Letter Home From Tokyo – part one

We have Mrs P. to thank for this letter.  It came from her neighbor, Len G. whose uncle Joe reached Japan and wanted the family to know what it was like for him.  This letter is being re-typed exactly as it originally reads.

 

Wednesday Evening

Nov. 14, 1945 – 9PM

Kure, Japan

My Dear Carters & Son:

Received your most enjoyable letter some time ago on Oct 18, I was so very busy ever since I landed here in Japan, that I really hadn’t much time to write, I still owe about 4 letters out and hope I can get them written in the very near future, believe me.  I am on duty now, while writing this letter to you, business is very slow now, so I have a good chance in getting this letter written.  I am so sorry and ask your apoligy for not writing sooner, I’ll try to answer your next letter as soon as possible.  I’m certain I’ll have more time then.  I will write to Mother & Dad, next first chance I get.  I wrote a letter to Elaine today, shall mail both of these in the morning.  I miss her and baby so very much.  I love both of them more than anything in the world.  I miss all of you terribly.  I’m praying hard for my home coming day to come, as yet, I don’t know when I’ll ever be home as nothing has been said about discharging fathers yet.  A lot of high pointers are leaving every day, the 60 pointers will start leaving next week, I only have 21 points, so I’ll never get home by the point system, my only hope is discharging fathers.  I may be home in March or April, I hope it will be much sooner.

 

I guess Elaine has been telling you most of the news about me, so you should know, just about what I have been doing.  I sure have done a lot of traveling in a short time, since I left the States I have been at the Marshalls Islands, Carolinas Islands, Leyte, Mindonao and now here in Kure, Japan.  I also have been at Okinawa, passed by Iwo Jima, that sure has been a lot of traveling.  Don’t you think so. Japan surrendered when I was near the Carolinas, coming from the States, I was on the ocean 50 days out of 60.  I’m sure tired of ships, after I get home, I don’t care if I ever see another ship, living on those ships was terrible, we lived just like rats and were packed like sardines.  I hope my trip back home won’t be that bad  The food has been terrible all the way here, until I got the luckiest break I ever got before in this rotten army, about 3 weeks ago, my C O called me in his office and told me, he looked up my records and seen I was a bartender and manager in civilian life, so the F.A. Division is opening an officers club and be the bartender.  there are 167 officers in this club, so I told him, I will gladly take that Job, and I’ll do my utmost best, so here I am at the officers club now,  I live just like a civilian now, I live here at the club and eat at the officers mess, I eat like a king now, all I want and plenty of real fresh food, steaks, chops, eggs, butter, fresh veg. and lots of other real good food, before I came here, I have been eating C and K rations ever since I have been on land since I have left the states.  I also made 2 ratings since I came to Japan, about a month ago I made Pfc and last week I made T-5 – thats the same rating as a corpal, so I am now a corporal, it means about $18.00 a month more, not that I care for anything in this lousy army, I still want to be a plain old civilian, I was given this T-5 rating because I know the bar trade and am in charge of the Bar here at the club, another fellow also lives here with me, he is the stewart, but knows nothing about the business.  As long as I have to stay out here, I am very much satisfied with this bartender job I have.  I also have to take care of the club in the daytime and see that the 4 Japs we have working here, do a good job in cleaning up and other things we need done, I don’t have any more inspections, formations, waiting on line to eat, live in a real cold rotton barrack, Gaurd Duty and any one to order me around, on different dirty details, I am now my own boss, dress in my uniform every day and do just about anything I please, except leave the club, I live just like a civilian, and am respected by the officers and there are quite a few Colenels and high officers here, even the General gets drunk here, they all say I’m doing a swell job and always thank me, I even make tips here not much, but about $5.00 a week, that isn’t so bad considering Im in the army.

