Christine Piper

Christine Piper was raised in Australia but is now a writer and editor based in New York. Her mother is Japanese and her father is Australian. Her novel, After Darkness, is about Japanese civilians interned in Australia during World War II. She wrote it as part of her doctoral degree at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Updated Janaury 2014 

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Remembering the Internment: Mary Nakashiba

Mary Nakashiba 
Born: Thursday Island, 1926 
Interned: Tatura, Victoria, 1942–44

“I felt betrayed by my country”

Seventy years have passed since half-Japanese Mary was interned as a fifteen-year-old, but the shocking turn of events after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor is still clear to her. After being arrested in Darwin, Mary and her family were transported to Sydney by ship along with hundreds of other Japanese. “When we got off the ship, there was a crowd of people lining the harbor. They were screaming, ‘Kill them! Shoot the bastards!’ I couldn’t believe it—these were Australians, people of my ...

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Japanese in Australia: From Meiji to World War II

A distinct pattern of Japanese migration to Australia emerged after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when Imperial rule was reinstated and Japan’s ports were opened after centuries of feudal seclusion. For the first time, ordinary Japanese citizens could go abroad.

From the 1870s until World War II, more than a hundred thousand Japanese voyaged to Australia. The sugarcane industry in north-eastern Australia attracted many Japanese laborers, as did the pearling industry along the north-western coast. Mother-of-pearl shell was highly sought after in Europe to make buttons for clothing. Like the sugarcane workers, Japanese divers and ship crew were nearly ...

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