2008-08-12

Diary of Nobuo Tatsuguchi

This story describes the last days of a Japanese soldier on Attu Island. It's a rather old article dated 2005, but even after reading it many times it's still moving.

The diary of Nobuo Tatsuguchi, an American-educated Japanese doctor who was killed during World War II, quietly recorded the tragedies of the war, his own suffering and the last moments of Japanese troops on Attu Island at the western tip of Aleutians in the Bering Sea.

Taeko Tatsuguchi, his 92-year-old widow in Los Angeles shared her memories of her late husband and the war with Kyodo News.

''He was a faithful Christian doctor and a gentleman who devoted himself to God and communities,'' said Taeko.

Nobuo Tatsuguchi was born in Hiroshima on Aug. 31, 1911, as the second son of a Christian dentist who had been educated in the United States. Tatsuguchi also studied medicine at the College of Medical Evangelists, now Loma Linda University, in southern California.
As background information, I'd put below an outline of the Battle of Attu from Wikipedia.
On 11 May 1943, the operation to recapture Attu began. A shortage of landing craft, unsuitable beaches, and equipment that failed to operate in the appalling weather caused great difficulties in projecting any force against the Japanese. Many soldiers suffered from frostbite - because essential supplies could not be landed, or having been landed, could not be moved to where they were needed. Army vehicles would not work on the tundra. The Japanese defenders under Colonel Yamasaki did not contest the landings, but rather they dug in on high ground away from the shore. This resulted in bloody fighting: there were 3,929 U.S. casualties: 580 were killed, 1148 were injured, 1200 had severe cold injuries, 614 succumbed to disease, and 318 died of miscellaneous causes - largely from Japanese booby traps and from friendly fire. The Japanese were defeated in Massacre Valley (with some soldiers led by Sergeant Morgan Sinclair). The death count for the Japanese was 2035. The Americans then built Navy Town near Massacre Bay.

On May 29, the last of the Japanese forces suddenly attacked near Massacre Bay in one of the largest banzai charges of the Pacific campaign. The charge, led by Colonel Yamasaki, penetrated U.S. lines far enough to encounter shocked rear-echelon units of the American force. After furious, brutal, close-quarter, and often hand-to-hand combat, the Japanese force was killed almost to the last man: only 28 prisoners were taken, none of them officers. U.S. burial teams counted 2,351 Japanese dead, but it was presumed that hundreds more had been buried by naval, air, and artillery bombardments over the course of the battle.
The photo at the top of this post is from this page. According to the page, "The Japanese soldier to whom the film belonged was more than likely killed in the Battle for Attu some time during May of 1943, as there were only 28 surviving Japanese soldiers". Although the owner of the film tried to get the photos to the surviving families of the soldiers seen in the photos, it has not been successful to find the families.

Also, You can read a translated text of the diary of Nobuo Tatsuguchi here.

1 comments:

TheGhost said...

Wow! War is hell.