These extracts are presented primarily to show how the Japanese react
to our attacks, and to give their version of the results we have
obtained. The names of the Japanese who have written these diaries
have been omitted. The extracts are presented in the order of
their dates; each subsection represents a different diary.
"April 18.--...Enemy planes dropped bombs and strafed us
with machine-gun fire. Our antiaircraft guns and machine guns
fired fiercely but were unable to score. Three planes pursued them
and disappeared in the volcanic smoke. After that, looking
toward the west pier, a cloud of dark black smoke was rising.
The blaze looked dreadful. Looking carefully at the blaze, the
mast of a ship could be seen directly in front. So I knew, for
the first time, that the ship (navy transport
ship Komaki Maru, 8,500 tons) had been hit by a bomb. In a little while, a truck
with many casualties came to my post and inquired the way to
"After returning to the tent, I listened to stories from each
sentry who had returned. The ship had arrived yesterday, loaded
with many bombs and much ammunition, and was to have been
unloaded this morning. At about 1100 hours, the entire ship was
wrapped in flames. The ammunition exploded violently, and it
was dangerous even to approach the vicinity. All the ships that
were near changed their anchorage. Since it would not do to
leave it a target for enemy aircraft, the patrol ships and cruisers
which were staying in the harbor fired upon the burning ship to
sink it, but their projectiles could not hit below the water line
because they were so close. The noise caused by the explosion
of the projectiles and the rise of flames sky-high in the darkness
made a gruesome scene. Even after all of us had prepared for
bed, there was noise and vibration that seemed to crumble heaven
and earth. Perhaps this was the explosion of the ship's magazine.... For
the first time, the mighty force of the bomb was known.
"At this place, there are, it is believed, approximately 9,000 prisoners. They
must all be very happy after seeing today's bombings. Among them
there were some who clapped their hands. All the members of my unit
who heard this agreed that it was better to kill them off one after
another.... However, if we changed places and were in their position, we
might also be as happy as they. I guess it is natural to be happy. And
yet, knowing that the prisoners were happy, I presume it is natural
to say 'Finish them off'."
(Marginal note.) "The stern of the ship exploded and sank. Just
the tip part of the ship remained above the water. A
little after 1900 hours, there was a great reverberation. Probably
the big bombs which were loaded on the stern exploded all at
once. Immediately platoons No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 assembled
their emergency unit members. We fell in immediately and
climbed into the cars in groups. It appeared that fire from the
ship had spread to the warehouse, which was on the right bank.
Upon going there, we saw that burning fragments from the explosion
had dropped on the warehouse. All at once, the situation
was critical, because there were considerable provisions
and ammunition within, and all around the vicinity there
were mountains of all kinds of gasoline and oil. The ammunition
exploded repeatedly, fuel fires flared up, and the area
was a sea of flames
"The crude oil that surged up from the hold spread on the sea
surface and burned furiously. Furthermore, the wind fanned the
flames. The disastrous scene was gruesome and indescribable. Many
times, I have seen pictures in the news of bombed and exploding
oil tanks, but actually to see it is a horror utterly beyond
"April 19.--Just as I was thinking of gaining some much-needed
sleep last night, I was asked to go on fatigue duty for
No. 4 Company, so I hopped on a vehicle and hurried to the company
area. At the place, one of the barracks was blown in half.
The soldiers carried their government issue articles, personal belongings,
and various kinds of weapons and arms to the material
storeroom. When I went to the destroyed place, the trees and
leaves were in fragments. Below was a big pool of blood...
"The company commander and platoon commander gave orders,
one after another. However, it seems as though everyone's face
had forgotten how to smile. For a while, each one seemed to
have forgotten the work, and, without a word, just stared. After
being scolded by the platoon commander, they started to work
silently. It was the work of cleaning up the debris. Even the
"The badly wounded were said to have died... Two died instantly. One
barely lived on the way to the hospital and died. Without a
doubt, life is beyond determination. Thus, it is probably
quite regrettable to die now without killing even one enemy. They
probably did not die happily. This also is fate..."
"June 11.--In the afternoon, while wearing full equipment, we
practiced sliding down rope ladders in preparation for landing
operations. Reduced the time for completing the operation
from 2 minutes on the first attempt to 1 minute on
the second try."
"Aug. 13.--Natives brought us nine Australian prisoners--five men,
three women, and one child.
"Aug. 14.--About 0800 hours, we decapitated or shot the nine prisoners."
