Watch a song about Japan’s Imphal Operation in 1944 “熱砂の雄叫び/東海林太郎” on YouTube
Posted on November 17th, 2021

Senaka Weeraratna

The Japanese Govt. was totally committed to the liberation of India from British occupation. Japan launched the Imphal and Kohima operation together with the support of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army in March 1944 to demonstrate to Indian people that it was prepared to sacrifice the precious lives of the Japanese soldiers to achieve freedom for India. 

Though the military operation was unsuccessful the ramifications of the Imphal Operation were not. It set in motion a process within India after the end of the war in 1945, where the people of India rallied around the banner of the INA and it’s departed leader Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, through large scale public demonstrations, and mutinies by the British Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, that forced the British Govt. under Labour Prime Minister Clement Atlee to grant Independence to India on August 15, 1947, Burma on January 04, 1948 and Ceylon on February 04, 1948.

The grant of independence to Ceylon was directly linked to the grant of independence to India, which in turn can be traced to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour on December 07, 1941.

People of India have not forgotten the role of Japan and the blood sacrifices of  Japanese soldiers to bring about India’s freedom. 

India refused to attend the San Francisco Peace Treaty Conference in 1951 to discuss and determine the reparations from Japan for war damage caused. 

The Indian Judge Radhabinod Pal who sat on the International Military Tribunal at Tokyo gave a dissenting opinion declaring that all the Japanese accused were not guilty.


Sri Lanka too have a duty to history to acknowledge the role that people of other Asian countries led by Japan played in WW2 and aftermath in ending foreign occupation of Asia.

There was no freedom struggle in British occupied Ceylon on the scale of the freedom fight in other Asian countries, after the Matale Rebellion in 1848.

Except for Anagarika Dharmapala, no one from Sri Lanka is recognized at a global level for defiance against Western Imperialism in the pre – independence period.

If Sri Lanka wishes to be identified with Asia in this Asian Century then our narrative on how we won our freedom from British occupation, must be in step with the story of how Asia liberated itself with Japan’s military assistance during WW2, and the National Liberation Movements thereafter. 

It must be integrated into the larger story. It is regretted that it has so far not taken place. The dissemination of historical fact must be free from pro – colonial bias.

Senaka Weeraratna

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