The Indonesian Nationalists and the Japanese "Liberation" of Indonesia: Visions
- The Indonesian Nationalists and the Japanese "Liberation" of
Indonesia: Visions and Reactions
Journal article by Elly Touwen-Bouwsma; Journal of Southeast Asian
Studies, Vol. 27, 1996
The Indonesian nationalists and the Japanese "liberation" of
Indonesia: visions and reactions
by Elly Touwen-Bouwsma
It is generally assumed that most of the Indonesian population,
including the nationalists, resigned themselves passively to the
threat of an imminent war with Japan. There were no large-scale
preparations on the side of the Indonesians either to help the
Japanese army of invasion find its way or to sabotage the Dutch.(1)
This is especially true of Java, the political heartland of Indonesia,
where the evidence would seem to point to the fact that no
pro-Japanese underground movement existed.(2) Only in Aceh among the
Minangkabau in Sumatra had the Japanese found Indonesian allies
willing to organize anti-Dutch activities.(3) In Palembang in South
Sumatra there was also an espionage organization established by the
Japanese themselves probably in order to prevent the destruction of
the oil refineries at Playu and Sungai Gerong.(4) In the strongly
Islamic region of Gorontalo in North Sulawesi, the local nationalists
actually succeeded in taking over the European administration. They
arrested the Dutch and proclaimed the Republik Gorontalo on 23 January
1942, just before the Japanese reached their area.(5)
In Java, where the repressive policy adopted by the Dutch government
towards the nationalists was most severe, the Dutch seem to have had
everything under control on the eve of the outbreak of the war with
Japan. Nevertheless, there is some information available which
suggests that there could have been an anti-Dutch oriented underground
organization in Java. In this context George Kanahele(6) mentions the
Sumatran Jusuf Hasan who returned to Java early in 1941 as a Japanese
agent.(7) He collaborated with several Japanese, including Nishijima
Shigetada,(8) Ishii Taro, Maeda and Machida. Kanahele claims that
their specific assignment was to collect information on Dutch military
and defence installations and to set up a fifth column. In the summer
of 1941, Jusuf Hasan and his Japanese accomplices organized a group of
Indonesian nationalists in a conspiracy to sabotage the Dutch defence
efforts in the event of a war with Japan. Among those whom he names as
belonging to Jusuf's fifth column group are Achmad Subardjo,(9)
Maramis, a close friend of Subardjo and of Jusuf Hasan himself,
Tadjuddin Noor (member of the People's Council) and Dr. Samsi
Sastrowidagdo, a prominent nationalist. The others are unnamed.
Kanahele treats seriously the possibility that there was indeed a real
attempt made by Jusuf Hasan to set up a fifth column. He concludes,
however, that as events turned out the group had no real opportunity
to operate against the Dutch because of the sudden collapse of the
colonial defence forces a week after the Japanese landed in Java.
The NEFIS collection, held by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
The Hague, contains some documents classified under different headings
which seem to support George Kanahele's presumption that there was a
kind of underground organization operating in Java some months before
the Japanese landed there. The documents, written in Indonesian, were
found in December 1945 by the Dutch in the former building of the
Gunseikanbu in Jakarta, where they were part of the archive of
Sudjono,(10) who worked during the war with the Japanese Ministry of
General Affairs. Most of these documents are classified under the
heading "Organization Subardjo", even though most of the reports do
not actually refer to this organization. Some of the 30 or so reports
are dated March, April and May 1942, but the bulk of them are dated
July 1942. All give an overview of the local situation and the
activities of the members involved in the organization just before and
just after the arrival of the Japanese Army. During the eight-day
battle for Java they were among the first to form Merdeka committees
to welcome the victorious Japanese army and offer their help.(11)
Achmad Subardjo is named as one of the leaders of the Central
Committee in Jakarta which co-ordinated the activities of the local
In the first part of this paper I will pay attention to an underground
organization directed by nationalists in Java which prepared
anti-Dutch activities before and during the war, examining what
preparations they made and what activities they undertook. Going one
step further, another question is what were the motives of the local
nationalists who set up Merdeka committees for becoming supporters of
the Japanese, rather than striving for independence for Indonesia? In
order to gain an insight into the activities of the nationalists,
including the preparations they made and the actions they carried out,
these must be analyzed against the background of the continuously
changing political context: the Dutch colonial regime, which was in
full control before the outbreak of the war on 8 December 1941; the
brief interregnum when the battle for Java was waged; the vacuum of
authority in the first week after the invasion of Java by the Japanese
army; and the policy of the Japanese military regime towards the
nationalists in the first four months of the occupation.
Japan: The Liberator of Indonesia
One crucial point which caused many nationalists to look to Japan as
the power that could help them to gain their Indonesia Merdeka was the
introduction of the Native Militia Bill by the Dutch government in
July 1941. Although they had been requesting the setting up of an
Indonesian Militia for years, the nationalists in the People's Council
unanimously rejected the bill. They did so because he Dutch, thus far,
had refused to recognize the right of the Indonesian people to defend
their own country and, moreover, no concessions for any political
reforms were being granted.(13) Another point which influenced some
nationalists was the failure of the economic negotiations between the
Dutch and the Japanese governments in June 1941. They supported Japan
100 per cent because it represented a source of cheap commodities for
the Indonesian people and could change the economic structure.(14)
The Dutch refusal to grant any political reforms strengthened
solidarity among the nationalists and led to the establishment of the
Council of the Indonesian People, Madjalis Rakyat Indonesia, in
September 1941, as a representative body of the people whose aim was
to strive together for an Indonesian parliament.(15) Quite apart from
these disappointments, there were signs that nationalist sympathy for
Japan was also gaining ground in the same period. The Japanese
propaganda "Asia for the Asians" was increasingly seen as an ideal
solution to a political situation which seemed to have reached an
impasse. Only the Gerindo (Gerakan Rakjat Indonesia/the Indonesian
People's Movement), the left-wing of the nationalist movement, still
saw the straggle for national independence as dependent upon the
outcome of the world-wide straggle between the forces of Facism and
anti-Facism. The Parindra (Partai Indonesia Raya/the Greater Indonesia
Party), the largest nationalist party, was becoming steadily more
pro-Japan minded. The popularity of Japan intensified as one aspect of
the growing anti-Dutch animus, which was a projection of the
frustrated desire for freedom. The idea took hold that the liberation
of Indonesia would begin with the expulsion of the Dutch by the
Japanese. According to the Jayabaya myth, the Dutch would be driven
out of Indonesia by a yellow race which would come from the north and
the ordinary people interpreted this to refer to the Japanese. After a
hundred days of occupation, the promised days of freedom would be at
hand.(16) The Japanese propaganda made very good use of this material.
Since 1939 Radio Tokyo had been broadcasting daily programmes to the
Indies in Malay,(17) but from September 1941 the tone of the Japanese
broadcasts changed, growing more anti-Dutch, and stressing that Japan
would liberate the Indonesians and bring prosperity. Each transmission
ended with the national anthem, Indonesia Raya.(18) The independence
of Indonesia was, so to speak, just around the corner.
