Children, Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre, Shanghai, Historical Photographs of China project, Tocher collection to-s17© 2013 Susannah Stapleton

Between 1942 and 1945 thousands of Allied men, women and children were interned by the Japanese occupation forces in Hong Kong and China. Across Southeast Asia many more were also moved into camps, along with Allied prisoners of war. This dataset contains details of just over 15,000 civilians who were interned between 1942 and 1945 in Hong Kong and China. As well as names, camp, occupation and age in 1945, the data includes the date they entered the camp, any transfers, and the date they left camp. In Hong Kong most Allied civilians were interned early in 1942. A number of Allied men were held in Shanghai from August 1942 onwards, but the majority were not interned until February and March 1943. There were small and often temporary internment centres in many Chinese treaty ports, but by 1943 most of the occupants had been moved into the large camps in Shanghai or at Weixian (Weihsien) in north China’s Shandong Province.


There is a rich literature on the internment experience, mostly memoirs. A comprehensive and vital guide is Greg Leck, Captives of Empire: The Japanese Internment of Allied Civilians in China, 1941-1945 which can be ordered here. This provides a great deal of detailed information about the history of each camp and the experience of internees, and a comprehensive list of inmates. Greg Leck’s website also provides more information.


The list here was provided by colleagues at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Modern History. Some names may also be found in this 1942 census of foreign nationals living in Shanghai’s Central District. This is arranged by nationality.


Search Civilian internment records