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Bridging Australia and Japan: Volume 1


This is the first of two volumes of the work of David Sissons, historian of relations between Australia and Japan. The second volume is in preparation and will cover his writings on the War in the Pacific and Australian war crimes trials on south Pacific islands, for some of which he interpreted. In preparing these two volumes devoted to the work of David Sissons, we are above all indebted to David’s widow Bronwen, who has supported this project from the outset and has been an invaluable source of information about David, and insights into his career, his passions and concerns, as well as his personality and temperament. We are also grateful to their son, Hilary, who helped with access to relevant computer files; and their daughters, Meredith and Miranda, for their understanding and support for this project.

We thank Dr Pam Oliver, who gave us valuable advice at an early stage of this project and Drs Yuriko Nagata and Lorna Kaino for their comments and encouragement. We are grateful to Dr Craig Reynolds for his enthusiasm about making David’s work on Australia–Japan relations more widely known, and to the staff at ANU Press for their hard work in the production process.

David’s important work on cryptography was published by ANU Press in 2013 as Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes: David Sissons and D Special Section during the Second World War (Desmond Ball and Keiko Tamura, eds). That volume may be considered in a sense an integral part of our attempt to make David’s historical and political research more generally available. We have profited from the insights given in conversations with Professor Desmond Ball concerning the broader aspects of David’s concern with relations between Japan and Australia, especially relating to the tragic period of the relationship that ended in 1945. Sadly Professor Ball died after a long illness on 12 October 2016 at the age of 69.

We also wish to acknowledge the kindness of David’s former doctoral students, Professors Haruhiko Fukui, Akio Watanabe and John Welfield, and his great friend the late Professor Yasuhiro Okudaira, in writing of their memories of him.

We are grateful to Dr Miyume Tanji for providing research assistance in the shape of photographing a portion of the documents in the 60 boxes of materials that David placed in the National Library of Australia. These are items that we selected for inclusion in this book. Support and help provided by the National Library staff who knew David, including Ms Mary Gosling, Ms Amelia McKenzie, Ms Karen Johnson and Ms Mayumi Shinozaki, are greatly appreciated. We should like also to thank Peter and Margaret Janssens for their friendship and hospitality to Arthur Stockwin during his several stays in Canberra working on this project.

We are grateful for reprint permissions that were generously granted to us, and we thank the State Library of Queensland, the State Library of South Australia, Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan editorial board, and the publishers Taylor & Francis and Wiley. We also acknowledge the work of digitising the mostly pre-digital (and, in some cases, hard to read) typescripts provided by Sanarosu and high-quality scanning work of the National Library’s Copy Direct section and the ANU University Printing Service. We would like to acknowledge and thank the ANU Publication Subsidy Committee for a grant to assist towards the copyediting, so ably done by Ms Justine Molony.

Above all, we give our profound thanks to our sadly departed friend and mentor, David Sissons, for the monumental work of meticulous scholarship that he accomplished in the course of his career, which brings us close to a definitive understanding of the structures, personalities and sometimes conflicted trajectories of the relationship between two peoples that share that part of the globe bounded by the western Pacific.

Arthur Stockwin and Keiko Tamura

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