Article published in:New Insights in the History of Interpreting
Edited by Kayoko Takeda and Jesús Baigorri-Jalón
[Benjamins Translation Library 122] 2016
► pp. 225–246
Guilt, survival, opportunities, and stigma
Japanese interpreters in the postwar occupation period (1945-1952)
Following the end of World War II, Japanese interpreters faced unique and complex opportunities and hardships. In occupied Japan, thousands of local interpreters (and translators) were recruited to assist in a variety of occupation operations led by the US forces. In war crimes trials, Japanese linguists played an important role as interpreters in court proceedings against their former superiors and compatriots. At the same time, some interpreters who had served in the Japanese Army were prosecuted as war criminals. Wartime interpreters were also tapped as witnesses to testify for the prosecution during trials. These diverse experiences of Japanese interpreters during the occupation period shine light on some issues and risks faced by wartime interpreters and local interpreters serving foreign military occupiers.
Keywords: court interpreting, social stigma, war crimes, postwar occupation, Japanese women
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Published online: 10 March 2016