Japanese occupation of Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Occupied Territory

香港占領地 [1]
Honkon senryō-chi
Japanese Hong Kong.svg
Hong Kong occupation zone (dark red) within the Empire of Japan (light red) at its furthest extent.
StatusMilitary occupation by the Empire of Japan
Common languages Japanese
GovernmentMilitary occupation
Takashi Sakai
Masaichi Niimi
Rensuke Isogai
Hisakazu Tanaka
Historical era World War II
8–25 December 1941
 Surrender of Hong Kong
25 December 1941
15 August 1945
 Handover to the Royal Navy
30 August 1945
1941 [2] [3] 1,042 km2 (402 sq mi)
1945 [2] [4] 1,042 km2 (402 sq mi)
 1941 [2] [5]
 1945 [2] [6]
CurrencyJapanese military yen
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Hong Kong 1876.svg British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong Flag of Hong Kong 1876.svg
Today part ofFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg  People's Republic of China
Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese 香港日治時期
Simplified Chinese 香港日治时期

The Imperial Japanese occupation of Hong Kong (香港日據時期) began when the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, surrendered the British Crown colony of Hong Kong to the Empire of Japan on 25 December 1941. The surrender occurred after 18 days of fierce fighting against the overwhelming Japanese forces that had invaded the territory. [7] [8] The occupation lasted for three years and eight months until Japan surrendered at the end of Second World War. The length of this period (三年零八個月) later became a metonym of the occupation. [8]

Governor of Hong Kong head of the Hong Kong Government during British rule

The Governor of Hong Kong was the representative in Hong Kong of the British Crown from 1843 to 1997. In this capacity, the governor was president of the Executive Council and Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces Overseas Hong Kong. The governor's roles were defined in the Hong Kong Letters Patent and Royal Instructions. Upon the end of British rule and the transfer of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China in 1997, most of the civil functions of this office went to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, and military functions went to the Commander of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison.

Mark Aitchison Young British High Commissioner

Sir Mark Aitchison Young was a British administrator who became the Governor of Hong Kong during the years immediately before and after the Japanese occupation of the territory.

Hong Kong East Asian city

Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world.



Imperial Japanese invasion of China

During the Imperial Japanese military's full-scale invasion of China in 1937, Hong Kong as part of the British empire was not under attack. Nevertheless, its situation was influenced by the war in China due to proximity to the mainland China. In early March 1939, during an Imperial Japanese bombing raid on Shenzhen, a few bombs fell accidentally on Hong Kong territory, destroying a bridge and a train station. [9]

Shenzhen Prefecture-level and Sub-provincial city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong Province, China; it forms part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis, bordering Hong Kong to the south, Huizhou to the northeast, and Dongguan to the northwest. It holds sub-provincial administrative status, with powers slightly less than those of a province.

World War II

In 1936, Germany and the Empire of Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. In 1937 Fascist Italy joined the pact, forming the core to what would become known as the Axis Powers. [10]

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

Anti-Comintern Pact pact

The Anti-Comintern Pact was an anti-Communist pact concluded between Germany and Japan on November 25, 1936, and was directed against the Communist International (Comintern).

... recognizing that the aim of the Communist International, known as the Comintern, is to disintegrate and subdue existing States by all the means at its command; convinced that the toleration of interference by the Communist International in the internal affairs of the nations not only endangers their internal peace and social well‑being, but is also a menace to the peace of the world desirous of co‑operating in the defense against Communist subversive activities ...

In the autumn of 1941, Nazi Germany was near the height of its military power. After the invasion of Poland and fall of France, German forces had overrun much of Western Europe and were racing towards Moscow. [11] Although still officially neutral, the United States was actively supporting Britain, the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union in their war against Germany through Lend-Lease and other programs. [12]

Invasion of Poland invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent

The invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September campaign or the 1939 defensive war, and in Germany as the Poland campaign (Polenfeldzug), was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty.

Operation Barbarossa 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union during the Second World War

Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans (Lebensraum), to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort and to annihilate the rest according to Generalplan Ost, and to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.

Lend-Lease A United States program during World War II which provided countries fighting the Nazis with military equipment free of charge.

