PANGSUMA, a Warrior of the Japanese Resistance


Handover of Takeo Nakatani's head and katana to the Japanese embassy, ​​source: Majang Desa War

Towards the end of June and approaching August 2024, we are reminded again of the events that marked the resistance of the people of West Kalimantan, especially those in Sanggau Regency, which occurred almost eighty years ago.

A battle that took almost three months caused heavy losses on the part of the Japanese occupation government in West Kalimantan. Even the Dutch failed to prevent Japanese troops from landing at the end of 1941.

   Japanese Marines (Kaegun), source: Quora

Surprisingly, a group of Indigenous people succeeded in wiping out Japanese forces at Sanggau which Kaegun, Japanese marines led. Which we all know is crueler than the Japanese army.

Pangsuma, named Dayaknese leader succeeded lead his people's fight against Japanese troops.  The tradition of war again emerged due to pressure from the Japanese government. However, after Tumbang Anoy in 1890, the headhunting tradition was already banned.

Japanese Marine, Landed to Borneo, Source: reddit

Backwards, once upon a time before. When the Japanese started the conquest of Manchuria in 1931 they continued to China on Juli 7 1937. Slow but sure, they reduced European colonies in Asia by the increasing mobilization of the Japanese army there.

Japanese Marines, source: Wikipedia

Finally, all of the European and American colonies were destroyed after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, along with the attack on Singapore, followed by the Japanese landing in Miri on December 16, 1941, and the bombing of Sanggau Ledo on December 19, 1941, leaving the KNIL soldiers and their Stadwatch helpless.

The bombing of Pontianak happened after a Japanese plane flew around the city. The event, known as "Bom Sembilan,"  hit a school called Broederschool in Kampung, Bali. Dominikus Mars was in charge of KNIL troops, doing nothing to counter the attack.

Exactly on December 22, 1941, Japanese troops landed in Pemangkat and then headed towards Pontianak in full force without any significant resistance from the Dutch. Meanwhile, Sultan Hamid II, who was serving in Balikpapan at that time, was captured by the Japanese army, on March 10, 1942.

After being controlled, almost no resistance was fought against Japanese Troops. The Dutch civilian administration decided to collaborate with the Japanese civil administration. No resistance occurred because the entire Dutch force was successfully paralyzed and then exiled to Batulintang, Kuching as interned prisoners.

Meanwhile, another member of the Dutch civilian administration decided to collaborate with the Japanese civil administration. West Kalimantan and Kuching led to the 1st Division of the Japanese Navy.

Fail to resist Japan add the Haga incident that Japan accused the royal authorities in West Kalimantan of collaborating secretly to carry out resistance against Japan that resulted in the Mandor incident where the Japanese kidnapped Sultans, Kings, and intellectuals to stand massacred at Juang Foreman's Tomb. May 1942 to 1945 that killed 21,037 people.

This political and economic pressure led to the emergence of Pangsuma, which became the antithesis of the paralyzed resistance to Japanese imperialism. 

Dancing Shield, source: artoftheancestor

Triggered by Japan's arbitrary attitude towards his family, Mr Osaki a wood businessman asks Pangsuma's niece to become his comfort woman (Jugun kaifu). Pangsuma's niece Linggan refuses the proposal, so Osaki threatens all of the family members to accept or die.

In response to the threat, Pak Dolong and his family came to the company to ask what he meant by his threat. Not the answer that they accept, Osaki attacking Pangsuma and his family.

In the incident, Osaki was killed. This incident shocked the Japanese civilian government in West Kalimantan. They then sent their middle officers to arrest the Pangsuma family and suppress the unrest.

Japanase Marine, prepare to ambush, Source: Pinterest

The characteristics of the Kaegun (navy) government, known as cruel and even surpassing the Rikugun (land force), means that any problem will be responded to with military force, as happened in the case of the Haga incident that triggered the massacre of intellectuals in Mandor West Borneo.

Once again, the Japanese government was shocked because an officer named Takeo Nakatani died at the hands of Pangsuma and his troops.

The incident spread when Pangsuma summoned all the forces of the Dayak nation throughout the country, even to Serian (Malaysia Teritori, currently) with the Red Mangkok tradition.

Mangkok Merah was a tradition to call the master of spiritual power to join the war. This call was responded to by various Dayak warriors such as Iban, Taman, Bidayuh, Simpang, and Desa. They came with their abilities with one goal, to fight the Japanese government in power at the time.

For the first time, the modernity of defence equipment meets traditional war tactics and weapons. The ship's cannons, long-barreled rifles, and heavy guns were used against the Mandau, Nyabor, Blowpipe, and Lantak (Mathlock Gun).

The big battle at Meliau was the peak of the resistance of Pangsuma and his troops, causing the death of 250 Japanese soldiers both on land and on Japanese ships.

Japanese Marine, in battlefield, source: wikipedia

Burung and Naga were ordered to fight Japan on the ship, and Pangsuma led the warriors at Meliau. Although the battle dies on the battlefield. However, the death of the leader of the Majang army did not stop resistance against Japan.

Then the warlords who were summoned to fight carried out sporadic attacks in various places with the battlefield they had created themselves.

Like in the Bonti area, Panglima Kilat destroyed five trucks of Japanese reinforcements from Kuching which were sent to Meliau and left no one life. While Pang London destroyed the Japanese army post in Sekadau, Maran succeeded in surrounding and controlling Batu Ampar Island which was the Japanese sea observation post, and made the Japanese soldiers flee to Pontianak.

After the attack on Meliau, all Japanese forces in the inland were withdrawn. While in Pontianak City. The Dayak Warriors carried out acts of terror at Japanese guard posts at night to create a sense of insecurity among the Japanese soldiers at that time.

Dayaknese with Lantak (Mathlock Rifle) and Nyabor (Sabre), source: AWM

The war only lasted three months, but the horror of being hunted by headhunters created its horror. The war was automatically over because of the surrender of Japanese forces. After August 9, 1945, when the Allies dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, paralyzing Japan's power. After all, it was the centre of the Japanese military at that time.

Japan surrendered unconditionally to the Allies on August 14, 1945, so the civilian government automatically fell to the Allies which at that time was headed by AFNEI (Allied Forces for the Netherland East Indies) followed by the proclamation of Indonesian independence on August 17, 1945.

These are the events that remind the people of West Kalimantan of their bloody struggle every year leading up to the independence day of the Republic of Indonesia in August.

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