This is a unique photo depicting Japanese soldiers celebrating their victory invasion of Christmas Island on the 31st March 1942. It was taken at the 6″ gun up at Smith Point. It’s unique, because (according to John Hunt) the only known images taken during the CI occupation appeared in a Japanese Magazine titled “Photo News Weekly”; being distributed in the conquered territories. This photo was not one of those images.
I found it in the Imperial War Museums archive. It was taken by an official Japanese photographer on the 31st March/1st April 1942 and is part of the Desmond Wettern collection. Imperial War Museums (IWM) is the UK’s national museum for the history of conflict involving UK and Commonwealth forces from 1914.
© IWM (HU 2782)
You can read about the invasion of Christmas Island as told by the Japanese themselves!
It would have been very frightening to have been living on the island, seeing this Japanese force come ashore and not knowing your fate.
Chinese men were given electric shocks by the Japanese as an inducement to tell where missing parts and equipment had been hidden. Malay men were threatened with food ration cuts if it was deemed they weren’t working hard or fast enough. You can read their witness accounts and also those of the poor women who were raped by Japanese officers in the “Collaboration case – James Kang Tian Kwang” pdf document. However, there were instances of some Japanese soldiers showing small kindnesses to their captives as well.