*Please check back often for updates and PDF files as they become available

General background

  • Huffman, James L., J apan and Imperialism, 1853 -1945 (Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies, Inc., 2010). A concise and accessible chronological account of the rise and fall of Japan as an imperial power. A copy has been purchased for you by the East-West Center.
  • : Although this syllabus was developed as part of a college course on Southeast Asia at Northern Illinois University, the material includes an introduction along with a timeline, handouts, and lecture notes/outlines that are quite useful and accessible.
  • Chandler, David, et al., The Emergence of Modern Southeast Asia: A New History (Honolulu: UH Press, 2005, 283-375).

Japanese in Southeast Asia

  • : “Indonesia 1937-1942: Prelude to Japanese Occupation,” IIAS Newsletter #34, July 2004. A longer version of the article, which appeared in The Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, is attached as a PDF file.
  • Tarling, Nicholas, A Sudden Rampage: The Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia (Honolulu:   University of Hawaii Press, 2001). For events leading to the war. One of the main strengths of Tarling’s work is the manner in which he distinguishes between different Japanese policies in different regions. For instance, where the Japanese encountered fairly developed political systems, as in Burma and the Philippines, they promoted the idea of independence. The situation was somewhat different in the fully colonial case of Netherlands East Indies (current-day Indonesia), where Japan was less enthusiastic about granting independence, in part because of the important oil resources of Borneo and Sumatra. Japanese racial discrimination, which placed Southeast Asian peoples in an inferior position, also played a role. We will provide you with an annotated outline of the book in the next two weeks and will also go over the material during the Institute; however, you may wish to obtain a copy of this much cited reference book.


  • Ma Ma Lay. Not Out of Hate: A Novel of Burma. (Athens: Ohio RIS Southeast Asia Series, 1991). The first Burmese novel to be translated into English and published outside of Myanmar (or Burma), Not Out of Hate provides a glimpse of pre-WWII Burmese society in the story of 17-year-old Way Way and her relationship with and marriage to U Saw Han, a much older Burmese agent for a British trading company. You are responsible for obtaining a copy of this book. ( ) has used copies for $7.18 (only 15 copies left at this price) and inexpensive new books for $12.86 (only 10 copies left at this price). Other copies are available, but at a slightly higher cost.
  • Toer, Pramoedya Ananta, The Fugitive . Trans. Willem Samuels (New York: Penguin, 2000). A young Indonesian platoon commander Raden Hard, his nationalist army revolt quashed by a traitorous co-conspirator, returns to Java in disguise only to be betrayed to the Japanese. Written in 1947, while Pramoedya was in a Dutch forced-labor camp, “this shattering tale is a microcosm of innumerable personal tragedies, of lives pulverized by war and conquest.” A copy has been purchased for you by the East-West Center.
  • Toer, Pramoedya Ananta, This Earth of Mankind . Trans. Max Lane (New York: Penguin, 1996). Written by Indonesia’s foremost novelist and political dissident, this is a moving tale of love and political awakening in Java’s colonial society at the dawning of the 20 th century. A copy has been purchased for you by the East-West Center.
  • Keith, Agnes Newton, Three Came Home (London: Eland Publishing Ltd., 2002). The author recounts her real-life story of imprisonment in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps during World War II. This is a suggested reading only, but you and your students will enjoy this very readable novel. There is also a movie by the same name, though, as it was made in 1950, some of your students may not find it too appealing.
  • Kartini, Raden Ajeng, Letters of a Javanese Princess (London: Duckworth, 1921).


  • . Listen to Indonesia Raya, or the Indonesian National Anthem, in this YouTube clip of the Japanese propaganda film made in 1944, when Japan promised to grant independence to Indonesia in the future and officially recognized the song as the national anthem of the soon-to-be independent Indonesia. An approximate translation of Indonesia Raya can be found on Wikipedia .

Readings from Shigeru Sato

  • Sato, Shigeru, “Daily Life in Wartime Indonesia, 1939-1949.” Daily Lives of Civilians in Wartime Asia (Westport: Greenwood, 2007, 159-189).

Readings from Cheah Boon Kheng

  • Ahmad, Abu Talib, The Malay Muslims, Islam and the Rising Sun: 1941-45 (K. Lumpur: MBRAS monograph No.34, 2003), chap. 2, pp.41-48, 54-62.  
  • Boon Kheng, Cheah, Red Star Over Malaya: Resistance and Social Conflict During and After the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, 1941-1946 (Singapore University Press, 2003 edition), chap. 2 pp.18-55.
  • Reid, Anthony J.S., The Indonesian National Revolution, 1945-50 . Melbourne. 1965. Read Introduction.

Readings from Belinda Aquino