17 Apr. 2002|
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Unique and collectible wooden puzzle boxes are our passion at Puzzle Box World and we’re please to share these unique puzzle boxes with you. In the closed position, they appear to be similar to the Karakuri Cube Boxes released several years ago.
Japanese Himitsu-Bako puzzle box found in Midget Submarine by R Judge at Garden Island Navy Base, c.1939-1940. Traditional Japanese puzzle box, possibly produced in the town of Hakone, and featuring an exterior design known as Yosegi – a series of intricate geometric glued veneer designs.
The Japanese mother submarines I-22, I-24 and I-27 left Truk Lagoon on 18 May 1942 and headed south between Rabaul and Solomon Islands. At 3.45 am on 30 May 1942, a Japanese floatplane, piloted by 27 year old Flying Warrant Officer Susumu Ito, was launched from submarine I-21. At sunset on Sunday 31st May 1942, there were five Japanese submarines positioned off the New South Wales coast near Sydney.
The 4 Japanese submariners killed in this incident were cremated at the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium on 9th June 1942.
Prime Minister John Curtin allowed the Japanese Ambassador, Tatsuo Kawai, to take the ashes of the 4 submariners back to Japan after their cremation. Commander Matsuo’s mother came to Australia in 1968 and placed a wreath on the Sydney Cenotaph. In 1943 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese Naval Commander-in-chief, advised that Emperor Hirohito had granted a citation to the submariners in the attack on Sydney Harbour.
The divers all met with the Director of the Naval Heritage Collection, Commander Shane Moore who has since confirmed that they had indeed located the missing M24 Japanese Midget Submarine. Discussion between the Australian and Japanese governments will no doubt continue for some time before a decision is made on the fate of the wreckage of Japanese midget submarine M24.
Japanese immigration to Australia began in the 1880s with the arrival of pearl divers and also of Japanese prostitutes. The puzzle box is historically significant as evidence of the midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour and events the surround the relationship between Japan and Australia in World War II and afterwards. The puzzle box has intangible significance providing a reminder of the fears felt by the Australian, Italian and Japanese communities of war, the loss of loved ones and the insecurity of war time. The puzzle box represents the Australian and Japanese experience in Australia during World War II.
The puzzle box significance lies in its potential to interpret the attack on Sydney Harbour, humanising the mini sub crews and the Japanese experience and the fear and anxiety the attacks brought to an already racially fearful Australian community. Japanese mother submarines I-22, I-24, and I-27 launched midget submarines about 12 kms east of Sydney. Tatsuo Kawai arrived at Yokohama pier in October 1942 aboard the Kamakura Maru with the ashes of the four sailors in four white boxes. She also visited Garden Island and the place where her son was killed in his midget submarine. Most of the early Japanese arrivals in Australia were sojourners who had planned to return to Japan.
The mini sub attack is a focal point for both Australians of Japanese descent and Japanese nationals.
The puzzle box is associated with Australia’s long time racial fear of Asia that was amplified during World War II and racial antagonism to cultural minorities in wartime.
The puzzle box presents the opportunity to interpret the stories of various individuals who were participants in major events in World War II. These four boxes had been placed on a large altar in front of a flag of the Rising Sun on board the Kamakura Maru during the journey to Japan.
They were all also all posthumously promoted by two levels of rank which meant a larger payout to the families of the Japanese heroes. He told them that Japanese tourists have often arrived at Garden Island to lay a wreath at the Conning Tower memorial near Woolloomooloo in Sydney. The Japanese migrant community have remained homogeneous and invisible, emerging to pay homage to those of died at Cowra and in the Sydney Harbour raid.
The puzzle box represents a time when Australia was moving away from British foreign policy and becoming more confident of its place in the region but still held deep suspicions of non-British immigrants. Pulling up the proper left side panel reveals a sliding drawer fitted with sliding lid nestled in the lower half of the box. It was initially thought to be an American plane but eventually some fighters were sent up to intercept the plane. However, most of the Japanese residents in Australia in the early 1940s were deported following the end of the Second World War. This example was discovered by a civilian boilermaker, Robert Judge in one of the Japanese midget submarines which was recovered from Sydney Harbour after the attack of the night of 30-31 May 1942.
He noticed this box as he entered the interior of the submarine, secretly removed it, and retained it as a keepsake.