Imphal, The Hump and Beyond
U.S.A.A.F. Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War
6th Combat Cargo Squadron, 2nd Combat Cargo Group
Excerpts from a Japanese Officer's Diary Stranded on Biak Island 1944
From 31 Aug 44
Biak Island, No. 3 Quarters--------------------------- There is no autumn in these tropics,
So I understand the pity of each falling leaf.
----------------------------------------------------------My ears, eyes and mouth are closed from the world. I cannot even live with a loud voice. There is no way I can find out the condition of friendly forces, the condition in and Japan and also the present situation of battle. I see only enemy planes flying, and the cars that pass are only those of the enemy. The only sound that I hear, are loud bursts of shells and firing of guns. I will go mad if I keep concentrating on those sounds. It is driving me insane. I will try to sing worthless songs and recite verses. But these are not helping any to wipe out my misery.
I will fight with all my strength on the day friendly forces arrive. Someday we will mix it up with our enemy planes.--------------------------
The enemy is working too rapidly. They are building roads, positions and billeting grounds. Towards the evening, after 5 pm, they are busy with their radios, whistling, etc. It is now 156 days since their successful landing. I am wondering when the day will come when we will annihilate each and every one of our enemys. With the passing of each day, this day is drawing closer.
Nicotine fits this moment. The woods, the moon and the planes are all like smoke.
I sneaked secretly into the enemy position to steal their rations. This happened one evening when the moon was shining brightly.
As everything does not depend on the strength of material, Japan will win this war.
It is 1:00 am, now but enemy does not stop working. Leading Private Takahasi, sneaked through the tractor and ground flares and returned with a box.
Whenever I see this soldier, he is doing something. He prayes to return and live a normal live again. Although, soaked by rain, there is no latrine. His shoes were worn out, so he patched something for the soles. His clothes are torn to tatters, but in order to come out victorious one must suffer much inconvenience. X Unit CO, once stated that our standard of living should be similar to that of Papuans.
We have lived through another day, waiting for our friendly forces to arrive
What we desire is water, for 4 or 5 days the weather has been dry. Water that remains, fills one ahalf a can. We have squeezed water from coconut palms and wistaeies. However, this handful of water is not enough to quench our thirst.
We have prayed to the eastern skies and turned our faces to the western skies. But the skies do not know our want For this is not a single cloud. The heart that awaits rain are like the heart that await the friendly forces.
How happy I will be, if only one of those planes could be that of our friendly forces.
Eastern peace, for the peace of distant Asia. Preparatory move is enough, we, who have come to this land with liking, Have parted from the distant tranquility.Our hateful enemy - If only we could annihilate them. Our desire for peace will then come true. We, the Asiatic people will draw together our souls and fight til victory is ours.
I do not know what it is since there is no picture of it, replied Section Leader Hagauchi. Let us open it and see - probably it is beans. You say it is beans, but do you mean to tell me that this writing is known all over the world?
That is alright We will open two cans and make a special meal today. We also have miso, sprouts and dry bread.
I cannot help but feel our friendly forces will come on 3 Nov. How I wish they will come soon. It is not proper for me to beg like this, but Japan must win. Japan will occupy Biak Island again. Even the US troops on Cebu are holding our firmly in the mountains. I will hold out until our friendly forces arrive.------------------------------
There are only grass in the fields And there is not a single potato, Whether the subordinates are safe and sound. The field is very quiet with a sound. Although I go and search for them I do not know which way to look, I am worried about their safety And their faces appear in my mind, Some of them are smiling I am satisfied if they are safe The mighty solders under Sgt Maj. Chiba. Though I try to sleep and eat, I cannot be happy until one of our planes arrive
The shoe I have on cannot be recognized anymore.
Our enemies live luxuriously in the Army. They do not think of repairing anything after using it onece. The civilians have all the good things so what the soldiers have are always poor. However, they have the strength in material and fully display it besides trying to improve it their best advantage. They possess both spiritual and material strength. The political circle of the Maije era committee a mistake by allowing materials control its people. The US Army will surely be defeated.
It is easy to die, for it is the duty of the warrior to die and smiling pass through this.
On this page the Japanese Captain had pasted a WRIGLEYS SPEARMENT GUM WRAPPER and wrote the following verse: "Cleaning of teeth. I found this wrapped in silver paper."
Also on this page was a FARMERS FULL CREAM SWEETEND CONDENSED MILK WRAPPING Sgt. Nagauchi found this can of milk while looking for Sup. Pvt. Kurimura. About 12 oclock Kurimura returned. We were worried but happy now that he has returned.
Supl. Pvt Kajima of Kamoshina Unit drank on can of milk. There were 10 cans in each case so we divided, five cans apiece. I am very happy. However, will our planes never come? Japan must win The friendly forces will surely come. There is no one to listen to me so to console myself, I say this to myself. Japan will win she will surely win.
Note: On this same page a wrapping of PET EVAPORATED MILK, and a wrapping of ASSORTED CHARMS was posted.On the following page these wrapping were posted:
Beech-nut Chewing Gum "I recall my childhood days chewing gum"
Jack Frost Tablet Sugar
Orange Juice Powder "When one is tired, a glass of this orange juice is good for his throat
Lion Match Cover
On the following page
Nature is great. So much battles have been fought on this island, but Nature still continues, with insects buzzing and birds flying. Nature keeps silent and watches when men settle for victory with bloodshed.
On this page was a BLAZE OGOLD TOMATO PUREE WRAPPING TOMATOES No matter what one says, a tomato tastes best upon being picked from its tree. It also has a distinct taste when eaten after being cooled. It is all right to put some salt.
During my school days, I have had the experience of eating tomatoes picked from fields. I recall now the summers I have spend in my childhood with my chum in the field near the river bank. We stretched our legs and chewed on the tomatoes we have picked.
My sister liked tomatoes. There were times when she had stuffed a lot of these in her mouth and was not to give any reply when someone spoke to her.
These are all things of the past which I recall this day.Also on this page was a WRAPPING OF MISSION PEAK FRUIT COCKTAIL was posted on this page, but no description accompanied the wrapping.
Beauty is something that gives everyone a pleasant feeling. The beauty of Nature touches the hearts of millions of people. Now, let us mix the beauty of human nature and the wonders of nature.
If you feel beauty and appreciate it, then you are still a man. However, until our friendly forces come, I shall have to cut off all beauty, nature and otherwise. Can there be such a miserable thing as this? The sun is bright and shining everywhere. I must not wonder further.
Pleasant things make up the memoirs cherished in ones mind. The days Ive spent in Manchuria were pleasant.I have picked many millets. Tama and Hari liked nothing better than this when it was cooked. I wonder what they are doing now? Hari, a round faced person had a mean temper. He often said that he could split a board with his bare fists
The millets were piled in one bundle on a cart and several dogs rode on it. Shinkyo, with his whip, drove the cart towards home in the twilight. This scene, no matter what ones says, can be only in Manchria.
A WRAPPER OF NANNELLA BRAND PEAR SHAPED TOMATOES APPEARED ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE WITH NO EXPLANATION
One the next page A WRAPPER OF LION SPECIALTY CO. * CONFECTIONS AND PEANUT PRODUCTS WITH THE FOLLOWING EXPAINATION:
"Since these is a picture of lion, there must be something good inside.Lions are the king of all beasts. I opened the can and found buttered Nanking beans."
"This war has passed its third year. I have no feelings for the things I recall. There are seven of us remaining now. I wonder what has happened to the others?""Must one suffer so much in order to live? I live now only to await the day of attack by our friendly forces. While waiting, I am encountering many hardships."
Is our regimental colours in safe hands? Our regimental headquarters and comrades? I only hope they are all well."
"Even today, enemy planes are flying and their sentries are firing. I cannot close my eyes and sleep. I pass each day in this manner."
"I believe our friendly forces will attack in December. Japan will win."
A WRAPPER OF ALPINE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK ON THIS SAME PAGE WITH THE FOLLOWING EXPAINATION: "This milk is very good. It was found b Sup. Pvt Kurimura beneath some leaves one morning. He returned withoug finding any bread. The next time we will find some at all costs."
A WRAPPER OF DEL-MONTE BRAND YELLOW CLING SLICED PEACHES -EXPAINATION WAS NOT TRANSLATED--------------------------
Butterfly, why are you so silent?
Just about the time the sun rises up the valley,
You always appear from nowhere,
Although you spread you wing at times,
You come to a stop and remain so silent.
You fly here without any sound,
May I ask where is your home?
Crossing over that Valley and then the next,
Til you reach a cedar tree in a wide field.
Why, a butterfly has flew by,
Its towards the evening and the insects are hissing,
The rats and eagles are beginning to appear,
If you do not go home right way,
Your folks will start to worry about you.
The Greater East Asia Battle has progressed into its third year and 1944 is the year of decisive battle. Nineteen forty-five should find Japan victorious. We shall have to annihilate all the US Troops if our friendly forces should come. Our true desire shall be fulfilled then.
