Miyakatsu Koike

Miyakatsu Koike
Miyakatsu Koike in the Dutch East Indies before the war. Courtesy the Koike family.

Miyakatsu Koike was an employee of the Surabaya branch of the Yokohama Specie Bank (located in Java in what was then the Dutch East Indies) when Japan entered the war in December 1941. Arrested by Dutch authorities immediately after the outbreak of war, Koike spent some time in the Sumowono Internment camp before transportation to Loveday in January 1942.

As he was not selected to be part of a repatriation group, Koike remained in Loveday through to the end of the war and beyond, finally returning to his home country on the Kōei maru in February 1946, never to return to Australia.

In 1987, and at the age of 82, Koike published the memoirs of his experiences of internment under the title 抑留日記:四年間の赤服生活 (Internment Diary: Four Years Life in a Red Coat). The title was a reference to the army coats given to Japanese and other internees during their internment. Dyed a deep red colour, the coats distinguished the internees from other wartime workers outside the camps. The diary records the daily challenges faced by Koike with exemplary stoicism and forbearance.

Miyakatsu Koike
Miyakatsu Koike in later life. Courtesy the Koike family.


Koike, Miyakatsu, Four Years in a Red Coat, transl. Hiroko Cockerill, edited with an introduction by Peter Monteath and Yuriko Nagata, Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2021 (scheduled for publication).

NAA: MP1103/1 IJ50059 Prisoner of War/Internee: Koike, Miyakatsu; Date of birth – 15 November 1905; Nationality – Japanese