in 2004, 2005 and 2006
British POW son traced his father’s footsteps
Mr. Terry Smyth shared his experience of visiting Mine city where his
father, Mr. Edwin Smyth, was held. Please read, “Divided
by War, United in Friendship.”
for Mukaishima POWs
group of volunteers built a memorial for those who died at Mukaishima POW
“Why we built the memorial plates on Mukaishima: An
American flag after 68 years,” written by Mr. Koshi Kobayashi to learn
more about the memorial.
Dr. Tenney’s op-ed article
On May 13, Japan Times published, “Shift the focus, Mr. Prime Minister,”
written by Dr. Lester Tenney.
…don’t let this
opportunity for understanding slip away, an apology is so much more
important than trying to determine the meaning of “aggressor.”
Visit with Mr. Zamperini
Kinue Tokudome, Founder and Director of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, visited
Mr. Louis Zamperini, whose story was chronicled by the best-selling
book, Unbroken, at his home.
He shared his memory of his post-war
visit to Japan and of his speaking to many college students there.
Meeting with the new Japanese Ambassador
On April 23, Dr. Lester Tenney, the last National Commander of the American
Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, met with Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro
Sasae in the office of Congressman Darrel Issa. The meeting was arranged by
Mr. Clay Perkins, a long time friend of Dr. Tenney's and supporter of the
POW issue. Both Dr. Tenney and Mr. Perkins reside in California's 49th
district, represented by Congressman Issa.
Dr. Tenney asked Ambassador Sasae to continue the POW
visitation program while Congressman Issa expressed his strong support
for the POW issue.
Congressman Issa, Amb. Sasae, Dr. Tenney and Mr. Perkins
Dr. Lester Tenney, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, was featured in a
'Dying was easy: It's the living that's hard'
Former POW keeps in touch with Japanese children
Douglas Northam, who participated in 2012
Japan/POW Friendship Program, keeps in touch with the children at Takami
Elementary School in Osaka city he visited during the trip.
Mr. and Mrs. Northam recently sent them a children’s book (pictured here),
which was recommended by their daughter.
Here is a reply from the principal of Takami School.
Dear Mr. and Mrs.
Thank you for sending us
the book. We read it to our students and they were very happy. Children
remember “grandpas who visited us from America” very well. We believe that
they will cherish the memory of listening to your words on the “Importance
of Peace.” Thank you very much for that wonderful memory.
Principal, Takami Elementary School, Osaka
Student of Takami School asking questions
to former POWs (Oct, 18, 2012)
Please read Mr. Northam’s reflection on
his trip to Japan.
Stars and Stripes article on former POWs' trip to Osaka area.
Ms. Charlie Reed, the author of above article, also wrote this recent
village honors US airmen killed in WWII.”
POW issue in the Congressional Research Service Report
A recent report by the Congressional Research Service entitled, "Japan-US
Relations: Issues for Congress," mentioned the POW issue. It said:
In the 112th Congress, three resolutions—S.Res. 333, H.Res. 324, and H.Res.
333—were introduced thanking the government of Japan for its apology and for
arranging the visitation program. The resolutions also encouraged the
Japanese to do more for the U.S. POWs, including by continuing and expanding
the visitation programs as well as its World War II education efforts. They
also called for Japanese companies to apologize for their or their
predecessor firms’ use of un- or inadequately compensated forced prison
laborers during the war.
Entire section on the POW issue can be read
to the State Department
president of ADBC Memorial Society, sent a letter to the State Department
asking for their support for continuation of Japan’s POW visitation program.
As representative of the
surviving POWs of Japan, their families, and descendants, the ADBC Memorial
Society asks you to encourage Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his
visit next week to continue and expand his government’s visitation program
to Japan for American former POWs.
Please read the entire letter.
President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima/Nagasaki and remembering POW history
Tokudome’s op-ed article
on this topic was
published in the Mainichi Shimbun, Japan’s third largest daily newspaper, on
English translation can be read at:
Minister Abe to Visit the United States:
Should Invite President Obama to Visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Bataan Death March denial article rebutted
American POWs of Japan, website for a
research project of Asia Policy Point, a Washington DC-based nonprofit that
studies the US policy relationship with Japan and Northeast Asia, posted a
report entitled, “Denier
of the Bataan Death March.”
includes English translation of an article published in a popular Japanese
monthly Magazine Seiron together with corrections to some of the
statements made in the article regarding the history of the Battle of
The corrections were prepared in cooperation with
Dr. Stanley Falk, former chief
historian of the U.S. Air Force and a military historian specializing in
World War II in the Pacific. He is the author of the authoritative history,
Bataan: The March of Death.
The comprehensive history of Battle of Bataan can be found in "United
States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific, The Fall of the
Philippines," whose author Louis Morton acknowledged Dr. Falk’s
contribution to this volume.
Causes of the Bataan Death March Revisited,” written by Mr. James
Nelson, whose father was forced to work at Mitsubishi's Osarizawa copper
mine, incorporates information from both US and Japanese sides.
A film depicting the Bataan Death March in 2007 PBS series “The War” can be seen
Robert (Bob) Ehrhart’s Cartoons
Ibuki introduced cartoons Mr. Robert Ehrhart drew while a POW.
Please go to Ehrhart’s Cartoons
Roger Mansell's book published
The Forgotten Men of Guam written by the late Roger Mansell and
by Linda Goertz Holmes has been published from
Naval Institute Press.
information about the book please go to
Seven former POWs
and their family members visited many places and met many people in Japan.
were reported by newspapers in the area they visited.
Please see the
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
Following participants will arrive in Japan
on October 13.
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.
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
Omine machi POW camp.
POW Camp in
(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
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
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,
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
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
Here are some highlights of his
In September 2010, the Japanese government delivered to the first American
POW delegation an official apology for the damage and suffering these men
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
The Last China Band
MarinesBlog, the official blog of the Marine Corps, posted a story on Mr.
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.
by a POW daughter
"An Amazing Journey: Trip to the site of Omine Machi POW camp," written by
Ms. Linda McDavitt posted.
reflected on her trip to the former camp site in Japan where her father had
been held. Please go to
Ms. McDavitt's essay .
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
Please go to
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
Laura Hillenbrand's “Unbroken”
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,
Please go to Ushio article on
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.
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.
POW daughter’s visit to Omine-Machi POW camp (Hiroshima 6-B)
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
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
Read also the
Mainichi Shimbun's article on Linda's visit to Omine-machi POW campsite.
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
...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.
Antonio Taguba, US Army (Ret.) joined the Host Committee for "Commemorating
Bataan and Corregidor."
Taguba’s father was a soldier in the 45th Infantry Regiment of the
Philippine Scouts and Bataan Death March survivor.
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
The event also
received support from Ms. Laura
Hillenbrand, the author of best-selling book, Unbroken.
More Commemorative Events
To mark the
70th anniversary of the fall of Bataan, many commemorative events are being
planned. Here are some of them.
Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan
April 10, at CAL State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA More
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
Forgotten Soldiers Facebook
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
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.
Story on Mr. Robert Heer posted.
His message to home was broadcast by Radio Tokyo’s propaganda program.
Please go to Radio
President and Vice President of
the Descendants Group in Washington DC
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.
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.
1st Lt. Thomas F. Burkhart, was captured on Bataan and was sent
to Japan in 1942. He was held at
Rokuroshi POW camps.
Website of Descendants Group
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
Music from the
Past, Friendship for Tomorrow
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
Leonard Gaskin and
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.
forward to 2011.
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
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!
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
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