I assume there were potentially hundreds of German advisers, etc. in Japan at the time of the German surrender. Is there evidence that they tried to reach Allied troops to surrender to them? Did some fight directly for Japan? What happened to these Germans after Japan itself surrendered?

  • 4
    I don't think your assumption holds much weight. Why would there be hundreds of Germans in Japan?
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 20:55
  • 5
    @JonCuster The Spiegel mentions a Reichsdeutsche Gemeinschaft Tokio-Yokohama with about a thousand members.
    – knut
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:02
  • 3
    @JonCuster: That is a good point. I have no idea what the number of Germans in Japan or on Japanese ships was or for that matter if there Japanese in Germany at the time of the German surrender but I think it is reasonable to assume that there were some, like diplomats. It is hard to imagine that there were zero. It would be interesting to learn what happened in at least some cases what occurred. I would, for example, guess that a Japanese diplomat in Berlin was in terrible trouble and could not expect diplomatic immunity from Soviet troops.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:02
  • You're asking about both civilians, military and diplomats, I take it?
    – smci
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 11:27
  • sure, any German citizen.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 19:05

4 Answers 4


The fate of the German ambassador to Japan, Heinrich Georg Stahmer indicates what probably happened to most of the Germans in Japan.

On May 5, 1945, as the German surrender was approaching, Stahmer was handed an official protest by Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, accusing the German government of betraying its Japanese ally. Following the surrender of the German government, the Japanese government broke off diplomatic relations with the German Reich on May 15, 1945, and Stahmer was interned and kept under arrest in a hotel near Tokyo until the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

On September 10, 1945, following the Japanese surrender, he was placed under arrest by U.S. authorities in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, and in September 1947 was returned to Germany, where he was interned until September 1948.

The references on the Wikipedia page will assist with further research.

  • 2
    Very interesting that suddenly former allies were now almost enemies although the official protest is probably proforma -- I don't think Togo (not Tojo btw) held the German surrender against the ambassador personally. But Germans working in Japan might have faced some resentment from Japanese. Or, as I asked, perhaps some of them saw this as an opportunity to keep fighting and volunteered to fight directly for Japan. That would be the heroic thing to do, I guess.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:07
  • 10
    'fate' makes it sound like he was lynched, executed or took his cyanide pill. 'treatment' would be a more fair-and-balanced term...
    – smci
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 11:28
  • Now I feel sorry for the guy... :(
    – xDaizu
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 8:40
  • @Jeff not so much enemies as considered unreliable. Where do their loyalties lie now that the Reich is no more? Still with the old Reich (and its allies) or with the new administration in Germany (and thus with the USA and its allies)? Can't trust them so you keep a close eye on them.
    – jwenting
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 7:22
  • @jwenting: unreliable is pretty serious issue: would get you interned or expelled. that is the basic question, just what sort of experiences did German nationals have now that Japan was going it alone.
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 19:34

I found an interesting quote (section 1943 in Kobe mit CW-Virus infiziert) of a contemporary witness (translation below).

The last sentence contains a short hint what happened to Germans in Japan after the war (with a gap of two years).

Wer hätte das gedacht, als ich mit meinen Eltern 1937 auf einer Schiffreise mit dem Turbinenschnelldampfer "Gneisenau" für einen Tag in Kobe anlegte, daß ich sehr bald einen längeren Aufenthalt in Kobe vom 13.07.41 bis 11.02.47 einplanen mußte. Schuld daran war der Ausbruch des Krieges. Meinen Vater hatten die Holländer 1940 in Niederländisch Indien (heute Indonesien ) interniert und der Rest der Familie sollte über Japan, Wladiwostok mit der Transsibirischen Eisenbahn nach Deutschland abgeschoben werden. Soweit kam es aber nicht, denn unsere Reise mit der "Asama Maru" endete wegen des Rußlandfeldzuges (22.06.41) in Kobe.[....]

Ich besuchte während des Krieges die Zaiden Hojin Kobe Doitsu Gakuin (Stiftung Deutsche Schule Kobe der Reichsdeutschen Gemeinschaft Kobe-Oseka mit ca. 170 Schülern). Vielen ist sicher nicht bekannt, daß Kobe während des Krieges von vielen deutschen Marineeinheiten ( einschließlich U-Bote) der Kriegsmarine angelaufen wurde. Alle Einheiten aufzuführen würde hier zu weit führen. [....]

Nach Kriegsende folgte bald durch die Amerikaner Anfang 1947 die Ausweisung fast aller Deutschen aus Japan. [...]

Translation with the help of google translate:

Who would have thought, as my parents and I docked for a day in Kobe during a 1937 cruise on the turbine-driven steamboat "Gneisenau", that I would soon have to reckon for a longer stay in Kobe, from 13.07.41 to 11.02.47. It was due to the outbreak of the war. My father had been interned by the Dutch in 1940 in the Dutch Indies (now Indonesia) and the rest of the family was to be deported to Germany via Japan, then Vladivostok and the Transsiberian railway. But this plan was aborted, as our journey with the "Asama Maru" ended in Kobe because of the Russian campaign [22.06.41] [...]

During the war I visited the Zaiden Hojin Kobe Doitsu Gakuin (Kobe German School Foundation of the German Association Kobe-Oseka, with about 170 pupils). Many are certainly unaware that Kobe was occupied during the war by many German naval units (including submarines) of the Kriegsmarine. To list all units here would lead us too far off-topic. [...]

Soon after the end of the war, in early 1947, the Americans expelled almost all Germans from Japan. [...]

  • 1
    So apparently some German civilians remained in Japan after the German surrender and then after the Japanese surrender. I assume they were in pretty much the same boat as far as treatment by the occupiers as the Japanese themselves but I but some had some interesting experiences. But what I am really looking for is how soldiers/sailors of Germany behaved. Did they offer to join Japan directly in their fight and if so, were they welcomed?
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:27
  • I'm actually searching the web for some information, but up to now I found only informations about german soldiers of WWI (4000 soldiers from Tsingtau became Japanese POW)
    – knut
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:40
  • 3
    @user2428118 The German text is sometimes a bit complex and could be simplified. The raw google translation contwined also some errors. To explain the text: The Dutch founded an Internment Camp and the father of the author was an inmate. So the dutch were the active part, the father the passive one. From my understanding, your sentence expresses the opposite.
    – knut
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 11:05
  • 4
    @user2428118 The translation is correct, note the accusative case, “Meinen Vater”. You could also read it as “Die Holländer hatten meinen Vater interniert […]”, which is perhaps a more natural way to put it. Turning the construction around makes the style feels somewhat old-fashioned but both are perfectly grammatical in German and in this case putting “Meinen Vater” first fits the rest of the sentence better.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 12:57
  • @knut I don't find the German text complex at all. But then I've spoken and read German for decades.
    – jwenting
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 7:25

Consider these submarines:

  • U-219 reached Japanese territory in December 44, was seized and used by the IJN after the German surrender.
  • U-234 was at sea during the German surrender and decided to surrender itself. The Japanese passengers committed suicide. There are plenty of conspiracy theories.

See here for surface blockade runners.

  • 4
    It is indeed my understanding that Japan and Germany, being allies, tended to have meetings on land and personnel aboard each others' ships. Somewhat of a digression is a comment I will make about the suicides: I believe that Japanese expected and in fact received worse treatment when captured by Americans than German POWs received.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 6:58

My mother was born in Japan in 1929 to German parents. She and her parents were returned to Germany in 1947 or 1948, by order of the U.S. military.

  • 6
    Interesting. Can your describe her experience in Japan after Germany surrendered but before Japan did?
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 4:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.