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“Japanese Time” and the Mica Mine: Occupation Experiences in the Central Sulawesi Highlands

  • Lorraine V. Aragon (a1)


During World War II, Japanese soldiers forced highlanders in western Central Sulawesi to operate a mica mine. Questions about the mine's purpose are clarified by examining mica's strategic uses for wartime electronics. Accounts of the occupation by highlanders contribute to understanding changes in their post-war religious and ethnic identities.



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1 Gwinn, G. Richards, “Strategic Mica”, Information Circular No. 7258 (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, Sep. 1943), p. 1.

2 Reid, Anthony and Akira, Oki, “Introduction”, in The Japanese Experience in Indonesia: Selected Memoirs of 1942–1945, ed. Reid, Anthony and Akira, Oki (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 1986), pp. 15.

3 Okada Fumihide, “Civil Administration in the Celebes, 1942–1944”, ibid., pp. 127–58.

4 Lorraine V. Aragon, “Maps of Political, Religious, and Moral History in Western Highland Central Sulawesi, Indonesia” (paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Association for Asian Studies, 24–27 Mar. 1994, Boston, Mass.).

5 Okada, “Civil Administration in the Celebes”, p. 156.

6 Montague, S.A., “Mica”, in Industrial Minerals and Rocks, ed. Gillson, Joseph al. (New York: The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, 1960), pp. 551–66.

7 Kuzvart, Milos, Industrial Minerals and Rocks (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1984), pp. 222–28.

8 Davis, Lawrence L., Mica: 1993 Annual Report (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Mines, 1994), pp. 34.

9 Microscopic analysis of the mica samples was undertaken in the laboratory of the Geology Department at East Carolina University by James S. Watson.

10 Dennan, William H., Mineral Resources: Geology, Exploration, and Development (New York: Taylor & Francis, 1989), pp. 203204.

11 Miloš Kužvart, Industrial Minerals, p. 223; Ulmer, Joseph, “International Trade in Mica”, U.S. Department of Commerce, Trade Promotion Series No.95 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1930), p. 9.

12 Tyler, Paul M. and Warner, K.G., “Mica”, in Minerals Yearbook 1939 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1939), pp. 1347–48.

13 Gwinn, G. Richards and Tucker, Ethel M., “Mica”, in Minerals Yearbook 1944 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1946), pp. 1471–75.

14 S.A. Montague, “Mica”, pp. 552–64.

15 Joseph Ulmer, “International Trade in Mica”, p. 3.

16 Ibid., pp. 29–32.

17 G. Richard Gwinn's “Strategic Mica”, p. 3, provides detailed specifications for mica defined as strategic for World War II military purposes.

18 Paul M. Tyler and K.G. Warner, “Mica”, pp. 1352–53.

19 Joseph Ulmer, “International Trade in Mica”, pp. 37–43.

20 William H. Dennan, Mineral Resources, p. 203.

21 Joseph Ulmer, “International Trade in Mica”, p. 39.

22 Ibid., p. 8.

23 Aragon, Lorraine V., “Barkcloth Production in Central Sulawesi: A Vanishing Textile Technology in Outer Island Indonesia”, Expedition 32, 1 (1990): 3348. See also Kotilainen, Eija-Maija, “When the Bones Are Left”: A Study of the Material Culture of Central Sulawesi (Helsinki: The Finnish Anthropological Society, 1992), pp. 220–27.

24 Wu, John C., “The Mineral Industry of Indonesia”, Minerals Yearbook Volume III: Mineral Industries of Asia and the Pacific, 1989 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1992), p. 142. The major Asian producers of mica currently are South Korea, India, and to a lesser extent, Taiwan (ibid., p. 5).

25 Aragon, Lorraine V., “Suppressed and Revised Performances: Raego' Songs of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia”, Ethnomusicology 40, 3 (Fall, 1996).

26 Kenyon, Albert, Leonard Goes East (London: Salvationist Publishing and Supplies, 1952), p. 77.

27 Melattie Brouwer, “Tanah Toradja: Separated, But One in Spirit”, The War Cry (Australia), 6 (Apr. 1974): 4.

28 Albert Kenyon, Leonard Goes East, p. 77.

29 Ibid., pp. 92–101.

30 Salvation Army, “A Pioneer in Celebes”, The Warrior (Sep. 1949), pp. 98–99.

“Japanese Time” and the Mica Mine: Occupation Experiences in the Central Sulawesi Highlands

  • Lorraine V. Aragon (a1)


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