Canadian lawyer Patrick Brode has written an interesting and fast-moving account of the little-known Allied war crimes and treason trials of Canadian-born Kanao Inouye, known as the Kamloops Kid by the Canadian soldiers who suffered beatings and torture by Inouye and his Japanese confederates in Hong Kong during World War II. It is a tale of war, suffering, racial animosity, inhumane conduct and, Brode believes, partial injustice.

In April 1942, at least half a million people fled the city of Madras, now known as Chennai. The reason? The British, after weeks of growing unease about the possibility of a Japanese invasion, finally recommended that people leave the city. In the tense, uncertain atmosphere of 1942, many people took that advice to heart—and fled.

A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. A Danger Shared is a collection of photographs taken by Melville Jacoby, an American exchange student and later war correspondent in China, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines (for Henry Luce’s Time and Life magazines) in the mid-to-late 1930s and early 1940s. Author Bill Lascher’s text accompanying the photographs tells Jacoby’s story against the background of the gathering storm, and later when the storm breaks over the Asia-Pacific.  

As the Second World War began to reach its conclusion, the victorious allies turned their thoughts towards the peace that would follow. The Potsdam Declaration, in calling for Japan’s surrender, had declared that “stern justice [would] be meted out to all war criminals.” Gary J Bass’s Judgement At Tokyo is an engrossing study of the main trial which resulted: the International Military Tribunal in the Far East. Across some 800 plus pages, he charts the establishment, conduct, and aftermath of the Tokyo Trial, looking at the judges’ internal deliberations, the court proceedings, and their reception in Japan and beyond. In doing so, he seeks to understand the trial’s implications for post-war East Asia, even into the 21st century. 

It was a striking sight. A blond-haired man waved a large red and white Danish flag among thousands of Chinese refugees ninety minutes from Nanjing. It was late 1937 and the Japanese army had just marched into Nanjing, without much resistance, and went on a spree of pillage, rape, and murder, the likes and scale of which had not been seen in the modern era.

Wars produce confusion and panic that often result from fears—rational and otherwise—among government officials and populations subject to war’s vicissitudes. During World War II, British officials in India and their colonial subjects feared a Japanese invasion of the sub-continent that never occurred. Krea University philosophy professor and former editor of The Hindu Mukund Padmanabhan tells this fascinating story in his debut book The Great Flap of 1942.

In her letter to readers at the beginning of her debut novel, The Storm We Made, Vanessa Chan writes that Malaysian “grandparents love us by not speaking” and goes on to explain that this only pertains to the four years of Japanese occupation during World War II. In every other subject, she writes, Malaysian grandparents do speak and at great lengths. But when it comes to the war, they cannot bring themselves to talk about the horrors from that time.