Japanese soldiers on Christmas Island – A rare photo

I believe this to be a very rare 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 rare, because (according to John Hunt) the only known images taken during the CI occupation appeared in a Japanese Magazine titled “Photo News Weekly” that was 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. On Christmas Island there were Japanese officers that were rapists; Chinese and Malay men were tortured with electric shocks. You can read their witness accounts and also those of the poor violated women in the “Collaboration case – James Kang Tian Kwang” pdf document. However, I have also read that there were instances of some Japanese soldiers showing small kindnesses to their captives.

More to follow soon.