About Singapore History

The Japanese Occupation


The decades of peace and prosperity that colonial Singapore had built ended when bombs rained down on the island in the wee hours of 8 December 1941.

It was World War II, and the Japanese were in the thick of invading Asia. Despite a brave struggle against the larger Japanese forces, the city fell on 15 February 1942. Singapore was renamed Syonan (Japanese for "Light of the South") and remained under Japanese occupation for three and a half years.

When World War II ended in August 1945, British forces returned a month later to govern Singapore under the British Military Administration. However, in March 1946, the British Military Administration ceased and the Straits Settlement was dissolved. Following that, Singapore became a Crown Colony on 1 April. Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union, and later, the Federation of Malaya in 1948.