Japanese Letters and Postcards

Whatever importance Bernard Elissagaray once ascribed to these handwritten documents has long since been lostHe likely never knew what the letters and postcards he collected said; any souvenir with Japanese characters on it was considered quite impressive at the time.

Thanks to the efforts of Hisashi at the Axis History Forums, we now know that these documents belonged to two different individuals. One was 嘉手苅蒲真 – Mr. Kadekaru, a civilian living on Saipan with his wife, Kaya, and their children. The other was a young sailor named 和田勝三 – Wada Shozo.

Of Wada, Hisashi says: “He was a novice navy communication (maybe telegram) man. He was trained in Yokosuka. His hand and his relatives’ hand are not good but relatives (or friends) said some day they would go to Yokosuka to meet him. In several unsent leafs he said sorry he was busy and they could not see him. In some picture letters Wada wrote only the recipients’ address and his one without any message. Strangely, some of pics are clearly of Ogasawara Islands. I guess he was hastily sent from Yokosuka to Saipan and was told to deceive where he really was.” Many of the letters are “censor-safe” with messages like “Thank you for your lettter [to Japan]. We are proud of you serving for the nation. All us fine at home.”

Thomas Prall notes that Wada’s unit was most likely the 55th Naval Guard Force (第五十五警備隊) based on “Radio Mountain” (無線電信山). Bernard’s company overran a location known as Radar Hill in early July, 1944.

If you or someone you know is willing to fully translate the letters, please contact the webmaster.

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