View Full Version : Japanese letter home

05-20-2008, 05:02 PM
These are some WW 2 Letters translated by a female OSS agent. My company bought her house and she was moved to an Old folk's home.
We were having the cleaning girls give it the once over and they showed me a last book in the book case. I opened up some stock portfolio book from 1983 and found these faded yellow letters tucked inside. As I read them I was stuned. I showed them to several WW 2 vets who felt I should contact someone from a musuem. They made their way to a WW 2 Musuem in New Orleans and the the University of Hawai department of Pacific studies.

I let the few Japanese people I know read them and they were overcome.

These are word for word what I found.

There was also a letter from a US POW held in a Japanese steel mill that was surprising in its tone. He said older Japanese Civilians protected them from the guards and for all intents kept them alive.

Anyway read them with an open mind

Dear Mother, the day of separation has finally came. I shall go to the front in high sprits. Please take good care of your health and I hope I can be in good health when I come back. I pretend to have no worries and no emotion. But I go to the front with imperfections. There is a mixed feeling of lonesomeness ands dreariness.. I shall put my complete trust in the provenience of God. I have succeeded in getting that feeling.

I wished that you and Yoshimitsu and Mieko would see me off with smiling faces. But I am afraid the feeling between parents and children is deeper than that. I do not mind mother's tears. But I do hope that you would spend days in brightness and wait for my letters. But if I leave home with " Tears of sorrow" I feel like going to my death. Please feel that I am going with a fishing rod or a sketch book under my arm. Please promise that you will not shed tears.

It is strange that I who hated war so much , Have forgotten all of it and been training myself in the arts of war.I want to dash to final victory. I do not know whether this final victory is to come back alive or to die in action. Any way watch me training myself in life and death both. If I die it is his will and If I come back alive it is not the final victory.

Please do not cry, do not smile thoughtlessly.

Written by

Hideslittus Ooi 26 years old Graduate Tokyo university

Killed in action North China 1941

This cheap lawn is born from the great Earth and its ending life. Its embraced in the warm love of the Earth and is waiting for the time. It is not the status of negating life. It has fought bravely in the assertion of strong life. But it is going to finish soon. It is satisfied with it. It is quietly waiting for time with a bud in his heart, of young strength and hope. He has a hope for the coming generation to live strongly. It has been trodden upon harshly when it wanted to grow.... What is that endeavor for ? It surely was not for self- survival. It is for the blood in it and it's eternal continuation and development.

Written by Takuji Mikuria, 22 years old student Kagoshima higher college.

Kamikaze pilot killed in action diving on US fleet Kyushu June 1945

I have a headache today. I might have caught a cold. How pleasant it would be if I could negate it all and live in a state of nothingness. Is a state necessary social entity for mankind? Is it not a thing which is maintained in the picture of history?

March 1 enemy planes attack us all the time. I only had one hour of sleep on deck. The ground forces must have been damaged badly. Precious blood of my countrymen are being shed there.. I can only look objectively in the face of the existence of the nation and millions of people. I cannot help thinking to the numerous wives and children who lost their dear ones. Can a state be so blind to the individual sacrifices? are present social polices enough?

Written by Setsuzo Hirai Graduate Tokyo University

Killed in action New Guinea September 1943

Finally I go to the front. I do not want to die . Of course it is not all. My seniors and Junior die in the war. Death, death what is death? Many die in the construction of the Greater East Asia sphere and it's prosperity. If this dream is realized death is worthwhile. But if it cannot be realized , death is in vain. Frankly speaking , Government, are you sure we can win? Are you not fighting in a vain dream of victory? .......

A war is only a comedy before eternal truth.

Written by Kinpei Matsuoka, 22 years old student Tokyo University.

Killed in action Burma July 7 1945

I was brought up the last twenty years without any trouble. I have spent many happy years under the warm love of you my parents and brothers and sisters. I am afraid I was selfish many times and gave you more troubles than any other children.It hurts me very much to pass away before I can repay you in any way..

As an airman, everyday is the day of death. Every word I write and say is my will. In the high sky death is not an object of fear at all. It does not seem to me that I can die when I dash across the sky. Sometimes I felt I wanted to dive into something. I am not scared of death at all. In a way I want to die. Because I can meet my dear Brother Ryu again.. What I hope most is to meet him again in heaven.

I have been yearning for liberalism. It is most necessary for Japan....But I am disappointed as Japan is covered with Totalitarianism. The Rise or fall of a Nation is a serious matter.. But when we look at it from the Entire Universe it is really a small matter....

