The Japanese Army invaded Java on 1 March 1942 and occupied it until Japan's surrender in August 1945. Just before the invasion, Java had close to 50 million inhabitants and was widely considered overpopulated, with much of its population unemployed or underemployed. During the three and a half years of occupation, the Japanese launched a campaign of 'total mobilization' and drafted the local people as labourers, known as romusha in Japanese. The scale of mobilization was massive and the work conditions were pernicious but the draftees never raised rebellions. Instead, they resorted to measures such as desertion and dereliction. This chapter analyses the reasons for the lack of open rebellions and the prevalence of passive resistance.
Resisting Bondage in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia p. 82-95
Routledge Studies in Slave and Post Slave Societies 2