Post-War Repatriation to Defeated Japan
Routledge – 2015 – 240 pages
The repatriation of more than six million Japanese from overseas territories in the period between 1945 and the mid-1950shaad a major impact on Japanese culture and politics. The book explores the tensions of identity that emerged during the years of re-integration and shows how tightly post-war Japan remained entwined in the legacies of the war well into the 1950s. The book re-interprets the post-war years in Japan: years which often remain unexamined as ‘in between’ the poorest but also most dynamic reform period of the early Occupation, and the economic recovery of the mid-1950s. This period underpins the grass-roots conservatism of post-war Japan; the transformation of pre-war/wartime cooperative organisations into powerful political entities on the democratic stage; during which repatriates were differentiated from those at home both by their own nostalgia, and suspicion they were communist contagion; and in which, despite the cold war, ongoing negotiations about repatriation kept open channels of communication between Japan and its communist neighbours. Based on primary sources in Japanese, English and French, including government records, documents from the Red Cross, contemporary newspapers and magazines, individual memoirs and biographies, as well as secondary sources this book makes a major contribution to the history of early post-war Japan, and examines Japan’s post-war experience with the repatriation history of other nations.
Introduction 1. From Within the Japanese Empire to Outside of it: Defeat and Beyond 2. Early Repatriation (1945-1947) 3. Repatriates and Politics (1947-1951) 4. Delayed Repatriations and the Cold War 5. Nostalgia for the Empire: Negotiating Identity and Fighting for Compensation 6. Japanese Repatriates as ‘Disaster Victims of Decolonisation’? Conclusion
Beatrice Trefalt is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies, Monash University, Australia. She is the author of Japanese Army Stragglers and Memories of the War in Japan, 1950-1975 (also published by Routledge).