Michael D. Leigh
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Japanese occupation
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A bamboo curtain descended on Upper Burma in May 1942. Little news filtered in or out. In some respects arbitrary Japanese rule merely replaced arbitrary British colonial rule, but there was another important factor too. Many Burmans hoped the Japanese would bring independence and most feared anarchy more than they feared Japanese rule. Burmese Methodists had particular reason to fear the Burma Independence Army (BIA) which openly defied orders from the Japanese military administration. Pongyis generally kept a low profile during the occupation, but ordinary Buddhist Burmans were unhelpful and sometimes hostile. Wesley Church Mandalay had been gutted during the bombing raids of April 1942 and the Japanese requisitioned the Mission House and the Girls High School soon afterwards. The regular Burmese congregation was augmented from time to time by an eclectic mixture of Buddhists, 'Burmese princes' and Japanese soldiers.

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Conflict, politics and proselytism

Methodist missionaries in colonial and postcolonial Upper Burma, 1887–1966


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