Hong Kong Internment, 1942–1945

Life in the Japanese Civilian Camp at Stanley


Geoffrey Charles Emerson

ISBN : 978-988-8028-53-5

History Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series (皇家亞洲學會香港研究叢書)

March 2008

268 pages, 6″ x 7″, 94 b&w illus.; 4 maps

  • HK$175.00

Also available in Hardback HK$250.00

Hong Kong Internment, 1942–1945: Life in the Japanese Civilian Camp at Stanley tells the story of the more than three thousand non-Chinese civilians: British, American, Dutch and others, who were trapped in the British colony and interned behind barbed wire in Stanley Internment Camp from 1942 to 1945.

From 1970 to 1972, while researching for his MA thesis, the author interviewed twenty-three former Stanley internees. During these meetings, the internees talked about their lives in the Stanley Camp during the Japanese occupation.

Long regarded as an invaluable reference and frequently consulted as a primary source on Stanley since its completion in 1973, the study is now republished with a new introduction and fresh discussions that recognize later work and information released since the original thesis was written. Additional illustrations, including a new map and photographs, as well as an up-to-date bibliography, have also been included in the book.

Geoffrey Charles Emerson has lived in Hong Kong for more than forty years. He retired in 2000 from St Paul’s College, where he taught history and English and served as vice principal and careers master. He was president of the Hong Kong History Society and is a council member of the Royal Asiatic Society (Hong Kong Branch).

“Geoffrey Emerson has written a careful and detailed study of a much-neglected topic in the history of the Second World War—Japan’s treatment of enemy civilians in one of its occupied territories. This book is solidly grounded in research and enlivened by pictorial sketches of camp life as well as by interviews with former internees. The result is a story of human endurance and survival amidst terribly trying circumstances over three and a half years.” —Edward Rhoads, Professor Emeritus of Modern Chinese History, University of Texas at Austin, author of Manchus and Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861–1928

Hong Kong Internment 1942–1945 brings to life a little known aspect of a hidden chapter in Hong Kong history. Drawing on a rich cache of artefacts and first person accounts, Geoffrey Emerson has put together an illuminating account of life behind barbed wire at Stanley. Engrossing, well documented and amply illustrated, this book is an excellent history of Stanley Camp.” —Greg Leck, author of Captives of Empire: The Japanese Internment of Allied Civilians in China 1941–1945

“Emerson takes us on a fascinating journey into the lives of men and women interned at Stanley Camp, in some ways, a microcosm of Hong Kong’s expatriate society. Beginning his research in 1970, he interviewed many internees, now long dead, and his sensitive treatment of their testimonies and other primary sources makes the book (with a reflective new reflection) rich and poignant reading. It is well worth waiting for!” —Elizabeth Sinn, author of Power and Charity: A Chinese Merchant Elite in Colonial Hong Kong

“Interweaving personal interviews and memoirs with factual details, Emerson reveals how these civilians adapted to and overcame the humiliation of internment and the vicissitudes of internment camp life.” —Bernice Archer, author of The Internment of Western Civilians under the Japanese 1941–1945: A Patchwork of Internment