Michael B. Pass


Many prior studies of Canadian POWs during the Pacific War have focused on the sadism and mistreatment of their Japanese jailors, helping to make this a dominant image of the conflict. This article moderates this view by discrediting the notion that Japanese soldiers were motivated by an omnipresent belief in “bushido,” as well as by studying newly discovered documents produced in captivity by Canadian Auxiliary Services Officer Francis O’Neill. It argues that Japanese conduct towards POWs was more variable than previously recognised and highlights moments of levity and fun as O’Neill and his fellow prisoners organised sporting events, games and theatrical productions.