Java Civilian Japanese Prison Camps

Western Java (region XI), Middle Java (region XII) , Eastern Java (region XIII)
Japanese Prison Camp Administrative regions on Java

The largest concentration of Civilian Prison camps  was established on Java by the Japanese Imperial army. The  short term purpose of this huge incarceration policy was to remove all western influence from Javanese society. The long-term objective has never been  declared or revealed, though can be inferred from  the pattern of prison camp evolution. Below is presented a broad overview of the evolution for the period between Dutch capitulation ( 8 March 1942) and Japanese capitulation ( 15 August 1945) .  Both the start  as well as the ending of this incarceration  phase was gradual.  The start was complicated by a number of factors

  • Uncertainty as to how to define “Western Influence”. Was this restricted to ethnic Europeans , or to those who had adopted European outlook on life? Where did Middle eastern ethnic groups , not to forget the Chinese population fit in ?
  •  The scattered nature of Western penetration on Java: cities , villages , mission posts and plantations
  • The need for Japan to honour some international  obligations towards the Third Reich.

The ending of incarceration was equally piecemeal due to the bizarre ending of the Pacific War, and the chaos that ensued. Some prisoners sought freedom shortly after  August 15, 1945 when Japanese guards ceased imposing their will. Other prison camps  remained in place long after that date to protect the civilian POWs from a new menace, the Indonesian uprising, or Bersiap. The following table should  be seen in this light:

Java Civilian Prison Camps
Region Number of Camps
Dec-42 Aug-45
West Java 54 18
Midden java 36 11
East Java 20 1
Total 110 30

What this table illustrates is the  huge logistical effort  taken by the Japanese imperial army to reduce the burden placed on the army of occupation to achieve its political end. This ongoing effort was pursued until the very last day of the war.

The source of this and following data is to be found in the website:


Japanese Civilian Prison Camp Population on 15 August 1945

Civilian Prison Camps on Java  August 1945
Region District Camp Men and boys Women and Children
West Java Batavia ADEK 2000
Glodok 595
Kampong Makassar 3500
Kramat 2000
Mater Dolorosa 1000
Sint Vicentius 1200
Struiswijk 1400
Tjideng 11000
Buitenzorg Kedoeng Halang 93
Kelpanoegal 145
Soekaboemi Rosali (hosp) 150
4de en 9de bataljon 8000
Baros 5 2400
Baros 6 1700
Goenoeng halos 360
Pasir Benteng 170
Bandoeng 15de Bataljhon 8000
Tjihapit 31
Subtotal 23570 20143
Midden java Bangkong 1300
Halmaheira 3300
Lampersari 7600
Ambarawa 6 4000
Ambarawa 7 2500
Ambarawa 9 700
Banjoebiroe 10 5300
Banjoebiroe 11 2300
Banjoebiroe 12 1200
Rawaseneng 100
Subtotal 3900 24400
East Java Batoe Sanatorium 50
Grand total 27470 44593

The above table shows how that population of undesirables civilians was split into two groups: women and children in one set of camps  and men and boys in another set of camps. Boys over the age of ten were no longer deemed “children ” under Japanese army regulations.  The population of the men’s camps  is  ambiguous because the available data does not make clear the difference between the western concept of “Man” and “Boy”.

The table also reflects the fact that Eastern Java  and its prominent cities ( Surabaia- a major naval base)  for instance) , was completely  cleared of “westernised ” undesirables.

Suriving Lists of Names of Civilian Internees 

Java: Surviving names lists
Region Camp Men and boys Women and children
West Java ADEK 2221
Kramat 1217
Struiswijk 75
Tjideng 4911
4de en 9de bataljon 9418
Baros 5 2824
Baros 6 2128
Goenoeng halos 341
Pasir Benteng 151
Subtotal West Java 14862 8424
Midden java Bangkong 1493
Lampersari 4121
Ambarawa 6 3938
Ambarawa 7 325
Banjoebiroe 10 1632
Subtotal Mid Java 1493 10016
Grand total 16355 18440

The above table summarises the prison camps for which a list of names survived the ending of the war .



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