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Indonesian Independence Day
(Aug. 2008)

I have visited Surabaya, Indonesia, every summer since 2005 for our collaboration with the Institute of Technology Surabaya. I made my fourth visit in August 2008.

The city is decorated with red and white cloth, which is the same as Indonesian national flag, at the beginning of August. This is because August 17 is Indonesian Independence Day. Although Japan had ruled Indonesia instead of the Netherland after the beginning of the Pacific War, Japan declared its surrender on August 15, 1945, and Indonesia declared its independence two days later.

However, the Netherland, as well as the United Kingdom, which supported the Netherland, arrived in Indonesia to colonize it again. The first big battle of the Indonesian War of Independence happened at last in Surabaya on November 10, 1945.

The city of Surabaya is called Heroic City for the memory of this battle. The official name of the Institute of Technology Surabaya is "Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (November 10 Institute of Technology)."

The photographs on this page were taken at November 10 Museum, which was an exhibition of the Indepedence War, in Surabaya. Since the museum was unfortunately closed when we visited, monuments and statues around the museum are shown here.

The Tugu Pahlawan (Heroes Monument) is explained on the page "The Heroes Monument"on the "Surabaya Tourism" cite.

*Click photos to enlarge. All photos were taken with Panasonic P905i mobile phone.


The cite of the museum. There was a building used for the Headquaters of Kempetai (Military Police of Japanese Imperial Army) here. Some pillars of the building still remain. The museum is constructed underground.


Statue of President Soekarno and Vice President Hatta declaring the independence.


The bottom of the Heroes Monument. A photo of the whole monument is found on a page of the "East Java Tourism" cite. The photo indicates how large the monument is. This monument is found in the mark of the Institute of Technology Surabaya.

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The wall on both sides of the statue shows relief illustrating the process of the independence. The relief (left) illustrates the Japanese occupation. The board (right) explains as follows:

Japanese Occupation
— Forced labor / Romusha (laborers) in Surabaya [upper left on the relief]
— Training of young people [lower left]
— Requisition of supplies and foods [right, a hungry man lying by a queue of people delivering supplies to Japanese Army]
&mdash Part of Cak Durashim in Kidungan [center]

Kidungan means Javanese poem recitation. It indicates that Cak Durasim is a reciter who sang a song criticizing Japan. The phrase in the balloon is "Pegupon omahe doro, melok nipon tambah soro."

It is a Javanese sentence meaning "Pegupon is a house of pegions, Japan adds more troubles." According to a friend of mine, Dr. Agus Zainal Arifin of the Institute of Technology Surabaya, told that the latter part gives a real meaning, and the former part just rhythms with the latter.The Japanese Kempetai arrested Indonesian people who sang the song. Dr. Agus said to me that he had been scolded by his aunt for singing this song, even in 1970's.

The Japanese word kempetai still remains in modern Indonesian language as well as the word romusya. Dr. Agus told me that his grandmother said still now, "Don't say such thing or you will be arrested by kempetai." It reminds me of my grandmother; When I visited Moscow in 1990 as my first overseas trip, she said to me, "You shouldn't go there. The Soviet Union is our enemy." Such memories cannot vanish easily.

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This shows the situation when the allied forces of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom arrived after the declaration of independence. The flyer (top left) says "Persons bearing arms and refusing to deliver to the allied forces are liable to be shot..." The announcer (top right) speeches that Indonesian people do not need to obey such order. The battle under the viaduct (bottom) was one of famous battles in Surabaya. This viaduct still remains near the museum.

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People in Surabaya fought using bamboo spears. There is a big monument of bamboo spear at the center of the city. A decoration of the bamboo spear for celebrating the Independece Day was found in a hotel.

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