The Lend-Lease policy, formally titled An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States, was a program under which the United States supplied the United Kingdom, Free France, the Republic of China, and later the Soviet Union and other Allied nations with food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and August 1945. This included warships and warplanes, along with other weaponry. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, and ended in September 1945. In general the aid was free, although some hardware were returned after the war. In return, the U.S. was given leases on army and naval bases in Allied territory during the war. Canada operated a similar smaller program under a different name.

The United States also supported China in its fight against Imperial Japan's invasion. It imposed a 100% embargo on the sale of oil to Japan after less aggressive forms of economic sanctions failed to halt Japanese advances. [13] On 7 December 1941 (Honolulu time), Japan suddenly launched a broad offensive across the Pacific and Southeast Asia including attacking the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor and American-ruled Philippines, and invading Thailand and invading British Malaya.

Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Japanese invasion of Thailand Empire of Japan invaded Thailand

The Japanese invasion of Thailand occurred on 8 December 1941. It was briefly fought between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Empire of Japan. Despite fierce fighting in Southern Thailand, the fighting lasted only five hours before ending in a ceasefire. Thailand and Japan then formed an alliance, making Thailand part of the Axis' alliance until the end of World War II.

Battle of Hong Kong

 As part of a general Pacific campaign, the Imperial Japanese launched an assault on Hong Kong on the morning of 8 December 1941. [14]  British, Canadian, and Indian forces, supported by the Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Forces attempted to resist the rapidly advancing Imperial Japanese but were heavily outnumbered. After racing down the New Territories and Kowloon, Imperial Japanese forces crossed Victoria Harbour on 18 December. [15]  After fierce fighting continued on Hong Kong Island, the only reservoir was lost. Canadian Winnipeg Grenadiers fought at the crucial Wong Nai Chung Gap [ citation needed ] that secured the passage between Victoria, Hong Kong and secluded southern sections of the island. Finally defeated, on 25 December 1941, British colonial officials headed by the Governor of Hong Kong Mark Aitchison Young surrendered at the Japanese headquarters. [2]  To the local people, the day was known as "Black Christmas". [16] 
 The capitulation of Hong Kong was signed on the 26th at The Peninsula Hotel. [17]  On 20 February 1942 General Rensuke Isogai became the first Imperial Japanese governor of Hong Kong. [18]  Just before the British surrendered, drunken Imperial Japanese soldiers entered St. Stephen's College, which was being used as a hospital. [19]  The Imperial Japanese then confronted two volunteer doctors and shot both of them when entry was refused. [19]  They then burst into the wards and attacked all of the wounded soldiers and medical staff who were incapable of hiding in what was known as the St. Stephen's College incident. [19]  This ushered in almost four years of Imperial Japanese administration.


Rensuke Isogai Isogai Rensuke.jpg
Rensuke Isogai

Throughout the Imperial Japanese occupation, Hong Kong was ruled as a detained terrain[ clarification needed ] and was subjected to martial law. [20] Headed by General Rensuke Isogai, the Japanese established their administration and commanding post at the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. The military government, composed of the departments of politics, civilian, economy, judiciary, and navy, enacted stringent regulations and established executive bureaus to have power over all residents of Hong Kong. They also set up the puppet Chinese Representative Council and Chinese Cooperative Council consisting of local leading Chinese and Eurasian community leaders. On top of Governor Mark Young, 7,000 British soldiers and civilians were kept in prisoner-of-war or internment camps, such as Sham Shui Po Prisoner Camp and Stanley Internment Camp. [21] Famine, malnourishment and sickness were pervasive. Severe cases of malnutrition among inmates occurred in the Stanley Internment Camp in 1945. Moreover, the Imperial Japanese military government blockaded Victoria Harbour and controlled warehouses.

Martial law temporary state of government typically involving curfews; the suspension of civil law, civil rights, and habeas corpus; and the application of military law to civilians

Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normal civilian functions by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or major disaster, or in an occupied territory.

Rensuke Isogai Japanese general

Rensuke Isogai was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and Governor of Hong Kong under Japanese occupation from December 24, 1942 to August 15 1945.

