Saturday, January 9, 2016

First visit to Japan

Wartime print by a Japanese artist that portrays the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales off Malaya on 10 December 1941. The loss of Prince of Wales marked the first time a capital ship had been sunk by aircraft while underway. The Royal Navy had discounted the air threat as British warships had been operating in the Mediterranean since 1939 under attack from two European air arms without a single loss of a capital ship.

Made my first visit to Japan recently and chanced upon a travelling bookstore in the Shinjuku area in Tokyo. While browsing aimlessly, a stack of old prints of about A3 size caught my eye.

As I flipped through the stack of prints, found about a dozen prints that were apparently inspired by the Malayan campaign that started in December 1941 and ended with the British surrender in Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942.

Was also surprised to find three booklets of pictures from Malaya and Singapore, probably taken during the 1950s.

The prints and booklets came home with me.

There were other prints in the series related to the Pacific War that showed Japanese operations in the Philippines and South Pacific that were left in the stack.

Made a return visit to Shinjuku a week later with the intention of buying the rest of the prints but the travelling bookstore had gone... :-(

HMS Repulse goes down off Kuantan after aerial bombing and torpedo attack while HMS Prince of Wales fights on.

A print by an imaginative Japanese artist showing the moment Japanese armour breaks into a British Vickers machine gun post in Malaya. Reality was not much different from this print as British forces were outflanked and outgunned by fast moving Japanese armoured spearheads moving southwards to Singapore.

A Japanese artist's rendition of the British surrender delegation making contact with Japanese advanced guard in Singapore.

The WW2 prints from Tokyo have found a new home in Singapore.


totoro said...

Really good finds, especially the prints on the Malayan campaign. I Hope our local museums also have similar artefacts in their collection.

Jimmy Fam said...

Very interesting. Would like to hear what was written about the campaign from their prospective in detail. Mr David Boey, would you be able to translate? Thanks!

tragickingdom said...

Gems! Interesting that they are English publications.

David Boey said...

@Jimmy Fan,
Visited the Yashukan military museum while in Tokyo, which explained the conduct of the Pacific War from the Japanese point of view. Will write about this in the coming week, plus pictures.

Also made a trip to Yokosuka to see NYK, a Japanese shipping line with a long and proud history. They lost a number of marus during WW2. Was keen to learn about their shipping losses in our part of the world and the primary cause for hull losses, which was submarine attacks.

Best regards,


skyflash said...