Mr Masakatsu Sato was born in Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan in 1884. He migrated to New Caledonia in 1911 to work as a painter.[i] It is unclear from exactly when, but by December 1941 he was working as a servant to the Consul for Japan, Mr Yoshiro Yamashita. On the outbreak of war on 8 December 1941, Sato was arrested but was released on the same day by order of the Governor of New Caledonia.[ii] Sato was embarked on the Cap des Palmes with the Consul on 19 January and arrived in Sydney on 22 January. Due to Yamashita’s ongoing illness, the two men remained on board the ship overnight and on 23 January were taken to the Consul-General in Sydney’s residence in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Yamashita was admitted to hospital later that day and Sato was deemed to be ‘no longer in demand’ and arrested.[iii] Sato was initially taken to Liverpool Internment Camp but was transferred to Loveday on 25 January 1942.[iv] He remained at Loveday until 22 July 1942, when he was released to be repatriated to Japan via Lourenço Marques as part of the only Anglo-Japanese Civilian Exchange.[v]
Author: Rowena Ward
[i] Archives de la Nouvelle-Calédonie (ANC) 34W38. Sato’s given name is listed as Massacatsu.
[ii] ANC 34W38.
[iii] NAA A891 8 letter no. 1263 to Security Service, Canberra from B. Tyrrell Officer in Charge, State Branch dated 27 January 1942.
[iv] NAA MP1103/1 CJ22044 Sato’s given name is listed as Masatatsu.
[v] NAA MP1103/1 CJ22044.