"Aug. 24.--Our plan to capture Guadalcanal Island came unavoidably
to a standstill, due to the appearance of the enemy
striking force. In order to give quick assistance to our men and
officers, and to stimulate the morale of the Imperial Forces and the
national prestige, also because of the fact that it is a very important
place for our Imperial Forces, it was decided that the attempt to
capture will be carried out tomorrow, the 25th. Disregarding the
enemy air attacks, we advanced straight ahead, crossing the equator
to the South Pacific Ocean. Today we had three enemy air
attacks but suffered no damage. Moreover, the uneasiness of
voyages and escort was greatly reduced with the reinforcement of
our light cruisers. It added to our display of power.
"Aug. 25.--Six enemy planes attacked our convoy at 0605 hours, while
officers and men were smoking and resting on the top deck
after a hasty breakfast. The first bomb scored a direct hit on
the flagship Jintsu. Her bridge was in flames. We were ordered
to the upper crew's quarters, but our ship also suffered a direct
hit on the bridge. I escaped to a corner of the crew's mess hall. Though
I lost control of myself because of the fire caused by the
explosion, I only sought for a safe spot. That short and fierce
bombing has caused great confusion on the top deck; I still fear
an aerial attack. The fierce fires increased greatly in the interior
of the ship, and all members prepared the metallic raft. Fearing
an explosion in the ammunition stores, they drifted quickly away
toward the South Seas.
"Although our men and officers were rescued by patrol boats
from the convoy and felt relieved for a while, the enemy attacked
us again. They bombed our convoy but we escaped. We who
have been through these attacks can scarcely believe that we have
survived such fearful and difficult experiences.
"Our casualties were great. The Kinryu Maru received two direct
hits and sank. Observing this gave me a feeling of deep
emotion. For the Landing Party, August 25 was one of the
most dangerous days and must be remembered as our resurrection day."
"Sept. 2.--Stuck fast in the jungle. Our unit could do nothing. In
the afternoon, one enemy light cruiser and one transport
came brazenly into port during broad daylight. Evidently they
brought troop reinforcements. At night there were many hits
from the enemy trench mortars. We at the front realized this
was the end and made up our minds for death.
"Sept. 3.--The situation became worse. We retreated with
our telegraph set. On this date, it seems that the front-line units
were completely annihilated before noon."
Sept. 20.--While we were marching, enemy planes dropped
bombs in the rear and then machine-gunned us. After this the
planes attacked us without a let-up.
"Sept. 21.--Day of rest to ready for the trip back. Thirty-six
men out of 238 have malaria.
"Sept. 22.--The enemy has 40,000 troops, mostly Australians. For
that reason their fighting power is great. On account of
the second Coral Sea battle, our Navy is unable to carry out a
landing at Port Moresby. We must wait until about November
before another force is organized. There is no replenishment of
the food supply, which is enough for only one more day. A food
detail went out today, but 7 to 9 days will pass before their
return. What to do for the men and patients is a serious problem. We
have no medicine for malaria, wounds, and colds. Patients
merely wait for death, or for natural healing."
Sept. 25.--When on the way to attack Guadalcanal, on
the Kinryu Maru, a great fire was started by enemy
aircraft. Twenty were killed and several wounded.
"Sept. 29.--As if waiting for the day to come, the enemy
planes circled overhead, looking for people to strafe. It is very
fierce and the soldiers can do nothing about it. The strafing
planes come 6 or 7 times during the day, so our troops suffered
considerably. We are awaiting the end of daylight on the 29th. This
is our very last general attack. At first we were able, to
our surprise, to advance, but as we neared the enemy airdrome, the
counterattack became as violent as death.
"The enemy uses light and heavy machine guns and various modern weapons.
"The enemy's camouflage is truly efficient. We have found
it hard to discover the enemy, and have suffered unexpected
losses. At over 500 meters (nearly 550 yds.) his camouflage
cannot be distinguished, and great care must be taken. Training
against camouflage should also be carried out.
"Heavy enemy shelling greatly affects morale, and sometimes
troops will not fight as they should. The effect is still more
marked when it results in casualties. Unit commanders must
strive to stimulate morale, and be careful of their own action
and attitude. (At such times the men always watch the expression
of their commander's face.)
"When under enemy fire, there is a tendency to fire light and
heavy machine guns at random, without looking at the target. The
commander must strictly maintain fire discipline.
