Japanese Diary on Kolombangara

Aerial view of Kolombangara, 1943

Aerial view of Kolombangara, 1943

In New Georgia on the Soloman Islands a Japanese private soldier found himself thrown into a campaign that had already been lost. He and his companions from the 23rd Infantry Regiment were landed on Baanga Island, where the troops in occupation were already in retreat. U.S. forces were already well established on nearby islands and the seas around were patrolled by PT boats and destroyers, making it increasingly difficult for the Japanese to land reinforcements or supplies.

Little is known about Tadashi Higa apart from what was found in his diary which was found by the Americans and translated for intelligence purposes. On the 3rd August 1943 he made the following entry

Kolombangara

Kolombangara

We walked along either starving or chewing hard tack. The men in the forces that were withdrawing had pale faces; and there was one casualty in torn clothing who went along using a sword as a cane.

Being just one battalion, we are helpless. We withdrew further. We must withdraw tonight, for our number will be up when day breaks. To advance would have meant death. The situation is indescribable.

The day broke. Enemy planes came roaring toward us, and if we had been detected, it would have meant our end.

The force has spent three days and four nights hiding in the brush without eating, and soaking wet. We were unable to advance a step. We were awaiting the order for an immediate withdrawal to Kolombanga.

Everybody picked coconuts. The enemy was hurriedly constructing an airfield opposite us. We could see them so clearly that it seemed we could have touched them. It only meant that more air attacks were in store for us. Our lives were worthless, for there was no order for withdrawal after all. I have come to hate the men who cause wars. The withdrawal order didn’t come through tonight either.

Our rations have run out. I felt as though I had Malaria, and I took quinine tablets and Hinomarin to keep alive. I was merely awaiting my fate and yet I wanted to die fighting.

It isn’t merely that Japan is being defeated. I felt like crying. Being wet, and in a jungle full of mosquitoes, I thought of home. Ah! The letters from home last month. Ten letters and fourteen or fifteen postcards after a year without any word. There were also letters from my parents.

News from HARUKO, I cherish deeply. But the new was that my beloved younger sister has died, has become a cold, black corpse. Oh! When I thought of her fate, the tears came. I really cried. I felt bitter toward Providence. When I realized that fate determines our lives, my mind became calm. Although death comes sooner or later, I felt sorry for my sister who had to die so young. I prayed for the repose of her soul.

Our parents must be bereaved. Furthermore my mother, who is always thinking about me, must be going through an ordeal worse than death. War is sad.

Nature remains unaffected by such things, though. The morning sun shone, the wind blew softly, yet rain fell plentifully. The hard tack was wet and gave out a foul odor; nobody ate it. We did nothing except gnaw on coconuts.

Two large landing barges were attacked by torpedo boats while they were transporting material to this island. One squad of our CO was on them. I wonder what happened to them.

We talked about home, and we criticized war conditions. We ate no food; our life was just this and nothing else. There was talk that, even today, dead bodies floated up on the north shore. When we thought of their deaths, we were overcome with sorrow.

There was talk that the men of the Southeast Div have not yet arrived. We could not expect them, because our forces, driven hither and thither, must have been roaming about these lonely islands. I wondered what would become of them! I wondered, too, what fate had in store for us!

Despite his sadness and his despair on 13th August Tadashi made his last entry in his diary:

We are determined to resist to the last soldier, and with that intention I lay down my pen.

It was the same situation as on Attu in the northern Pacific, despite knowing that they fought without hope of victory, or even of surviving, the ordinary Japanese soldier saw no alternative but to fight on.

His diary was eventually found on 20th August, what became of Tadashi Higa is not known. The diary was translated by the Combat Intelligence Center, South Pacific Force, and is now retained by the U.S. Naval Historical Center.

From WWIIToday.com?

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 6a00d8341bfadb53ef00e54f2c2fcf8834-640wi

Do a brave thing today!