It is snowing in Japan now. But here, it is always summer. The fireflies and butterflies are flying.Also on this page was A WRAPPING OF WEST FARMS HALVES BARTLETT PEARS In the back of the paper a picture of a beautiful home, with a large tree directly in the center of the front of the home smaller trees on the right side of the house, a pathway of flat stones leading to the front door of the house, and a round shaped fence, a gate in the center, with flowers around th inside of the fence. This is a pencil hand drawn picture. (Note: Could be that this picture was the home of the Japanese Captain?).
ANOTHER WRAPPING OF TOMATOES SHADY BROOK BRAND (Note: It seems that most of the food stolen by the Japanese during their tour of Moonlight Requisitioning" was a variety of tomatoes)
The hardships we encounter everyday is not merely spiritualistic, but also materialistic. The hardships we have gone through are so numerous that it would be impossible for me to list them all on these pages. Must one suffer so much to live? As soldiers of the Japanese Army, I believe, we cannot be beaten in battle, nor should we go through so many hardships.
However, in order to carry out the duties and capabilities of the Imperial Army, we must keep on struggling to the bitter end. Hence, a man in charge of subordinates must not weaken. To overcome our present hardship is our chief duty now.
Potatoes, coconuts, core of betel-net, palm trees, stalk of tara plants, grass and leaves, frogs, snakes, papaias, fish, sea-cucumbers, opossum, lizards, miso, soy sauce, noodles, besides stolen US rations. ((modified 2/07/2005 human flesh changed to Opossum) see note #1 below))
At the first grey of dawn until dusk, the mosquitoes continue to buzz annoyingly, and the burst of our enemy shells can be heard day after day. We are continuously taken by illness and have never had a chance to rest each day some one becomes ill, either by cold, diarrhea or malaria.
There are albatross birds here. They are shrieking above our heads today again. Although their cry is exasperating, we are bearing it patiently.My whole body is irritating. When I scratch my leg, my back becomes itchy then, my waist becomes itchy, and so I scratch around that spot. Seen the ringworm. I have it all over my body. I try not to scratch but is so irritating that I simply cannot avoid doing so. Dry weather continues when my body is itchy, and there are times when it does not rain for over a week. There were times when I quenched my thirst by squeezing the water from decayed trees.
OUR EXPECATION OF HAPPINESS
We are awaiting our real happiness. This will come on the day our friendly forces arrive. Our happiness comes in the evening when there are no sounds of our enemy. On rainy days, our enemies do not move, and there is no sound of their guns, so we are able to wash our clothes and take our baths
Our happiness will come when we are able to wave the Sunflag by crushing our enemy. This happiness is our only desire.DECEMBER 7, 1944
It is three years today since the start of the Greater East Asia battle. As a result of the satisfactory progress being made and the present situation of battle, the coming year should find us victorious.
It is one year ago today that we made our landing on Biak Island and 195 days since the lading of enemy forces. Our enemy is now actively carrying on field firing. The sound of rapid fire guns, heavy and light MGs can be heard from a distance of 300 (not stated). I am keeping very still and hoping our friendly force will arrive today. I am wondering if our friendly force should not come today, then what will happen to us on Biak. Will we end in a pitiful condition?
It is obvious our disposition will become worse. However, to part with our enemy in this state is exceedingly disappointing. Our friendly forces will arrive this month .and when thye arrive, we will fight to the last.
I have become weak. I, who have not prayed for the Gods help so far, have begun to pray recently and ask for his help. Am I praying because of these hardships? We have suffered much but we still have the heart to wait for our friendly forces. Although I have been taught always to pray for the spirit of Hayate but as the first principle, I must set my heart to fight with all my strength.
Prayers to God must be done with sincereness. The hardships I have encountered should be set aside, and pay for Thanksgiving that we will win. I pray to God for the safekeeping of Japan
Every insect is carrying out their respective task in order to survive. While laying on my bunk, made of logs, I gaze intently at the ground. I see ants, butterflies, mosquitoes, flies, dragonflies and many other insects. Each of them are working and utilizing their strategy.
The dragonfly has his eyes set firmly on something, with his small head turned slightly to one side. His victims are the tiny insects that enter his field of observation. The butterfly, with its delicate wings spread out, is breathing in the rain. The ants, formed a column, are moving back and forth as though very busy, while the mosquitoes and flies come to harass them. I do not know what they are after, but the small insects are flying about
They are all working the struggle for livelihood of man is similar. I wonder whether the feeling of utility comes from a place like this.
As camphor puts sick persons to recover, my medicine now is planes with designs of the sun. Last night I heard AA fire. Both the Officers and men stood up with joy thinking the friendly forces have arrived. There were no sounds for 10 of 15 minutes. The firing that took place was on maneuvers.