This was the political climate in which an anti-Dutch underground
organization took shape. The first information available about the
existence of such a kind of organization dates from September 1941. In
that month, Achmad Subardjo proposed to the writer of the relevant
report that he join the underground movement active against the Dutch
government in Batavia. The aims of the organization were to stimulate
the population to help the Japanese in their landings in Java, to
prevent the Dutch from pursuing a scorched-earth policy, to maintain
order among the population and to stockpile food supplies. The
contacts in Japan mentioned were Jusuf Hasan and one of his
fellow-workers. They worked for Radio Tokyo and would give
instructions. Much later, the writer of this report heard that he was
supposed to co-operate with Subardjo, Maramis, Tadjuddin Noor and
Hindromartono.(19) Other nationalists named as members of this
organization were Sartono (Buitenzorg), Dr Boentaran (Semarang), Dr
Samsi (Surabaya),(20) Latuharhary and Soenarko (Malang).(21) Most of
the above-mentioned people were friends of Achmad Subardjo. Dr Samsi
and Dr Boentaran knew Subardjo from their university days in the
Netherlands, where they used to meet each other at the Indonesian
Student Association (Perhimpunan Indonesia). This was also the case
with Maramis and Latuharhary. Tadjuddin Noor was a friend of Subardjo
whom he had met in Malang when he was gravely ill.(22) Subardjo
probably met Jusuf Hasan during his visit to Japan in 1935. Jusuf
Hasan is also mentioned as one of the people who sought contact with
nationalists in Blitar in October 1941, declaring that they were
prepared to work in the interests of Japan. He is only mentioned once,
probably because he returned to Tokyo to support the organization by
means of Radio Tokyo in November 1941. It was, however, not Subardjo
himself who travelled through Java to recruit supporters for
anti-Dutch underground activities, but one of his fellow-workers,
Ismangoenwonoto spent October and November 1941 on the road in Java,
visiting nationalists in Yogyakarta, Kertosono and Semarang.(23)
Ismangoenwonoto instructed the nationalists to incite anti-Dutch
feelings among the Indonesian people, in particular among Indonesian
members of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army and the police, and
advise them not to fight against the Japanese. Further instructions
would be given by Radio Tokyo.(24) In Semarang, he co-ordinated the
activities of three small groups of nationalists already established
there to undermine Dutch authority. The tasks were shared out, with
one group responsible for propaganda among the Indonesian soldiers,
one for work among the common people and the third for infiltration of
the upper echelons of society - intellectuals and government
officials.(25) These local nationalists, in their turn, sought contact
with like-minded people in their neighbourhoods and passed on
instructions from Batavia. In places as far apart as Tuban, Demak and
Jember local nationalists joined the underground organization.(26)
Some of these nationalists were members of various political parties
like Parindra, Gerindo and Partindo, but others had not aligned
themselves with any political party.
The motive spurring most of the local nationalists to join the
underground movement and support the Japanese was a conviction that
the Indonesian people would never achieve prosperity as long as the
Dutch were in power. They also believed that the Indonesians did not
themselves possess the power to unseat the Dutch and that only changes
in international politics could help them to reach their goal for
their homeland: a free Indonesia.(27) This mixture of left and right
wing ideologies among the nationalists is characteristic of their
hitherto forlorn attempts to gain independence and freedom for
Indonesia. The hope of changes in the international political arena
was a mainstay of Gerindo, while support for the Japanese as a direct
means of helping the Indonesians was more in line with the thinking of
the Parindra. However, according to Nishijima, Achmad Subardjo was
convinced that independence would be achieved once the Japanese landed
The actual activities undertaken by the local nationalists in the
period just before the outbreak of the war with Japan remain fairly
obscure. Probably they did no more than encourage and stimulate
anti-Dutch feelings, trying to convince the people that the Japanese
would liberate them from the Dutch. They had to tread very warily
because the police and the Political Intelligence Service (PID) kept a
watchful eye on the nationalists, in particular on those who were
suspected of having contacts in Japan. Even a prominent nationalist
and member of the People's Council like Thamrin was suspected of
pro-Japanese activities, and was put under house arrest shortly before
he died of heart failure and malaria in January 1941.(29) The chances
of being able to meet one another were very few and far between.
Following the outbreak of the war in the Netherlands in May 1940, all
political meetings had been banned by the Dutch government. Some
nationalists involved in the underground organization managed to meet
each other at the Gerindo Congress held in Batavia in October
1941,(30) but more often they met informally as friends to discuss
their activities pending the advent of the Great East Asian War that
would liberate them from the yoke of the Dutch.
After the declaration of war with Japan, on 8 December 1941, the first
thing the Dutch government did was to arrest all the Japanese in Java,
about 2,000 persons in all,(31) and to place Indonesians known to have
relations with Japanese under strict police surveillance. One of
Achmad Subardjo's sisters(32) and her family, who lived in Batavia,
were put under house arrest, accused of harbouring sympathy for the
Japanese because they had a son in Formosa and a son-in-law in Japan.
