75 years ago, the Japanese ravaged Hong Kong during World War II. For three years and eight months, from December 1941 to August 1945, the Imperial Army occupied the city and ruled with martial law, upending lives and destroying over a quarter of the city’s dwellings.
Hong Kong’s population dropped drastically, from 1.6 million to 600,000. Meanwhile, the city’s oldest university, the University of Hong Kong, was left in desperate need of reconstruction.
Photos from the Public Records Office from November 1945 show the extent of the war’s destruction, and of a world long gone.
Back then, the university had four faculties — Arts, Engineering, Medicine and Science — and three student hostels — May Hall, Eliot Hall and Lugard Hall.