Japan's Ambiguous Legacy in Indonesia

JAKARTA — When the war ended, Hideo Fujiyama had to choose where his true loyalties lay. He decided not to return to Japan, but to stay in Indonesia, a country he barely knew.

 

His decision to desert the Japanese Army was motivated by a mix of reasons, both practical and sentimental. He had been accidentally left behind when his unit shifted base. But he was also resentful at the way he had been treated in the wartime army, had an ill-defined sense that he could have a better life in the tropics and was inspired by Indonesia's burgeoning nationalist movement.

 

Witnessing a stirring call for independence by Sukarno, the nationalist leader who later became Indonesia's first president, at a mass rally in Jakarta on Sept. 19, 1945, was a turning point.

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