Japanese Occupation And Internment, 1941–1942



A few days before December 8, 1941, the Japanese had already assembled about 60,000 soldiers close to the Shenzhen River, which separated Hong Kong from mainland China, and were on the verge of commencing a major combat.1 At 4:45 a.m. (Hong Kong time) on December 8, the Japanese broadcasted, over the radio, a warning that Japan would soon be at war with the United States and its allies. When the Japanese bombed the Kowloon Peninsula that morning, Japan was staging hostilities simultaneously against Pearl Harbor and other parts of Southeast Asia.2 Around 8 a.m., Japanese bombers were heading toward Kai Tak Airport, which was east of Maryknoll Convent School and was about half-an-hour drive away. In one of the accounts, the Sisters saw Japanese planes flying overhead when they rushed out of St. Teresa’s Church on Prince Edward Road, Kowloon Tong, in the midst of Mass. Almost at once after the Japanese invasion, Kowloon Peninsula suffered from large-scale looting by local Chinese, mainly organized by triad groups. Killings, rapes, and looting took place before Japanese troops marched into Kowloon on December 12, 1941.


Pearl Harbor Japanese Occupation Queen Mary Hospital Boundary Street Night Duty 
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  1. 1.
    Chen Xin and Guo Zhikun, eds., Xianggang quanjilu (Illustrated Chronicle of Hong Kong), Vol. 1 (Hong Kong: Zhonghua shuju, 1997–1998), p. 228; Tony Banham, Not the Slightest Chance: The Defence of Hong Kong, 1941 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003), p. 13.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Guan Lixiong, Rizhan shiqi de Xianggang (Hong Kong under Japanese Occupation) (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing (H.K.) Co., 1993), p. 72.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Cindy Yik-yi Chu, “Stanley Civilian Internment Camp during Japanese Occupation,” in Foreign Communities in HongKong 1840s-1950s, Cindy Yik-yi Chu, ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 135–36.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Ibid., p. 139.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Ibid., pp. 137, 139.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Cindy Yik-yi Chu, The Maryknoll Sisters in Hong Kong 1921–1969: In Love with the Chinese (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), p. 53; Jean Gittins, I War at Stanley (Hong Kong: n.p., 1946), p. 8.Google Scholar

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© Cindy Yik-yi Chu 2007

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