Dr Beatrice Trefalt

Beatrice Trefalt


Arriving in Australia from Swizerland in 1990, I first developed my interest in Japan and Japanese in my undergraduate degree at La Trobe University, where I completed a double major in history and Japanese. I was able to indulge my fascination with post-war Japanese history in my Honours year, when I studied the Shōwa Emperor’s Monologue and wrote a thesis on the manipulation of symbols by Japanese elites and Occupation Forces after the defeat. Thanks to a summer scholarship at the Australian War Memorial, I was further able to develop my interest in war and its place in national memories.

My PhD  focussed on the return of so-called ‘stragglers’ (soldiers who didn’t know the war was over) to Japan over the period between 1950-1975, and their representation in the Japanese media as a way to trace the development of popular memory of the war in Japan. A Japanese government  scholarship enabled me to spend two years in Tokyo to carry out research..

After several years in the  history department of the University of Newcastle, where I taught Japanese history, as well as Chinese and world history and historical theory and method courses, I joined the staff of the Japanese studies section at Monash in 2006.

I continue to research topics relating to the war and to legacies of the war in Japan. In particular, with the help of grants from the Australian Research council, I am completing a manuscript on the political activities of Japanese repatriates both during and after the Occupation, and am working with Robert Cribb (ANU) Sandra Wilson (Murdoch) and Dean Aszkielowicz (Murdoch) on a book dealing with the repatriation and release of Japanese war criminals.


    Institution: Murdoch Uni
    Year awarded: 2002
    Institution: Association of International Education
    Year awarded: 1998
  • ARTS
    Institution: La Trobe Uni
    Year awarded: 1995


I am currently researching and writing on the topic of post-war repatriation to Japan from the end of the war to the end of the 1950s, the experiences of Japanese soldiers in the Asia Pacific Wars and after demobilisation, and the politics of repatriation and release of Japanese BC level war criminals, and on aspects of the Occupation of Japan.

At the same time, I continue to work on various aspects of the Asia-Pacific War, on the representation of the war with Japan in Australia and elsewhere, on the experiences of Japanese soldiers, and on the Occupation of Japan.



  • Brawley, S., Dixon, C., Trefalt, B.C. (eds), 2009, Competing Voices From The Pacific War, Greenwood Press, California USA.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2003, Japanese Army Stragglers and Memories of the War in Japan, 1950-1975, RoutledgeCurzon, Abingdon UK.

Journal Articles

  • Trefalt, B.C., 2011, Faltering resolve: The release of Japan’s ‘ordinary’ war criminals, Asian Currents, vol 1, Asian Studies Association of Australia and the University of Adelaide, Online, pp. 18-20.
  • Trefalt, B., 2011, Hostages to international relations? The repatriation of Japanese war criminals from the Philippines, Japanese Studies [P], vol 31, issue 2, Routledge, Australia, pp. 191-209.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2009, After the battle for Saipan: the internment of Japanese civilians at Camp Susupe, 1944-1946, Japanese Studies [P], vol 29, issue 3, Routledge, Australia, pp. 337-352.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2009, Blackburn and Hack “Forgotten Captives in Japanese Occupied Asia”, Japanese Studies [P], vol 29, issue 1, Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis, UK, pp. 156-158.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2009, Japan’s contested war memories: the ‘memory rifts’ in historical consciousness of World War II, Japanese Studies [P], vol 29, issue 3, Routledge, UK, pp. 456-457.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2008, Uneasy Warriors: Gender, memory and Popular Culture in the Japanese Army,Japanese Studies [P], vol 28, issue 3, Routledge, London Oxon, pp. 408-409.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2008, War memory and social politics in Japan, 1945 – 2005. Franziska Seraphim,Japanese Studies, vol 28, issue 1, Routledge, Oxon UK, pp. 127-128.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2007, A peace worth having: delayed repatriations and domestic debate over the San Francisco peace treaty, Japanese Studies, vol 27, issue 2, Routledge, United Kingdom, pp. 173-187.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2001, Waiting women: the return of stragglers and Japanese constructions of womanhood in collective memories of world war II, 1972-1974, Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, vol May, issue 5, Murdoch University, School of Asian Studies, Perth WA, pp. 1-12.

Book Chapters

  • Trefalt, B.C., 2007, Coming home defeated: soliders and the transition from war to peace in post-Wolrd-War II Japan, in Back to Peace: Reconciliation and Retribution in the Postwar Period, eds Aranzazu Usandizaga and Andrew Monnickendam, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame Indiana USA, pp. 59-76.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2005, Fanaticism, Japanese soldiers and the Pacific War, 1937-45, in Fanaticism and Conflict in the Modern Age, eds Matthew Hughes and Gaynor Johnson, Frank Cass, Abingdon UK, pp. 33-47.
  • Trefalt, B.C., 2002, War,commemoration and national identity in modern Japan, 1868-1975, in Nation and Nationalism in Japan, eds Sandra Wilson, Routledge Curzon, London UK, pp. 115-134.

Conference Proceedings

  • Trefalt, B., 2011, Australia, the war, Japan – and the absence of Asia, Outside Asia: Japanese and Australian Identities and Encounters in Flux, 09 December 2006 to 13 December 2006, Japanese Studies Centre Monash University, Clayton Vic Australia, pp. 61-72.


Teaching Units

I teach units in Japanese studies and Asian Studies, including a unit on Japanese history called Japan as Empire: from Meiji to 1945 (ATS 3652), and a unit on the politics of war memory and commemoration in the Asia Pacific called War and Memory in the Asia Pacific: legacies of World War II (ATS2382/3382). I also teach as part of Monash University’s International Studies program, contribute guest lectures in a number of other units, and am involved in the teaching of Honours at School level.


I have previously supervised Honours, masters and PhD theses dealing variously with history, political debates about history, oral history, popular memory in Japanese studies but also other settings.

I  am willing to supervise in the following areas:

  • Topics relating to Japanese history, especially post-war history, occupation history, history of war crimes, any aspect of the 1950s, war legacies, disputes about representations of the past
  • Topics relating to the Second World War, on the Japanese homefront, in the colonies, and in the occupied areas of China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
  • Migration topics, especially forced migration, dislocation and forced repatriations, especially in the wake of World War II.
  • Topics relating to constructions of national identity, migrant identity, minority group identity etc.
  • I would also be glad to discuss possible topics in gender studies, minority studies, and popular cultures.

Postgraduate Research Supervisions

Current Supervision

  • Susan Stanford: Research PhD. Sugata Hisajo: innovationand constraint in Joryu haiku. Supervisors: Trefalt, B (Main), Hawke, J (Associate).
  • Fiona McCandless: Research PhD. The Use and Opinions of Animals in Contemporary Japan. Supervisors: Trefalt, B (Main), Pasfield-Neofitou, S. and Breaden, J. (Associates)
  • Adam Zulawnik: Research PhD. Translation of Controversial Texts for Scholarly Purposes- Translating ‘Hate Korean Wave’. Supervisors: Trefalt, B (Main), Breaden, J. (Associate)

Completed Supervision

  • Student: Roman, M. Program of Study: Framing the Korean ‘comfort women’ movement: domestic constraints and transnational alignments. (PHD) 2011. Supervisors: Davies, G (Main), Cho, Y (Associate), Trefalt, B (Associate).
  • Student: Tobias, S. Program of Study: Traversing textual terrains: strategies for translating metaphor in Japanese-English literary translation. (PHD) 2009. Supervisors: Trefalt, B (Main), Wilson, R (Associate).