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Research essay
Kure City history project
Keiko Tamura

The purpose of this report is to describe BCOF-related materials currently held at the Kure City History Office, and assist access to the collection. This report was written based on a visit to Kure made by Keiko Tamura in March 1997.

Kure City History Office
Address:3-10-3 Chuo,
Kure City,
Hiroshima Prefecture
737 Japan
Contact numbers: phone +81-823-21-0757
fax +81-823-24-9812
email not available
Location:Kure City is located about 30 km south-east of Hiroshima. The Kure City History Office is on the third floor of the Kure Central Library.
Opening hours: Mon.–Fri. 9 am–5.30 pm
Contact procedure:Requests should be addressed to the head of the office. Correspondence may be written in English, but any requests by phone should be made in Japanese.

Background of Kure City

Kure City is located about 30 km south-east of Hiroshima city on the coast; the present population is approximately 200,000.

Historically, Kure was one of the four major naval bases in Japan until the end of the Second World War. In its heyday, the population of Kure was as large as 400,000. Residents included naval servicemen and their families, and engineers and workmen who were employed at shipbuilding and arms manufacturing facilities. People in Kure are still highly proud of the fact that famous battleships such as the Yamato were built in the Kure dock. Aircraft factories and airfields were also located in the area. The city was home to the naval officers’ training college, and its main building still stands in Eta-jima. In July 1945, Kure was extensively bombed by the Allies, and most of the naval facilities and factories were destroyed. Over 1,000 civilians were killed in those raids.

After the war, the Kure area, including Hiroshima, was first occupied by US forces in October 1945. Control of the area was later handed over to the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) in February 1946. BCOF was initially formed jointly with British, New Zealand, Indian and Australian forces, but the Australian servicemen outnumbered the rest from the start. The BCOF headquarters was located in Kure and utilised the few remaining facilities of the naval base. Britain, New Zealand and India withdrew their forces in the early stage of the occupation, but Australia remained as the occupation force in the area until the end of the occupation in 1952. At that point, as the Korean War had begun, Australia maintained its presence in the area, finally withdrawing its armed forces in 1956.

Kure City History Office holdings and publication of BCOF-related historical materials

The History Office was established in 1983 in the Kure City Office. The main task of the office has been to publish The Kure City history, the latest volume of which (vol. 8) was published in 1995. The office is currently compiling volumes with historical materials which will be completed in around 2002.

As the presence of BCOF in Japan had not been researched to any great extent in Japan, the principal historian, Mr CHIDA Takeshi, decided to emphasise the effect of the occupation forces in the post-Second World War section of The Kure City history. He set out to locate relevant materials in Japan, visiting various research institutions, such as the National Institute of Defence Studies, the Diet Library and the Diplomatic Records Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Locally, the office collected municipal documents from the Kure City Office, the Hiroshima City Office, the Hiroshima Prefectural Office and other neighbouring municipal offices. As for secondary sources, the office has an extensive collection of regional history books which include some information on the occupation forces.

Another unique strength of the Kure City collection lies in the richness of historical materials which were collected outside of Japan. Field trips to Australia and New Zealand were organised in 1988 and 1989 to collect historical data. In Australia, visits were made to the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Archives (now called the National Archives of Australia) and the National Library of Australia. In those institutions, the relevant materials were located and photocopied to be sent back to Kure. For example, the office has a complete set of British Commonwealth occupation news (a newspaper which was published for BCOF personnel in Japan between 1946 and 1951), and is the only Japanese institution to have the set. The photocopied materials were translated into Japanese by a team of translators in order to use the information in The Kure City history. In 1995, a field trip was made to the United States in order to collect materials from American archives.

These materials which were collected over ten years within and outside Japan were used in the production of The Kure City history, vol. 7 (published in 1993), and vol. 8 (published in 1995).

As the Kure City History Office compiled the multi-volume history, it also built up a collection of photographs and other memorabilia of the occupation forces, largely donated by the British and Australian servicemen who were stationed in Japan. Bill
Scherriffe, who took excellent photographs of Kure and the BCOF during his time in the area as a BCOF soldier, recently had a photographic exhibition of images of post-war Kure. Mr Aldridge, a British ex-serviceman who was in Kure in the 1950s as part of the United Nations forces for the Korean War, has been sending out questionnaires to other British ex-servicemen on behalf of the office, asking about their experiences and their impressions of Japan. So far, 135 people have replied, sometimes enclosing old photographs and other materials with their replies.

The office reproduced a collection of photographs in a publication entitled Kure no ayumi (History of Kure II) in 1995. The majority of the photographs in this publication are of the BCOF period in Kure, and many of them were taken by the ex-servicemen.