Goodbye.. Goodbye forever.

Written by Ryoji Uehara, 22 years old Student Waseda University

Kamikaze pilot killed in action diving on US fleet Okinawa

I am closing my eyes. Images of my dear child, wife mother , father and sister are floating. On the previous night of my departure for the front you . sobbing cried out don't make me a widow!. I shall never forget your face when you said so.

I am the happiest person in the world because I have you as my good companion, and our dear child Katsuko.. I intended to go south, to fight with conviction of life.

Please be as you are today. Keep your present spirit and health. Live quietly in passion. Be the owner of quietness in passion. Your face is floating in my eyes. Firm mouth with lovingness. Your full breast. Your image never leaves me.

Now I must get rid of this womanly emotion.............

I go on fighting leaving everything in the tide of time and fate.

Written by Jiro Shinozaki , 34 years old Graduate Christian University, Dooshita

Killed in action New Guinea , January 1944

Pilate asked Jesus. "What is truth?" Because Pilate drifted in actuality. His question did not mean anything to Jesus, who saw truth beyond actuality.

Written by Tomoo Yoshimura, 22 years old student Waseda university

Killed in action Luzon, October 1944


This was found by me as well, it is a few pages from a unsigned 57 page
record from an unnamed American Army Air Corps NCO Captured on Battan,
Philippines 1942. This page is a record of his time at a Japanese Steel
Mill 1945. The words are his not mine, they do not reflect all his
experiences as a POWs. But In the 57 pages I read, a theme of individual
acts of human kindness was reflected. Although many pages contain
terrible events , this section may be of interest to you

>>> This was Camp 3 Yawta, Kyushu, Japan
>>> Each morning we were marched about a mile to the rail head to some
>>> railroad flat cars and taken 5 miles to the steel mill. The ride thru
>>> the countryside was pleasant enough , but uncomfortable when it rained
>>> in the winter.. Upon arrival at the mill we were turned over to
>>> civilians who led us off into various work details. I can't recall any
>>> rough treatment at the hands of civilians, as they were for the most
>>> part elderly types who could speak a few words of English. This together
>>> with a few of us who could speak a few words of Japanese led to some
>>> hilarious conversations. The old Japanese guys would almost always get
>>> their work details lost in the maze of furnaces etc. This kept us from
>>> the guards and soldiers and kept us warm in the winter. We would swap
>>> stories of our homes , families etc... Invariably the conversation would
>>> get around to Baseball Or ''Beezu Ballu'' of which their knowledge was
>>> amazing. We carried a small wooden box (Binto Box) containing Rice and
>>> pickled
>>> vegetables. Whenever possible the groups leader would take these boxes
>>> to the lunch room and factories warm up the rice or replace it with hot
>>> rice. Many times he would bring a bucket of hot soup and a bucket of hot
>>> tea. I would hazard a guess , that being shipped to Japan was the best
>>> thing that happened so far. One old fellow, the chief civilian in
>>> charge of the POW work details. We had given the title of Grand POP,
>>> After much explaining he understood that we had done so because of our
>>> liking for him. After that we could do no wrong. He would strut around
>>> like a rooster constantly using the English expression " The Grand Popu
>>> speaks...." A sort of Civilian POW brotherhood soon developed. In
>>> that the Civilians tried to get the same groups each day. The Guards
>>> growled about this, but the civilians would say the job isn't finished
>>> yet.... Soon many civilian started bringing us things such as a bar
>>> of soap, rice, tea or a lump of candy.

05-20-2008, 05:33 PM
That is so cool!

05-20-2008, 06:00 PM
It's easy to forget that those we fight against are just as human as we are. Many of them share the same philosophical, and even religeous views as we do. Remember the scene in Heartbreak Ridge when Aponte kills a Cuban soldier and then notices the crucifix around his neck. "Jesus, please forgive me" he utters... My mind takes me to a line in the first Elizabeth movie: War is a sin. But, sometimes, it is a neccessary sin. I'm reminded, also, of a line in "Gods and Generals" when an officer from the Georgia Irish Regiment realizes that the Irish Brigade of Massechusets is the one attacking them. "Come lads... They've been misled to their fates..." Sad as hell...

05-20-2008, 06:26 PM
If you are touched by the poetic expression within the letters of these young Japanese soldiers you might enjoy reading "The Divine Wind".

05-21-2008, 08:28 AM
"A war is only a comedy before eternal truth."

--Hard core, man....hard core.

(and just two syllables shy of a Haiku)