Sometime later the family was taken to a camp at Cibadak, a hill
station in the interior.(33) Even Indonesians who had been friendly
with Japanese living in their neighbourhoods ran the risk of being
arrested by the PID. The Indonesians taken into custody by the Dutch
were transported to Garut on 15 January 1942, where they were
liberated by the Japanese army on 11 March 1942. In all, about 600
persons accused of being pro-Japan were interned there, including 100
The strained political climate prevailing after the outbreak of the
war made it virtually impossible for the local nationalists involved
in underground activities to contact each other. Their only source of
information seems to have been Radio Tokyo, and this was crucial
because it had been impressed on them that Radio Tokyo would issue
instructions. Although the Dutch had placed a ban on listening to
Radio Tokyo, they waited daily for messages from Tokyo. It was Jusuf
Hasan who broadcast appeals to the people back home. He would sing
Indonesia Raya and speak passionately about the country's imminent
liberation by Japan.(35)
Preparations and Mounting Expectations
Once the war began, the Dutch government created facilities to help
eventual victims of war among the people in the Indies. Several civil
front organizations were set up by and for the Europeans, and other
population groups like the Indonesians and the Chinese were given
permission to form their own civil front organizations. The
Indonesians set up the Penolong Korban Perang (Pekope) to help
potential Indonesian victims of war.(36) Strangely enough, rather than
entrust the task of forming Pekope to the Indonesian civil service,
the Dutch turned to local nationalists. Enthusiasm for the civil front
organization waxed strong and the Indonesian press fervently supported
it.(37) This organization gave local nationalists a perfect instrument
to carry out underground activities. It seems that Parindra, by far
the largest party of the time with 20,000 members,(38) was especially
active in setting up local Pekope branches.(39) All over the country
Parindra endeavoured to organize Pekope in the kampongs, and
instructed the people in what they should do if the war reached their
villages. Wherever possible nationalists involved in underground
activities infiltrated Pekope and sometimes, as in Semarang, succeeded
in taking it over completely.(40) Although Pekope was meant for
Indonesians only, in some localities Chinese seem to have joined as
well. For instance, in Godong and in Salatiga Chinese are mentioned as
members of this organization.(41) A Dutch civil servant in Batavia,
however, saw the Pekope as nothing more than a front organization. He
believed that the Indonesians were apparently already counting upon
the capitulation of the Netherlands Indies, after which they would be
able to take over control.(42)
It is not known if local nationalists involved in underground
activities actually received any instructions from Radio Tokyo.(43)
Most of their activities during the early days of the war had to do
with preventing the implementation of a scorched-earth policy by the
Dutch. The Dutch had formed a demolition corps to destroy vital
objects like oil refineries, factories, bridges and rice-mills. The
nationalists saw the scorched-earth policy as being directed more
against the Indonesian people than against the Japanese. In the words
of an upper middle class Indonesian woman in Batavia: "It seems that
the Dutch begrudge our having their factories and bridges. Why do they
want to destroy them? Those who will suffer most are the Indonesians,
because the people on those burnt out estates will be without
employment and will starve."(44) To spread propaganda among those
Indonesians who participated in the demolition corps urging them to
sabotage the orders of the Dutch was one of the priorities of the
local nationalists active in the underground organization,(45)
alongside the guarding of such vital targets to prevent their
destruction.(46) Nationalists also urged the Indonesian soldiers
serving in the local Dutch forces, the KNIL, not to fight against the
Japanese. The Japanese were not fighting the Indonesians, so why
should Indonesians retaliate against them? Some went so far as to
exhort the soldiers to kill their commanders first.(47)
By the time Japanese troops landed in Java, a frantic atmosphere of
welcome had overwhelmed the island, arising from the expectation on
the part of the Indonesians that prosperity and independence, about
which they had been dreaming for so many years, would soon be achieved
with the help and assistance of Japan. During the landing of the
Japanese army in Java on the night of 1 March 1942, all over the
island planes dropped leaflets bearing the slogan, "One colour, one
race", with the two flags (Japanese and Indonesian) printed on the
reverse sides.(48) Members of the underground organization were given
instructions to make the mark of Hinomaru, a red ball on the left palm
of their hands. Should they meet Japanese soldiers, they would only
have to show the symbol of the sun to let them know that they were
friends.(49) But, to their disappointment, the Japanese soldiers
seemed to be unaware of the meaning of the sign.(50)
In the chaotic days between the Japanese invasion of Java and the
capitulation of the Dutch on 9 March 1942, local nationalists seized
the opportunity to set up so-called Merdeka committees. They
instructed the people to greet the Japanese with cries of "Banzai!"
and to carry a handkerchief in the likeness of the Japanese flag with
them. In Magelang and Jember thousands of people did indeed welcome
the Japanese with cries of "Banzai", "Hidup Indonesia" and "Selamat
Nippon datang".(51) Among the first to set up such committees were the
nationalists involved in the underground network. As mentioned above,
some committees like those in Semarang had already been formed before
the Japanese invasion under the guise of Pekope. Now they lost no time
in changing their designation from Pekope to Komite Indonesia Merdeka.
In Blitar, Madiun, Batavia, Magelang, Semarang, Yogyakarta(52), Kroya,
Kendal, Salatiga, Jember and Ambarawa committees were formed under
different names, such as Komite Nasional Indonesia, Komite Indonesia
Merdeka and Komite Barisan Rakyat Indonesia (Indonesian People's Army
Committee). In Magelang a prominent Chinese was also asked to sit on
the committee, but as a rule committee members were Indonesian.(53)
Although the names differed the aims of the committees were virtually
the same, to support the Japanese in order to achieve the East-Asian
Co-prosperity Sphere; to destroy the power of Western nations; to
maintain law and order until there was a new administration; and to
recognize Dai Nippon as the leader and protector of Asia. Lurking
behind these aims lay the expectation that the committees would be
given a say in the local administration and the economy.
The newly-formed committees often tried in vain to maintain order
among the population pending the arrival of the glorious Japanese
army. They were powerless to prevent the chain of banditry, looting
and arson which welled up in the wake of the Dutch scorched-earth
policy and the subsequent invasion of the Japanese army. On 28
February the Dutch government gave orders to the demolition corps to
do their job. All over Java bands of robbers plundered stores of food,
pawn shops and depots at railway stations. They regarded Dutch and
Indonesian civil servants, not to mention the Chinese as their
legitimate targets. In Jombang, according to a Dutch police report,
the Parindrists stirred up anti-Dutch feelings. "The natives must have
no sympathy for the Dutch. They had tyrannized and exploited the
Indonesian people. The Indonesians should help the Japanese to murder
the Dutch."(54) In Yogyakarta the house of the Assistant Resident was
attacked,(55) while in Pare the wedana had to hand over control to the
local Parindrists,(56) and in Kendal, the members of the newly-formed
committee also tried to seize control of the administration.(57) Even
more extreme measures were taken at Kesamben, near Blitar, where men
armed with cudgels and knives attacked the home of the Assistant
Wedana planning to murder him, but he escaped.(58)
However, the main target of the bands were Chinese living in rural
areas. In East Java all the rice mills in the vicinity of Jombang were
ransacked, and Chinese men were forcibly circumcised by the Nahdatul
Ulama. Chinese shops were looted and some of their owners were
killed.(59) The plundering of Chinese property, factories and
rice-mills also occurred in Central Java. In Demak the looting began
in the Chinese kampong. One report says that the Indonesians were shot
at by the Chinese who had been armed by the Dutch. Thereupon members
of the underground organization arrested all the Chinese and threw
them into the local prison.(60) It is striking that several
nationalists involved in underground activities claimed that they had
prevented the murder of hundreds of Chinese. In Ambarawa the Komite
Indonesia Merdeka succeeded in preventing a clash between Indonesians
and Chinese. In Godong, where about 900 Chinese were locked up in the
local pawnshop, Pekope took care of them, giving them food and
protection. The members of the committee of Kendal district,
originally nationalists attached to the underground organization who
included Parindrists and young people from the Surya Wiryawan,
Parindra's Youth Association, were able to evacuate the Chinese before
the looting began. This pattern was repeated in Boja where Chinese
shops were plundered, but the Chinese had been evacuated to Semarang
and escaped personal harm. Around Semarang as well the committee
evacuated the Chinese from rural areas into the city.(61)
On 7 March 1942, 18 Japanese officers, representing the army, arrived
in Semarang where they were received by the Dutch Resident and the
mayor of the city. Members of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka tried in
vain to join in the welcome.(62) Nor were they the only ones who
complained that they were obstructed in their activities by Dutch and
Indonesian civil servants, who were then still at their posts. In the
eyes of the Dutch and Indonesian civil servants, these elements were
not the upholders of law and order but were in fact perpetrators of
the plundering and looting. Eight members of committees were arrested
by the Assistant Wedana in Wates in East Java.(63) There were also
arrests in Kertosono. The supporters and helpers of the Japanese army
were branded robber-chiefs by the Indonesian civil servants and held
responsible for the looting and arson, for which they were
imprisoned.(64) The nationalists, in their turn, were convinced that
the looting of Dutch and Chinese property was the consequence of the
centuries of exploitation of the people. It was clear that the people
hated both the Dutch government and their alleged accomplices, the
Chinese. It was also obvious to them that the Indonesian civil
servants, the representatives of the Dutch, did not want to submit to
the Japanese, but were pretending to do so for the time being.(65)
The rivalry between the local nationalists on the one hand and the
Indonesian civil service and the Chinese on the other now emerged as a
leading point of friction. Under the pretext of helping to maintain
law and order, nationalists staged takeovers of local administrative
functions and, ostensibly to take care of the welfare of the people,
Pekope and the committees attempted to get a grip on the food
distribution system, which was mainly in Chinese hands. They were
convinced that as soon as the Japanese controlled Indonesia they, as
leaders of the people, would be chosen to improve the welfare of the
people, who were still suffering from abuses under the former Dutch
Illusions and Disenchantments
The Japanese invasion evoked tremendous excitement not only in the
countryside of Java but also in the political centre of the island,
Batavia. Here, as elsewhere, the nationalists expected not only to be
liberated from Dutch imperialism but to be able to achieve
independence as a consequence of the invasion. There were rumours from
Semarang that in their first contacts with nationalists the Japanese
officers, who arrived in Demak between 2 and 4 March, had given voice
to such ideas as "We shall drive out the Dutch. You try to govern your
own country".(66) Expectations that the nationalists would gain
control of the administration of their country were rising high.
