Twelve thousand New Zealand men and women served in the occupation of Japan immediately after the Second World War. This book records memories from those we know as 'J Force'. Based on revealing interviews with soldiers, airmen, nurses and members of the New Zealand Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, The Occupiers explores Kiwi life in the former enemy territory between 1946 and 1948. Veterans recall the horror of witnessing the devastated city of Hiroshima. They describe their culture shock and adjustment to unfamiliar customs. And they revisit the often challenging conditions faced in a broken country. Some also reflect on shedding their intense wartime hostility and distrust to gain a surprising new understanding of the Japanese - achieved as they worked and lived alongside the ordinary people of the occupied land. Unexpected, honest and touching, these stories uncover a little-known but fascinating aspect of New Zealand's post-war experience.
Alison Parr is Senior Oral Historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington, New Zealand. A former award-winning broadcasting journalist and interviewer, she worked for more than 25 years in radio and television. Alison has spent most of the past decade recording the wartime memories of veterans and other New Zealanders, and is the author of four books based on oral history, including Home: Civilian New Zealanders Remember the Second World War and The Occupiers: New Zealand Veterans Remember Post-war Japan.