World War II Singapore: The Chōsabu Reports on Syonan

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Translated and edited by Gregg Huff & Shinobu Majima

During World War II, the Japanese government created a research bureau, the Chōsabu, to study occupied Singapore. The bureau’s reports on Singapore’s economy and society, reproduced here in translation, covered population and living standards, prices, wages, currency and inflation, rationing, labour usage, food production and supply, and industrialization. Syonan’s military and civilian administrators drew on Chōsabu research in formulating social and economic policy. The research takes on added importance because the Japanese destroyed most records of their wartime administration.  That leaves the Chōsabu reports as one of the few first-hand Japanese sources to have survived the war.

           The translation allows a fuller understanding of the impact of the war and occupation than hitherto possible. Introductory chapters by the editors analyse the reports in light of wartime events in Singapore and Japanese occupation policies, and discuss the Chōsabu authors and their place in the history of Japanese economic thought.   

"The introductory chapters not only explain the context but also contribute to the history of economic thought in Japan and to the economic history of Southeast Asia." - Tetsuji Okazaki, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo
"This book gives voice to Singapore’s World War II Japanese occupiers trying to make sense of their task in real time, as it unfolded.  This is a unique set of contemporary observations…" - Avner Offer, All Souls College, University of Oxford

Gregg Huff is Senior Research Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Oxford and researches and teaches Southeast Asian economic history and development. 
Shinobu Majima is Professor of Economic History at Gakushuin University, Japan, and a part-time researcher at the Institute of Economic Research at Hitotsubashi University, the postwar successor of the Institute of East Asian Economies at the Tokyo University of Commerce. 

Publication Year: 2018
520 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-981-4722-62-9, Casebound
175 tables, 12 figures

NUS Press