ICJS Event: Hamish McDonald on “A Swiss' Odyssey in Japan through War and Peace”

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
7:00 p.m. (talk starts at 7:30 p.m.)
TUJ Mita Hall 502 (Access)
Hamish McDonald
Open to general public.
You can purchase a bento and drinks at the convenience store next to the university.
Registration closed


Sometimes the most vivid insights into momentous events can come not from the great and famous people involved,but the participants in the retinues. Few individuals can have been involved in so many important episodes of Japan's road to war and defeat mid-last century as Charles Bavier (1888-1977).

Swiss-born but left by his Yokohama merchant father to be raised by a Japanese mistress, Bavier grew to adulthood as Japan went to war with Russia, then joined the Japanese "China Ronin" fighting with Sun Yat-sen's revolutionaries in 1911-12. After war service at Gallipoli with the Australian army, he returned to Japan in 1920 and stayed until forced out by rising militarism in 1936. He went to work for British intelligence in Singapore. Before it fell, he was withdrawn to Australia to devise Allied propaganda directed at Japan. He saw one son enlisted by the Kempetai in Singapore, and another fight with the Australians against Japan in New Guinea.

Drawing on records left by Bavier and other sources, Hamish McDonald is writing a narrative of Navier's turbulent life and times. One of Australia's best known foreign correspondents, McDonald is currently attached to Temple University, Japan Campus on a writing residency from Melbourne University's Asialink Institute, and will talk about his work. His previous books have been "Suharto's Indonesia" and "The Polyester Prince" (about India's famous business family, the Ambanis).

About ICJS
The Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies (ICJS) is an organization dedicated to fostering study and research on various topics related to contemporary Japan and Asia.