Hokkaido on R&R skiing

Notice this paper I am writing on it is Japanese Naval business paper, the writing on it says Super fine Naval paper that’s what my Jap worker told me.  The Japs are behaving very nicely and do just as we tell them to.  The women do all the work and the men do nothing, these women out here do twice as much work than the average man in the states, its unbelievable the way they work, they are about 100 yrs backward, and do everything the hard way, they even carry their babies over their backs, the way I carry my pack coming over here.  They still have a lot of ancient customs and very hard to understand, they also are plenty sneaky and smart.  This city Kure, is a, or rather was a very  big industrial War plant city, it has, bus lines, trolleys, trains, electricity, Gas, steam heat, and a lot of modern things in it, the population  one time was over 300 thousand, I dont know what it is now, Hiroshima is only 15 miles from here, I visited the outskirts of it, and all I can see is dirt and more dirt, not even a house or anything for miles & miles, thats where the Atomic bomb was dropped, boy I still cant believe my eyes that one bomb can do that much damage.  Hiroshima also was a big Industrial city with a population of over 300 thousand now it looks like the wide open spaces in Texas, no one would not believe it, if he were told that Hiroshima once had big factories and homes in it, and could see nothing but dirt there now.  Kure has also been terribly bombed, but the magnificent part of it is that all the War plants, Airplane base, Submarine base and war tings were bombed to rubbish and the homes weren’t even touched.

To be continued …..

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

Military Humor –

“Of course I speak your language — I can say Both takusan and sukoshi!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Quarantine Humor – 

(Frankly, I’ll miss the quarantine humor when this pandemic is all over, but for ALL our sake, I hope we whip this disease soon!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Farewell Salutes – 

Mary (Dyer) Alligood – Winter Garden, FL; US Navy WAVES, WWII

James Beggs – Bethesda, MD; US Navy, aeronautics / NASA, Administrator

William Bolinger – LaFollette, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO, TSgt., Bronze Star

John Dewey – Galva, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 10th Mountain Division

Hugh Fricks – Seattle, WA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Lt., 6th Marines, Navy Cross, KIA (Tarawa)

Philip Kahn (100) – NYC, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 pilot

Howard Miller – San Mateo, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Co A/1/6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Carlos Santos Sr. (101) – Ludlow, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Paul Stonehart – London, ENG; RAF, WWII, radar

Robert Wilson – Villa Rica, GA; US Army, WWII & Korea, Captain

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

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 May 4, 2020, in Letters home, Post WWII, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 118 Comments.

  1. Really interesting read. One of the big missing pieces (at least for me), is that period between the end of the war and about 1950-52. The word pictures drawn helps fill in the gaps. Looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was a period when the factories now had to retool. Just as they did at the beginning of the war, such as going from automobile construction to tanks, jeeps and aircraft. This period they were still working on going back into civilian products. Some of the factories had held over to supply the Korean War, plus immediately after WWII, we were concerned with rebuilding Japan and all of Europe. That was an awful lot of people to house, clothe and feed.

      Like

  2. I was surprised to read about his descriptions of how there was electricity, gas, etc. I wonder if he was referring to his surroundings, i.e., the US Army base.

    By all accounts of family members of that time – from even before the surrender – there was very little. Certainly for my Hiroshima relatives of that time (my dad’s sister, mother and my cousins), they didn’t even have a light bulb until the early 50’s. They walked everywhere. Food was so scarce as well. Water was from a nearby stream. You may remember but the C-rats my dad as a US Army soldier took them were the most delicious meal they had in many years – down to the Spam.

    My mom and aunt returned to Tokyo in October, 1945. Their descriptions were similar – my aunt said the only thing undamaged was the Imperial Palace. By 1947, while rails were moving, the only cars were US Military.

    I would think Smitty saw similar when he hunkered down in Yokohama after being the first to occupy Japan.