Early in January 1942, former members of the Hong Kong Police including the Indians and Chinese were recruited into a reformed police called the Kempeitai with new uniforms. [22] The police routinely performed executions at King's Park in Kowloon by using Chinese for beheading, shooting and bayonet practice. [22] The Imperial Japanese gendarmerie took over all police stations and organised the Police in five divisions, namely East Hong Kong, West Hong Kong, Kowloon, New Territories and Water Police. The headquarters was situated in the former Supreme Court Building. [23] Police in Hong Kong were under the organisation and control of the Imperial Japanese government. Imperial Japanese experts and administrators were chiefly employed in the Governor's Office and its various bureaus. Two councils of Chinese and Eurasian leaders were set up to manage the Chinese population. [22]


Imperial Japanese soldiers arrested the western bankers and kept them in a Chinese hotel. Hk japo westerner.jpg
Imperial Japanese soldiers arrested the western bankers and kept them in a Chinese hotel.

Economically, all trading activities were sternly guarded, and the majority of the factories were taken over by the Imperial Japanese. Having deprived the vendors and banks of their possessions, the occupying forces outlawed the Hong Kong Dollar and replaced it with the Japanese Military Yen. [24] The exchange rate was fixed at 2 Hong Kong dollars to one military yen in January 1942. [25] Later, the yen was re-valued at 4 Hong Kong dollars to a yen in July 1942, which meant local people could exchange fewer military notes than before. [25] While the citizens of Hong Kong became poor in forced exchanges, the Imperial Japanese government sold the Hong Kong Dollar to help finance their war-time economy. Later, the yen was made the sole legal tender for official purposes in June 1943. Prices of commodities for sale had to be marked in yen. Hyper-inflation then disrupted the economy, directly affecting Hong Kong citizens. [24] Enormous devaluation of the Imperial Japanese Military Yen after the war made it almost worthless. [17]

Public transportation and utilities unavoidably failed, owing to the shortage of fuel and through the augmentation of American air raids on Hong Kong. Tens of thousands of people became homeless and helpless, and many of them were employed in shipbuilding and construction. In the agricultural field, the Imperial Japanese took over the race track at Fanling and the air strip at Kam Tin for their rice-growing experiments. [7] :157, 159, 165 [26]

With the intention of boosting the Imperial Japanese influence on Hong Kong, two Imperial Japanese banks, the Yokohama Specie Bank and the Bank of Taiwan, were re-opened. [7] These two banks replaced the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and two other British banks responsible for issuing the banknotes. [7] They then liquidated various Allied banks. [7] British, American and Dutch bankers were forced to live in a small hotel, while some bankers who were viewed as the enemy of the Imperial Japanese were executed. In May 1942, Imperial Japanese companies were encouraged to be set up. A Hong Kong trade syndicate consisting of Imperial Japanese firms was set up in October 1942 to manipulate overseas trade. [26]

Community life, social services and public hygiene

Life in fear

Population decrease due to repatriation Hk population in jpo.jpg
Population decrease due to repatriation

The Japanese enforced a repatriation policy throughout the period of occupation because of the scarcity of food and the possible counter-attack of the Allies. As a result, the unemployed were deported to China, and the population of Hong Kong dwindled from 1.6 million in 1941 to 600,000 in 1945. [27] Furthermore, the Japanese reconstructed both government and private facilities for the sake of their own interests and developments. In order to expand the Kai Tak Airport, for example, the Japanese demolished the Sung Wong Toi Monument in today's Kowloon City. Buildings of some prestigious secondary schools such as Wah Yan College Hong Kong, which is one of the two Jesuit schools in Hong Kong, Diocesan Boys' School, the Central British School, the St. Paul's Girls' College of the Anglican church and de La Salle brothers' La Salle College were commandeered as military hospitals by the Japanese. It was rumoured that Diocesan Boys' School was used by the Japanese as a place of execution.[ citation needed ]

Life was hard for people under Japanese rule. As there was inadequate food supply, the Japanese rationed necessities such as rice, oil, flour, salt and sugar. Each family was given a rationing licence, and every person could only buy 6.4  taels (240 g (8.5 oz)), of rice per day. [1] Most people did not have enough food to eat, and many died of starvation. The rationing system was cancelled in 1944.

