The Allies POWs - Testimonies by IJA Soldiers

Discussion in 'Multilingual Corner' started by Shinpachi, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    In my recent research of the Battle of Bataan and Corregidor, I have come across a couple of tesimonies writen by IJA soldiers in 1942 concerning the allies POWs in the Philippines and the Malay Peninsula.

    Stories were introduced in the old weekly magazine "Photo Weekly (issue nos. 236, 237, 239, 240 and 243)" and I am going to translate them to introduce details here as soon as possible but my first impression that may be called a 'discovery' for me will be -

    1. Meal for the prisones was typical Japanese one which is called "Ichi-ju issai - a combination of a bowl of rice with Umeboshi (Pickled sour plum) and a cup of soup (miso-shiru)" - a very simple and basic one for the ordinary Japanese at the time. It was originally invented by some Buddhism training monks in the 14th century. Calorie is never enough even for the present Japanese. It is now regarded a sort of diet meal.

    2. IJA soldiers show their surprise and embarrassment to have encountered another totally different life style. For example, a British POW requests "cards" to play but an IJA soldier cannot understand why.

    I would like to continue this thread to the end anyhow.

    Attached image shows the "Ichi-ju issai" meal as an example.
    Umeboshi would have been one, not two. It was one when I was a child, at least.
    Thanks.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Spinpachi! I've always been really interested in the IJA Point of View.
     
  3. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Wow! More very interesting material Shinpachi. Thank you.:notworthy: :thumbright:
     
  4. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks vB and Aaron. I always appreciate your favorable comments.
    To introuduce what it was in IJA/IJN is what I can contribute to the members here.
    Please enjoy.
     
  5. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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  6. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    Very Intresting!
     
  7. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    #7 proton45, Mar 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010

    I'm very familiar with this meal (lol)...a typical dish my father might serve. I, myself, prefer takuan to umeboshi, but perhaps it was not the custom in those days...

    Thanks very much for this information...I look forward to anything you might discover. This is a good thread for "instant email notification"!!!
     
  8. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #8 Shinpachi, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
    That meal was my last way to survive when I had no money!:lol:

    Thanks for the comment, Aaron and beaupower32.
     
  9. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    Cool read Shinpachi.
    I am going to be subscribing too this thread too.


    Wheels
     
  10. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Wow, thanks, wheelsup_cavu.
    I have to hurry up.
     
  11. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Title: Two American Soldiers
    =================
    Author: Mr. Yoshiro Saito
    of the 1023rd Unit of IJA
    introduced in Photo Weekly 243rd issue dated Oct 21, 1942.


    The time for attacking the Corregidor Fortress had come about twenty days later since the Bataan Peninsula fell. Our unit withdrew the position located on the 900th highlands near the Mariveles naval port, where we were tormented badly by febrile disease and storms, to spread our new position on a small rice field of the valley located in the west of Cabcaben Airfield . It was May 2nd.

    Observation station was decided atop the high ground of about 500 meters right front from the battery.
    The high ground was in the bush but exposed its gentle front slope to the Corregidor, so we had to pay more attention to camouflaging the station.

    A clean river was flowing in the skirts of the high ground. My platoon built a cookhouse in the river side.
    Devided into two groups, we took charge of cooking every other day by shift.

    The Corregidor Fortress showed the decline of their fighting spirit rapidly then.
    Samely as the Battle of Bataan, their morning greeting had been always thirty minutes earlier than ours with fire. Aiming at our position, the Cheney battery of the right end of the island used to send their 30 centimeters cannonballs almost every morning. But recently, there was no greeting and no response to our greeting either.

    "No more shells." we whispered.
    So were the batteries of Grubbs and Wheeler on the island. They were silent and the silence seemed telling us their serious decline of the fighting spirit rather than the fact of lack of the shells itself.

    One day, two American soldiers visited our cookhouse. They asked us any job for them as they were going to do their best.

    Our 1st Class Private Okuno who was good at English asked them why. They said that they had been belonging to their unit at Limay Airfield as groundcrew but been evacuating in the outback of Mt. Mariveles since April 3 when the all-out attack of Japanese Army began. They were awfully emaciated and their blue eyes were staring at us uneasily.

    "Why did not you surrender much earlier?"
    They answered calmly that they had never thought the Corregidor would fall.
    "Then, you are coming out now because you think it would fall, aren't you?"
    "Yes..." the two nodded.

    They were bringing two sets of rolled blankets and a set of tableware hanging on the waist but no arms with them. We gave them meals. They ate them surprisingly a lot.
    We decided to hire them as cook assistants.