We have lived in the enemys position for four months. As medicine is for the sick, our medicine is planes. One plane will do, as long as it flies over our heads.
Poor as we are, we are still people of Japan we have at least one or two planes. Do you think the rising sun can be defeated by the star and stripes? Our friendly forces are sure to come.
Our medicine has been prescribed as planes. Our superior planes will rescue those of us here and those in Japan proper.
Then enemys planes above our heads over a 100 times a day they are flying over now. During this war I hope at least one plane will come. Will it not come?
I wonder who will succeed me upon my death to carry out subjugation of the United States. Will it be Junaki or Tentamu?
If I die, I imagine they will say that their father fought as a captain against the US. Although I die now, someone from my family will take revenge. They will accomplish what I have failed.
Since great men have emerged from my blood relation as highly intellectual and public spirited persons who served we as politicians, soldiers and chemists. However, I am 27 and still very yound. My spirit must live forever and brighten the glory of our nation. I will carry out elusive movements and trouble the enemy greatly.
If you want to live until you get to twenty-seven, they you would not want to die whether you get to be fifty or hundred.
I only want my spirit to live. While I am in good health and while there are lots of rations, I shall annoy the enemy as much as possible. It is alright to do this. The only thing I feel uneasy about is, I have troubled my parents a great deal and for this reason, I feel bitterly disappointed for not being able to fulfill my duty. My mother is ver old and I regret more than anything to die in this manner and meeting her at Yasukuni Shrine. I do not want anything.
Takasugi Shinsaku died when he was twenty-seven. I too will carry out surprise attacks and trouble the enemy.
Order of Distinguished Service
Killed in action: Cpl. Ita, Sgt Hanasaki, Sgt. Nishitani.
Living: Sgt. Nagauchi, Sgt. Ishikawa, Sgt. Maj. Chiba, Sgt. Kikuchi
Killed in action: Leading Pvt. Fukuda
Living: Sup. Pvt. Suzuki, Sup. Pvt. Omabe. Sup. Pvt. Kawacchi, Leading Pvt. Sawaguchi,, Leading Pvt. Nakamura, Kato Nagasuke.
B. After leaving cave Until Oct 10 1944 (No. 3 Quarters)
Sgt. Maj. Chiba, Sgt. Kikuchi, Sgt. Nagauchi, Leading Pvt. Nakamura, Sup. Pvt. Inaba, Sup. Pvt. Iwashira, Leading Pvt. Takahashi, Sup. Pvt. Yoshida, Leading Pvt. Sato, Leading Pvt. Sawaguchi, Sup. Pvt. Ken.
Asking for help from authors is the basis for failures. I have lived until this day in anticipation of help. I expected our navy and air force to carry out their offensives.
Nineteen forty-four is drawing to a close. I will display all my strength in the coming year. I cannot die until I kill a hundred enemies. I cannot die until I fulfill my resolution.
CONCLUSIONI will think or speak no more until the times comes. I am a soldier. When the time comes, I will yell Banzai and serve bravely
Nothing I think or do rests my mind.
Although I write, I cannot express my feelingsNineteen forty-four is drawing to a close. I shall live on calmly until the day comes. Even if I die, Japan must win. This is my only desire. Victory for Japan, victory for the working people.
Note 1- In the section - "Things I have Eaten" the words "human flesh" have been removed and changed to "Opossum" when I learned through a Japanese International Development Studies Researcher (Shinji Kawai, who had just attended a ceremony at the War Museum in Iwate Prefecture, Japan where Lt. Kariya's diary was officially dedicated. It seems somewhere in the late 1990's, early 2000's that the diary was returned to Lt. Kaiya's nephew, Mr. Miyazama. Mr. Kawai after reading a copy of the original diary has determined that the person or person's who originally translated the original diary in 1944\1945 got a few words incorrect. The best translation for this passage that can be obtained is the word Opossum. The diary used the word "Namakemono", which is also used for the slow moving opossum, '"amakemono" literally means "a lazy person" in Japanese. The translation was more than likely done by a 2nd generation Japanese who understood the word literally but then interpreted it as "human flesh" The diary flows much better, with opossum between fish, sea-cucumbers and lizards. Also the text is written in a form of "Katakana" which is another form of "Hiragana" (Japanese phonetic alphabet) that is often used for spelling animal or plant names. The translator may have heard or witnessed about Japanese soldiers eating on the flesh of their own colleagues as well as the enemies in states of extreme hunger. My thanks to Mr. Kawai for his correction to this diary entry. Bill Bielauskas 2/07/2005)
Submitted by Tilson King, 6th Combat Cargo Squadron, 2nd Combat Cargo Group © 2001 Bill Bielauskas
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