According to eyewitnesses, the Japanese committed atrocities upon many local Chinese and Chinese females were raped. During the three and half years of occupation, an estimated 10,000 Hong Kong civilians were executed, while many others were tortured, raped, or mutilated. [28]

Charity and social services

During the occupation, hospitals available to the masses were limited. The Kowloon Hospital and Queen Mary Hospital were occupied by the Japanese army. [29] Despite the lack of medicine and funds, the Tung Wah and Kwong Wah Hospital continued their social services but to a limited scale. These included provision of food, medicine, clothing, and burial services. Although funds were provided, they still had great financial difficulties. Failure to collect rents and the high reparation costs forced them to promote fundraising activities like musical performances and dramas.

Tung Wah hospital and the charitable organisation Po Leung Kuk continued to provide charity relief, while substantial donations were given by members of the Chinese elite. [30] Po Leung Kuk also took in orphans, but were faced with financial problems during the occupation, as their bank deposits could not be withdrawn under Japanese control. Their services could only be continued through donations by Aw Boon Haw, a long-term financier of Po Leung Kuk.

Health and public hygiene

There were very few public hospitals during the Japanese occupation as many of them were forced to be converted to military hospitals. With the inadequate supply of resources, Tung Wah Hospital and Kwong Wah Hospital still continuously offered limited social services to needy people. In June 1943 the management of water, gas and electricity was transferred into private Japanese hands. [7]

Education, press and political propaganda

A hand-out of a Japanese language learning radio programme Jap hk edu.jpg
A hand-out of a Japanese language learning radio programme
Names of roads were rewritten in Japanese Jap road hk.jpg
Names of roads were rewritten in Japanese
Celebration of a "New Hong Kong" after Japanese occupation Jap festival hk.jpg
Celebration of a "New Hong Kong" after Japanese occupation

Through schooling, mass media and other means of propaganda, the Japanese tried to control the mindsets of Hong Kong people so as to build up a stronger administration regime. Japanisation was a common means for restricting people's thinking, and it prevailed in different aspects of daily life.

Japanese education

It was the Japanese conviction that education was an imperative means in infusing Japanese influence. Teaching of the Japanese language was obligatory, and students who received bad results in Japanese exams risked corporal punishment. According to a testimonial, English could not be taught nor was it tolerated outside the classroom. [31] [ better source needed ] Some private Japanese language schools were established to promote oral Japanese. The Military Administration ran the Teachers' Training Course, and those teachers who failed a Japanese bench-mark test would need to take a three-month training course. The Japanese authorities tried to introduce Japanese traditions and customs to Hong Kong students through the Japanese lessons at school. Famous historical stories such as Mōri Motonari's "Sanbon no ya (Three Arrows)" and Xufu’s (徐福) voyage to Japan were introduced in Japanese language textbooks. [32] The primary aims of this Japanisation of the education system were mainly to facilitate the Japanese control over the local people and to establish the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. Therefore, what it was trying to create was a rush to learn Japanese.

On the other hand, by 1943, only one formal language school, the Bougok School (寳覺學校), was providing Cantonese language courses to Japanese people in Hong Kong. According to an instructor at the Bougok School, "teaching Cantonese is difficult because there is no system and set pattern in Cantonese grammar; and you have to change the pronunciation as the occasion demands" and "it would be easier for a Cantonese people to learn Japanese than a Japanese people to learn Cantonese". [33]


The Japanese promoted a bilingual system of English with Japanese as a communication link between the locals and the occupying forces. English shop signs and advertisements were taken away, and in April 1942, streets and buildings in Central were renamed in Japanese. For example, Queen's Road Central became Meiji-dori and Des Voeux Road became Shōwa-dori. [7] [34] Similarly, the Gloucester Hotel became the Matsubara. [35] The Peninsula Hotel, the Matsumoto; [36] Lane Crawford, Matsuzakaya. [37] The Queen's Theatre was renamed first the Nakajima-dori, then the Meiji. [37] Their propaganda also pointed to the pre-eminence of the Japanese way of life, of Japanese spiritual values and the ills of western materialism.[ citation needed ]

Government House, the residence of English governors prior to occupation, was the seat of power for the Japanese military governors. During the occupation, the buildings were largely reconstructed in 1944 following designs by Japanese engineer Siechi Fujimura, including the addition of a Japanese-style tower which remains to this day. [38] Many of the Georgian architectural features were removed during this period. [39] The roofs also continue to reflect a Japanese influence. [40]