"Grenade throwers are most effective in striking terror into
the enemy. However, a disadvantage is that their range is only
250 meters (about 275 yds.), and so there are few opportunities
of using them.
"Before going into action, succession of command must always
be clearly indicated. Unless this succession is defined right down
to the last soldier, and training carried out until this becomes
practically automatic, fighting may become confused if the unit
commander becomes a casualty. When the unit commander is
killed or wounded, the effect on the personnel is extremely great, and
morale tends to decline. On the other hand, even if one man
after another is killed, and the situation is tragic, if the men see
their commander's face full of vigor, their courage
increases a hundred-fold.
"Patrols must not return the enemy's fire. Some patrols have
penetrated an enemy position until they heard voices, and although
eventually challenged and fired upon, have kept themselves
hidden and carried out their mission. Some of the enemy
understand the Japanese language. Take care not to be deceived
by the call 'Dare Ka?' (Who goes there?)"
"Oct. 6.--After reporting to the unit commander, I talked with
the adjutant and obtained much information. It seems that the
unit will depart tomorrow night to occupy the enemy advance
position. Before and after the departure many caught fever.
Many officers in the regimental headquarters and the battalion
headquarters died of fever. There are 20-odd patients in our
company. In the platoon, 13 persons were overcome by fever
and only 35 persons remained healthy. This is a 1/3 decrease in
strength. The sickness is more dreadful than enemy bullets.
"Oct. 7.--Last night we started the advance and arrived at
Matanikau River. And, we are engaging in the defense on the
left bank area after relieving the 12th Company of the OKA Unit. Early
this morning enemy planes circled above us on
reconnaissance. In the afternoon, there were fierce gun fires
from the enemy artillery, and bombing and machine-gun fires
from the enemy planes. We had many casualties.
"Oct. 8.--The bombing from the enemy planes was continued
until dark. I talked with the unit commander and decided to stay
in the present area. In the morning it was the same as yesterday, but
there also was fierce enemy bombings during clear-weather
periods in the afternoon. By the battalion order, we decided to
retreat, and we carried out the tragic retreat.
"Oct. 9.--The 1st Company also carried out the retreat from a
hill. We assembled our strength in the position of the battalion
headquarters. The shells from enemy trench mortars dropped in
the center of the troop concentrations, and we fell into confusion.
As contradictions occurred successively in the division order, the
detachment order, and the regiment order, we suspended the
night attack upon the agreement of Unit Commander Tamuma
and Unit Commander Unoi, and endeavored to concentrate the
troops. The shells from the enemy trench mortar dropped near
us, and there were many casualties."
"Oct. 12.--The enemy planes appeared in the vicinity of the
Hameawa (River), but there was no bombing. The gun fires from
the enemy were rare. Many soldiers fear the enemy gun fire and
the morale of the soldiers is very poor.
"Oct. 20.--I am recovering from sickness. I rested all day today. After
experimentation for 1 month, we invented the smokeless
fuel. (This is probably composed largely of alcohol.)
"The Kuma Unit, of the Ichiki Unit, met with the remnant. They
were all very thin due to lack of food. They were eating only
coconuts and grasses for one whole month and living in the jungle.
"Oct. 8.--The 2d Company, which was sent out to meet the
3d Company, encountered the enemy at the Matanikau River line
and nothing has been heard of it since.
"Oct. 10.--The enemy which is confronting the 3d Battalion
totals 2,000 to 3,000 and are taking a formation to envelop the
battalion. The 3d Battalion is constantly withdrawing. The 3d
machine-gun unit with their leader (16 men in all) and the
battalion-gun unit all left their weapons behind and withdrew."
"Nov. 6.--It rains very heavily out here. It has been raining
continuously since last night. The epidemic of sickness seems almost
incredible. It seems like half of the neighboring field artillery
unit has the beri-beri and diarrhea. During the morning we
worked on air raid shelters in the rain. Raining, no water, the
kindling does not burn!--the hardships of the soldiers are beyond their power.
"Nov. 14.--At the end of the day, after being observed by enemy
patrol planes in the early morning, we were attacked by them. They
dropped 3 bombs in the 1st round, 2 in the 2d, and 2 in the 3d round. Our
planes, which were usually escorting us, did not happen to be
there at that time. The conditions were pitiful after the attack
was over. Only 4 ships remained as we continued on our
course and reached our objective. Determination to make the
landing was felt by all on our 4 depot ships. We are determined
firmly to fight and avenge our soldiers who sacrificed their lives
in the Solomon Sea."