Being an enemy alien in Kobe : civilian experiences of war and the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government in Japan
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History Australia, Vol. 10, no. 2, 2013, p. 35-55
This article explores the experiences of enemy civilians in Japan through a case study of Kobe during the Pacific War. It highlights the widely varying experiences of individuals, and the fact that relations between the internees had an important impact on life in internment. Although there was no convention covering the treatment of civilian detainees, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Swiss, as protecting power, played a significant role in improving the conditions of detention for civilians in wartime Japan, but gaps in cultural norms between Japan and the West created grievances among both the detainees and Swiss humanitarian officials.