps of civilian Dutch men, women and children spread out over all the islands from the country that is now Indonesia

    Not Japanese but Korean camp commandants! At least that is what I leaned many years after WWII in the Far East.
    I am very curious about the real facts.

    The first camp commandant of my prison/camp Banyu Biru 10 in Central Java was Sakai later on we had Suzuki the last one was Yamada. All three names sound Japanese to me.

    But then I read that many Korean military in the Japanese army received Japanese names.
    Being a camp commandant was a dishonour especially in one of the many women and children camps, So I wouldn't be surprised if the commandants were really Koreans instead of Japanese.

    I hope that someone of you can give me more information about the Koreans in the Japanese army and as camp commandants.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    1,413

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre-Theodore View Post
    Many of the Japanese camp commandants during the Japanese occupation in the former Dutch East Indies were often Koreans instead of Japanese.
    I am talking about the many Japanese internment camps of civilian Dutch men, women and children spread out over all the islands from the country that is now Indonesia

    Not Japanese but Korean camp commandants! At least that is what I leaned many years after WWII in the Far East.
    I am very curious about the real facts.

    The first camp commandant of my prison/camp Banyu Biru 10 in Central Java was Sakai later on we had Suzuki the last one was Yamada. All three names sound Japanese to me.

    But then I read that many Korean military in the Japanese army received Japanese names.
    Being a camp commandant was a dishonour especially in one of the many women and children camps, So I wouldn't be surprised if the commandants were really Koreans instead of Japanese.

    I hope that someone of you can give me more information about the Koreans in the Japanese army and as camp commandants.

    Thank you
    -

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I've heard that the Japanese employed Korean guards sometimes in the camps. I'm not sure about the commandants though. I thought Korean names were usually monosyllabic (one syllable) such as "Kim", while Japanese were usually multisyllabic, such as "Yamato". From what I've been told, the Korean guards were usually taller than the Japanese (not sure if this is accurate though).

    You might try contacting "Taki" (Akira Takizawa). He is a regular contributor at the message boards of the Netherlands East Indies 1941-1942 website. He is their resident expert on the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA).
    http://www.geocities.com/dutcheastindies/
    message boards:
    http://www.f16.parsimony.net/forum27947/

    Akira Takizawa - "Taki"
    taki@yellow.plala.or.jp <taki@yellow.plala.or.jp>

    His website:
    Imperial Japanese Army Page
    http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/
    This Home Page is dedicated to the Imperial Japanese Army.
    The descriptions and data of this page are all based on Japanese sources, and they are translated into English directly.
    So, you will find a lot of information which has never been published in the West. The purpose of this Home Page is to describe Imperial Japanese Army from a military viewpoint.

    Camps in the Dutch East Indies:

    Japanse burgerkampen
    http://www.japanseburgerkampen.nl/index.htm

    Kampen op Sumatra
    http://www.japanseburgerkampen.nl/Sumatra-kampen.htm

    Kampen op Java
    http://www.japanseburgerkampen.nl/Java-kampen.htm

    Kampen op Borneo
    http://www.japanseburgerkampen.nl/Borneo-kampen.htm

    Kampen op Celebes
    http://www.japanseburgerkampen.nl/Celebes-kampen.htm

    Kampen in Oostelijke Archipel
    http://www.japanseburgerkampen.nl/Oo...pel-kampen.htm

    -

    THE MAP ROOM
    http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/.../006_maps.html

    NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES, 1935

    Sumatra
    http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/...ps/sumarta.jpg

    Java - 1935
    http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/.../maps/java.jpg

    Borneo
    http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/...aps/borneo.jpg

    Celebes
    http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/...ps/celebes.jpg

    The Moluccas
    http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/...s/molukken.jpg

    -
    Last edited by George Eller; 11-11-2007 at 03:38 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tilburg, The Netherlands
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I've heard that the Japanese employed Korean guards sometimes in the camps. I'm not sure about the commandants though. I thought Korean names were usually monosyllabic (one syllable) such as "Kim", while Japanese were usually multisyllabic, such as "Yamato". From what I've been told, the Korean guards were usually taller than the Japanese (not sure if this is accurate though).


    Hi George;

    Thank you for all the information you have sent me. Indeed we had many camps all over the Archipal, not all camps were very big , and some camps were better than other.
    Thank you very much!

    About the camp comandants, yes I guess you are right, because they didn't stay in our camp. ( Sorry I can only tell about my own camp, we all lived very isolated). As far as I know "our" camp comandants lived in Ambarawa a small town nearby. On top of that they often were usually commandant of several camps.

    In the camp were camp keepers, they slept inside the camps, usually near the gates.
    We had Ochiai, Ito, Hashimoto and Wakita.
    Ito was very strickt, he looked some how quite civilized, but he was cruel.

