Tiger of Malaya
By Hiro Kanagawa
It is September, 1945. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, the notorious “Tiger of Malaya,” is on trial for war crimes carried out under his command in the waning days of the Pacific War – Yamashita’s reputation leaves no room for doubt – he is a monster.
Assigned to lead his defence are two lawyers from the U.S. Army Legal Corps: a world-weary, Old School Southerner, and an idealistic Ivy League-educated Jew. They are joined by a Japanese-American translator, eager to prove her loyalty to the U.S.
As the defence team struggles to reconcile the evidence of the atrocities with a man they come to know and admire, Yamashita himself is haunted by a Filipino witness who challenges him to confront the truth of his personal culpability. What emerges is a complex and moving examination of the hypocrisies of war, the subjectivity of historical memory, and the vagaries of individual fate.