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Attitudes to the war
Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu: Letters home
TAMURA was a keen letter writer and he yearned for letters from home. At the back of his pocketbook he recorded to whom he wrote and from whom he received letters. He also copied some of the letters into his pocketbook. In this section, copies of three letters are included. The first letter was written from Palau to his younger brother. In this letter, TAMURA was in high spirits and wanted to tell his younger brother about the adventure he had embarked on in the tropics. Palau was still peaceful around that time. HOSHINO, a staff officer of the 41st Division, wrote that he enjoyed coffee and cream soda at a tearoom, and full-course dinner with ice-cream dessert at a hotel on the island. HOSHINO also purchased accessories made out of turtle shell as souvenirs for Japan. Of course, those souvenirs were never taken back to Japan.

The second letter was addressed to a woman with whom TAMURA might have been secretly in love. It is not clear from the pocketbook whether the woman actually existed, or whether he copied this text from some publication. The last letter was sent to a close friend at home with whom he used to go mountain hiking. In this letter, he expressed his feelings about being a soldier in a faraway land and being detached from the daily lives of civilians.

A letter to a younger brother”
12 February
How are you? Are you working hard? I wonder if you are shivering in the cold weather. If you are, why don’t you come over this way? You would not want to stay long because it is too hot.

How have you been back home? I am well. I swam in the sea on the Emperor’s Day. [1]
I would like to send you lots of coconuts through my dreams. So many that you could eat as much as you wanted and still not finish. I wonder if they will arrive home safely. You will be able to keep them in a basket by your bedside.

I will write to you about interesting things later.

To my dear young brother.
From your older brother. (p.8a)

“A letter to a woman”
Who would guess I harbour such a feeling towards you in this faraway land in the South Seas. It has been over a year since we met. You were just a younger sister of my friend, but I don’t know why I just cannot forget about you. I did not have a chance to write to you and I never sent you a letter expressing my feelings, as I thought it would not be appropriate.

My heart hurts when I am alone and I think about home. I know that it is impossible to seek your heart, but I still cannot get rid of this feeling.

You could well be a married woman by now. I am envious of your husband. Heaven does not know the feeling of the man who wishes for your happiness.

From the Camp Club (p.13b)

“Letter to a friend back home”

12 April
Dear Eiji,
How are you?
I think we are in the rainy season and experiencing continuous rain day after day. We have sown some canola seeds in front of our tents because we were craving for fresh greens. Thin stems shot up, and there are two little leaves on the top. We cannot grow Japanese vegetables in this area. Many soldiers were very disappointed. [2]
It must now be spring in Japan. I can imagine the fresh green grass in the countryside, bright with the flowers of Chinese milk vetch and canola.

We had intended to train ourselves by climbing mountains. You must be climbing without me now, as I was called up for military service.

I remember you had cause for celebration in February. What is your beautiful wife’s name? I am sorry I could not send my best wishes in time.

After we landed here, I have been extremely busy every day. That was why I did not have time to write to you. Please send my best regards to everybody.

If one likes the unusual, there are many unusual things to see in this area. At the same time, one could also say there is not much to see here. However, you would enjoy it here as you like climbing.

I wish good health and happiness for you and your wife.

To my friend, Eiji.
From Yoshikazu. (p.33a-33b)

1. The Emperor's Day was on 11 February. In Japan, it was in the middle of the winter.

2. Prof. Bryant Allen commented that there were at least six important green vegetables grown in this area by villagers that are both palatable and very high in iron. It is ironic that Japanese troops were not aware of that and attempted to grow Japanese greens and failed.

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Overview essay
First entry
In the jungle
Letters home
Daily life
Airfield construction
Night air raids
Mountain highland trip
Meeting locals
Highs and lows
Human relationships
Last entry

Attitudes links
Australian Attitudes
Tamura diary
Southern Cross
Midget Submarine

Click images to enlarge.
Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu, page 8a

Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu, page 13b

Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu, page 33a

Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu, page 33b

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