Wars cause extraordinary movements of people and WWII scattered ‘Japanese’ around the Asia and Pacific region. Both English and Japanese literature has studied soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army and has portrayed particular representations of them during WWII: that they refused to surrender, and took their own lives when defeated in order to show their loyalty to the emperor or to save themselves or their own families from the national shame of becoming prisoners of war.
The source of such representations in English is a well-cited “ATIS Report No.76”, by the Allied Translator and Intelligence Service (ATIS) which Australia played a vital role with the United State. ATIS Report No. 76’s main source is a plethora of files of interrogations. Those actual interrogation reports reveal much richer tales narrated by Japanese POWs than the particular summary report.
This presentation attempts to ‘unmute’ narratives of Japanese soldiers, by reading them as migrants’ experiences. Their narratives revealed shifts in their views about the centrality of the Japanese empire. Fighting for one’s own country provided a way for them to decentralise the power and authority of the Japanese empire. These soldiers’ narratives beg us to devise a way to understand them differently.