Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

6.5 Million Japanese Repatriates

26 July 1945
Japanese repatriates in Tanggu
Wikimedia Commons

At the end of World War II, 6.5 million  Japanese were scattered throughout the islands in the Western Pacific and on the Asiatic mainland. Article 9 of the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July 1945 prioritized military demobilization, specifying that 'the Japanese military forces...will be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.' Attention was then turned to the repatriation of Japanese civilians. The logistics involved in repatriating such a large group of Japanese nationals were tremendous. This was one of the largest collective migrations in history.

Back in Japan, resources in time of scarcity were devoted more to rebuilding the country and economy than helping a population linked to imperialism and war, which people wanted to forget.

Read more in: Nicole Leah Cohen, 'Return of the Natives? Children of Empire in post-imperial Japan', in: Postcolonial Migrants and Identity Politics (New York 2012) 155- 180.