Research aids for the Kure City History Office holdings

As mentioned above, the holdings of the office are extensive. It is possible to grasp the scope of the materials by looking at the endnotes of each chapter of The Kure City history. It is most likely that anything cited in these volumes exists in the office either as an original or in a copied form. Unfortunately, there is no clear reference or index card system in the office that can be used to locate the research material. Similarly, there are no research aids for those materials for public use.

Access to the material at the Kure City History Office

Unfortunately, the Kure City History Office is not set up for use by the public. However, accessing research material in the office is not impossible. If interested, you should approach the office by first writing a letter explaining the purpose of the research and describing what you wish to do at the office. If the response is positive, you need to visit the office in order to see what the office has and to determine the level of access available to the holdings. There are no written rules regarding access. Access depends on the goodwill and availability of the staff.

The collection in the Kure City History Office (Japanese sources)

Newspapers which can be read in the Central Library, where the City History Office is located, are as follows:

Local papers

Local papers are a useful source of information on the Japanese perspective on BCOF.

Chûgoku Shinbun (published in Hiroshima)
Publication period covers the BCOF period in Hiroshima prefecture.

Chûgoku Nippô (published from around 1950 to late 1960)
A local paper for the Kure area.
The paper changed its name to Kure Nippô around 1961.

National papers

Each of the following two national papers has a local section in which Kure area news is covered.

Asahi Shinbun

Mainichi Shinbun

Photocopies of relevant files on BCOF and the occupation from the following institutions are stored in the Kure City History Office:

Local municipal office files

Relevant files from local municipal offices were photocopied and collected by the office. These files include the following:
Kure City Office files
Hiroshima City Office files
Hiroshima Prefecture Office files

Materials in the National Institute of Defence Studies (Bôei Kenkyûjo)

A few examples of files from the National Defence Research Institute include:
Kure Naval Base HQ related files on the war defeat (1945)
Kure Naval Base HQ related files on the occupation forces (1945)

The Diplomatic Records Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Gaikô shiryô-kan)

Contains related files on occupation policies.

The collection at the Kure City History Office (Non-Japanese sources)

Holdings of non-Japanese source materials in the office are extensive and include material from the following institutions:

Australian War Memorial
National Library of Australia
Australian Archives (ACT office)

New Zealand
Alexander Turnbull Library in the New Zealand National Library

United States
National Archives
Naval Historical Center
MacArthur Memorial

Researchers on BCOF in Japan

Mr Chida is the main researcher in Japan on BCOF. A translation of the titles of his publications which relate to BCOF is attached below. All of these articles are in Japanese and a few have English summaries.

The major work on BCOF can be found in the second section of The Kure City history, vol. 8, “Allied occupation forces and Kure City.” Mr Chida published this section independently in April 1997 under the title Eirenpô-gun no Nihon shinchû to tenkai (Stationing and development of BCOF in Japan) (Ochanimizu Shobô, publishers, Tokyo).

Future plans of the Kure City History Office

Kure City is planning to open a maritime museum in 2002 which will focus on its naval history. It is anticipated that an archive will be attached to this museum which will house the historical materials the City History Office has collected, and which will make these materials more accessible for public use.

BCOF-related publication

CHIDA Takeshi, Eirenpô-gun no Nihon shinchû to tenkai (Stationing and development of BCOF in Japan), Tokyo: Ochanomizu Shobô, 1997, 458 pp.

This study of BCOF is one of the major studies, in both Japan and Australia, of the occupation forces, but the fact that it is written in Japanese limits its use to researchers. The table of contents for this work, as set out in the second section of The Kure City history, vol. 8, is translated below.
Section II: Allied occupation forces and Kure City

Chapter 1: Arrival of Allied occupation forces and reactions in Japan
A. The arrival of US occupation forces
1. Uneasiness among Kure residents at the time of the war defeat
2. Preparation for the arrival of US occupation forces
3. Arrival of US occupation forces in Kure
4. Expansion of US occupation forces in Chûgoku and Shikoku areas
B. Changes in District Military Government System
1. Establishment of the District Military Government
2. Changes in the District Military Government
3. The District Military Government System and BCOF
C. Preparation for the arrival of the Allied occupation forces
1. Establishment of the end-of-war period liaison office
2. Establishment of the Special Procurement Agency and its activities
3. Preparations for occupation by the Hiroshima Prefectural Office
4. Establishment of the Kure City Public Relations Agency and its activities

Chapter 2: Formation of BCOF and its duties
A. Development of diplomatic negotiations
1. Emergence of BCOF and the assault on mainland Japan
2. Negotiations within BCOF
3. Negotiations with the US
4. The MacArthur-Northcott Agreement
B. Command and administration issues
1. Establishment of JCOSA (the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Australia) and various associated problems
2. Organisational relationship between JCOSA and the Department of Defence, Australia
3. Command and management of BCOF in “Plan for a British Commonwealth Force to participate in the occupation of Japan”
C. Duties and purposes

