Iwo Jima

My two smallest kids had the honor to see the memorial first hand in June 2010.

Life has been quite unpredictable for me for the past six weeks or so – as well as tiring.  I am quite behind in reading many of your fine blogs and that is on my priority to-do list.  But it is a hollow descriptive for me to say I am tired.

I am still alive.

Twenty-nine thousand are not.


The battle for Iwo Jima began 68 years ago on February 19, 1945.

Sixty-eight years ago.  Just yesterday for many.

Sixty-eight years ago, about 29,000 young men met horrible deaths on that demonic volcanic island – 22,000 Japanese soldiers and 7,000 Marines.  That unforgiving island still has not given up all of her dead to this day…  American and Japanese.

Japanese Prime Minister Kan in blue visited Iwo Jima (now renamed Iwo To) in 2010 to help find and exhume Japanese remains. He is the only Japanese Prime Minister to do so.

Indeed, the camaraderie amongst the survivors as well as those linked to the battle by relation or history is rightfully still strong.  It is vital to the preservation of bravery, courage and love of country.

Please click on image to see a brief yet touching video.


As mentioned in an earlier blog, the US Army also participated but not in a manner you would expect.

Per Dr. James McNaughton’s authoritative book, “Nisei Linguists”, Tech Sgt. 5g Terry Takeshi Doi “landed with the assault waves on 19 February 1945”.  Doi was a member of the US Army’s top secret Military Intelligence Service (MIS).  Doi would be awarded the Silver Star for his actions on Iwo Jima; he went into cave after cave armed only with a flashlight and knife to persuade Japanese soldiers to come out. I believe he is still alive.

Another MIS Nisei, Tech Sgt 3g James Yoshinobu, was fighting in his second world war; he had fought for the US in WW I (that’s ONE) and was 47 years of age while fighting on Iwo Jima.  He landed with the 4th Marine Division and was later awarded the Silver Star.

One MIS Nisei, Sgt. Mike Masato Deguchi, was seriously wounded by a land mine and died of his wounds shortly after war’s end.


Oddly, these Nisei may have never joined the task force sailing out of Pearl for the invasion of Iwo Jima.  The Nisei contingent was stopped at the security gate and were prohibited from proceeding because they “looked Japanese”.  Only with the accompaniment and support of a few Caucasian officers were they finally allowed to pass and board their transport ships.


Sixty-eight years later, let us today deeply and reverently remember these brave boys… whether they be American or Japanese…or both.  The iconic flag-raising would be tomorrow, February 23.

US Marines killed in action.

37 thoughts on “Iwo Jima”

    1. We are getting to that period in time when young people become more and more distant from their heroics. When I was going to school, we had chapters devoted to the World War. Now, it may just be a page with emphasis on “minorities”. We must remember them.

  1. Let us remember and honor ALL the soldiers who fought in this WORLD war, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, Each one had a duty to fight for their country, no matter on which side they fought. They all had families who remember them and everyone deserves some closure and a right to know what happened to their loved ones. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thank you, Judy, for your most sincere and reverent thoughts. As a side note, USMC Sgt. Genaust, a movie camera man, filmed the second flag raising from almost the same spot as Joe Rosenthal. Unfortunately, he was killed at the entrance to a cave when he shined his movie light in. The Marines sealed the cave. His remains are one of those not given up by Iwo Jima.

  2. Koji , you never cease to amaze me with your writings. What an honor you give to our brave men both American and Japanese . Thank you Buddy for being my Friend.

    1. Indeed, Curt, it was fresh in our memories – each in our own ways. Now, it is but perhaps a page or two in our children’s textbooks and more keyed towards contributions by minorities, perhaps.

  3. Whenever I hear about Iwo, I tend to shudder inside. As a Marine I’d heard how hard – tough – it had been. And my grandfather, an former Army soldier, had cursed and spat when I told him I’d joined the Corps.

    “I ran over boys like you,” he said, “piled three thick on the sand – bodies everywhere! You boys (me and my brother) are so stupid! They just use those Marines as cannon fodder.” And then he went on to cuss the movies. They were “too clean” to use his words – not enough bodies, blood, guts and gore on the beach.

    Needless to say he had a serious case of PTSD, and took to drink to cure it. Bad for my mom and her mother. However, it’s true: so many of the images of that war were ‘covered up’ and/or destroyed because the military & government didn’t want the folks back home to know – really – how bad it was. No wonder so many of those old timers had nightmares – for the rest of their life, some. (and pretty much left untreated, mentally – left to their own devices to heal themselves).

    A sad chapter in our nation’s – and Japan’s, and the world’s – history. But I guess that’s how we learn – or at least I hope so. If we learn at all.

    1. So true and eloquently said, jeffssong. Old Man Jack the exact same thing about the Hollywood movies. “What for?” he would say when I asked him if he saw Saving Private Ryan.

      Today, the media and political correctness hinder the release of battlefield bloodshed… They only utilize it if it helps THEIR cause – like perhaps a dead child. Or raise revenues (such as when the Marines urinated on bodies – BFD). But in doing so, it ISOLATES the rest of the viewing public from the actual horror… the horror our boys come back with today.

      Perhaps the “gore” they see today is of a much less scale compared to the all-out kill or be killed in WWII…like what your dad saw and did. But PTSD also deserves a Purple Heart and proper care – just like if an AK47 round pierced their body.

  4. Reblogged this on Masako and Spam Musubi and commented:

    The horrific battle for Iwo Jima would start in a few days 75 years ago. The iconic flag raising would be one week from now.

    A story I wrote in 2013 about Iwo Jima and a little known fact that 50 Japanese-Americans US Army soldiers also fought there.

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