Skip to content | Skip to document navigation

Research Guides

Japanese War Crimes in the Pacific: Australia's investigations and prosecutions


The genesis of Japanese war crimes in the Pacific:Australia's investigations and prosecutionscame out of a project designed by Professor Timothy McCormack of the Melbourne Law School (now Dean of Law at the University of Tasmania) to produce a comprehensive and systematic law reports series of the 300 Australian war crimes trials, from records held in the National Archives of Australia. Funded by the Australian Research Council in two Linkage Grants, the project also received long-term and ongoing support from the Australian War Memorial and Department of Defence's Defence Legal Division, for which the project members record their grateful appreciation.

I was appointed as the legal researcher on the Law Reports Series project and began reading the records of the trial proceedings in 2009. In drafting the law reports on the trials, I began generating a great deal of data possibly useful to other researchers that would never see the light of day, such as the indexes included in the appendixes to this guide.

In 2011–12, the National Archives of Australia granted me the Ian MacLean Award to produce this guide. Through its generosity, I was able to undertake a comprehensive review of additional files related to war crimes held in the national collection over a number of years. I record my thanks and acknowledgements to Hilary Rowell, Michaela Forster, William Edwards and the many archivists at the National Archives of Australia (Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane offices) and at the Australian War Memorial who have assisted me in my research over the years. I also thank Mayumi Shinozaki and other librarians at the National Library of Australia. Overseas, thanks are due to archivists and librarians at national archives and libraries of New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. I also thank Jim Zobel at MacArthur Memorial Library & Archives, Norfolk, Virginia. Finally, Hilary Rowell, Elizabeth Masters, Russell Pym, Andrew Cairns, Graham Clayton and Gaetane Burkolter were instrumental in editing and producing this manuscript. All errors, however, remain my own.

Japanese war crimes in the Pacific: Australia's investigations and prosecutions is dedicated to the late historian DCS Sissons, who once aimed to produce this guide, and to Tim McCormack, for setting me on this path.

Dr Narrelle Morris