Snapshots of War

jap7The Japanese went to war in China equipped with Model 32 helmets, Arisaka rifles and Model D III Gelto cameras. During the Sino-Japanese conflict from 1937 to 1945, soldiers and officers sent to fight for the emperor accumulated a huge photographic record of their experience on the Asian mainland. It was a record that was mostly preserved, since far more Japanese survived the war in China than the war in the Pacific. Even so, for the next seven decades the images were stowed away in private homes, and only a tiny number have ever been published.

Below is a selection of snapshots from a private album. It shows a group of Japanese soldiers at work and at rest. Chinese civilians occur occasionally. The war is only hinted at, for example in the photo of a sad-faced soldier carrying a box containing a friend’s ashes. The selection does not by any means provide a comprehensive view of life as a Japanese soldier in China. Direct combat is absent. So are the war crimes that are documented to have taken place on a massive scale throughout all eight years of war.

 

 

 

 

  Soldiering

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jap9

 

jap2

 

jap1

 

jap19

 

jap14

Caring for the dead

jap6

 

jap20

 

jap15

  Chinese civilians

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jap26

 

jap11

 

jap25

 At rest

jap24

jap12

jap10

jap8

 

jap4

 Picnic

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jap21

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jap13

 

 

 

Categories: Memory, War

2 Comments

  • Henry Bemis says:

    Thanks for posting there. All too often we see Japanese as 2 dimensional monsters – inhuman and mere homicidal robots. While they are guilty of heinous crimes in WW2 it must be remembered that they were flesh and blood humans and not mindless instruments of death.

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