The Man Inside Cowra Japanese POW Escape

The Man Inside Cowra Japanese POW Escape


The Man Inside The Bloodiest Outbreak by G. Apthorpe

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The Cowra Breakout is historically interesting in that it is one of the few (apart from Darwin environs) World War II sites where an Australian can visit without going overseas.

For a visit to the site, this book offers an interesting story about one of the Japanese who was the first POW to escape. Not only that, the position of the breakout and Australian machine gun emplacements are precisely indicated in the excellent photos within  the book. It has become an increasingly popular destination for Japanese visitors.


The War in the Pacific has turned; thousands of the previously invincible Japanese soldiers are now being captured in New Guinea and interned at the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp. Unlike other POWs, the traditional Japanese Bushido Code and their fanaticism leaves them ill-equipped for surrender and imprisonment.

Ashamed, subdued and sullen, one man, Second Lieutenant Maseo Naka is an exception. Obstructing the Australian authorities at every turn, he was the first Japanese soldier to escape from Cowra. This action becomes the precursor for the more than 1000 Japanese prisoners who escape in the bloodiest Breakout of World War II that ultimately saw 234 Japanese and four Australian guards killed. His escape and the defiance, guilt, and shame that motivated it, led to his court-martial.

Naka nevertheless stands-out as very human, another tragic victim of the global inferno that was World War II. Adhering to the Samurai Code of Bushido, he doggedly undertakes actions that he views as necessary for the maintenance of his “honour”. Through the insights of those around Naka, together with new research including the personal accounts of Australian interrogators,  the author shows how this handsome loner provided the impetus for the dramatic events in the early hours of August 5, 1944 where hundreds of Japanese soldiers stormed the Camp defences for honour, or death!

Data sheet

Book Condition:
Total Pages:
Publication Date:
Dimensions in mm :
155 x 230 x 14
Cover Soft (SB) or Hardback (HB):
Soft Cover

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