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12/12/12 

Robert (Bob) Ehrhart’s Cartoons

Ms. Yuka Ibuki introduced cartoons Mr. Robert Ehrhart drew while a POW.

Please go to Ehrhart’s Cartoons

 


11/18/12 

Roger Mansell's book published

Captured: The Forgotten Men of Guam written by the late Roger Mansell  and edited by Linda Goertz Holmes has been published from Naval Institute Press.

For more information about the book please go to Captured.

 


11/1/12 

Japanese/POW Friendship Program

Seven former POWs and their family members visited many places and met many people in Japan.

Their stories were reported by newspapers in the area they visited.

Please see the picture report.

 


10/11/12 

2012 Japanese/POW Friendship Program

The government of Japan will invite seven former POWs and their family members for a week-long trip to Japan as the third Japanese/POW Friendship Program.

Following participants will arrive in Japan on October 13.

Douglas Northam (93), US Navy, Yangtze River Patrol boat USS Oahu. Became a POW on Corregidor. In November 1942, he was sent to Japan and forced to work as a stevedore in the freight yards in and around the city of Osaka at Umeda Bunsho.  In March 1945, he was transferred to Tsuruga where he was liberated.


Randall S. Edwards 
(95), US Navy, the USS Canopus
Became a POW on Corregidor. He was shipped to Mukden, China (today
’s Shenyang) in October, 1942. He was forced to work at MKK (Manshu Kosaku Kikai.) He worked on multiple machines from grinders to lathes. . From 1948-1950, he was with U.S. Occupation Forces in Japan. (Photo: Hastings Tribune)
 

David G. Farquhar, Jr. (90), US Army Air Force, 6th bomb group 
On May 23, 1945, his B-29 was shot down over Tokyo. He and his 11 crewmates all bailed out safely and were captured. They were taken to the Kempeitai (military police of the Imperial Army) Headquarters. He was transferred to Omori POW camp where he was liberated.
 

John Leroy Mims (90), US Army, 31st Infantry
Became a POW after the fall of Bataan and walked the Bataan Death March.
In September 1944, he was sent to Japan and forced to work in a coalmine near Omine machi POW camp. POW Camp in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
 

John Real (90), US Army Air Corps,
Became a POW after the fall of Bataan and walked the Bataan Death March.
In September 1943, he was sent to Japan. At Tokyo 5-B POW Camp in Niigata he was forced to work as stevedore, unloading coal ships.


George R. Summers
(90),  US Marine Corps. Guam
Became a POW in Guam.  In January of 1942, he was sent to Zentsuji.  He was transferred to Tanagawa Camp where he was forced to work to build a breakwater for a submarine base. He was then sent to Umeda Bunsho Camp in Osaka where he worked as a stevedore. His last camp was the Nagoya 10-B Fushiki Camp. 

Robert W. Ehrhart (89), US Marines, Fourth Marines

Became a POW on Corregidor.  He was transferred to Japan in 1943 and sent to Osaka 4-D Sakurajima where he was forced to work for Sakurajima Shipyard. After the camp was bombed in May 1945, he was sent to Osaka 6-B, Akenobe, POW Camp.

 

Congressman Honda's  speech on the POW trip to Japan

On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 21, 2012, Congressman Mike Honda gave a speech on the POW invitation program by the Japanese government.  The entire speech and detailed bios of the members of this year's POW delegation to Japan can be found in Congressional Record.

Here are some highlights of his speech:
 

In September 2010, the Japanese government delivered to the first American POW delegation an official apology for the damage and suffering these men endured…

This historic apology and continued support for the trips by the Japanese government has improved our relations with Japan and, more importantly, had a positive effect on the former POWs…

I know that the American POWs fought hard for this recognition. I appreciate the courage of the Japanese government for their historic and meaningful apology. I thank the POWs for their persistent pursuit of justice, and commend the U.S. State Department for helping them.

Still missing, however, from this significant act of atonement are the apologies from the myriad Japanese companies that used and abused POWs for slave labor to maintain war production. It is time now for these companies to break their silence and to follow the successful example of their government by offering an apology and supporting programs for lasting remembrance and reconciliation…

I know that their journey will contribute to the historic peace and friendship between the peoples of the United States and our important ally Japan.