Directly after the capitulation of the Dutch, the Japanese authorities
in Batavia sought contact with some prominent nationalists in order,
so it was said, to consult with them on the organization of the new
administration. However, the rivalry among the nationalists increased
apace with the steadily rising expectations of an Indonesia Merdeka.
In the course of five days, three different blueprints for the
composition of an Indonesian cabinet were proposed by the
nationalists. Subardjo's name was mentioned in one of the lists as
deputy-minister for Foreign Affairs, with Sudjono as secretary of
state and Tadjuddin Noor as deputy-minister.(67) The Japanese
authorities speedily rejected the proposals and made it quite clear
that any political concessions were out of the question.(68) In his
autobiography Subardjo states that, even before the landing of the
Japanese, he had written a blueprint for a provisional constitution
for Indonesia in conjunction with Maramis and Supomo. The blunt
rejection of the proposals for a transitional Indonesian government by
the Japanese army authorities made this completely irrelevant.(69)
Moreover, by Ordinance no. 3, dated 20 March 1942, the Japanese
authorities in Java prohibited any kind of discussion, suggestions or
propaganda about the political organization of the country. Within a
fortnight the disillusioned nationalists were forced to give up their
dreams. Even the word Indonesia in a political sense was no longer
permitted. On the same day, in Ordinance no. 4, displaying the
Indonesian flag, was banned.(70) In Batavia the Japanese authorities
were quick to smash the hopes and expectations of the nationalists in
the centre, but it took more time to make it clear to the local
nationalists in the countryside that there could not be any talk of
independence and freedom for Indonesia. Ordinance no. 3 does not seem
to have affected the local committees in Java directly. In the course
of March and April 1942 in several other places, especially in Central
Java, local nationalists freely continued to set up committees, for
example, in Surakarta, Kebumen, Karanganyar, Sumpiuyuh, Probolinggo
and Purworejo.(71) These committees were managed by nationalists from
different nationalist parties and unions who were eager to offer their
services to the Japanese. In several localities members of the
Parindra took the initiative in forming committees, for instance in
Bangil, where a Komite Keamanan Rakyat (People's Security Committee)
was set up,(72) but elsewhere Gerindo and Partindo members were in the
forefront. There were also places, such as Surakarta, where the
Barisan Rakyat Indonesia (Indonesian People's Army) worked alongside
the Komite Nasional Indonesia helping to maintain law and order.(73)
The Komite Indonesia Merdeka in Semarang functioned as the central
organization for most of the local committees in Central Java.(74) It
was subordinate to the Central Committee in Batavia, which was run by
Subardjo and others. The members of the Semarang committee believed
that the ban issued by the Japanese commander on the holding of
meetings and the undertaking of political action did not apply to
them, because the Komite Indonesia Merdeka was a working committee and
not a political party or association.(75) The committee in Semarang
continued its activities and even organized a conference on 21 March
1942 at which representatives from Surakarta and Yogyakarta were
present. At this conference the aims of the committees were laid down:
first, an independent Indonesia and second, the realization of a
Greater Asia under the leadership of Japan. Moreover, the delegation
decided that the Central Committee in Batavia should try to establish
close contacts with the Japanese authorities there, but on the
condition that the local committees would retain the right to keep in
touch with the local Japanese administration. Subardjo and his
committee in Batavia would be asked to set up a mediation committee,
which would maintain direct contact with the supreme Japanese
The working programmes of the local committees reveal a large degree
of similarity. All of them recognized Dai Nippon as the leader and
protector of Asia and formed contact committees to inform the Japanese
commander and the civil service about their activities. Besides this,
propaganda and information sections were set up in order to inform the
people about the changes in the administration. Most of the committees
also had an intelligence section which gathered information about
arms, oil and petrol stores, Dutch soldiers who were in hiding, and
the subversive activities of foreign nationals, as well as a section
whose aim was to liberate the Indonesian economy from the hands of
foreigners and plan a new system of economic organization.(77)
In the city of Surabaya the Parindrists arranged a meeting with a
representative of the Japanese army commander during which they
discussed the redivision of the provincial administration and the
police, and presented an economic plan which would give Parindra the
opportunity to help villagers by means of consumer co-operative
societies, such as Rukung Tani, Lumbung and credit banks.(78) The
Komite Nasional Indonesia in Magelang took on a security function,
obtaining authorization from the Japanese Army authorities to impound
goods, conduct house-searches and call on the police for help. The
chairman of this committee was a member of the former Communist Party
of Indonesia (PKI) who had been interned for four years at Digul.
Members collected arms from the town guard and searched the Dutch
barracks as well as those of the military and police for arms, which
they then handed over to the local Japanese army authorities.(79)
The most important aims of the nationalists, however, seem to have
been to wrest local administrative authority from Indonesian civil
servants and to pry the local economy out of the hands of the Chinese.