    The writer was sure lucky to have landed that job. It was a lucky break.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such an interesting post. Fascinating to read an eye witness account of what Hiroshima looked like after the bomb.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In the middle of all the fascinating details and commentary, I found this the most touching: “I still want to be a plain old civilian.” Despite his promotions and the perks that came with them, I suspect he was mightily tired of it all and ready for ordinary life. We’re having a taste of that ourselves, these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very enjoyable first hand letter, there is always something different in personal letters as they depict the exact moments and emotions at that particular time, as seen through the writers eyes. Letters like that must have been extremely well received and reread many times over by the recipient and all and sundry.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s fascinating to consider his take on things. Thanks for sharing, GP. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed reading this letter and thinking back on those days in the life of every soldier during the war. It is fascinating to read. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  8. What an interesting letter giving us a glimpse of what life is in Japan at that time! Women did all the work and men did nothing. It was a male-oriented society and probably still is. Far apart from Western culture.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    His description of Hiroshima after it was bombed really made the war more real and horrific. I was born shortly after the end of the war and everyone was still talking about it. This letter made it more personal. I’m sorry, but I can’t find the right words to describe my feelings. ~Connie

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Hiroshima is only 15 miles from here” Only three months after the bomb was dropped… Can’t help but wonder about the residual radiation still in the area.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t wait for the next letter part

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I just think it’s wonderful that these letters were saved and preserved for future generations to recount. Letters are great.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good to see the letter has been posted! I sent the link on to Leonard…he’ll be tickled pink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The end of the letter will be tomorrow, Thursday morning. The readers are certainly enjoying it. They love first hand accounts! Thank you again for sending it to me!!

      Like

  14. It’s both interesting and a bit sad to read a first-hand account of a soldier’s life in the war. Thank yo so much for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I enjoy reading these letters, GP, the insiders view of what life was like and what they observed. I sometimes wonder how many of these men might have met or known my father in their travels around the Pacific.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wonderful that some letters were saved and we can read them today! They often tell us more than the history books and certainly a more personal look at a soldier’s life, thoughts, and feelings.
    Always love the humor you share!
    And the quarantine humor made me snort-laugh.,. Sheldon and the cat! 😀 😛

    But, of course, I’m with you…wish it was over soon and no more people had to suffer or die.
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That’s one of your most interesting ever, especially as it covers a period I have never read anything about and it’s written by an ordinary man and seen through his eyes.
    And an ordinary man with an amazing ability in English and hardly any spelling errors. They must have been better educated back then, because most people in Uncle Joe’s position nowadays would be totally incapable of writing 1,100 words in as interesting fashion as that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What I noticed in his style was the run-on sentences. Boy did I get in trouble in school for doing that! I suppose it depends on the teacher because not many people read the Chicago Style of Writing. 🙂

      Like

  18. Felt like I was right there.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That’s a piece of historical gold. Such a pleasure to be able to read it.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. How interesting to read his letter as he wrote it. He certainly had a lucky break to know bartending! Liked the way he described the land where the bomb hit. Look forward to Part 2.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He saw Hiroshima as the media portrayed it too, but the city was all but destroyed from all the regular bombing beforehand. I used to have a before and after picture somewhere and there really wasn’t much difference. Our bombers certainly did their best to total any industrial city.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. It’s fascinating to read this letter written by someone in a role during the war that I don’t typically think of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many jobs in the military, it really is difficult to get to them all – that’s for sure. I was very happy that Mrs P. chose to give me the letter!!

      Like

  22. Letters like this are always so fascinating to me. I am working on a book based on WWII letters between my Grandfather in Japan and my Grandmother in Herkimer, NY. Thanks for sharing this.

    Looking forward to the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. There is a LOT of history packed into that letter. I look for ward to the continuation.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Intersting tale, G. I wouldn’t have wanted to be that close to the Hiroshima blast. I suspect there was still plenty of radiation. Peggy’s husband in her previous life ran the officers club in Panama. Noriega used to drop by. Pretty cushy job. As Uncle Joe quickly realized. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is an interesting occupation (I can say that after doing it for about 18 years) – to think of the books I could have written (too bad I didn’t take down notes!!) For what was going on around Joe in this letter, bartender was probably the cushiest job of all!!

      Like

      • Wow, didn’t know or had forgotten that about your background, G. But aren’t bartenders kind of like doctors when it comes to confidentiality. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

        • Unfortunately, yes (I could have made good money!!) – or should I say we used to be. Now it seems, every one talks about everything and everybody! Remember when diaries and journals used to be private?

          Like

  25. “What cannot be cured must be endured” (old saying in English). So?