    (..... this story continues)

    Caption of the photo on the original page image attached: "Our unit soldiers during attack Corregidor"
     

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  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Great info Shinpachi!

    I've mentioned a few times that my wife's grandfather was on MacArthur's staff and was captured on Bataan. Here's a link for his book.

    He was pulled off the death march because one of his fellow prisoners identified him as a cryptographer and his captors may of thought they could get some intelligence from him. Although betrayed, this action might have saved his life.

    Anyway, here a link for his book - keep the story coming!

    Surviving the day: an American POW ... - Google Books
     
  13. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Great stuff Shinpachi, really looking forward to what else you turn up in your research.
     
  14. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Shinpachi,

    This looks like being a most interesting thread. I, for one, am really interested in anything that comes up regarding Malaya and Singapore. Keep up the great work!!

    Regards,
    Mark
     
  15. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments, FLYBOYJ, Gnomey and buffnut453.

    I had better tell - the story ending was never tragic...Being asked, one of the American soldiers drove Japanese vehicle!

    I have known that there were few who could drive a car at the time...SHAME!

    I would be going into the Malaya story soon.
    Thanks again for your interest, buffnut453.
     
  16. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your introduction of the book writen by your grandfather-in-low, FLYBOYJ.
    I'm reading chapter by chapter with not only much interest but my deep sympathy for his agony.
    Please let me tell you that IJA testimonies about the death march and its surrounding situation are also in my research. Sorry for our fathers did...
     
  17. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Your thoughts are appreciated Shinpachi. I shall pass your message to my mother in law. She still has some items from him and his wife (she was a POW as well) from their captivity. I'll try to get photos of these things and post them.
     
  18. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Very interesting info, Shinpachi. It isn't often we get stories from the Japanese side. The Pacific was particularly brutal for both sides.
     
  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I agree, this is some great education.
     
  20. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your care, FLYBOYJ and also thanks for your generous words, evangilder and vB again.

    This is a strange story I haven't ever heard before but now I know how many stories or testimonies were hidden or modified in the postwar.
    Now, it continues -

    **************************************************************
    ..... We decided to hire them as cook assistants.

    "Damn guys. Why are they so conceited as to say they didn't think Corregidor would fall?"
    glaring at the two, 1st Class Private Tsujimoto said.

    After meal, we decided their nicknames. Taro for the taller one and Jiro for the shorter one.
    "We will call you two Taro and Jiro from now on. Answer 'Hai(*Yes)' loudly and clearly when you are called. Do you understand?"
    "Yes, we understand. Our nicknames are Taro and Jiro."

    They worked well diligently.
    Taro was 26, three years older than Jiro. His face looked nervous showing any weakness of his character.
    Jiro was about 5feet and 4inch in his height. There were red pimples on his face. Down half of his face was covered with his wild beard and mustache. They were busy with collecting firewoods to break them finely or washing tablewares or drawing water. They took little rest. They wore no shirts, so sweats shone glaringly on their skin. Jiro sometimes casually scooped the sweat that flowed to his nose head by the hairy back of his hand.

    On completed their job, they came to 1st Class Private Okuno to request more job to continue.
    "I'm afraid you are tired. Take rest wherever it is cool. You will be busy again in the evening."
    "Taro(*meaning 'I') is not tired yet. I am fine enough to break the firewoods. I can do anything."

    They requested job. The two looked hard not to keep working at any moment. Their eager eyes staring at 1st Class Private Okuno were showing their uneasiness for no job. They knew their lives were not in their hands anymore but would have been too old to take the form of a straightforward entreaty for life.

    "OK. Then, make your own beds. You stay here with us together from this evening."
    1st Class Private Okuno ordered.
    After they stared at Okuno's face for a while, their faces were filled with joyful looks suddenly.
    "Grateful. We will try to finish it by 4 o'clock." Taro replied.
    They started the ground leveling in the side of our beds immediately. They were so cheeful as to exchange a small quarrel about their new space.

    I understood instantly what they had felt from the words of 1st Class Private Okuno. The sharp sensitivity of POWs must have felt "We are saved" at the moment. Without hiding the joy, they kept making their beds in a hurry. I thought them very honest guys and, at the same time, was sorry for their simple honesty under their circumstances.

    Other not a few unarmed American soldiers were wandering around our cookhouse everyday. Their uniforms were all stained. Samely as Taro and Jiro, they would also have been hiding in the mountains believing the Corregidor would not fall and their reinforcements would come soon for more than twenty days. They dared to appear where many Japanese soldiers were but were only beating the green mangos to drop and collect. It was strange to collect mangos in front of their enemy. They would have been thinking to surrender.

    ..... to be continued.
     
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