Committee representatives generally operated as follows: men - usually
young and sometimes armed - would use force or the threat of force to
try to remove administrative officials. These takeovers were carded
out under the pretext of helping to maintain law and order.(80) The
same argument was used to gain control of food storage and
distribution. Chinese were locked up in jails or other secure
buildings, ostensibly to protect them from the fury of the people. In
the meantime, committee members used their own organizations to
appropriate the distribution of food and set up co-operatives. In
Magelang and Semarang, the local Pekope co-ordinated the rice
supply,(81) while in Krawang rice was distributed among the population
and the essential components of the rice-mills, all owned by the
Chinese, were removed and hidden.(82) In Blitar the Rukun Penduduk
Indonesia Blitar (United Indonesian Citizens of Blitar), helped the
people to organize the local economy.(83)
Within a month, however, the local Japanese authorities forced the
nationalists to surrender local control of the administration to them
and reinstated both Dutch and Indonesian civil servants.(84) The
Indonesian civil servants and police, now supported by the Japanese,
struck back at the committees, branding members as leaders of robber
gangs and arresting them for disturbing the peace.(85) Parindra also
found itself in deep trouble. Some of its local members in East and
Central Java were arrested by the Kempeitai, accused of robbery and
sowing discord in wartime. After the reinstatement of Dutch civil
servants on 3 April, members of the local board of the Parindra in
Malang were arrested by the Kempeitai. In all about 85 persons were
taken, among them 11 Parindrists including Latuharhary who had joined
the underground organization in Malang.(86) Other arrests took place
in Bangil, when nine people, including prominent Parindrists and the
local leader of the Arab minority, were jailed for looting Dutch and
Chinese properties. In June, most of those arrested were released, but
18 people, including 15 Parindrists, remained in detention.(87)
In Surakarta, where the Komite Nasional Indonesia and the Barisan
Rakyat Indonesia were embroiled in fierce competition with the Chinese
civil front organization, the chairmen of both groups were arrested
along with 55 youths. To the dismay of the nationalists, the Chinese
civil front worked for the Japanese and guarded their offices,
whereupon the nationalists accused the Chinese of manufacturing
weapons and of being involved in black marketeering. To their
disappointment, the Japanese did not take any notice of their
accusations, and one night when a Chinese guard spied some members of
the Barisan Rakyat guarding the residential neighbourhood in the city,
they were arrested on suspicion of being involved in looting. They
were set free some days later, with the exception of the committee
chairmen who were still in jail at the beginning of May.(88)
Meanwhile, the nationalists in the political centre in Batavia, who
were still confused by the measures taken by the Japanese authorities,
tried to find out what was going on elsewhere in Java. Under the guise
of visiting their families in Central Java, Sukarto, deputy-secretary
of the GASPI (Gabungan Sarekat Sekerdja Partikulir
Indonesia/Federation of Private Workers) and Hindromartono, a
prominent member of the PVPN (Persatoean Vakbonden Pegawai
Negeri/League of Civil Servants' Unions)(89) left Batavia at the end
of March and visited several branches of the GASPI and local
committees during April 1942. Afterwards Sukarto reported his findings
to Subardjo. He hoped that the report would stimulate the Japanese
authorities to take appropriate action and that they would gain
confidence in the committees set up by the Indonesian people.(90) In
this he was disappointed, for the measures taken by the Japanese
authorities were quite different from those anticipated by the
nationalists. The Indonesian civil service and the Indonesian police
continued to be used by the Japanese, while prominent members of local
committees and Parindrists remained in jail. In the eyes of the
nationalists, nothing had changed since these elements were the same
people who had oppressed them and the public at large before the
outbreak of war.
In May 1942 the deeply chagrined committee in Semarang adjusted its
objectives. Under pressure from the local Japanese authorities it
admitted that Indonesia was now subject to the power of Japan, and
that gaining independence did not mean winning it (that would have
meant fighting), but receiving it which implied acquiescing to the
wishes of Japan. The Indonesians had to prove that they possessed the
necessary competence to undertake the job, otherwise they had no right
to be independent. Japan wanted Indonesia to become independent under
the leadership of Japan. In the opinion of the committee, however, to
be independent implied first the existence of a Greater Indonesia, as
expressed in the anthem Indonesia Raya, and second the right to raise
the Indonesian flag. But the Japanese army decreed otherwise. The red
and white Indonesian flag was banned, Indonesia Raya could not to be
sung and the words Indonesia Merdeka could not be uttered. Instead,
there had to be an Asia Raya (Greater Asia) under the leadership of
Japan and once the goal of Indonesia Merdeka was no longer a
possibility, it became obvious that the committee had to be dispensed
It is not known when the other local committees were abolished, but it
is almost certain that all surviving committees were eliminated in
July 1942, when Ordinance no. 23 required all political parties and
other associations to disband. One of the reasons behind this ban on
committees was probably that the Japanese authorities were no longer
prepared to tolerate any interference in the economic sphere. In
particular, they wanted to prevent the nationalists from leading any
agrarian resistance to their measures.(92) In June, the Japanese
authorities had ordered the reopening of the rice-mills, and forced
the rice co-operatives set up by the local committees to stop their
work. Farmers had to sell their rice to the Chinese mill-owners for a
fixed price. To ensure that all the rice went to the rice-mills, even
the traditional pounding of rice was forbidden.(93)
Parindra was also ordered to desist from its economic activities.
During the first months of the Occupation Parindra had set up shops in
almost every town in Java which sold food and other related articles
but only to Parindra members. After several months, when food
shortages began to occur everywhere, the people could buy food in the
Parindra shops but only on condition that they join the
association.(94) The Japanese authorities, however, wanted to have
complete control of both the food supply and the food distribution,
and at the same time to disembarrass themselves of the Parindra, their
most fervent supporter.
In July the Japanese authorities put Parindra under severe pressure to
cease its activities immediately. At that point Parindra had still not
succeeded in freeing its members arrested in April, although it had
made representations about this several times. On 26 June 1942 a
member from Malang went to Batavia to speak to Subardjo, who was then
working in Hatta's office in the Department of Economic Affairs of the
Gunseikanbu, concerning the Parindra members who were still in jail in
Malang.(95) The Parindra board in Surabaya also sent representatives
to Batavia for consultation with the Japanese authorities.(96) The
Japanese announced that they were willing to release Parindra members
on condition that the party be dissolved, and the Parindrists
concerned affirm under oath ten conditions imposed by the Japanese.
Besides the dissolution of the Parindra, most of these conditions
referred to general matters such as submission to Dai Nippon and the
ban on any kind of discussion or organization, and only two applied
specifically to Parindra: namely, that the name Parindra on buildings
had to be taken down and, probably the most remarkable, that in future
only the Indonesian language would be permitted.(97) In view of the
relatively high educational level of prominent nationalists, it is
likely they used to communicate with each other in Dutch, a language
that most Indonesians and Japanese had not mastered. The Parindra was
dissolved as from the end of July. In August 1942 the last Parindrists
still imprisoned were released.(98) By then the Japanese had the local
administration and the economy completely under their control, and the
influence of the nationalists in the rural areas of Java had been
definitively curbed. The best that remained for them was membership of
one of the many advisory councils which the Japanese authorities were
to set up during the occupation.
Have we sufficient evidence to conclude that there was a kind of
underground organization in Java before and during the initial stages
of the war? The reports provide a picture of a loosely knit
underground group, based in the first instance on the network of
personal relations of Subardjo and his friends. They belonged to the
upper echelons of the nationalist elite who were aspiring to gain
freedom and independence for Indonesia, directly below Sukarno, Hatta
and Sjahrir. Pertinently, these three prominent nationalists had been
interned by the Dutch in Bengkulen and on the island of Banda
respectively and were not available to lead the nationalist movement.
