chapter  4
10 Pages

The Japanese invasion and occupation of Borneo

Oblivious to the multiethnic, sparsely populated communities on the island, who had not witnessed or experienced modern war in their lifetime, the people of Borneo were rudely awakened from their traditional slow-paced, peaceful lifestyle with the landings of Imperial Japanese Forces in December 1941. By early February 1942, in less than two months, the entire island of Borneo fell into Japanese hands, with little opposition from either the British or the Dutch colonial governments. Against a well-planned and equally efficiently executed military operation of the Japanese were an ill-prepared, both militarily and psychologically, British and Dutch side. Apart from the Chinese community, the majority of the diverse indigenous peoples of Borneo were not consciously aware of what the Pacific War (1941-195) entailed, the repercussions, and the implications on their lives and livelihoods.