Former Japanese Soldiers Who Joined Communist Guerrillas in Malaya: Reconstructing an Elusive History
- Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Volume 89, Part 2, No. 311, December 2016
- pp. 67-99
- Additional Information
At the end of the Pacific War, 200–400 Japanese ex-soldiers stationed in Malaya joined the Malayan Communist Party guerrillas out of fear of retribution by victorious Allied soldiers or to fulfil Japan’s promise to liberate Malaya from colonial rule. However, the MCP led by Lai Teck decided not to wage armed struggle after the Japanese surrender, and Lai Tek ordered the execution of a number of Japanese. Those who remained fought for the liberation of Malaya during the Emergency, but by the late 1950s most of this group had either been killed in action, succumbed to disease, or surrendered. When the MCP ceased armed struggle in December 1989, just two Japanese remained with the group. This article uses Japanese and Malayan documents, including those of the Malayan Communist Party, to identify Japanese who joined the guerrillas as a first step toward allowing historians to evaluate their role.