The commemoration of Japanese festivals, state occasions, victories and anniversaries also strengthened the Japanese influence over Hong Kong. For instance, there was Yasukuri or Shrine Festival honouring the dead. There was also a Japanese Empire Day on 11 February 1943 centred around the worship of the Emperor Jimmu. [26]

Press and entertainment

The Hong Kong News , a pre-war Japanese-owned English newspaper, was revived in January 1942 during the Japanese occupation. [41] The editor, E.G. Ogura, was Japanese and the staff members were mainly Chinese and Portuguese who previously worked for the South China Morning Post . [31] [41] It became the mouthpiece of the Japanese propaganda. [41] Ten local Chinese newspapers had been reduced to five in May. These newspapers were under press censorship. Radio sets were used for Japanese propaganda. Amusements still existed, though only for those who could afford them. The cinemas only screened Japanese films, such as The Battle of Hong Kong , the only film made in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation. [42] Directed by Shigeo Tanaka (田中重雄 Tanaka Shigeo) and produced by the Dai Nippon Film Company, the film featured an all-Japanese cast but a few Hong Kong film personalities were also involved. This film appeared on the first anniversary of the attack.

War crimes

In December 1941, a group of Japanese soldiers killed ten Red Cross stretcher bearers at Wong Nai Chung Gap despite the fact that the stretcher bearers all wore the red cross armband. These soldiers captured a further five medics who were tied to a tree[ clarification needed ], two of whom were taken away by the soldiers, never to be seen again. The remaining three attempted to escape during the night, but only one survived the escape. [43] A team of amateur archaeologists found the remains of half of a badge. Evidence pointed to its belonging to Barclay, the captain of the Royal Army Medical Corps, therefore the archaeologists presented it to Barclay's son, Jim, who had never met his father before his death. [43]

Other notable massacres also include the St. Stephen's College massacre, and a mass murder at Mui Wo called the Silver Mine Bay massacre (銀礦灣大屠殺) by some locals. After the Japanese surrender, fifteen [44] Japanese soldiers killed seventy people [45] at Mui Wo. They burned three villages and captured three hundred villagers, many of whom were found dead. [44]

Anti-Japanese resistance

Dongjiang Guerillas fighting in trenches Dongjianggu.jpg
Dongjiang Guerillas fighting in trenches

East River Column

Originally formed by Zeng Sheng (曾生) in Guangdong in 1939, this group mainly comprised peasants, students, and seamen, including Yuan Geng. [2] When the war reached Hong Kong in 1941, the guerrilla force grew from 200 to more than 6,000 soldiers. [2] In January 1942, the Guangdong people's anti-Japanese East River guerrillas (廣東人民抗日游擊隊東江縱隊) was established to reinforce anti-Japanese forces in Dongjiang and Zhujiang Pearl River deltas. [46] The guerillas' most significant contribution to the Allies, in particular, was their rescue of twenty American pilots who parachuted into Kowloon when their planes were shot down by the Japanese. [2] In the wake of the British retreat, the guerillas picked up abandoned weapons and established bases in the New Territories and Kowloon. [2] Applying the tactics of guerrilla warfare, they killed Chinese traitors and collaborators. [2] They protected traders in Kowloon and Guangzhou, attacked the police station at Tai Po, and bombed Kai Tak Airport. [2] During the Japanese occupation the only fortified resistance was mounted by the East River guerillas. [2]

Hong Kong Kowloon brigade

In January 1942 the HK-Kowloon brigade (港九大隊) was established from the Guangdong People's anti-Japanese guerilla force. [47] In February 1942 with local residents Choi Kwok-Leung (蔡國梁) as commander and Chan Tat-Ming (陳達明) as political commissar, they were armed with 30 machine guns and several hundred rifles left by defeated British forces. [15] They numbered about 400 between 1942 and 1945 and operated in Sai Kung. [15] Additionally, the guerillas were noteworthy in rescuing prisoners-of-war, notably Sir Lindsay Ride, Sir Douglas Clague, Professor Gordan King, and David Bosanquet. [2] In December 1943 the Guangdong force reformed, with the East River guerillas absorbing the HK-Kowloon brigade into the larger unit. [47]