 


10/7/12 

The Last China Band

MarinesBlog, the official blog of the Marine Corps, posted a story on Mr. Donald Versaw.


Don was a musician with the 4th Marines Band based in Shanghai before the war. China Marines were evacuated to the Philippines only a few days before the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. Don became a POW on Corregidor in May of 1942 and was sent to Japan to become a forced laborer in Futase coalmine in Fukuoka.
 

Please go to The Last China Band: Musicians. Riflemen. Prisoners.   
 


9/25/12

Essay by a POW daughter

"An Amazing Journey: Trip to the site of Omine Machi POW camp," written by Ms. Linda McDavitt posted.

 She reflected on her trip to the former camp site in Japan where her father had been held. Please go to Ms. McDavitt's essay .

 


9/15/12

POW Story by Mr. Douglas Northam


Excerpts from "My Experiences as a Japanese Prisoner of War during World War II From May 7, 1942 until September 17, 1945” written by Mr. Douglas Northam was posted.

Please go to Northam

 


8/13/12

Memorial project for POWs of World War II

Ms. Shoko “Seina” Shiraishi has just started a project to build a memorial for POWs in the port of Moji, where she grew up and now resides.  Details can be found at her website,  We Remember You.

She said, “I would like to remember the history and lives of those who passed through my hometown.”

Shoko is also planning to visit 100 nursing homes across the US to sing for the WWII generation.  Digest of her CD, Thanks for the Memory, can be heard here.
 


8/5/12

Article on Laura Hillenbrand's “Unbroken

English translation of Kinue Tokudome's article,  “A Story of an American POW of the Japanese: Meaning for Japan,” was posted. Its original Japanese version was published in the September 2012 issue of monthly magazine, Ushio.

Please go to Ushio article on
Unbroken

 


6/3/12

70th Anniversary Tour to the Philippines

Ms. Yuka Ibuki and Ms. Shizu Maekawa recently participated in a tour to the Philippines to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Bataan Death March.

Here are their reports on the trip.

 


5/17/12

70th anniversary of the defense of the Philippines




A series of events to commemorate the 70th anniversaries of the defense of the Philippines, the Bataan Death March, and the fall of Corregidor were held in Washington DC on April 24 and 25.

Please see the picture report.

 


4/17/12

POW daughter’s visit to Omine-Machi POW camp (Hiroshima 6-B)
 

On April 14, Ms. Linda McDavitt visited the former site of Omine-Machi POW camp where her father, Captain Jerome McDavitt, had been held during WWII.

Kinue Tokudome and Yuka Ibuki of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs accompanied her.

Almost 300 American POWs were held here and forced to work in a nearby coalmine. 

                                                                                  
          In front of the coalmine entrance

Linda wanted to meet with Rev. Seiki Hazama ever since she learned about the POW memorial that was built under his leadership.                                                                                                                                      

 Linda and Rev. Hazama

Please go to Omine-Machi visit to read more.

Ube Kosan, the company that owned the coalmine during WWII, also welcomed Linda graciously.
 


Read also the Mainichi Shimbun's article on Linda's visit to Omine-machi POW campsite.
 


4/11/12

Unfinished business for Bataan survivors

Dr. Lester Tenney, who will lead the delegation of former American POWs of the Japanese coming to Washington DC to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the fall of Bataan and Corregidor on April 24 and 25, published an op-ed article where he discusses the meaning for him of the 70th anniversary of the Bataan Death March. 

...We survivors want our honor returned, and one way to do that is through an apology from the companies that used POWs during World War II.

Please go to San Diego Union Tribune to read the entire article.


4/9/12

General Antonio Taguba

Major General Antonio Taguba, US Army (Ret.) joined the Host Committee for "Commemorating Bataan and Corregidor." 

General Taguba’s father was a soldier in the 45th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts and Bataan Death March survivor.

General Taguba is best known for authoring the Taguba Report, an internal US Army report on abuse of detainees held at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. 
 (New Yorker article, “The General’s Report”)

Author Laura Hillenbrand

The event also received support from Ms. Laura Hillenbrand, the author of best-selling book, Unbroken.


 


4/7/12

More Commemorative Events

To mark the 70th anniversary of the fall of Bataan, many commemorative events are being planned. Here are some of them.

A Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan
April 10, at CAL State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA   More information.

Film Showings

Forgotten Soldiers, Trailer

Produced by Donald A. Plata, the film tells the story of the U.S. Army’s Philippine Scouts, and particularly their role in the battles of Bataan and Corregidor.  After the U.S. surrender in the Philippines, all of the surviving American and Filipino Scouts became POWs.   For showing schedule visit Forgotten Soldiers Facebook

The Tragedy of Bataan, Trailer

Produced by Jan Thompson, this is a 30-minute television documentary that chronicles the fall of the Philippines and the Bataan Death March in the early months of World War II. This story is narrated by actor Alec Baldwin and contains first-account interviews with twenty-two former survivors of the conflict.
For more information visit The Tragedy of Bataan

 


4/4/12

Commemorating the 70th anniversary

A series of events to commemorate the 70th anniversaries of the defense of the Philippines, the Bataan Death March, and the fall of Corregidor are being planned on April 24 and 25 in Washington DC.   To learn more visit 70th anniversary.
 


3/25/12

POW Story on Mr. Robert Heer posted.

His message to home was broadcast by Radio Tokyo’s propaganda program.

Please go to Radio Messages Home


 


2/28/12

President and Vice President of the Descendants Group in Washington DC

On February 9 and 10, Joseph Vater, President and Caroline Burkhart, Vice President of the Descendants Group an Auxiliary of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, visited Washington DC. 

They met with representatives of national veteran organizations, numerous Congressional staffers in both the House and Senate as well as representatives of the State Department.  The topics  discussed included the mission of the Descendants Group and the success of the POW visitation program sponsored by the Japanese government.  They also discussed the importance of continuing and expanding this visitation program.       

Joe’s father, Mr. Joe Vater, was captured on Corregidor and was sent to Mukden, Manchuria in 1942, where he was liberated. He was ADBC (American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor) Commander from 1953-55 and the editor of its quarterly magazine, Quan, for over fifty years until 2007.

Caroline’s father, 1st Lt. Thomas F. Burkhart, was captured on Bataan and was sent to Japan in 1942. He was held at Tanagawa, Zentsuji and Rokuroshi POW camps.

* Website of Descendants Group


1/26/12

Op-ed article on companies' responsibility for WWII POW forced labor

Kinue Tokudome's op-ed article, "Courage to Face the History," was published in the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's 2nd largest newspaper, on Jan. 26.

English translation and the original article can be read here.


1/18/12

Music from the Past, Friendship for Tomorrow

When Ms. Shoko (Seina) Shiraishi was a teenager, she fell in love with WWII era American music. Songs about the sorrow of separating from loved ones because of the war and songs about the hope for happy reunion touched her deeply.

In 1989, she went to New York and became a singer. She befriended with such legendary musicians as Leonard Gaskin and Bob Cranshaw.                                        
                                                                               
                                                                 Seina

But a life as a singer was not easy and Seina decided to come back to Japan after 10 years in New York. Before giving up her singing career, she produced her own CD of WWII era songs and donated it to 3,500 nursing homes across the US.  (Her story is here.)

One of her CDs landed in the hands of former POW and former Marine Band musician Don Versaw. (His POW story) He wrote to Seina thanking for her singing for his generation. Seina was so happy to receive that message from Don.  It was 1999.

Fast forward to 2011.

While surfing on the Internet Seina found out that Don had been in Japan in the previous year as one of the participants of Japanese government’s POW invitation program.  Not having had any contact with Don for 12 years, she contacted this website, US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, and was reconnected with Don. 

All the memories of having sung for America’s WWII generation came flooding back to Seina. She realized how much she still wanted to sing again for them!

Seina will release her new CD soon.  She hopes she can sell enough copies to cover the expenses for visiting 100 nursing homes across the US and singing for WWII generation.

Don already placed an advanced order for Seina’s new CD, hoping that her project will succeed. Indeed, Seina may be able to meet Don for the first time in person.

(Listen to digest of Seina's 1999 CD and her new CD)