During the WWII period, Singapore was a crown jewel of the British Empire in South-East Asia and considered to be an impenetrable fortress that was heavily defended.
Above is a page from "The Sunday Sun and Guardian", published on 23rd Feb, 1941, showing how Singapore was well-defended by the various terrain conditions, cannons, navy etc...
But the Japanese had their own map of Singapore too
Places had their names translated to Japanese, and important structures such as oil tanks, reservoirs, airports etc... were highlighted on the map.
As you already know, Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, led by Lieutenant General Yamashita Tomoyuki, also known as the "Tiger of Malaya" for his swift victories against British forces.
When the war ended, General Yamashita surrendered his sword to Allied Forces in Luzon, Philippines on 2nd Sept 1945. General Douglas MacAuthur then gave this sword to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Now, for the first time in 72 years, this sword is currently now on Singapore soil once again (from 23rd Sept 2017 to 25th March 2018) at the National Museum of Singapore.
The sword is sheathed, to represent that it is "at rest". Whereas it was displayed unsheathed in the US. The blade was made in the 1600s, by famed swordsmith Fujiwara Kanenaga, and its edge remained sharp until today (according to the curator).
Visit The Exhibition
It was a surreal experience to be able to see the actual sword of the Japanese General that took over my country during WWII. Growing up, I've seen footage of General Yamashita many times during history classes in school, but never in real-life.
I believe the museum staff kept the sword sheathed because they considered that current Singapore WWII survivors may also visit this exhibition.
If you're in Singapore (from 23rd Sept 2017 to 25th March 2018), please visit the National Museum of Singapore at 93 Stamford Road, 178897. It is a quick 5 minutes walk from Bras Basah train station.
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