Keiko Tamura

Keiko Tamura is an honorary senior lecturer in the College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University. She published widely on Japanese immigrants to Australia, Western expatriate communities in Japan and memories of the Pacific War in Australia and Japan. She edited the first book of David Sissons’ writings with Desmond Ball, Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes: David Sissons and D Special Section during the Second World War in 2013. Her other publications include Michi’s Memories: The Story of a Japanese War Bride, Forever Foreign: Expatriate Lives in Historical Kobe, and Reframing National Memory: Stories from Australia and Japan about the Pacific War. She held research positions at The Australian National University, Kobe University and Kyoto University and was awarded research fellowships from the National Library of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, and the Japan Foundation.

Bridging Australia and Japan: Volume 1 »

The writings of David Sissons, historian and political scientist

This book represents volume one of the writings of David Sissons, who for most of his career pioneered research on the history of relations between Australia and Japan. Much of what he wrote remained unpublished at the time of his death in 2006, and so the editors have included a selection of his hitherto unpublished work along with some of his published writings. Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes, edited by Desmond Ball and Keiko Tamura, was published in 2013 and forms a part of the series that reproduces many of Sissons’ writings. In the current volume, the topics covered are wide. They range from contacts between the two countries as far back as the early 19th century, Japanese pearl divers in northern Australia, Japanese prostitutes in Australia, the wool trade, the notorious ‘trade diversion episode’ of 1936, and a study of the Japan historian James Murdoch. Sissons was an extraordinarily meticulous researcher, leaving no stone unturned in his search for accuracy and completeness of understanding, and should be considered one of Australia’s major historians. His writings deal with not only diplomatic negotiations and decision-making, but also the lives of ordinary and often nameless people and their engagements with their host society. His warm humanity in recording ordinary people’s lives as well as his balanced examination of historical incidents and issues from both Australian and Japanese perspectives are a hallmark of his scholarship.

Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes »

David Sissons and D Special Section during the Second World War

During the Second World War, Australia maintained a super-secret organisation, the Diplomatic (or ‘D’) Special Section, dedicated to breaking Japanese diplomatic codes. The Section has remained officially secret as successive Australian Governments have consistently refused to admit that Australia ever intercepted diplomatic communications, even in war-time. This book recounts the history of the Special Section and describes its code-breaking activities. It was a small but very select organisation, whose ‘technical’ members came from the worlds of Classics and Mathematics. It concentrated on lower-grade Japanese diplomatic codes and cyphers, such as J-19 (FUJI), LA and GEAM. However, towards the end of the war it also worked on some Soviet messages, evidently contributing to the effort to track down intelligence leakages from Australia to the Soviet Union. This volume has been produced primarily as a result of painstaking efforts by David Sissons, who served in the Section for a brief period in 1945. From the 1980s through to his death in 2006, Sissons devoted much of his time as an academic in the Department of International Relations at ANU to compiling as much information as possible about the history and activities of the Section through correspondence with his former colleagues and through locating a report on Japanese diplomatic codes and cyphers which had been written by members of the Section in 1946. Selections of this correspondence, along with the 1946 report, are reproduced in this volume. They comprise a unique historical record, immensely useful to scholars and practitioners concerned with the science of cryptography as well as historians of the cryptological aspects of the war in the Pacific. “This publication fills an important gap in the present available knowledge concerning code-breaking in Australia during World War II. It also gives overdue recognition to the important contribution made by David Sissons to this subject”. — Professor John Mack, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney.

Michi's Memories »

The Story of a Japanese War Bride

Authored by: Keiko Tamura
This book tells the story of Michi, one of 650 Japanese war brides who arrived in Australia in the early 1950s. The women met Australian servicemen in post-war Japan and decided to migrate to Australia as wives and fiancées to start a new life. In 1953, when Michi reached Sydney Harbour by boat with her two Japanese-born children, she knew only one person in Australia: her husband. She did not know any English so she quickly learned her first English phrase, “I like Australia”, in the car on the way from the harbour to meet her Australian family. In the last fifty years, she brought up seven children while the family moved from one part of Australia to another. Now, in her eighties, she leads a peaceful life in Adelaide, but remains active in many ways. Her voice is full of life and she looks and sounds much younger than her age.