Les Harding, onetime Japanese prisoner-of-war, takes a package cruise to Japan with his wife. As he draws near, long-repressed memories of suffering well up. A rich, ironic study of Australian xenophobia..
Source: Currency Press
Unit Suitable For:
AC: Senior Secondary (Literature Unit 3)
Romeril delivers us a lesson in Australian history in a vernacular poetry that is rhythmic and relentless.
The Currency edition of the script presents the play in the context of Australian xenophobia, with essays on Australian nationalism, attitudes to the ‘Yellow Peril’ and the history of the Thai–Burma railway, and Katharine Brisbane’s introduction to the play as ‘a study of xenophobia’. In the 1970s, some commentators saw the play itself as xenophobic in its airing of common Australian prejudices about the generalised ‘Asian’ and its reminder of the horrors inflicted by Japanese jailers on their prisoners of war. Romeril felt the need to write an afterword protesting his liking for the Japanese, and he has reiterated this defence in his blogs for the Griffin production, noting the influence of Japanese Noh theatre on the ghost scene, and citing the play’s brief reference to the way Japanese guards were also victims of a brutal hierarchy.
Source: Australian Book Review