In the eyes of the local nationalists, Subardjo and his friends were
obviously the most appropriate leaders to set them on the road to
freedom with the aid of Japan, being preferable to those nationalists
who were involved in the Madjalis Rakyat Indonesia and other large
political federations endeavouring to negotiate their freedom from the
Dutch. The fact that Subardjo had been in Japan and had contacts and
friends there, as did Jusuf Hasan, strengthened their position.
Under the influence of Japanese propaganda, groups of nationalists
whose aim was to support Japan as a way of gaining independence for
Indonesia were set up here and there. They made contact with one of
Subardjo's fellow-workers who visited several of his friends in
October and November 1941. There was, however, no direct contact
between the members, and the different groups were unacquainted with
each other before the outbreak of the war with Japan. All these small
groups were looking for leaders who could give guidance in the
imminent independence of Indonesia, and such leaders were Subardjo and
his friends. The activities the different groups, consisting of two or
at most four people, claimed to have undertaken before the war were so
general - to propagate anti-Dutch sentiments and listen to Radio Tokyo
- that everyone who was expecting the war could be said to have taken
part. One very important instrument in making preparations for the new
Indonesia was Pekope. This civil front organization provided the local
nationalists with the means to make close contact with the people.
Under the pretext of organizing aid to civilian war victims, they set
up provisional networks to take over the local administration and
economy. The bitterness of the local nationalists about the
scorched-earth policy of the Dutch must be seen against this background.
During the invasion of the Japanese these different groups came to the
fore and set up Merdeka committees. From that point on a kind of
organization began to take shape with Subardjo as the
behind-the-scenes organizer. Convinced of the imminent independence of
Indonesia once the Japanese had arrived, Subardjo in collaboration
with Maramis and Supomo drew up a blueprint for a provisional
constitution for Indonesia. There is no evidence that Subardjo's other
friends knew about this blueprint. Whatever the case may be, Subardjo
and Maramis became the leaders of the Central Committee in Batavia,
which functioned as a mediation group between the Japanese authorities
and the local committees, at least in Central Java. Moreover, Subardjo
was well-informed about the activities the local committees had
undertaken in the first two months after the capitulation of the
Dutch, thanks to Sukarto's report.(99) Under the pretext of supporting
the Japanese, the committees then started a social revolution in order
to realize their idea of a free Indonesia in which they would be the
leaders assigned to guide the people to a prosperous future. In their
vision there was no place in the new Indonesia for collaborators with
the Dutch or for capitalists like the Chinese who had exploited the
people for so long. Pending the arrival of their liberators, they took
over the local administration and tried to implement their plans to
control the food production and distribution.
However, within a month, the Japanese had restored the Indonesian
civil servants to their posts, and thrust aside the local
nationalists, who were branded as agitators and accused of disturbing
the peace. Arrests followed and the bewildered nationalists, who could
not believe that the former oppressors of the people had been put back
in power by their putative liberators, directed their energy towards
the development of food and other production co-operatives.
Momentarily, the Japanese authorities turned a blind eye to
nationalist activities in the agrarian sector. In view of the
destruction of the estates and rice-mills by the Dutch and by
plundering bands, the Japanese needed some support at least from the
local nationalists to be able to secure the production and
distribution of food. Besides the committees, the Japanese depended in
particular on Parindra, although they did not trust it completely, and
as soon as the Japanese had restored the damage to the factories and
rice-mills, they ordered the Chinese to resume operations. The
committees and Parindra were forced to abandon their activities in
this sphere as well.
The local Merdeka committees set in motion the first social revolution
in Java, a forerunner of the large-scale social revolution which
erupted directly after the capitulation of Japan in August 1945. In
the frantic atmosphere of freedom that seized them during the first
weeks after the arrival of their assumed liberators, they gave no
thought to the possibility that their revolution might be stillborn.
They believed that their liberators intended to grant them political
independence. After all, had the prophecy of Jayabaya not foretold
that their liberators would remain for only three months? Japan's
attitude to the demands of the nationalists, however, was governed by
immediate plans for the exploitation of the resources and manpower of
Java. The nationalists found themselves involved in a serious conflict
with the Japanese authorities and the social revolution they set in
motion rebounded on them.
Within four months the nationalists' aspirations had been completely
crushed. The local nationalists felt badly betrayed by the Japanese
refusal to grant Indonesia its independence. They had co-operated with
the Japanese, having taken the latter's claim that they would grant
independence to Indonesia at face value. The nationalists were
expelled from the rural areas in Java and the Japanese kept a close
eye on them to make sure that they did not have a chance to maintain
contact with the common people. The organizations the Japanese set up
during the occupation to mobilize the manpower in Java such as the
Seinandan, the Keibodan, PETA and the Jawa Hokokai were put
unequivocally under the control of the Indonesian civil servants,
which was tantamount to being under the control of the Japanese. The
nationalists were co-opted into countless advisory councils, where
they bided their time waiting for the moment when they could seize
freedom and independence for Indonesia.
1 An overview of anti-Dutch activities in the Netherlands East Indies
before the invasion of Japan is given in E. Touwen-Bouwsma, "De
Indonesische nationalisten en de oorlog met Japan: houding en
reacties", in Nederlands-Indie 1942. Illusie en ontgoocheling, ed. P.
Groen and E. Touwen-Bouwsma (Den Haag, SDU Uitgeverij, 1992), pp. 57-75.
2 H.J. Benda, "The Beginning of the Japanese Occupation of Java", The
Far Eastern Quarterly 15 (1956): 544; B. Bouman, "Een veelzijdige
waarneming. Japan in Indonesische ogen in het tijdvak 1930-1942", in
Beelden van Japan in her vooroorlogse Nederlands-Indie, ed. E.
Locher-Scholten (Leiden: Werkgroep Europese Expansie, State University
of Leiden, 1987), p. 230.
3 See for anti-Dutch activities in Aceh, A.J. Piekaar, Atjeh en de
oorlog met Japan (Den Haag: Van Hoeve, 1949). For an detailed account
of the role the Japanese played in the so-called F-organization in
Aceh see Fujiwara Iwaichi, "Fifth Column Work in Sumatra", in The
Japanese Experience in Indonesia: Selected Memoirs of 1942-1945, ed.
Anthony Reid and Oki Akira (Athens: Ohio University Monographs in
International Studies, Southeast Asia Series No. 72, 1986), pp. 9-31.
Benda states that among the Minangkabau there were two groups who
fought against the Dutch: Indonesia Bergerak and Islam Raja. See "The
Beginning of the Japanese Occupation of Java", p. 544.
4 M. Zed, Kepialangan Politik dan Revolusi: Palembang 1900-1950
(Amsterdam: Centrale Huisdrukkerij VU, 1991).
5 For more information on the Republik Gorontalo, see Republik
Indonesia, Propinsi Sulawesi (Jakarta: Kementerian Penerangan, 1953),
6 G.S. Kanahele, "The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia: Prelude to
Independence" (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1967), pp. 17-18, 35.