    “After the violent tempest, the sun rose radiantly” (Hirohito, after the surrender.) So?

    So: what comes after lockdown … unless we simply renege on our debts*.

    (Tempting, isn’t it? Chase the cause (virus) back to source, and only then decide.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems the public is not going to allow us to cure the virus – they don’t have the patience (or the common sense). So – we’ll have to wait and see who and what’s left of this world when the virus does finally run its course and it morphs into the newest and latest flu. If it is proved that someone did design this virus – fry him (in my opinion!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  26. This is a fantastic piece of history – it’s intriguing how the early months of the occupation went in Japan, particularly given the way things were seen by both sides even in early-mid-1945, with that expectation of invasion, of no surrender, and of civilian resistance. Thanks for sharing, and I’ll look forward to Part 2!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for taking an interest in this letter, Matthew.
      (As a matter of my curiosity – would you be interested in reading more Occupation letters or would that be driving the theme into the ground?)

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Especially liked the “Sheldon” cartoon.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Cool to read the letter, and I’m looking forward to part 2 as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. That was really neat. I’m looking forward to part 2. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. What a fascinating letter! I look forward to its continuation. It has always seemed to me that we don’t hear a lot about the occupation of Japan from 1945 to, say, 1950. I hope you will be able to blog other letters, documents, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your interest. My first time blogging the war I by-passed the Occupation, but I’m doing my best to acquire as much info as possible – of course most of it is dedicated to the trials.

      Like

  31. Talk about clashing cultures. Must have been an incredible experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think only the politicians had trouble with the different cultures. Dad said, once the Emperor made his speech, the Japanese were pleasant as could be!

      Like

  32. An unusual perspective but I guess when you are writing to those you know you can be yourself. Thanks for sharing, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. How fascinating to read a letter AFTER the bombs were dropped. And wasn’t he fortunate to have been a bartender as a civilian!!
    So glad to be visiting today and to catch up with you a bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. What an insightful letter. And I love the comics, GP. I can always depend upon you for humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. A fascinating letter – and I’m looking forward to the continuation.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I have never considered going to Hiroshima to see what it looks like now, but this was intriguing. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Fascinating letter. It reminds me of WWII era joke that I don’t recall accurately. It was something like the Marines set up a camp and every guy got one can of warm beer. The Navy set up a camp and everyone got two chilled beers. The Army set up a camp with an Officer’s club and a PX stocked with beer. The Air Force wouldn’t consider a camp until after the O’Club was built. Love the cartoons.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Good Morning GP, I saw the light on…
    I happened to remember something that we never talked about… probably because we were both talking about our Dad’s… Good Subject huh?
    Anyway, my GrandMother’s Brother(on my Mother’s side) was in the Army.
    Now GP get this, after the war was over, Uncle John stayed over there for maybe 3 to 5 years after WW2.
    When he came home, he brought Aunt Lilly, from France.
    have a great day GP, and know that you are always in my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers.
    I send all Good Things your way
    Robert

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I had to chuckle when I read about the work women were doing in comparison to men. The writer was also very lucky to escape the boredom of military service in occupied Japan and have access to great food and leisure of almost civilian life. Have a great week, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Sounds like relatively good duty. Then again, I have a thing for bartenders. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been on young fathers.

    My mother always wanted to go on a cruise. My father wouldn’t take her. He always said “the last time I got on a ship, it took me to New Guinea.” He added a few adjectives for effect 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  41. A wonderful letter. One can see what happend in real, and this “The women do all the work and the men do nothing,” seemed to be the same all over the world these times. 😉 Thank you, and best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  42. What an interesting letter, and he was so lucky to have got that job at the officer’s club. Unusual to see a soldier complaining so much in a letter home too, and saying how much he hated the travelling and army life. I guess once the war was over, they no longer needed to pretend that they were doing okay.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. You are so right – editing would have ruined it.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Uncle Joe was fortunate Hiroshima turned the mission from invasion to occupation.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Thank you, Ian.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Featured Blogger: Letter Home From Tokyo – Part One – // Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk report | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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: