Veterans of New Zealand’s J Force are gathering in Wellington on Friday for the launch of a book that recalls their experiences as part of the occupation of Japan after the Second World War.
The Occupiers, New Zealand Veterans Remember Post-War Japan, has been written by Ministry For Culture and Heritage senior oral historian Alison Parr.
More than 12,000 New Zealand men and women served in the occupation of Japan.
This book explores a little-known chapter of New Zealand’s post-war experience. It is based on revealing interviews with soldiers, airmen, nurses and members of the New Zealand Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and explores Kiwi life in the former enemy territory between 1946 and 1948.
The veterans speak of the impact of witnessing the devastation of Hiroshima, describe the challenging conditions they faced and how they adjusted to an unfamiliar culture.
Central to the book is how some J Force members overcame wartime distrust and hostility and gained genuine and lasting relationships with the Japanese as they worked and lived alongside them.
The book will be launched by the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson in the Grand Hall, Parliament House, on Friday, March 30 starting at 11.30am. Many of the veterans interviewed for the book are attending the launch.
Updated on 20th September 2016