    The camp keepers counted all the camp prisoners each morning, while we were bowing deeply for the Japanese emperor Hirohito.
    There were also Japanese ( Korean?) soldiers in the camp. If some of our women were been hit to pieces. the soldiers had to do the hitting.
    So indeed, maybe the hitting soldiers could have been Koreans. Doing the dirty jobs so to say.
    A Dutch friend who lives and works in Malang, East Java, told me that a Korean film-team came to Malang to take pictures of the former Kempetai Office where so many people have been tortured during the war. The Korean film group went over Java and filmed many places were the Japanese had tortured their victims, Chinese, Indonesians and Dutch. I don't know when the film will be ready, and then it still has be translated in English.
    It would be so great when the Koreans could set WWII in the former Dutch East Indies
    down in a film.
    There is so extremely little known of all the tortures and atrocities the Japanese Army has commited in the former D.E.I. even to little children and teenagers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    8,375

    Default

    Elizabeth,

    I'm inclined to doubt that many (perhaps any) Koreans were officers in the Imperial Japanese Army.

    My doubt stems from the contempt the Japanese had for the Koreans they exploited in their Korean colony.

    That doesn't mean Koreans weren't in positions of authority over civilian and military prisoners, but not necessarily as IJA officers.

    There were various people and organisations attached to Japanese enterprises in occupied territories.

    Koreans were generally at the bottom of the pile in any Japanese hierarchy.

    My knowledge comes from the experience of Australians under Nippon.

    Being at the bottom of the pile is almost certainly one of the reasons that Korean guards were often more brutal than Japanese guards in dealing with Australian prisoners on the Burma Railway and elsewhere. They were the brutalised victims of a brutal system able to vent their anger on people who couldn't defend themselves. Just an exaggerated version of the harried Western office worker who comes home and kicks his dog after a bad day.

    Here's a link which illustrates the differences between what Australian POW's on the Burma Railway during the war thought about being mistreated by an ostensibly Japanese guard (although in some cases it was worked out sooner or later that these blokes were really Koreans) and the self-serving version of Lee, the Korean guard.http://japanfocus.org/products/details/2505

    This illustrates the possible difference between what prisoners thought and the actual rank and power of a guard or commandant.

    Lee served as a supervisor of the prisoners at Hintok. As a civilian hired by the Japanese military, he was lower down on the chain of command than a private. However in the trial proceedings, he had somehow been transformed into the "Camp Commandant." The reason for this was that the military prosecutors took the testimony of the prisoners at their word, without an objective investigation into the situation. Most of the Australian prisoners did not know Lee’s Japanese name. Instead, they gave the various guards nicknames, which in the case of Lee was "lizard." The origin of this name is unknown.

    It is surmised that the testimonies of imprisoned officers Richard Allen and Reginald Houston played a key role, as they stated that Lee was the officer in charge of the prison labor camp. Perhaps with some unease, the prosecutor admitted there was uncertainty regarding Lee’s official position, but that in actuality he had assumed the position of officer in charge.

    According to testimonies of prisoners at the time, Lee was often at odds with the Australian army surgeon and Lieutenant Colonel E. E. Dunlop as he tried to meet the demands of the Japanese engineer corps to deploy laborers. Dunlop insisted that wounded soldiers not be used. The prisoners soon developed an animosity toward those Koreans directly overseeing them. Soldier Austin Pipe recounted that "lizard" was responsible for sending prisoners to work on the railroad, and others recalled that Lee had assaulted Dunlop. But other prisoners testified that Lee was among the gentler of the guards and had not assaulted Dunlop. For example, Captain Richard Allen testified that he could not recall Dunlop ever having been attacked by Lee, and that Lee was less brutal than the other guards. However, the vast majority of the testimony was unfavorable toward Lee. In order to sort out the war criminals, Australian investigators took pictures of the prison guards and showed them to the POWs. Those suspected of war crimes were then arrested and put on trial. There were no cross-examinations. Lee admitted to slapping those who disobeyed the rules, but denied taking any other harsh measures. It was difficult to gauge just exactly how much authority was granted to the Korean youth.
    http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_e...al/196269.html

    You will note that although Lee had the power of life and death over POW's and wore a uniform, he wasn't actually a Japanese soldier, or even anyone with any real authority in the Japanese army system. But the prisoners thought he was.

    As with some other things since WWII, I think Lee is trying to revise history to put himself in a better light, because he was a bastard at Hintok when he had the power but now wants to portray himself as another victim of the Japanese. I don't doubt he was, in part, but I judge his actions at the time on what he did then, not the way he tries to revise them now. The fact is, he chose to apply for a job as a prison guard and as an old man has the temerity to seek compensation from Japan for doing what he volunteered to do.

