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Crosses and Tigers


The Double-Edged Dagger

The Cowra Incident of 1944

By Nagase Takashi

Second Edition Edited by Gill Goddard

When Nagase Takashi returned to Japan from his period of service as a kempeitai interpreter at the Kanchanaburi POW camp near the Thai-Burma border at the conclusion of Asia Pacific War, he returned with a mountain of unfinished psychological business. Years of watching some of the most abject examples of man's inhumanity to man left him deeply scarred and, although he was not to realise it at the time, the remaining years of his life would be devoted to his own personal mission of atonement and reconciliation. He has already written a series of testaments of the soul-searching in which he subsequently found himself engaged – and we are indebted to Gill Goddard for making some of this material available in English in this newly revised edition of two of his essays.

Professor Mark Williams
Professor of Japanese, University of Leeds, and Co-editor of Imag(in)ing the War in Japan: Representing and Responding to Trauma in Post-war Japanese Literature and Film (Brill, Forthcoming in 2011).

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What others say about 'Crosses and Tigers'

This book brings together two previously published works by Nagase Takashi, a Japanese army interpreter on the infamous Burma Railroad during World War II. Crosses and Tigers recounts both his wartime experiences and his postwar personal journey of atonement. The Double-Edged Dagger discusses the 1944 breakout by nearly 1,100 Japanese POWs from the Cowra prison in Australia. Nagase’s writings – brought together in this smart new volume edited by his long-time friend Gill Goddard – provide a fascinating juxtaposition of Japanese perspectives on the POW experience, as both captor and captured.

Dr Philip Seaton
Associate Professor, Hokkaido University, and author of
Japan’s Contested War Memories (Routledge, 2007).

This is a rare publication of a first-hand account by a lower-ranking Japanese soldier who was attached as an interpreter to the notorious Kempeitai (Military Police), working with the POWs on the Thai-Burma Railway. Through Nagase’s powerful and painful account, we gain a valuable insight into the Japanese war experience – it is of great importance that these accounts should come out in the open.

Dr. Naoko Shimazu
Senior Lecturer, Birkbeck College, University of London, and author of Japanese Society at War: Death, Memory and the Russo-Japanese War (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Nagase Takashi (left) is a retired schoolteacher and former army interpreter, who has dedicated his life to promoting reconciliation between Thailand and Japan and between former POWs and the Japanese people. His philanthropic activities in Thailand have included the foundation of the River Kwai Peace Foundation, through which he has given more than a thousand scholarships to Thai students, from school children to nursing trainees. He has written several books on his experiences during and after the Pacific War.

Gill Goddard (centre) is East Asian Studies Librarian at the University of Sheffield, and is the author of Nihon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK) archives: a survey and National Diet Library: a research report (British Library Research and Innovation Centre, 1988).

Also pictured (right) is Nagase Takashi’s late wife, Fujiwara Yoshiko, to whom this book is dedicated.

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Also published by Paulownia Press:

Field of Spears: The Last Mission of the Jordan Crew
By Gregory Hadley


My Father's Dying Wish: Legacies of War Guilt in a Japanese Family
By Ayako Kurahashi and Translated by Philip Seaton

For more information, contact us at Paulownia Press.

© February 2011, Paulownia Press Limited
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