The Japanese Occupation, 1941




An excerpt from Sin City, by Ralph Shaw, a British journalist in Shanghai from 1937 to 1949:

"Life started peacefully under the Japanese. I and my colleagues on the North-China Daily News were out of work but the Shanghai Times continued to publish under direct Japanese management and the Evening Post and Mercury was kept going. Powell's Weekly Review was closed but Powell, to my surprise, was still free. If there was one man the Kempetai wanted to get their hands on it was him. So was Leroy Healey of XMHA, silent but still a marked man.

The big public enterprises such as the gas company, the power company, the tramways, the telephone company and others, all foreign-owned, were taken over by the Japanese but Britons, Americans and other enemy nationals working in them kept their jobs. An instant clear-out of these technical men would have caused havoc in the essential services.

All other enemy concerns, including the banks, the merchant houses and the industries, were occupied by the Japanese. Some continued to operate, others were closed down.

Within a few days the British Residents' Association, under the chairmanship of Hugh J. Collar, a director of imperial Chemical Industries' operations in China, started a relief scheme for families in need. Those of us who had lost our jobs were given cash payments monthly in Central Reserve Bank currency, which was the Japanese puppet money in the occupied areas of China, and a shop was opened in the grounds of Holy Trinity Cathedral where we could buy cracked wheat and other supplies provided by the Swiss Red Cross organisation.

The Americans, the Netherlanders, the Greeks, the Norwegians and others started similar relief schemes."