It is an old Army custom in Japan that when the troops enter a city they are given three days in which they can do whatever they like. That's when the worst things happen. In Nanking it was such a tremendous affair that the men got out of hand and wouldn't calm down after three days, but in Hong Kong they were comparatively well-behaved. I'm not saying they all behaved like perfect gentlemen, because they didn't, but they were nothing like the Nanking troops. I dare say they were better-behaved, number for number, than our troops are going to be when they walk into Tokyo.
There were isolated cases; I know of one family where the Japs butchered every man in the house, although nobody offered any resistance to their entry. I know that many Chinese women were raped. Most of the British women escaped this indignity. Either the men were being held in – the Japs certainly did have in mind an idea of showing those snooty British that they could be gentlemen too – or they just preferred Chinese women to British, a preference most people could understand, I should think. Anyway, the Chinese suffered a lot more than we did.
項美麗筆下的日軍，可以分為兩大類：第一類是主管外交和外僑事務的文官，第二類是一般的日本憲兵。第一類人曾經在外國留學，英語流利，了解西方文化，在日本官僚架構之中跟憲兵部隊分別屬於不同的山頭。個別外交官在戰前已經認識項美麗的日本通丈夫 Charles Boxer，交情不淺，於是私底下暗中協助和保護項美麗。這類人對於日本憲兵在南京的暴行感到羞恥，只是職責所在不便表態。對於第二類人，項美麗形容他們是目不識丁的流氓: The gendarmes were for the most part totally uneducated thugs, whose only aim in life was to get as much for themselves as possible, in the quickest time they could. 日軍將領利用他們來實施恐怖統治，威嚇淪陷區的老百姓，令他們不敢造次。
在她眼中，日軍並非鐵板一塊，而上述兩大陣營的互動有時會產生意想不到的效果。項美麗說，淪陷期間主管香港衛生事務的日軍Nguchi 戰前曾經到過香港考察，拜會過紅十字會的英籍主管，對西方醫學非常崇拜：But the Japanese were superstitiously faithful to Western science, which they love; they love needles and medicine. 為了對付香港的各種熱帶傳染病，他想為所有人接種疫苗，這是連英國人也辦不到的事情。雖然掌權的日軍將領不大理會香港人的死活，但是為了不至於被他們所鄙視的中國人傳染，有命回家，最終還是給Nguchi說服，照他的說話做。由於新措施非常擾民，但是不打針又會有麻煩，於是有人看到商機，專門出售針紙圖利，甚至為此而喪命：
We were all grabbled and jabbed, sooner or later; in the streets, on the ferry wharves, anywhere. People who could not show little pink cards in proof that they were inoculated were done then and there, even if they had been inoculated a dozen times in the past week. Other treatments followed: vaccination by law, typhoid inoculations by law, and anything else they thought of. Chinese who didn't like it managed to buy fake tickets, of course; one man died as a result of nineteen needle jabs in one day, but he had collected a nice sum of money for his inoculation cards before he died.