7 Jusuf Hasan was a Sumatran who went to Japan in 1930 to study
economics at the Meiji University, where he joined the
ultra-nationalist Black Dragon Society. He was probably the most
active Indonesian propagandist in Tokyo, taking part in establishing
the Kainan Ryo Centre for overseas students. In 1941 he returned to
Indonesia as a secret Japanese agent. See Nisjihima, "The Nationalists
in Java, 1943-1945", in The Japanese Experience in Indonesia, ed. Reid
and Oki, p. 262. At the end of November 1941, just before the outbreak
of the war with Japan, he returned to Tokyo, where he worked with the
shortwave radio transmitter of the Japanese navy to broadcast appeals
to his people back home. See K. Goto, "Life and death of 'Abdul
Rachman' (1906-49): One Aspect of Japanese-Indonesian Relationships",
Indonesia 22 (1976): 66.
8 Nishijima had lived in Java before the war and was sympathetic to
the nationalists cause. He was close friends with outstanding
nationalists and spoke Malay fluently. He was one of the Japanese who
had been interned by the Dutch at the outbreak of the war with Japan
and was transported to Australia. In August 1942, he returned to Java
where he remained in close contact with his nationalist friends.
9 Achmad Subardjo had studied at the Universities of Utrecht and
Leiden. In the Netherlands, he had been an active member of the
Indonesian Student Association/Perhimpunan Indonesia. He returned to
Java in 1934, and earned his living as a self-employed lawyer, as he
did not want to work for the Dutch government. He went to Japan in
September 1935 as a correspondent for the Indonesian journal Matahari,
issued in Semarang. After returning to Java in 1936, he earned a
living in Bandung. In 1939 he moved to Jakarta where he arranged
programmes for Radio Ketimuran, a branch of the Netherlands Indies
Radio Network Company/NIROM. He also worked with Sam Ratulangi writing
a newspaper column called "National Comments". He was a
non-co-operative nationalist and apparently not a member of one of the
nationalists parties. See A. Subardjo Djoyoadisuryo, Kesadaran
Nasional, Sebuah Otobiografi (Jakarta, 1978), and Orang Indonesia yang
Terkemuka di Jawa (Jogjakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press, 1986), p.
10 Sudjono had been in Japan teaching Indonesian. He returned to Java
with the Japanese army of invasion in Bantam. Sudjono was married to a
niece of Subardjo, the daughter of one of his sisters. It was Sudjono
who invited Subardjo to come to Japan in 1935. Subardjo, Kesadaran
Nasional, p. 191.
11 Nishijima claims there were committees set up by Indonesians who
hoped to achieve independence for Indonesia by cooperating with the
Japanese. See Nishijima, "The Nationalists in Java, 1943-1945", in The
Japanese Experience in Indonesia, ed. Reid and Oki, p. 262.
12 Sukarto Report, Journey through East Java, 4 May 1942.
Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie [henceforth RIOD] IC:
031605-031630. See also BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2407. Strangely enough,
Subardjo does not mention this organization in his autobiography,
13 For a detailed overview of the attempts of the nationalists to
co-operate with the Dutch government in the last year before the
outbreak of the Pacific War, see S. Abeyasekere, One Hand Clapping:
Indonesian Nationalists and the Dutch, 1939-1942 (Clayton, Vic: Monash
Papers on Southeast Asia Number Five, 1976).
14 Report on the activities before and during the Japanese invasion in
15 The Madjalis Rakyat Indonesia (M.R.I.) included the Federation of
Political Parties, Gabungan Politik Indonesia (GAPI); the Federation
of Islamic Unions, Madjlisoel Islamil A'laa Indonesia (M.I.A.I.); and
the Trade Union for civil servants, Persatoean Vakbonden Pegawai
16 S. Sjahrir, Out of Exile (New York: John Day, 1949), pp. 219, 233.
17 According to a Dutch publication the effect of these broadcasts was
negligible. See A Decade of Japanese Underground Activities in the
Netherlands East Indies (London: HMSO, 1942), p. 15.
18 For the impact of the transmissions from Radio Tokyo, see B.
Bouman, "Een veelzijdige waarneming. Japan in Indonesische ogen in het
tijdvak 1930-1942", in Beelden van Japan in het vooroorlogse
Nederlands-Indie, ed. E. Locher-Scholten and G.S. Kanahele, "The
Japanese Occupation of Indonesia".
19 Two of them, Maramis and Tadjuddin Noor, were also mentioned by
Kanahele as belonging to the fifth column in Java ("The Japanese
Occupation of Indonesia", pp. 17-18). It is known that Hindromartono,
a prominent member of the Persatuan Vakbonden Pegawai Negeri
(P.V.P.N.), the trade union for civil servants, made a tour through
Central Java in April 1942 with Sukarto, who reported to Subardjo
about how the Committees Indonesia Merdeka established by then were
doing (RIOD. IC: 031605-30).
20 Dr Samsi is also named by Kanahele as a member of the fifth column
in Java. See "The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia", pp. 17-18.
21 Report on activities before and during the Japanese invasion of
22 Subardjo, Kesadaran Nasional, p. 189.
23 See the following reports on Subardjo's organization.
BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2775 (Jogyakarta), 2727 (Kertosono), 2739 (Semarang).
24 Report on Subardjo's organization. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2729.
25 Report of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka for Semarang.
26 See the reports of Subardjo's organization. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2773
(Toeban), 2762 and 2769 (Djember), 2726 (Demak).
27 Report of Subardjo's organization about activities in Feb./Mar.
28 Nishijima, "The Nationalists in Java", p. 259.
29 Thamrin's funeral was attended by more than 20,000 people and
became a great mass manifestation of Indonesian nationalism, which
bore a clearly anti-Dutch character. See Abeyasekere, One Hand
Clapping, pp. 77-78.
30 Report of Subardjo's organization in Magelang, Feb./Mar. 1942.
31 A Decade of Japanese Underground Activities, p. 30. The interned
Japanese were transported to Australia before the capitulation of the
Royal Netherlands Indies Army, the KNIL, on 9 Mar. 1942.
32 One of Subardjo's sisters was married to Dr Latip (see Subardjo,
Kesadaran Nasional, p. 195). It was this family which was interned in
Cibadak by the Dutch.
33 S. Suleiman, "The last days of Batavia", Indonesia 28 (1979): 56.
34 Report of Subardjo's organization in Tegal, Mar. 1942.
35 Goto, "Life and Death of 'Abdul Rachman'", p. 66. See also
Kanahele, "The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia", p. 253 n. 22.
36 R. de Bruin, Indonesie. De laatste etappe naar de vrijheid
1942-1945 (Ph.D. diss., Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1982), p. 58.
37 The Pesat of 28 January 1942 made an urgent appeal to the
nationalists to join the Pekope (Persoverzichten, Januari, 1942:
1312). The journal Pesat was Gerindo oriented.
38 Review of the Indonesian political parties in 1942.
39 Hering, "Het afscheidswoord van bet dagelijks bestuur van
Parindra", Kabar Seberang 38 (1992): 58.
