Japanese Soldier’s Remembrance – Iwo Jima – part two

Mt. Suribachi

As Takahashi Toshiharu watches the US tanks he continues his story:

No matter how long you wait, the tank will not come up to 10 meters. He is afraid of the march of my army. At another 90 meters I’m staring at it.  I was telling myself that if I made it as close as 90 meters, I could reach it.

While waiting for another 90 meters to advance, one Japanese soldier crawled and approached the first tank.  I approached the tank I decided to attack.  The shell flew and the tank blew and began to burn.  Sgt. Yatter and I shouted.

M4 Sherman on the edge of Motoyama airfield, Iwo Jima, 2/1945

I had woken the enemy.  The enemy was burned out with a flamethrower. The flame is dark with black smoke. I could not see even an inch ahead.  Because the first tank was done, the enemy must have been angry. The second tank is headed for us and shoots with a cannon, and dashing with a machine gun, awesome.

There are strange things and miracles in the world.  It is a miracle that I am now writing such things at the time like this.  It is surprising. The enemy does not advance, it burns near and shoots. Eight of us could not move.  If it comes, we will be shot or burned.  I can not do anything. There is nothing left to do but wait for tanks to come near. Wait for it.

This time. The earthquake tremor occurred with a large acoustic sound like a collapse of heaven and earth. I can not see even an inch with black smoke. We also tremble as the body jumps.  I wonder what happened, I think it is an earthquake or a volcano explosion.  Buries alive.

Cpl. Oliver Leone throws smoke grenade into cave on Iwo Jima

I ran away like a typhoon.  We can not do it.  The Marines who came with the tanks throw grenades in all the entrances and exits of my army positions and crush them. We got buried alive deep under the ground.

Eight people who were supposed to die by charging the tanks were deeply buried under the ground. There is no air, food and water. It becomes a mummy as it is. There is no way to live.  I decided to dig the earth with a bayonet while others carry it backwards. We worked desperately in the dark.  I do not know how many hours it has passed, but I made a hole about the size of a human head. The air worry ceased.

I did not understand what was going on outside.  There is no guarantee of life if we go out.  I poked my head out, it was night.  Tracer bullets are climbing high, bright and dark.  There are a lot of gasoline cans at the exit of the hole. So I decided to extend the hole and exit.  Sergeant Yano stated that we failed in a fight.  For the time being we will return to the North Border. Report failure and wait for the next command.

While the bullets are climbing, three men crawl going  to the coast. It is not found by enemies. When I went 100 meters, I went high.  Instantly I heard the sound of a machine gun.  It was in an ambush. When looking down in the hole of the shell, Corporal Yoshioka, Senior Iwasaki, First Kimura soldiers killed.

We lost four people and went north further 100 meters under command of Sergeant Yano. There is a convenient place to get to the sea. It is about 2 meters high here and you have to jump down.  Sergeant Yano went and was hit by machine gun fire.  The enemy was everywhere.  It is not easy to go through the enemy.  Two officers were crushed. I have to take the command this time. There are three people, I, Yokoyama upperman and forest soldiers left.  It is good that Sgt. Yano died. Tears fall down, war must stop.

Gen. Kubayashi and his staff on Iwo Jima

Yokoyama upper rank soldier and is much younger than me.  The remaining three will go again . Go down and walk down, crawling and crawling. After a while there was a convenient place to jump off.  Be careful.   Yokoyama stood up.  He was hit and said that it hurts.  It was done.   He was shot from the chest to his back. It is disappointing.

Eight people escaped have now become one person alone. There is no hope of living. Everyone died.  I decided to prepare for the death.  The sky in the east became bright.  It is useless if the dawn breaks, I am in the middle of the enemy and I am also shot.

to be continued…

Click on images to enlarge.

####################################################################################

Japanese Military Humor – from the Kunihiko Hisa cartoon album “Zero Fighter 1940 – 1945”

 

 

 

####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Stanley Brauser – OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Weather Dept., Major

Robert ‘Jack’ Darnielle – Sokane, WA; US Army, Korea, Tank Co./15/3rd Division

Jonathan Dunbar – Austin, TX; US Army, Syria, MSgt., Special Operations, KIA

Elmer ‘Garvis’ Garrett – Kilmichael, MS; US Army, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 25 y.)

Robert Johnson – Porcupine, SD; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Danny Kraemer – Fort Smith, AR; US Army, WWII, PTO, Amphibian Division

Frederick Mayo – Portland, ME; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 380 Air Service Group

Matt Tonroe – Manchester, UK; British Parachute Reg./3rd. Battalion, Syria, Sgt., KIA

Ervin Vosta – Licoln, NE; US Army, WWII & Korea, TSgt.

Walter Walden – Springfield, OR; USMC, Cpl.

#####################################################################################

 

Advertisements

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 April 4, 2018, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 93 Comments.

