|This translation of 1st Class
Private Tsukiji's captured diary (letter form) was
made available to us by Ken Jakubec. This diary,
like the others, was recovered during the aftermath
of the Battle for Attu. Mr. Stan Jersey provides this additional
information regarding Pvt. Tsjkiji: "He was in the 3rd Squad (3rd Buntai,
Act Cpl, Tetsuo Nakano), 1st Platoon (2nd Lt. Yonezo Odashima), 1st
Company (1st Tai, 1st Lt. Toshio Hayashi), 303rd Independent Infantry
Battalion commanded by Major Tokuji Watanabe. * "
|After leaving a harbor in Japan on
November 3rd, 17th year of Showa (1942),
correspondence is delayed or else they are sinking
to the bottom of the sea before reaching the
mainland. The octopus are probably reading and
laughing right this moment. Well, where am I located
at the present time?
Landed in Paramushiro, Northern Kurile Islands, on November 3rd on white snow. Welcomed the new year and with a new spirit departed for the hostile land of the Aleutian Island on the 25th of January, 18th year of Showa (1943).
Landed at Attu Island of the Aleutians on the 2nd of February (1943) *. There was a foot of snow on the Island without trees, but the island is isolated and rocky. I wondered it I would have to spend the winter here. The climate is similar to that of Tohoku District with a little more snow. It is now the 20th of April, but the snow doesn't seem to melt, and the deepest place is about 12 foot deep.
I am to defend this island and construct an air port, and make it an advance base of Japan. There is constant bombing by enemy planes day after day. We are helpless to plane attacks, we run to our fox-holes, but don't know when we'll be bombed to bits. It gets dark at two and light at three. ????????? in the 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon of the 1st company. Sototate is in the same squad and we are working like brother; sleeping in the same blanket and eating the same rice.
Sasaki is also in the same company, so please don't worry. Don't know when we will return, but will probably be the end of this year or March or April of next year.
I was promoted to 1st Class Private, thus making three 2-star privates. Octopus are reading my letters. Please send me a watch, a pocket watch, if I'm not asking too much. There is no ink either. Please send me a safety razor. Living in isolation is an extreme hardship and there are a great deal of shortages. Also send some thread and needles. There is a shortage of cigarettes among my buddies, if you can spare some, please do so. Received your package, and it came just in time to help me out of my shortages.
I shall end my letter now. Please take care of yourself. My regards to everybody.
To all ------
* Stan Jersey believes Pvt. Tsukiji arrived at Attu on the 30th of January, 1943 and not on the 2nd of February as indicated in the original story. Stan has been studying the Japanese occupation of Attu and Kiska for 40 years, and many years ago was in contact with the veterans of Kiska who evacuated the island in July, 1943. Stan is working with 2,100 pages of documents while authoring a new book which will hopefully be in print sometime in 2011.
Last Updated: 04 Jan 2013 12:02
Originally published 5 April 2001