Japanese Occupation newspaper in library portal

The National Library's NewspaperSG portal has been given a "historical" boost.

Since last month, six historical newspapers have been added, bringing the total number of digitised titles to 41 - up from just 14 when the portal was launched in 2010.

The new publications include English-language newspaper Shonan Times, or Syonan Shimbun, which acted as the propaganda mouthpiece of the Japanese government during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore.

National Library director Wai Yin Pryke believes that those who are interested in World War II will find the Shonan Times "very interesting".

She gave the example of the paper's first issue on Feb 20, 1942, which boasted that Japan's position was "impregnable" following the fall of Singapore.


The first issue on Feb 20, 1942 celebrated Japan's victory here. PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY, SINGAPORE

In contrast, three years later, the final issue on Sept 4, 1945, reflected on Japan's defeat with a report listing reasons why the Japanese believed they lost.

These included the failure of army and navy officers "to live up to Imperial instructions".

The other newspapers are Comrade, Indian Daily Mail, Morning Tribune and the Malaya or Sunday Tribune, Singapore Standard and Sunday Standard, and Singapore Herald.

Mrs Pryke noted that the portal gets an average of 1.03 million page views per month.

Melody Zaccheus

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2017, with the headline 'Japanese Occupation newspaper in library portal'. Print Edition | Subscribe