Chapter 3: Arrival of BCOF and its reorganisation
A. Determination and expansion of occupied areas
1. Determination of occupied areas and reactions of occupying nations
2. Expansion of occupied areas
B. Arrival and development of BCOF
1. Arrival of Advance Guards
2. Arrival of the Australian Army
3. Arrival of the New Zealand Army
4. Arrival of the British and Indian Division
5. Arrival of the British Navy
6. Arrival of the Air Force
7. Development of BCOF
C. Reorganisation of BCOF
1. First withdrawal
2. Second withdrawal
3. Reorganisation of Australian participation in the occupation

Chapter 4: Organisation of BCOF and its activities
A. Instructions and strategies
1. Establishment of headquarters
2. Military strategies
a. Disposal of weapons of ex-Japanese forces
b. Supervision of entry into and departure from Japan
c. Other military strategies
3. Information-gathering
4. Training
5. Communications
6. Public relations
B. Activities of personnel and other departments
1. Personnel problems and labour shortages
2. Payment of wages
3. Military chaplains
4. Medical services
5. Dental services
6. Legal matters
7. Provost service
a. Duties of provosts
b. Special investigation group and its investigations
8. Education
9. Amenities
10. Volunteer groups
C. Activities of the Supply Department
1. Movement and transport
2. Supply support and military facilities
3. Construction
4. Supply and transport
5. Supply of munitions
6. Electrical and machinery engineering units
7. Canteens
8. Mail services
9. Recovery of munitions
10. Printing and stationery

Chapter 5: BCOF/BCFK (British Commonwealth Forces, Korea) since the outbreak of the Korean War
A. Outbreak of the Korean War and activities of BCOF/BCFK
1. Outbreak of the Korean War and military dispatchments
2. Supply support for BCFK
B. Issues related to the United Nations Forces Agreement
1. Conclusion and implementation of the San Francisco Peace Treaty
2. Conclusion of the United Nations Forces Agreement
C. Withdrawal of BCFK and the return of facilities
1. Conclusion of the Cease-fire Agreement and return of
UN forces facilities
2. Return of facilities at the time of the UN forces withdrawal

Chapter 6: Allied occupation forces and Kure residents
A. Acceptance of the presence of Allied forces and the sentiment of residents
1. Arrival of Allied forces and residents’ reactions
2. Interactions with Japanese workers
3. Interactions with Kure residents
4. Mutual misunderstanding and understanding
B. Realities of the Fraternisation Policy
1. Creation of the Fraternisation Policy
2. Decisions on marriages of BCOF servicemen
a. Directives of JCOSA
b. Implementation of BCOF policy
3. Changes in Fraternisation Policy
a. Enforcement of the policy and resultant contradictions
b. Changes in the Occupation Policy and changes in the Fraternisation Policy
4. The situations of “war brides” and their outcomes

Kure City History Office (ed.), Kure no ayumi II (History of Kure 2: Kure as seen by BCOF troops), Kure: Kure City Office, 1996, 244 pp; it includes foreword in English, “History of BCOF in Japan”.

This publication is divided into three sections. The first section consists of a collection of photographs covering the history of Kure through to the post-occupation period, focusing mainly on the BCOF period. The photographs published here were collected from the Australian War Memorial, the Alexander Turnbull Library, and from private collections. These photographs vividly re-create the atmosphere and scenes of Kure City forty years ago. The reproduction quality of these photographs is excellent and they tell us much about BCOF. The second section of the book is the history of Kure which begins with the prehistoric period and goes up to the post-Second World War period. The last section consists of a chronological chart of Kure history.

The following is the table of contents of the first section which relates to BCOF.
Section 1: Collection of photographs
Introduction: Overview of Kure history
1. Kure in the Edo period as depicted in maps
2. Arrival of the Imperial Navy
3. Kure during the Sino-Japanese and the Russo-Japanese wars
4. The largest arsenal in Japan
5. Kure during the Meiji period
6. The First World War and Taishô democracy
7. The lifestyle of Kure residents in the early Showa period
8. Wartime Kure and air raids

Chapter I: Aspects of society in turmoil
1. Scenery
2. Streetscape
3. Lifestyle
4. Main events

Chapter II: Aspects of society in recovery
1. Scenery
2. Streetscapes
3. Residents’ lifestyle
4. Main events

Chapter III: Arrival of the Allied occupation forces
1. Arrival of US troops and their activities
2. Arrival of BCOF
3. Deployment of BCOF

Chapter IV: Facilities and activities
1. Facilities in Kure and camp life
2. Facilities in Hiro and camp life
3. Other areas
4. Survey on and disposal of weapons
5. Training and education
6. Policing
7. Parades
8. The Korean War and BCFK

Chapter V: Life in the BCOF and interactions with Kure residents
1. Culture and religion
2. Sports
3. Travels and holidays
4. Entertainment
5. Interaction with Kure residents

Chapter VI: Repatriation and withdrawal
1. Repatriation of the BCOF and their withdrawal
2. Withdrawal of UN forces (BCFK)

Epilogue: Towards the new development of Kure
1. Economic growth and Kure industry
2. Scenes of reconstruction
3. Scenes of changing lifestyle
4. Changing views and street scenes of Kure City

Kure Shishi Hensanshitsu (Kure City History Office) (ed.), Kure to renga: Gijutsu o sasaeta kenzôbutsu (Kure and bricks: the architectural foundations of technology), Kure: Kure City Office, 1995, 17 pp.