  1. Stories like these from both sides should be required reading for all politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It took me a minute to get the top cartoon. 🙂

    Like

  3. A miracle of survival and endurance, a massive burden to carry in your mind for the rest of your life, even the enemy have men like Takahashi Toshiharu who must be respected as Soldiers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s why so many of the WWII vets felt very little animosity towards the Japanese when it was over – it was the home front that held the grudge longer. Many of our vets, my father included, respected the Japanese soldiers. The only thing I ever heard my father say against them was, “They thought they were better soldiers than us because they felt we were mercenaries, fighting for the money, as opposed them fighting for the Emperor.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Always enlightening to hear the other side.I’m sure many of them didn’t want to be there either.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Eight people escaped have now become one person alone. There is no hope of living. Everyone died. I decided to prepare for the death.” Amazing courage, G. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wat een krachtig verhaal dat niemand onberoert laat

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is a picture of Japanese troops being captured by Americans on Iwo Jima, Japan, 5 April 1945. on War History Online on twitter. Just posted an hour ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sir, this is an excellent article, I am going to reblog this one for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What an excellent piece of writing to include everything that was happening at the moment it occurred. You could certainly feel his anguish. Now I wonder what kind of work he did after he survived the war, or maybe I missed that in an earlier post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do not know. I follow the translation of further entries into his diary, but can not find his occupation after the war.

      Liked by 1 person

      • After the war ended, he became a POW of US military,be treated his injury, be sent back to one’s home country Japan(1946) by USA.
        He came back home but his wife already died of disease ,so he could not meet his wife again.
        His children were raised by relatives, so he quickly returned to his house without cureing his injuries and brought up his children.
        He worked at the police office and died at the age of 74 in 1986.
        This diary which he wrote in1940s was released (in 2004)by his grandson.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you very much for the added information. I hope in a day or two you will return to read some of the fantastic comments I’ve been receiving for this. I certainly am indebted to you, my friend.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a striking piece. Thanks for sharing his perspective. I look forward to the rest of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I often wonder”did the ordinary Japanese soldier feel fear when confronted by superior forces, I’m inclined to think not, and I doubt we’ll ever know.
    I do believe that a bit of fear going into battle is an advantage, without it, overconfidence is very dangerous, even disastrous, as the Japanese leaders found out. But the ordinary soldier/sailor?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel only certain people can go into a battle outnumbered or otherwise and not feel some sort of fear. I think many of the young ones who still believed they were invincible (just as our teenagers do), could charge in, but as you said, they were dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. CHILLING…. will definitely be keeping my eye out for the next part!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Very, very powerful story. Thanks for sharing. My son and I recently watched (again) the HBO Series, The Pacific, and the movie about Iwo Jima. This post really adds another dimension to the intensity of the fighting on both sides. Great educational piece. S

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Stephen. The best part of your comment, I think, is the fact that your son also watched the shows with you. I have memories of watching with my father too. It is not only a teaching method, but good bonding as well.

      Like

  14. What a remarkable piece. Like others, I noted that phrase: “Tears fall down. War must stop.” The slightly flat, descriptive narrative only adds to the power of the story. I’m so glad this was included, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing GP. Reminded me of a situation my dad told me from his time behind enemy lines during WWII, he was the only survivor and didn’t think he’d live much longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. In addition to my ongoing appreciation of your inclusion of the viewpoint of “the other side” in your blog posts, I appreciate your inclusion of Japanese humor. This helps round out the story being told and also shows the humanity of the enemy we so often dehumanized in our need to defeat them in the war.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Parkardman! I do spend time trying to coordinate these posts – that’s why I usually only have 2 per week. I’m doing my best to get all 3 parts of this letter in one week, so it seems more coherent to the readers.

      Like

  17. Great job on the translation. You can feel the fear, disappointment and finally resignation: “There is no hope of living. Everyone died. I decided to prepare for the death.” Sad!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Horrifying. That’s the word that ran through my mind as I imagined this young man’s fear, grief, and desperation.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. We are right in the story of this awful dilemma and fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. “I have decided to prepare for the death.”

    I can’t imagine being at that point. I have been in danger, and I have been scared, but I can’t imagine that. When you read that, you forget “enemy” and you just realize that this was a person.

    Great story. I’m looking forward to the rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. A cliff hanger!! I hope he is not too wounded…riveting! But I wonder he wrote..”It is good that Sgt Yano died” – I guess a lingering death was painful and that he went swiftly.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This post mesmerized me GP. Thank you for sharing it. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thanks sir for liking.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The narration is almost poetic in the style of traditional Japanese storytelling.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Tears fall down, war must stop.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Perhaps because of the unreliable translation, this narrative seems to me to be even more powerful. You can sense the fear and desperation of combat in every line.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. This is so emotive writing, really want to read what happens to him next.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. This is very powerful writing, and you feel the fear , courage and desperation all at once. Feel like I stopped breathing about midway through this one….

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: