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Flinders University at Victoria Square

Level 1, room 1,182 Victoria Square

Adelaide, SA 5000


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Event description
Symposium on Japanese war art

About this event

Symposium Convenors

Dr Tets Kimura (Flinders University, Australia) and Associate Professor Richard Bullen (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

Thousands of Japanese people, and people of Japanese descent, were imprisoned in Australasia during WWII, but existing public knowledge of their internment is dominated by major incidents such as Cowra breakout and Featherston shooting. An extraordinary record of war camp life, to date overlooked by scholars, is the arts and crafts produced by the Japanese prisoners. This symposium, funded by the Toshiba International Foundation, examines the material culture made at prisoner of war and civilian camps across Australasia and the wider Pacific, and provides entirely new insights into Japanese-Australasian relations during the war, as well as the entanglements of art, identity, agency and human rights.


• Raising the awareness of Japanese history in Australasia during WWII.

• Raising the awareness of Japanese war art created during WWII that still ‘speaks’ about individual experiences of the war.

• Creating a network of scholars who study and Japanese war art and/or Japanese war history in the region.

• Exchanging ideas for a planned book on Japanese war art in Australasia.

• Providing students and the public of South Australia with an opportunity to learn about a new element of WWII history.

Symposium dates and venue

Dates: Thursday 10 and Friday 11 February 2022

Venue: Flinders University at Victoria Square (Level 1, Room 1)

182 Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000

This symposium, funded by the Toshiba International Foundation (Japan), is open to academics, students, curators, art critics, and the public who are interested in Japanese/Australasian history and art history. There will be no registration fee for attendees, but registration is mandatory. For further inquiry, please contact the symposium chair, Dr Tets Kimura,

Provisional schedule

Day 1: Thursday 10 February 2022

12:30-1:00 Registration

1:00-1:15 Opening Remarks

1:15-3:15 Section on Featherston Camp in New Zealand

• Japanese internment, garden-making and environmental change during World War II

A/Prof James Beattie (Victoria University of Wellington)

• “A definite feeling of antagonism”: Rising tensions over clothing at the Featherston prisoner-of-war camp in World War Two

A/Prof Kristyn Harman (University of Tasmania)

• Music in the Featherston camp

Prof Henry Johnson (University of Otago)

• Art and spirituality at Featherston

A/Prof Michael Grimshaw (University of Canterbury)

3:15-3:45 Break

3:45-4:30 Round table discussion

• Japanese war art from Asia and the Pacific discovered in SA homes

Rosalind Jamieson and Jenny Preston, in conversation with Tets Kimura

4:30-5:30 Keynote

• Australian internment and POW camp histories

Prof Peter Monteath (Flinders University)

6:00-7:00 Book launch

• Four Years in a Red Coat (Translation of Miyakatsu Koike’s Loveday diary, Wakefield, 2022). (Drinks will be provided. Venue will be announced later.)

Day 2: Friday 11 February 2022

10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-12:00 Section on ways to understand Japanese war art

• Untold history of the Japanese civilians before, during and after WWII

Dr Tets Kimura (Flinders University)

• Reading experience through material culture: Japanese held in New Zealand in WWII

A/Prof Richard Bullen (University of Canterbury)

• Anthropology, Memory and Australian WWII Internment Camps tangible Heritages

Prof Pedram Khosronejad (Powerhouse Museum & Western Sydney University)

12:00-1:00 Lunch (Vegetarian lunch will be provided.)

1:00-2:30 Section on Australia-Japan relations

• Art and creativity in the Riverina: The Hay Internment Camps, 1940-46

Dr Seumas Spark (Monash University)

• Japanese Prisoner of War involvement in Allied leaflet propaganda

Sophie Constable (Australian National University)

• Cowra’s ways of storytelling

Lawrance Ryan (Cowra Shire Council)

2:30-3:00 Break

3:00-4:00 Section on Japanese POWs in Asia

• Title: TBA

Emeritus Prof Greg O’Brien (La Trobe University)

• The afterlives of art: Problematising the anti-war message

Dr Karl Ian Cheng Chua (Ateneo de Manila University)

Photo Caption

Japanese wooden ‘geta’ shoes created in the Loveday camp during WWII. Photo courtesy of Ryan Cantwell (see

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Flinders University at Victoria Square

Level 1, room 1,182 Victoria Square

Adelaide, SA 5000


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Organiser College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Organiser of Symposium on Japanese war art

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