Sook Ching Inspection Centre

531 Upper Cross Street 050531

Location: Outside Hong Lim Complex

DESCRIPTION

“Operation Sook Ching”, a massacre of Singaporeans under Japanese occupation, was also referred to as the Kakyōshukusei, "purging of Chinese" by the Japanese.

HISTORY

There is no dispute that the massacre took place. However, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected demands for reparation as there was disagreement about the number of deaths caused.

“Sook Ching Inspection Centre” was one of the many temporary registration centres set up by Kempeitai (Japanese Military Police) to screen anti-Japanese Chinese. It was compulsory, under Japanese occupation, for all Chinese origin Singaporean males aged 18 – 50 (and, later, Malays) to report to these centres. Sometimes women and children were also required to report to the centres. Inspection methods were indiscriminate and unpredictable. Sometimes hooded informers gave people up to the Japanese.

Few were the men who were lucky enough to pass the screening process and were allowed to leave the centres. These men were provided with “the proof” of their cleared status with a piece of paper, stamped with "examined", or through similar stamps stamped onto their face, arm, shoulder or clothing. Everyone else was taken away to be killed. This was a systematic purging of anyone and everyone who was considered to be anti-Japanese. The purge was pre-meditated and planned even before the Japanese had entered Singapore.

Sook Ching Inspection Centre was located outside Hong Lim Complex and was infamous for its part in the massacre. The operation was programmed from 21st to 23rd February 1942; it was subsequently extended to 4th March. Sites for the killings were many: Changi Beach, Punggol Beach, and Sentosa, among others.

Without written records, the exact number of people killed in the Sook Ching Operation is unknown. The official figure given by the Japanese was 5,000. However, Lieutenant Colonel Hishakari Takafumi (an ex-newspaper correspondent) confirmed that the initial plan was to kill 50,000 Chinese and that half that number was reached.

In 1947, seven Japanese officers were charged during a war crimes trial in Singapore for their participation in Operation Sook Ching. All seven officers were found guilty. Lieutenant General Saburo Kawamura and Lieutenant Colonel Masayuki Oishi were sentenced to death while the remaining five soldiers were given life sentences. Seven Japanese soldiers were tried in war crimes trials, 24,346 people were killed, not to mention those who were tortured and humiliated and the many broken families left behind.

Following the discovery of mass graves in the Siglap area in 1962, problems such as proper burial of those killed in the massacre resurfaced. A joint memorial committee for Chinese massacre victims was set up to collect the remains of victims from various sites and rebury them in a dedicated memorial site (see Civilian War Memorial and the Kranji Memorials for more details).

On 25 October 1966, the Japanese government agreed to pay 50 million in compensation – in the form of a 25 million grant and a 25 million loan.



References

1. National Heritage Board. (2015, July 6). Sook Ching Inspection Centre. Retrieved from National Heritage Board: Link Here

2. National Library Board Singapore. (2013). Operation Sook Ching. Retrieved from Singapore Infopedia: Link Here ching


Reference

1. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942-1945: Living beneath the rising sun. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN -[WAR])

2. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942-1945: Living beneath the rising sun. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 14. (Call no.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN -[WAR]); Akashi, Y. (1970, Sept). Japanese Policy towards the Malayan Chinese, 1941–1945 (pp. 61–89). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 1(2), 63. (Call no.: RSING 959.005 JSA)

3. Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre. (pp. 71–90). Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 73(3), 73. (Call. no.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)

4. Akashi, Y. (1970, Sept). Japanese Policy towards the Malayan Chinese, 1941-1945 (pp. 61–89). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 1(2), 67. (Call no.: RSING 959.005 JSA)

5. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942–1945: Living beneath the rising sun. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN -[WAR])

6. Tan, S., et al. (2009). Syonan Years, 1942–1945: Living beneath the rising sun. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, p. 15. (Call No.: RSING 940.530745957 TAN -[WAR])

7. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942–1945. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 105. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE -[WAR])

8. Hayashi, H. (2008). Massacre of Chinese in Singapore and its coverage in postwar Japan. In A, Yoji., & Y, Maka (Eds.), New perspectives on the Japanese Occupation in Malaya and Singapore(pp. 234–249). Singapore: NUS Press, p. 235. (Call no.: RSING 940.5337 NEW -[WAR])

9. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942–1945. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 108. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE -[WAR]

10. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942–1945. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE -[WAR]

11. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942–1945. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, p. 110. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE -[WAR])

12. Shinozaki, M. (2011). Syonan, my story. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 46–48. (Call no.: RSING 959.57023 SHI -[HIS])

13. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942–1945. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, pp. 113–115. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE -[WAR])

14. Lee, G. B. (2005). The Syonan Years: Singapore under Japanese rule 1942–1945. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore and Epigram Pte Ltd, pp. 112–113. (Call no.: RSING q940.53957 LEE -[WAR])

15. Tan, B. L., & Quah, (1996). The Japanese Occupation 1942 –1945: A pictorial record of Singapore during the war. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 68. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 TAN -[WAR])

16. Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre (pp. 71–90). Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 73(3), 75. (Call. No.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)

17. Singapore massacre Japs guilty. (1947, April 3). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

18. Chinese want death for seven Japs. (1947, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

19. Plan to rebury Jap victims. (1955, February 4). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

20. Mass war graves found in Siglap’s ‘valley of death’. (1962, February 24). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

21. War massacre of civilians: Compensation – demand. (1962, March 1). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

22. Chandran, R. et als. The 'blood debt' rally. (1963, August 26). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.; Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre (pp. 71–90). Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 73(3), 85. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)

23. $25m Grant, $25m loans settle Singapore’s blood debt. (1966, October 26). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG

24. Blackburn, K. (2000). The Sook Ching Massacre. (pp. 71–90). Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 73(3), 87. (Call. no.: RCLOS 959.5 JMBRAS)

25. Lim, B. T. (1966, November 2). Remains of massacre victims laid to rest. The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

26. Tan, B. L., & Quah, I. (1996). The Japanese Occupation 1942–1945: A pictorial record of Singapore during the war. Singapore; Times Editions, p. 68. (Call no.: RSING q940.5425 TAN -[WAR])

Other Suggested Places

Singapore Food Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

Thaipusam

Singapore Biennale 2016 – An Atlas of Mirrors

Chinese New Year

River Hongbao 2017

SPINS Meet Up Shoot Eat (MUSE) introducing”Seven7h Cucina”

Marina Bay Countdown