Do a brave thing today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Arnold – Durham, NC; US Army, Korea

William Dellraria – Chelsea, MA & FL; Merchant Marine, WWIIeagles-with-bowed-heads

Joseph Gathercoal – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Donald Johnson – Howard Beach, NY; US Army, Korea era

Percy Jarrell – Hillsboro, OH; US Merchant Marine, WWII

Davis Meyer – Spokane, WA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Charles Rollins –  Calendonia, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

George Sakato – Colton, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Nisei 442nd RCT, Medal of Honor

Edward Tutty – Hawks Bay, NZ; RNZ Army # 45053, WWII, 29th Battery

James Wylie – TX & NC; USMC; WWII, Korea, Col. (Ret.), pilot

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 15, 2015, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 88 Comments.

  1. I think of my uncle possibly suffering under similar conditions and your dad fighting as well to stay alive.

    Like

  2. If you do not mind, I would like to use your farewells on my Weebly site? As always cool blog. I will never forget these.

    Like

  3. We are all human and suffer the same. War only gives comfort to those in power positions.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love your cartoon, despite the biological and geographical problems which might spoil it for some people!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Truly sad. Thank you for such a poignant post.

    Like

  6. Your website continues to be an important one. Goodness, but this could have been any solider anywhere who wrote these words. You genuinely demonstrate that soldiers, no matter what ‘side’ they are on are human beings put into just horrid situations.

    Thank you for an excellent contribution.

    Liked by 2 people


  7. Schön das du ein Tagebuch schreibst man muss es schreiben war eine schlimme Zeit Wünsche einen schönen Mittwoch lieber Gruß Gislinde

    Like

  8. Such a sad story and it could have been written by any soldier from any army.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Another wonderful post that inspires us to seek peaceful solutions within our local and global communities. I have just read your post to others who have joined me for morning coffee. They send their thanks along with mine.💛❤️💛

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Wonderful post, CP. And I love the Paratrooper’s Agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What moving words. It just goes to show the Japanese were human too, something we tend to forget.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Another fine post presented with a compassionate eye on the plight of war for the common soldier on both sides. Merry Christmas to you and your family, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. War zones throughout human history are filled with such ghosts. They are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    I remember a commercial on TV that ran for a while when I was young. It showed two world leaders duking it out on a hill top instead of troops fighting it out. Perhaps someday any future wars will be fought this way. Maybe someday they will be no wsrs at all.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. A great journal entry – which shows how troops on both sides of a battle can be used as human fodder…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You did a good job showing it from all sides. Excellent!!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I know it was their culture, but to see the fact that he knew they had no chance and yet was determined to fight on…he was right about one thing, “War is sad”

    Liked by 2 people

  17. What a tragic document. A hopeless situation. Significant is the way he stated how much he hated war – but not the enemy as one might have expected.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. How sad. People will love and serve their country. Right or wrong. Life and people are so precious. That is why war should always be a last resort. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you don’t mind if I Facebook this.

    Marcey

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Incredible story of war, this journal entry. The harrowing truth. Great post GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Your stories put us right beside you! Always great writing which make me never want to see another war!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “I have come to hate the men that cause wars.” Everyone in war has said or thought that at one time or another.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. That was a great, though heartbreaking, account. I’m glad it was preserved.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. We are lucky that this diary was retained for the benefit of later generations. It shows the human side to an enemy generally considered not to have one.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Another pawn in the deadly game played by powerful masters.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The penguin and polar bear one is funny but it still intrigues me the way people are ignorant of the fact that one live only in the southern hemisphere and the other only in the northern.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, but it makes for a cute cartoon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • As an aside—Spouse and I entered a deserted showroom in Scotland awaiting a staffer so we could pay our garage bill. To fill some time I asked her:

      “In all history there’s no record ever of a polar bear taking a penguin in the wild. Penguins have a natural defence, it seems … any theories?”

      But before she could answer a disembodied voice from under the counter said “Because they canna get the wrappers off?”

      —which froze me in my tracks and cracked her completely.
      She had to remind me that one of the more popular choccie-coated biscuit bars in the UK is the ubiquitous ‘Penguin’ … (I was going to clobber her with “Twelve thousand miles of open sea” but it suddenly seemed superfluous); we paid up and left …

      Like

  26. A heart-wrenching story and like so many others in the war.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Thank you for finding this worthwhile reading for your followers.

    Like

  28. Thank you for helping to keep their memories alive, Angel.

    Like

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (12-16-2015) | My Daily Musing

  2. Pingback: Japanese Diary on Kolombangara | Pacific Paratrooper | First Night History

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