This publication includes photographs of old buildings in Kure which were built for the Japanese Navy. They include photographs of the Naval College in Eta-jima, Naval HQ, the commander-in-chief’s official residence, the stone foundation of the naval port facilities and the remnants of the naval shipbuilding dock. The publication’s prime aim is to record and provide the historical background to old buildings and structures in Kure from the pre-war period. At the same time, some of the buildings shown in the publication, such as the commander-in-chief’s official residence and Eta-jima Naval College, were used by BCOF during the occupation period. Thus, this booklet provides some information on those buildings in Kure which are mentioned in the BCOF literature.

Publication list of CHIDA Takeshi

“Eirenpô senryô-gun no Nihon shichû: Yuwa seisaku no suii o chushin toshite” (The British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan: changes in the Fraternisation Policy), Geibi chihô-shi kenkyû, 174/175 (1991), pp. 16–38.

“Senryô-gun no shinchû to ‘sensô hanayome’” (Presence of the occupation forces and “war brides”), in Hiroshima ijû-shi, Tsûshi-hen (History of migration in Hiroshima, historical narrative), Hiroshima: Hiroshima Prefectural Office, 1993.

“Eirenpô senryô-gun ni kansuru ichi kôsatsu” (A study of the formation of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force), Hiroshima Daigaku keizai ronshû, vol. 17, no. 1, 1993, pp. 69–90.

“Eirenpô senryô-gun no shiki to kanri” (Command and administration of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force), Ôsutoraria kenkyû, no. 5 (1994), pp. 40–57. (English abstract on p. 57.)

“Eirenpô senryô-gun no shinchû” (The stationing of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force), Gunji shigaku, vol. 31, no. 1/2 (1995), pp. 366–80.

Below is a list of titles of two series of ten newspaper articles each, written by CHIDA Takeshi for Chûgoku Shinbun. Each article is accompanied by a photograph to illustrate the text.

Series title, “Senryô-ka no Kure: Chûryû-gun heishi no arubamu kara” (Kure under occupation: albums of occupation soldiers), in Chûgoku Shinbun, 1994.
Each article is accompanied by a photograph taken by an occupation soldier.

Translation of headlines of each article in the series:
1. “Dreams in Rainbow Village: yearning for military housing” (2/8/1994)
2. “Triangle huts and black markets: symbols of the end of the war period” (3/8/1994)
3. “Arrival of the US forces and Kure residents: disappearance of weariness” (4/8/1994)
4. “Arrival of BCOF: the international city in Japan” (6/8/1994)
5. “Dismantling of weapons: scrapping battleship parts” (10/8/1994)
6. “Kotookawa in the old days: the view before reclamation” (11/8/1994)
7. “Advertisement of a Pachinko Parlour: popular entertainment for the public” (13/8/1994)
8. “War brides: abolition of the Anti-Fraternisation Policy” (14/8/1994)
9. “Theatre on the street: street entertainment” (17/8/1994)
10. “Democracy and dance: initial bewilderment” (18/8/1994)

Series title, “Kôryô no Kure: Beikoku mikôkai shashin kara” (Kure in devastation: US photographs not previously released), in Chûgoku Shinbun, 1996.
Each article is accompanied by a photograph from the collection of the National Archives in Washington DC. (Copies of the articles are held in the Australia–Japan Research Project.)

Translation of headlines of each article in the series:
1. “The arrival day of the occupation forces: residents holding their breath” (5/3/1996)
2. “Expressions on residents’ faces: mixture of fear and curiosity” (6/3/1996)
3. “The first air raid: anti-aircraft-fire covered the sky” (7/3/1996)
4. “End of battleships: completely destroyed by July air raids” (9/3/1996)
5. “Reconnaissance flight: air-photography between attacks” (10/3/1996)
6. “Camouflage: houses and pine trees on the aircraft-carrier deck” (12/3/1996)
7. “Moment of impact: plummeting into a village and white smoke” (13/3/1996)
8. “Graveyard of the navy: the sorry sight of battleships” (14/3/1996)
9. “Disposal of remaining boats and submarines: dismantling of midget submarines” (16/3/1996)
10. “Unknown Indian troops: their arrival on May 1996” (17/3/1996)

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