The information presented in this section supplements
data which have appeared in previous issues of
the Intelligence Bulletin regarding the morale
and individual characteristics of Japanese soldiers. For a
complete reference to this data, see Intelligence Bulletin,
Vol. II, No. 8, p. 69,
and Vol. II, No. 9, pp. 44-47.
2. A LIEUTENANT SPEAKS OUT
A statement made by a Japanese lieutenant describes
the hardships forced upon the enemy in New Guinea
by the American and Australian air, ground, and
naval forces. The statement, which ends with
boasting threats, is presented below.
In air power, to put it briefly, we are about a century behind
America and Germany. We who have participated in the New
Guinea fighting are in position to appreciate at first hand the
importance of air power. Those living in peace and safety at
home talk about our air superiority in China. This is exceedingly
childish chatter. If you have not experienced a continuous
bombardment by formations of Lockheeds and North
Americans, or 50 to 60 bombers, a true appreciation of air
superiority is well nigh impossible.
This present war is termed a war of supply. Shipping is
the key to victory or defeat. To have regular shipping lanes,
air superiority is essential. Ah! If we only had air superiority!
Even the privates here voice the same opinion.
Let us examine the situation. In the battle for Salamaua,
we were bombed and strafed relentlessly day and night for
about six months. We left Sio with 10 days' rations, which
must last for 25 days.... We fight while eating only grass.
However, we must not complain about it to our superior officers.
Since coming to New Guinea, I fully appreciate the
value of even 1 gram of rice. If we only had salt and matches
in the combat area, we could cope with anything. Indeed,
these are supposed to be absolutely essential. How laughable!
A certain labor unit existed for about two weeks on only
What of the Americans and Australians? They can boast
only of their material power. Wait and see! We will wage a
war of annihilation. The feelings of every officer and man
throughout the Army are churning with a desire to massacre
all Americans and Australians.
3. DEATH AND THE JAPANESE SOLDIER
Before entering a theater of operations, the Japanese
prepare themselves for possible death. Fingernails,
toenails, and locks of hair are often taken from every
man in a unit, and when a soldier is killed these items
are sent to his family in Japan. Also, whenever possible,
the ashes of deceased soldiers are sent home, generally
by special courier. That this is an important and
solemn pilgrimage is apparent from the following story
written by a private and published in a Japanese magazine:
On this occasion I have returned from the front bringing
the remains of the fallen soldiers. In the Army we regard
these ashes as more precious than living beings. When we
were on board ship we were given strict instructions by the
officer-in-charge as follows:
"You are about to cross seas that are dominated by enemy
submarines. You know now what may befall you. If the
ashes of those who have fallen in battle are lost and their
spirits are again made to meet a second death, we who are responsible
for bringing home these ashes will be without excuse
before their bereaved families. Whatever happens, even
though the ship sinks, do all you can to save these ashes."
This officer-in-charge is fond of his glass, but throughout
the whole voyage he never touched a drop of sake. Every
one of us in charge of these boxes of ashes kept them by our
sides continually. At night we tied them to our waists with a
rope attached to a life belt, so that if we were struck by a
torpedo and had to dive overboard, though we might be
drowned, the boxes of ashes would certainly float.
4. MISCELLANEOUS BRIEFS
The following items, loosely related, give further insight
into Japanese morale and characteristics:
Just before a big counterattack against U.S. forces
at Torokina on Bougainville, Japanese officers tried to
boost the morale of their men by telling them that, there
were enough rations and tobacco within the U.S. lines
to supply the Japanese for three years if they could be
Such statements have been made by Japanese officers
on other occasions for the same purpose.
A Japanese soldier dejectedly stated that U.S. weapons "are
made for jungle warfare and are superior in quality. If we
had their weapons, we could annihilate them in one
day. Unfortunately we haven't them!"
Members of a Japanese unit on Bougainville were exhorted as follows:
The time has come to manifest our knighthood with the
pure brilliance of a sharp sword. It is our duty to erase the
mortification of our brothers at Guadalcanal. Attack, assault,
and destroy everything. Cut, slash, and mow them [Americans]
down. May the color of the red emblem [probably refers
to the red insignia of the 6th Division] of memory on our
arms be deepened with the blood of the American rascals. Our
cry of victory at Torokina Bay will be shouted resoundingly to
our native land. We are invincible. Always attack...
An officer who has returned from duty in the Pacific
theater of operations debunks any feeling that the
Japanese soldier possesses anything
approaching "super" qualities. This officer said:
"I feel that it was a mistake to be given the idea, as
we were, that the Jap is practically an unconquerable
superman. We had repeated lectures to this effect."