British Army Aid Group

The British Army Aid Group was formed in 1942 at the suggestion of Colonel Lindsay Ride. [15] The group rescued allied POWs including airmen shot down and workers trapped in occupied HK. [15] It also developed a role in intelligence gathering. [15] In the process, the Group provided protection to the Dongjiang River which was a source for domestic water in Hong Kong. This was the first organisation in which Britons, Chinese and other nationalities served with no racial divide.[ citation needed ] Francis Lee Yiu-pui and Paul Tsui Ka-cheung were commissioned as officers. [15]

Air raids

United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) units based in China attacked the Hong Kong area from October 1942. Most of these raids involved a small number of aircraft, and typically targeted Japanese cargo ships which had been reported by Chinese guerrillas. [48] By January 1945 the city was being regularly raided by the USAAF. [49] The largest raid on Hong Kong took place on 16 January 1945 when, as part of the South China Sea raid, 471 United States Navy aircraft attacked shipping, harbour facilities and other targets. [50]

End of Japanese occupation

Japanese document of surrender Doc of surrender jap hk.jpg
Japanese document of surrender
The document of surrender was signed by Japan on 16 September 1945 in Hong Kong. Signing of the Japanese Surrender of Hong Kong.png
The document of surrender was signed by Japan on 16 September 1945 in Hong Kong.
Japanese war criminals prepare for their transfer to Stanley Prison JapaneseWarCriminalsHK.jpg
Japanese war criminals prepare for their transfer to Stanley Prison
The British cruiser HMS Swiftsure, entering Victoria Harbour through North Point on 30 August 1945 Swiftsure 1945.jpg
The British cruiser HMS Swiftsure, entering Victoria Harbour through North Point on 30 August 1945
Liberation of Hong Kong in 1945. Picture taken at the Cenotaph in Central, Hong Kong. 1945 liberation of Hong Kong at Cenotaph.jpg
Liberation of Hong Kong in 1945. Picture taken at the Cenotaph in Central, Hong Kong.

Japanese surrender

The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong ended in 1945, after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. [8] [51] Another one was dropped on Nagasaki three days later, on the same day that the USSR began its Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, which crippled the last grand Japanese army in China. [51] Japan finally surrendered on 15 August 1945. [52] Hong Kong was handed over by the Imperial Japanese Army to the Royal Navy on 30 August 1945; British control over Hong Kong was thus restored. 30 August was declared as "Liberation Day" (Chinese: 重光紀念日), and was a public holiday in Hong Kong until 1997.

General Takashi Sakai, who led the invasion of Hong Kong and subsequently served as governor-general during the Japanese occupation, was tried as a war criminal, convicted and executed on the afternoon of 30 September 1946. [53]

Political stage of Hong Kong

The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought with it a new question of who should rule Hong Kong. The Kuomintang's Chiang Kai-shek assumed he would resume the role of controlling the whole of China. [20] Several years earlier, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt insisted that colonialism would have to end, and promised Soong Mei-ling that Hong Kong would be restored to Chinese control. [54] However the British moved quickly to regain control of Hong Kong. As soon as he heard word of the Japanese surrender, Franklin Gimson, Hong Kong's colonial secretary, left his prison camp and declared himself the territory's acting governor. [2] A government office was set up at the Former French Mission Building in Victoria on 1 September 1945. [20] British Rear Admiral Sir Cecil Halliday Jepson Harcourt sailed into Hong Kong on board the cruiser HMS Swiftsure to re-establish the British government's control over the colony. [20] On 16 September 1945, he formally accepted the Japanese surrender [20] from Maj.-Gen. Umekichi Okada and Vice Admiral Ruitaro Fujita at Government House. [55]

Hong Kong's post-war recovery was astonishingly swift. [22] By November 1945, the economy had recovered so well that government controls were lifted and free markets restored. The population returned to around one million by early 1946 due to immigration from China. [22] Colonial taboos also broke down in the post-war years as European colonial powers realised that they could not administer their colonies as they did before the war. Chinese people were no longer restricted from certain beaches, or from living on Victoria Peak.

