The National Archives of Australia has quite a few materials on the activities of Japanese in Southeast Asia during World War II as the Australians were involved in the effort to hold war crimes trials after the war had ended.

In the early twentieth century, Japan became an empire and therefore the people who served in its armed forces during World War II included more peoples than the ethnic Japanese.


One such person, apparently was “Arai Shoko,” a Korean. In 1947, Australian authorities were seeking to locate him to bring him to trial for alleged crimes that he had committed during the war. In fact, in 1947 Arai was already in jail. Members of the British army had arrested him on 9 April 1946 in Jakarta and had placed him in Glodok Jail.

If I remember correctly, the British disarmed the Japanese on Java, and then the Dutch returned to reclaim their colony. Dutch officials interrogated Arai, and learned a great deal about his whereabouts during the war.


Born in Korea in 1921, Arai Shoko enlisted in the Noguchi unit, a unit for Korean guards, on 16 June 1942 as a “Yonin,” a civilian with the rank of a solider. On 14 September he landed at Tanjung Priok, the harbor area of North Jakarta, together with 1,000 Koreans. A few days later he went to Cimahi in West Java, the site of a former Dutch military base, where he served as a guard at the prisoner of war camp that had been established there.

Arai did not work at Cimahi for long. On 11 October he went back to Tanjung Priok, and then four days later he boarded the Takoma Maru with 1,700 prisoners of war who were being sent to Burma, invariably to work on the railway that the Japanese forced prisoners of war and other captives to build connecting Siam and Burma.

He then moved about quite a bit, from Rangoon to Moulmein, back to Moulmein, then to Tanjung Priok again, and Cimahi, before finally ending up in Jakarta, which is where he was when the war ended.


The Australians eventually discovered that Arai Shoko had been apprehended and sentenced to fifteen years in jail. He was serving his sentence under “Netherlands jurisdiction,” by which I assume that this means that he was still in Glodok Jail in Jakarta.


It is interesting that Arai Shoko was only arrested some eight months after the war ended. I wonder what he did in Jakarta for those eight months.

And if he was indeed in Glodok Jail under “Netherlands jurisdiction,” then I wonder what happened to him when Indonesia became independent from Dutch rule in 1949?