40 The Head of the Pekope in Semarang was Dr Boentaran, later on the
chairman of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka, taking over this function
from his wife. See report of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka for
41 See the reports from Godong (BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2768) and Salatiga
42 Report of the Controleur, A.H.P. Regoort, in Batavia, 10 Mar. 1947.
43 One source claims that in its pre-invasion propaganda broadcasts
Radio Tokyo encouraged Indonesian nationalists to form independence
committees. Kanahele, "The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia", p. 258
44 Suleiman, "The last days of Batavia", p. 62.
45 On 28 Feb. 1942 the Dutch government gave orders for the demolition
corps in Java to get on with their job.
46 How far the members of Subardjo's group succeeded in their
anti-sabotage activities is not known. Several claim to have prevented
the destruction of bridges and rice-mills, but they do not explain how
this was accomplished.
47 Report of Subardjo's organization during the Japanese invasion in
48 Benda, "The Beginning of the Japanese Occupation of Java", p. 545.
49 See the following reports of Subardjo's organization.
BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2715, 2722 and 2717.
50 There seems to have been a radio message claiming that Indonesians
would not be killed by Japanese soldiers when they landed if they
showed the mark of the sun on their palms. See Nishijima, "The
Nationalists in Java", p. 262.
51 See reports of Subardjo's organization for Magelang
(BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2775) and Demak (2726).
52 In the reports Yogyakarta is consistently called Mataram (2763).
See also the report of Sukarto, 4 May 1942. RIOD.IC: 031605-031630.
The name Mataram refers to the glorious days of Sultan Agung (r. 1613-46).
53 See report of Subardjo's organization in Magelang.
BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2775. The reason that a Chinese could join the Merdeka
committee was that the person in question had not been a member of any
Chinese association under the Dutch. He was more Indonesian than
Chinese oriented and, moreover, he had been considered dangerous by
54 Report of Police Inspector Van Leeuwen in Djombang, 7 Nov. 1946.
55 Report of Assistant Resident W.C. Schoevers, 7 May 1946.
56 Report of the Dutch Police in Malang. ARA.Alg. Secr.4955.
57 Report of Subardjo's organization for Kendal. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2765.
58 Report on the activities in Blitar. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2722.
59 Report of Police Inspector Van Leeuwen, 7 Nov. 1946. ARA.Alg.Secr.4956.
60 Report of Subardjo's organization for Demak. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2726.
61 See the following reports of Subardjo's organization in Ambarawa
(BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2721), Godong (2768), Kendal (2765), Semarang (2739).
62 Report of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka for Semarang.
63 Report of Subardjo's organization for Kediri. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2774.
64 Report of Subardjo's organization in Kertosono. BUZA.NEFIS.CMI:2727.
65 Sukarto Report, Journey through East Java, 4 May 1942. RIOD. IC:
66 Report of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka for Semarang,
67 See the confidential letter from Abikusno, 10 Mar. 1942, concerning
two lists of candidates for the posts of ministers and
deputy-ministers in an Indonesian government during the transitional
period. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:1972. See also L. Sluimers, "Nieuwe orde op
Java", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde 124 (1968): 336-67.
In an appendix Sluimers gives an overview of the three lists of
ministerial candidates for the Indonesian government and their assistants.
68 This was in accordance with the Japanese blueprint for Indonesia
determined during the Liaison Conference on 20 November 1941 in Tokyo,
where it was stated that the Greater Indonesia Movement should be
curbed as much as possible. See H.J. Benda and J.K. Irikura, Japanese
Military Administration in Indonesia: Selected Documents (New Haven:
Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1965), p. 2. See also M.
Nakamura, "General Imamura and the Early Period of Japanese
Occupation", Indonesia 10 (1970): 5.
69 Subardjo, Kesadaran Nasional, pp. 236-37.
70 K.A. de Weerd, The Japanese Occupation of the Netherlands Indies.
RIOD. IC: 032759.
71 These committees are mentioned in Sukarto's report. He visited them
during his trip through Central Java in April 1942. Some of the
committees were formed as late as the end of that month. RIOD. IC:
72 The Parindra at the Beginning of the Japanese Occupation.
73 Sukarto Report, 4 May 1942. RIOD. IC: 031605-031630.
74 The chairman of the committee in Semarang was Dr. Boentaran (see
note 40 above), a member of Subardjo's organization. Besides him there
were six other board members.
75 Report of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka for Semarang, 19 May 1942.
76 Komite Nasional Indonesia in Semarang, 21 Mar. 1942.
77 Sukarto Report, 4 May 1942. RIOD. IC: 031605-031630.
78 Hering, "Het afscheidswoord van het dagelijks bestuur van
Parindra", Kabar Seberang (1992): 60, 63.
79 Report of Subardjo's organization for Magelang, Feb.-Mar. 1942.
80 See Kanahele, "The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia", pp. 28-29.
81 For Magelang, see BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2775 and for Semarang,
82 For Krawang, see BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2711.
83 For Blitar, see BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2771. After the Japanese had taken
measures against the activities of the committees and their
organizations in July 1942, the ROEPIB took care of the support for
the unemployed Indonesians and set up a committee to organize economic
requirements of the Japanese.
84 In Subang the nationalists had to turn over the local
administration to the Indonesian civil servants within one week. See
Report on the activities for Subang in March 1942. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2712.
85 Many who could not produce a certificate from the Japanese army
were arrested and put in jail. A member of the committee in Kertosono
reported that he had been arrested by the Dutch commander of the field
police at the end of March. Thanks to his friends, who worked with the
Kempeitai, he was released from prison on 29 April 1942. he had been
arrested on charges of disturbing peace. See the Report of Subardjo's
organization in Kertosono. BUZA.NEFIS/CMI:2727. According to Kanahele
the arrests of nationalists may have been largely due to a
misunderstanding on the part of the Kempeitai, rather than any hostile
opposition ("The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia", p. 43). But this
is only partly correct. It was the Indonesian civil servants in
conjunction with the former Dutch PID (Political Intelligence
Service), the opponents of the nationalists, who informed the
Kempeitai about disturbers of peace.
86 See Kanahele, "The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia", p. 267 n. 18.
87 Parindra in the beginning of the Japanese occupation.
88 Sukarto Report, 4 May 1942. RIOD. IC: 031605-031630.
89 Hindromartono was not in Java during the Japanese invasion. He
remained in New York, where he was a member of the Dutch delegation
attending the Labour Conference as technical adviser on the interests
of the Indonesians. He returned to Java shortly after the surrender of
the Dutch. So he had good reasons for visiting his family. See Orang
Indonesia yang Terkemuka di Jawa, p. 10.
90 Sukarto Report, 4 May 1942. RIOD. IC: 031605-031630.
91 Report of the Komite Indonesia Merdeka for Semarang, 19 May 1942.
92 See also L. Sluimers, "De Japanse bezettingspolitiek en de
Indonesische elites 1942-1943", Bijdragen tot de taal-, Land-en
Volkenkunde 124 (1968): 364.
93 Report of Winarno Danoeatmodjo, Semarang, Aug. 1942. RIOD. IC: 039581.
94 Report of Police Inspector Van Leeuwen in Jombang, Soerabaya, <br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)