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North Point Camp was a Japanese World War II Prisoner-of-war camp in North Point, Hong Kong which primarily held Canadian and Royal Naval prisoners.

Stanley Internment Camp

Stanley Internment Camp was a civilian internment camp in Hong Kong during the Second World War. Located in Stanley, on the southern end of Hong Kong Island, it was used by the Japanese imperial forces to hold non-Chinese enemy nationals after their victory in the Battle of Hong Kong, a battle in the Pacific campaign of the Second World War. About 2,800 men, women, and children were held at the non-segregated camp for 44 months from early January 1942 to August 1945 when Japanese forces surrendered. The camp area consisted of St Stephen's College and the grounds of Stanley Prison, excluding the prison itself.

F Kikan military intelligence operation established by the IGHQ in September 1941

Fujiwara kikan was a military intelligence operation established by the IGHQ in September 1941. The Unit was transferred to Bangkok at the end of that month and headed by Major Fujiwara Iwaichi, chief of intelligence of the 15th army. Its task was to contact the Indian independence movement, the overseas Chinese and the Malayan Sultans with the aim of encouraging friendship and cooperation with Japan. The unit was notable for its success in establishing cooperative ties between the Empire of Japan and the Indian independence movement, overseas Chinese and various Malay sultans.

Hong Kong one-cent note

The one-cent banknote was the smallest denominated banknote issued in Hong Kong. They were issued by the government and were initially released on 30 May 1941 and printed by Noronha and Company Limited to provide small change because of a lack of coinage brought on by the second world war. The first issue was 42 by 75 mm, the obverse was brown with a serial number of seven numbers with either no prefix or an A or B prefix. This side was mostly in English, except for "Government of Hong Kong" which was also in Chinese. The reverse was red and the denomination in English and Chinese. After the Japanese take over of Hong Kong the issue was replaced by the Japanese Military Yen.

Sham Shui Po Barracks building in Hong Kong, China

Sham Shui Po Barracks was a British Army facility built in the 1920s in the Sham Shui Po area of Kowloon, Hong Kong. The base was bounded by Fuk Wa Street to the east by Yen Chow Street and to the west by Tonkin Street and Camp Street.

Argyle Street Camp was a Japanese World War II Prisoner-of-war camp in Kowloon, Hong Kong, which primarily held officer prisoners. Built by the Hong Kong government as a refugee camp before the war as North Point POW Camp, it began life as a POW camp soon after Kowlon and the New Territories were abandoned to the Japanese.

The Hong Kong five-cent note was the smallest denominated banknote issued in Hong Kong. They were issued by the government and were initially released on 16 October 1941 and printed by Noronha and Company Limited to provide small change because of a lack of coinage brought on by the Second World War. The first issue was 48 by 85 mm; the obverse was green with serial numbers of seven numbers with no prefix. This side was mostly in English, except for "Government of Hong Kong" which was also in Chinese. The reverse was blue and the denomination in English and Chinese. After the Japanese take-over of Hong Kong, the issue was replaced by the Japanese military yen.

The ten cent banknote was a banknote issued in Hong Kong. They were issued by the government, and were initially released on 16 October 1941 and printed by Noronha and Company Limited, to provide small change because of a lack of coinage brought on by the Second World War, and an influx of people because of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The first issue was 55 by 95 mm, and the obverse was red with a serial number of seven numbers, with no prefix. This side was mostly in English, except for "Government of Hong Kong" which was also in Chinese. The reverse was blue and had the denomination in English and Chinese. After the Japanese take over of Hong Kong, the issue was replaced by the Japanese Military Yen.

British Hong Kong Crown colony and British dependent territory in East Asia between 1841 and 1997

British Hong Kong denotes the period during which Hong Kong was governed as a colony and British Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom. Hong Kong was under British rule from 1841 and was briefly occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945 before surrendering the territory back to British forces, resuming British rule from 1945 to 1997. The colonial period began with the occupation of Hong Kong Island in 1841 during the First Opium War. The island was ceded by Qing dynasty in the aftermath of the war in 1842 and established as a Crown colony in 1843. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898.

The Chinese Representative Council was a council consisting of leading local Chinese and Eurasian community leaders by Japan during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.


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