Australia-Japan Research Project

AustraliaJapan Research Project at the Australian War Memorial
Australian and Japanese attitudes to the war
Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu: Highs and lows in the military

TAMURA records his feelings extensively in his diary and some of the entries reflect the ups and downs of his and his comrades’ spirits.

The first section expresses the mixed feeling soldiers had. The words probably come from a song that may have been sung by his friends in the unit during the early stages of the campaign. They show both the heightened spirit of adventure in a faraway land, and homesickness.

1 April
From the top of the hill with its fresh green grass
I gaze towards the ocean horizon.
Across the Pacific, across the Black Current,
From far away, a boat is coming with might and courage
With letters from our homeland.

Sitting in the shade of a coconut tree
Looking across the sky above the ocean waves
Thinking about home from New Guinea.
With the heat, it hurts to realise
How far this place is from home. (p.10b)

The soldiers’ spirits were affected by various factors, such as illness and difficult living conditions. In addition, the unreasonable authority exercised by their superiors also influenced the level of morale. The following two sections demonstrate the problems the troops faced in maintaining high morale in the face of illness and hunger.

“Low fighting spirit”
We are generally in bad shape. In spite of our superior’s words, our fighting spirit has been in decline.

It might be to do with working too hard or malnutrition. No, no. It was not like this at the beginning. Military life is never exciting, but the current situation is not at all rewarding.

The duty of a soldier is to carry out his tasks without complaining. Yet, somebody who does not have any worth as a person can throw his weight around just because he has the senior rank.

Some things that are totally useless seem to be taken for granted in the military system. This is a peculiar characteristic of the military clique. (p.51b)

27 May
The fine rain was falling continuously even though the moonlight was bright. I was awoken by the sound of a plane engine. The dawn had come. I felt relieved that I could sleep through the night once I had recovered my health.

Compared with cholera in Central China, I have heard this illness is more difficult to treat. Yet, I might be able to recover quickly. I stayed behind in the camp after my colleagues left for work, and spent my time looking after the firearms. Soldiers cannot help looking after their arms.

Our company leader is also in hospital. The number of patients exceeds expectation.

While Japan should be enjoying the season of fresh green leaves, the weather here is getting worse. The ceiling of the tent is leaking and makes us feel very uncomfortable.

I yearn for letters from home. Everybody feels the same here. I thought of home and wrote two letters to my friends. (p.52a)

Printed on 05/20/2022 09:54:05 PM