    I'm afraid I see it as part of pattern of revisionism in both Korea and Japan as neither nation wants to admit the realities of their bad pasts. That includes the current hot issue of Korean comfort women, who in reality in many cases were sold by their parents to people who sold them on to the Japanaese army, but nobody wants to admit that now because it puts Korea in a bad light.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tilburg, The Netherlands
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Hello Rising Sun from Australia,

    Thank you ever so much for your very clear and understandable information.
    Yes, I fully understand that Koreans in the Japanese army overseas had very little to say after all. But during the war we didn't know about Korean soldiers, only about the Japanese. But you and George are right of course being a camp tyrant was too low for a Japanese soldier.
    The story of Lee, yes of course I can see it happening. It was really a crazy world.

    Besides, I learned from a Japanese militair that the Japanese soldiers outside the camps didn't often know anything about those camps at all in Indonesia.

    I am very pleased that an Australian answers me, Rising Sun. There were many Aussies in Malang (east Java) the town where I went to school. We all love the typical Australian hats. But also the Australian helms were special.
    It was also above Malang when I saw all those ( mostly) Aussies and Dutch military in those bamboo baskets.

    Australia! We, (the Dutch in D.E.I) bought your butter in tins before the war and I really loved that butter. After the war in Holland, I told my mother that I prefered the Australian butter far above the Dutch butter. Life can be really amazing.

    I am more than pleased with your answer. Thank you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Buffalo, New York
    Posts
    6,896

    Default

    What RS* said. Most Koreans in any sort of position of authority would have been police or militia officers in Korea serving the puppet regime and occupation forces of Japan. Unfortunately, these officers formed the genesis of the ROK (South Korean) Army by 1950...



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Southern Russia , Krasnodar
    Posts
    3,913

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    What RS* said. Most Koreans in any sort of position of authority would have been police or militia officers in Korea serving the puppet regime and occupation forces of Japan. Unfortunately, these officers formed the genesis of the ROK (South Korean) Army by 1950...
    .....where they succesfully continie to apply the inhuman methods of treating of the "suspected in symphaties to the N.Korea".
    But now under American military leadership
    http://www.thenausea.com/elements/us...n%20korea.html
    Last edited by Chevan; 11-11-2007 at 11:50 AM.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Buffalo, New York
    Posts
    6,896

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    .....where they succesfully continie to apply the inhuman methods of treating of the "suspected in symphaties to the N.Korea".
    But now under American military leadership
    And your point is?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    3,855

    Default

    Guys, dont let this decent debate turn into squabbling over Korea. This is a topic that was started for the sole purpose of Japan and ww2.

    Let the lady see that we can discuss this in her thread.

    Cheers

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    8,375

    Default

    This seems to be a reasonably well informed paper on Koreans in the IJA.
    http://www.k2.dion.ne.jp/~rur55/E/epage12.htm

    There's a reference here http://www.pacificwrecks.com/people/veterans/chang.html
    to being forcibly recruited to the 20th Div, IJA in time to be in New Guinea in January 1942, but his version of heavy battle and Japan losing control of the air and facing immediate disaster in January 1942 is just rubbish. There weren't any major land engagements in eastern New Guinea until the middle of the year, and Japan was on the offensive. He's out by a year. The 20th Div landed at Madang in January 1943 after being diverted from its original destination of Guadalcanal following Japan's defeat there.

    Not my favourite source, but apparently the 19th and 20th Divs IJA were originally Korean garrison divisions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IJA_20th_Division

    It seems from this that Koreans could become officers in the IJA but were not permitted to command Japanese troops (quote on bottom half of p.80)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=9bw...X9V4QQTlH556pQ

    That leaves open the possibility that in a unit with heavy Korean enlistment like the 20th Div, Korean officers might have been in command of Korean troops.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 11-11-2007 at 07:21 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tilburg, The Netherlands
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Hi Rising Sun,

    Many of the Japanese storm troops that entered the former Dutch East Indies were Korean military.
    Also the lower ranks from the Kempeitai were often Koreans in order to do the dirty jobs.

    On the island Java we were occupied by the 16th Japanese Army.
    The Japanese trained many young Indonesian men too, in order to fight together with the Japanese against the Allied troop in the Far East.
    The independence for the Indonesians was of course not the reason of the Japanese occupation. It was the OIL and other material to continue their war in China.

    The Indonesian guards of our POW and Internment camps were called Heiho's.
    They stood outside the camps, their job was to supervise a possibly of barter trade between the Dutch prisoners and Indonesians outside. This rarely happened since you risked your life.
    All the Heiho's in Indonesia received a Japanese compensation after the war! But not the Indonesian Romushas, who were sent to the Sumatra and Burma Railways, recruited by Surkarno to help the Japanese Army. The Romushas did not receive an apology nor a compensation.
    Many of them have died of starvation and too hard work

    As for the Korean military in the former D.E.I. I wrote it already in my answer to George Eller: " A Korean film group has been to Indoneia last year and visited many former POW and Dutch internment camps in Indonesia. It will take some time but Korea is busy working on a film of the Japanese occupation of the former Dutch colony.
    I can only hope that I live long enough to see it all.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •