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New essay, "Commander Chick Parsons and the Japanese," written by his son, Mr. Peter Parsons, added.

Commander Parsons was instrumental during WWII for organizing a fleet of submarines to supply the resistance in the Philippines. please go to Parsons.


The Pearl Harbor You Never Knew: The Bataan Death March in the Philippines

On December 7, Los Angeles' #1 Morning News Show (KTLA) aired a story on the Bataan Death March and American POWs who were sent to Japan to be used by Japanese companies as slave laborers. Dr. Lester Tenney, survivor of the Bataan Death March and three years of slave labor at Mitsui coal mine, and Mr. James Parkinson, attorney who represented former POWs in their lawsuits against Japanese companies, were featured.

It was explained that the major opponent of POW lawsuits demanding an apology and compensation from the Japanese corporations, such as Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Nippon Steel and Mitsui, was the U.S. government.  (All the POW lawsuits were dismissed in 2004.)


        "We shoveled coal everyday, 12 hours a day.            "The Peace Treaty did not prohibit reparation.
     We were beaten in the coal mine by the civilians. "      I hope the new Congress will back former POWs."


    with KTLA reporter Ms. Janet Choi                                             with his wife, Betty

     "I hope that one day the sufferings of men on Bataan will be properly recognized."
                         ------Lester Tenney (86)


POW story in WWII History magazine

An article on former POW Mr. Donald Versaw, Director of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc., written by historian Eric Niderost was published in the January 2007 issue of WWII History magazine. At the end of the article, Don, who was forced to work in a coalmine in Japan, was quoted as saying, "The current Japanese government should exercise the compassion they are famous for and apologize for the excesses of the past. It would not hurt them to do so."


POW website presented at a Kyoto conference

Kinue Tokudome, Founder and Executive Director of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs. Inc., made a presentation about its website at a conference held in Kyoto, Japan from November 17 to 19. The conference was co-organized by the Kyoto Forum and the Doshisha University Media Communication Research Center and was entitled, "Civic Society made possible by information and media." Tokudome introduced the website "US-Japan Dialogue on POWs" as a case study for the ethical and effective use of information and media. 

A high school student's POW project

Anthony Zendejas, a 9th grader in Washington State, has been conducting extensive research on the history of POWs of the Japanese. He wrote and performed two 10-minute plays for a regional and state competition and won 2nd and 4th place respectively. Here is Anthony's essay and play. 

Anthony Zendejas essay,        Anthony Zendejas' play



Announcement for the 2nd POW Essay Contest posted. Please go to Essay Contest.


New essay, "Palawan Massacre," added. Please go to Palawan Massacre


New essay, "On Forgiveness and Apology: Conversation with Mr. Harold Poole and the late Captain Duane Heisinger," written by Kinue Tokudome added. 

Please go to On Forgiveness and Apology


New POW book to be published

Mr. Steve Raymond, who was a POW of the Japanese during WWII, and journalist Mr. Mike Pride, who is a member of the committee that chooses the winner of the Pulitzer Prizes, co-authored Too Dead to Die: A Memoir of Bataan and Beyond.

To learn more about the book, please go to Too Dead to Die




New Essay, "Confession—My Life and the Crimes of the Assailant," by  Mr. Yoshiji Watanabe added  Please go to Watanabe.   


New POW Story on  Medal of Honor recipient Jose Cabalfin Calugas, Sr. added

Please go to


Directors of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc. visited Congressman Michael Honda

On August 29, 2006 Dr. Lester Tenney, Mr. Donald Versaw, Mr. Clay Perkins and Ms. Kinue Tokudome visited Congressman Honda (D-CA), who has been a long time supporter of former POWs of the Japanese. The discussed topics included the bills recently introduced in the House and the Senate to compensate former POWs and the possibility for a future project for former POWs and their family members to visit Japan.

Mr. Versaw, Ms. Tokudome, Mr. Perkins, Congressman Honda and Dr. Tenney


A Japanese sword donated

World War II veteran and prisoner of war Abie Abraham donated a Japanese Amy officer's sword he received following the end of World War II to the Brooke County Public Library in West Virginia on August. 27. 2006. (Mr. Abraham's POW story)  His fellow former POWs Edward Jackfert and Joseph Vater attended the event.
                                                                                  photo courtesy: Mr. John McCabe    

                                                         Mr. Abraham,   Mr. Jackfert  and    Mr. Vater      

Please read Mr. Jackfert's speech published in Wheeling News Register.

 "We have not given up hope and will continue to seek Justice...."


C-Span TV program on Soldier Slaves

On August 12 and 13, C-Span 2 Book TV aired a program on Soldier Slaves: Abandoned by the White House, Courts, and Congress. The authors of the book, Mr. James Parkinson (more about him and his book, see interview), Mr. Lee Benson, former POW of the Japanese Mr. Harold Poole and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who has been a strong supporter of former POWs, spoke during the program.


Senator Hatch, on August 3, introduced a bill, S. 3811, to require the payment of compensation to members of the Armed Forces and civilian employees of the United States who performed slave labor for Japanese industries during World War II, or the surviving spouses of such members, and for other purposes.

To learn more about the bill, go to and enter S. 3811


A House bill to support former POWs of the Japanese introduced

H. R. 5972 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 28. The purpose of the bill is "to provide for the payment of compensation to members of the Armed Forces and civilian employees of the United States who, as prisoners of war, performed slave labor for Japanese corporations during World War II, to authorize the Secretary of Defense to accept contributions in order to provide additional compensation to such members and employees, to encourage Japanese corporations that benefited from the use of slave labor to make contributions for such additional compensation, and for other purposes."

To learn more about the bill, go to and enter H. R. 5972



New POW Story by Mr. Abie Abraham added. Please go to Abraham.


Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso attended a memorial service for POWs

On July 3, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso attended a memorial service for Allied POWs who died in Japan during WWII which was held at the Juganji temple near Osaka.

Originally, ambassadors from former Allied nations including the American Ambassador were invited to attend, but the invitation was withdrawn after several articles in the Western media questioned Mr. Aso's motive to attend.,,3-2251156,00.html

It was revealed recently that Mr. Aso's family coalmine used 300 Allied POWs as slave laborers during WWII. Yet, Mr. Aso, who already has announced his decision to be a candidate for the Japan's next prime minister in September, has never acknowledged it.

Mr. Aso was reported as saying after the memorial, "I had wanted to express my gratitude to the temple for honoring the deceased POWs for the past 60 years."

Mr. John Glusman, the author of Conduct Under Fire, whose father was a POW of the Japanese had been invited to the event by a senior Foreign Ministry official but cancelled his trip to Japan when he learned that only Mr. Aso would attend. He was quoted in an International Herald Tribune (Asahi) article:

"I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to open the possibility (for Japan) to address this delicate issue, but the event was minimized from a public event to a private one. The Foreign Ministry realized that it is a far more complicated issue than it had initially thought."

The article concluded by saying, "The government's official position remains that the treatment of POWs during the war has been settled by Japan's compensation to allied nations in line with the 1951 San Francisco Treaty."  

For more about Mr. Glusman and his book, Conduct Under Fire, please go to  Interview


News from Japan

Asahi Shimbun (Japan's 2nd largest newspaper)
wrote about students' visit with ex-POWs

Mr. Tateo Shimizu, editorial writer of the Asahi Shimbun (circulation 8 million), wrote an article about Ms. Asako Yoshida's participation in the ADBC convention held in Phoenix, Arizona in May.

Photo:  Ms. Yoshida, Bataan Death March survivor
             Mr. James Murphy, and the American college
             student attendee Mr. Adam Donais

Four months after the war broke out between Japan and the US, the Japanese occupied bases of the US Philippine Forces in Bataan peninsula in the Philippines. Around 80,000 POWs were forced to go on foot 80km, which caused thousands of deaths. The march is called the “Bataan Death March”.

The POWs were sent to Japan and former Manchuria, and forced to work at coalmines and other places, which also caused many deaths.

The survivors who returned home organized a whole US organization and have had annual conventions. At this year’s convention held in May, two young people from Japan and the US attended for the first time. They were the winners of an essay contest held by an organization that supports US POWs.

Ms. Asako Yoshida, a college senior who joined from Japan, was spoken to by former POWs, “I know some Japanese.” “Hayaku, hayaku=quick, quick.”  “ Arigatogozaimasu=Thank you.” “Tankobushi=Song of coalminers” “Hai!= Yes!”

Ms. Yoshida realized that the memories of forced labor days were still fresh in the minds of former POWs. She was also struck when the keynote speaker pointed out that Japan had never apologized. The U.S. government has apologized for its wartime internment of Japanese Americans. "I cannot understand why Japan has not apologized. It is the right thing to do as the victimizers."

Ms. Kinue Tokudome, a US based Japanese journalist who has been supporting former POWs, says, "As these veterans are getting older, time to achieve reconciliation is running out. A sincere apology by Prime Minister Koizumi will make a major contribution to the US-Japan relationship."

Yet, Prime Minister Koizumi's itinerary during his visit to the United States does not include a meeting with former POWs while it does include a trip to Graceland.        --Yuka Ibuki


Interview with Mr. James W. Parkinson, the author of Soldier Slaves, posted

Please go to Soldier Slaves



POW forced labor was mentioned in a Japanese business magazine

Mr. Peter Ennis, Contributing Editor for The Oriental Economist Report, published the following article in the 6/17, 2006 issue of the Weekly Toyo Keizai, the second-biggest business magazine in Japan.

Americans angry, perplexed with Koizumi’s Shrine visits

(Mr. Ennis wrote that Congressman Hyde, a US Navy veteran from World War II, sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, suggesting that Prime Minister Koizumi should not be allowed to address to Congress unless he promises to not visit Yasukuni Shrine next August 15.  Wartime prime minister Hideki Tojo and 13 other Class A war criminals are enshrined in Yasukuni Shrine. Mr. Ennis' article included the following paragraph.)

Memories of Pearl Harbor remain deep. Prime Minister Koizumi’s repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine have provoked handfuls of aging World War II veterans, especially former POWs who were made to perform forced labor and victims of horrific mistreatment by Japanese military forces in the Philippines. Among them, there are Americans who feel that they were terribly abused by Japan in the war-time period, and never either compensated, or at least apologized to.

Dr. Lester Tenney's keynote speech at the ADBC Convention

The original English version of Mr. Ennis' article mentioned the ADBC convention held in Phoenix in May.  Here is the keynote speech delivered by ADBC Jr. Vice Commander, Dr. Lester Tenney, during the convention.  

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied



A documentary on civilian internees at Santo Tomas camp, "Victims of Circumstances," has been produced by Mr. Lou Gopal and Ms. Michelle Bunn.

Please go to  Victims of Circumstances for more details.


College Students from Japan and the U.S. Attended the POW Reunion

Two winners of the essay contest held by US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc., Miss. Asako Yoshida from Saitama, Japan and Mr. Adam Donais from Washington state, attended the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) 2006 Convention held in Phoenix, Arizona from May 18 to May 21. 

Please go to  college students to read more about their visit.

The Philippine Scouts Heritage Society's Annual Reunion

Kinue Tokudome, Founder and Executive Director of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs,  Inc., was the keynote speaker for the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society's 22nd Annual Reunion held in San Francisco on May 27-28.

The Philippine Scouts were part of the regular U.S. Army and fought fiercely in the defense of the Philippines. After the surrender, they walked the Bataan Death March with American soldiers and were interned at Camp O'Donnell where over 26,000 Filipino died.

To read the speech, please go to:
Tokudome PSHS speech.
With Col. Mel Rosen and PSHS president Maj. Fred Foz



In Memoriam

Captain Duane Heisinger, US Navy (Ret.), the author of Father Found, passed away on May 1, 2006. He was instrumental in building the Hellships Memorial and was present at its dedication in Subic Bay, Philippines, in January of 2006. The most often heard remarks during the memorial service held on May 11th in Fairfax, Virginia was, "Duane touched so many lives."

Father Found:
Captain Heisinger's essay on his POW father: a son's search for his dead father

Congressman Rohrabacher

On the flight back to California after attending the memorial service for Captain Heisinger, Kinue Tokudome met Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Upon learning about the Hellships Memorial from her, the Congressman expressed his desire to visit it when he and Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Il), Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, visit the Philippines in August.  Congressman Rohrabacher's uncle-in-law became a POW of the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942, was sent on a Hellship to a Japanese POW camp in Mukden, China, and worked there as a forced laborer until the end of WWII. 



New essay, "Annual Bataan Memorial Death March At White Sands, NM," written by Mrs. Nancy A. Murphy has been added.  Please go to: Bataan Memorial Death March


News from Japan

Mr. Kihachiro Ueda, whose paintings of the hellships are well-known in books, websites and other WWII related publications, is going to donate a new water-color painting of the Oryoku Maru to the Hellship Exhibition at the Subic Bay History Museum. Mr. Randy Anderson, the leader of the Hellship Memorial Project, says, “We are all very excited to see the painting, and build the Oryoku Maru exhibit around it!” He says the picture will also be featured in a new section of the website, SBMA. Mr. Yuuji Miwa, a member of the POW RNJ, has been serving as Mr. Ueda’s agent. Mr. Miwa came to know his works six years ago and started using them for his Japanese website: (Japanese Merchant Ships Lost in the War) Since then, Mr. Ueda’s paintings have touched people’s hearts beyond the barriers of languages.

In January 2006, Yuka Ibuki, who was given the opportunity to join the Hellship Memorial Tour told Mr. Kevin Hamdorf of Mr. Ueda’s paintings, and he used Mr. Ueda’s Oryoku Maru painting for a special issue of his magazine, The Bay.  During the Pacific War, Mr. Ueda was conscripted and served as gunner of the Kinka Maru, and lost use of his right hand in a battle in the Philippine waters. He began to paint with his left hand after the war. After the Hellship Memorial dedication was achieved with the ardent wishes of many people including Mr. Duane Heisinger whose father died on a Hellship, through contacting people of Subic of Mr. Ueda’s works, Mr. Miwa wrote to Mr. Ueda about the project and suggested sending the original of the Oryoku Maru painting to the exhibition, near where the ship was sunk and remains to this day. Mr. Ueda, on reading the letter, called MR. Miwa right away to tell him his intent of painting and donating a new Oryoku Maru painting for the Hellship Memorial Project. The POW RNJ has expressed support for this effort of remembering the past and praying for reconciliation and peace.   -Yuka Ibuki

New Oryoku Maru painting Mr. Ueda is donating to  the Subic Bay History Museum


Two winners of our essay contest have been chosen. They are:

Asako Yoshida from Saitama, Japan (Tsuda College)
Adam J. Donais from Chattaroy, WA. USA (Spokane Falls Community College)

Please go to Essay Contest Winners to read their essays.


New POW Story by Col. John E. Olson added. Please go to Olson.


New essay written by Mrs. Jane Bzoch Cambus and Mrs. Hanna Varak Romans Witherspoon added.  Please go to  "Two little girls lost their Czech fathers on a Japanese Hellship,"


Memoir by Mr. Edward Jackfert

Mr. Edward Jackfert, past National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, has published a memoir, Service to My Country.

Mr. Jackfert wrote in the Prologue, "One of the reasons I decided to write about my life was to show that despite my up bringing in a very poor environment due to a lack of economic resources, these very conditions may have provided me the determination and stamina to succeed in life. Indeed, these same environmental home conditions probably gave me the discipline and stamina to survive three years and four months as a prisoner of war of the Japanese military under the most brutal conditions imaginable. "

Mr. Jackfert was interned in Tokyo POW camp #2 (Kawasaki) and forced to work at Mitsui warehouse and other places.


POWs greeting liberators (Mr. Jackfert under the white arrow)
at the Nisshin Flour Mill POW camp in Kawasaki

More on the POW experience of Mr. Jackfert: Jackfert


 "The Unforgettable B-29: A Tribute," written by Mr. Yang Jing was published in the Spring, 2006 issue of Air Power History.

Mr. Yang is an internationally recognized historian and a leading researcher on the Allied POW camp in Mukden (now Shenyang) run by the Japanese. In 2003, he wrote a book about the POW camp, entitled Mukden Nirvana, the first book published on the subject in China. Mr. Yang is also a member of the preservation project of the Mukden POW campsite.


      Opening paragraph of the article            Mr. Yang with Mukden POW Bob Brown and
                                                                          OSS officer Hal Leith who liberated the camp


To read the entire article contact: for a subscription.


Kinue Tokudome's article, "Troubling Legacy: World War II Forced Labor by American POWs of the Japanese," was published on Japan Focus.

Please go to: Troubling Legacy


New essay, "Bataan Memorial Death March," by Mr. Alan Overmier added.

Please go to Overmier


Hellships Memorial Inscription and Prayer of Father James Reuter posted.

Please go to Hellships Memorial


A Japanese magazine, Bungei Shunju*, responds to protest
from a Bataan Death March survivor

Bungei Shunju magazine responded to the letter of protest by Dr. Lester Tenney in regard to the article on the Bataan Death March, which I reported on December 24, 2005. In this March issue, they published Dr. Tenney’s letter in full translation, with their comment, in the corner of the voices from the readers to the editors. The letter, which disputes the article in detail, covers five pages. You can read the letter at:

Dr. Lester Tenney's letter to the editor of the Bungei Shunju

Comment from the Editorial Department of Bungei Shunju translated by Yuka Ibuki

”A letter of protest reached the editorial department from Mr. Lester Tenney in regard to the article, "The Bataan Death March: walked through by A Woman," by Ms. Yukie Sasa in the December issue of 2005. Mr. Tenney experienced the 'Bataan Death March' sixty four years ago as a POW held by the Japanese Army. It is historical fact that the atrocities of the Japanese Army against POWs through the Bataan Death March caused a large number of victims. The article by Ms. Sasa has no intention of denying the brutalities and it goes without saying that this editorial department has no such intention either. The article failed to introduce testimonies of the former POWs. Mr. Tenney's first person narrative is precious as that of someone who had horrible experiences as a POW. 

* ”Bungei Shunju” means “Literary Works in all Seasons.”   
- Yuka Ibuki

Dr. Tenney's comment upon learning the publication of his letter in Bungei Shunju

"Although Bungei Shunju did not issue an apology, they did publish my letter of protest in its entirety, in Japanese, and for that I am satisfied. In addition, the editor wrote an introduction to my response which in effect stated they respect we former POWs for what we went through on the Bataan Death March. It would have been nice if the author, Ms. Sasa, wrote me with an explanation or apology, but I am not sure whether she really knows she said or did anything wrong."

The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest daily newspaper, reported on February 13 that Bungei Shunju published Dr. Tenney's  protest letter and that he accepted the publisher's response. 


New essay written by Yuka Ibuki added. Please go to   Revisit and First Visit : Japan


Captain Duane Heisinger (US Navy, Ret.) featured in the Japanese media

The Mainichi Shimbun, the 3rd largest daily newspaper in Japan with circulation of 4 million, published on February 1, 2006 an article on Duane Heisinger, a retired US Navy captain, who led the recent Hellships Memorial tour to the Philippines.

The article explains that Captain Heisinger wrote a book on his father, who died on a Japanese POW transport Hellship. It quotes Captain Heisinger, "I learned the reality of the war, such as appalling food and medical conditions and the US attack on POW transport ships. I also learned that many descendants of POWs did not know much about the final days of their husbands and fathers." The article goes on to write that Captain Heisinger spearheaded the project to build the Hellships Memorial in the Subic Bay in Luzon in order to remember the tragic history of POW transport ships, and that he led a tour group of POW descendants to visit battle sites in the Philippines and to attend the dedication ceremony for the Memorial. The article also introduces US-Japan dialogue on POWs, a bilingual website maintained by Kinue Tokudome who joined the Hellships Memorial tour. She was quoted, "I hope we will see more dialogue between those people in the U.S. and Japan who experienced the war."

Mainichi Shimbun on Captain Duane Heisinger and Kinue Tokudome

More about Captain Heisinger: Father Found-a son's search for his dead father


A new essay by Henry Morfit Neiger added. Please go to The HellshipsLest We Forget 


A press conference on a Bataan Death March article

On January 13, two Bataan Death March survivors, Dr. Lester Tenney and Mr. Robert Brown, joined Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who convened a press conference regarding an article on the Bataan Death March recently published in a Japanese magazine, Bungei Shunju. (A summary can be found in the ESSAYS section of this website.) It was held at Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and was attended by reporters of major Japanese newspapers and news agencies. Within a few hours after the conference, the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest daily newspaper, reported on the conference and the Japan Times carried an article released by the Kyodo News on January 14.


At the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles
Kinue Tokudome, Mr. Robert Brown, Dr. Lester Tenney, Rabbi Abraham Cooper


New essay, "Letter to my American Friends--Japanese POW Internment in Siberia : 60 Years Later The Japanese Government Is Betraying Old Soldiers and Justice," by Koichi Ikeda added.  Please go to Ikeda


New essay, "Interview with Professor Elizabeth Norman, the author of We Band of Angels," added. Please go to


New essay, "Article on the Bataan Death March Published in Japan's Premier Magazine, Bungei Shunju," written by Yuka Ibuki added.  Please go to Ibuki


New POW Story on Mr. Abel F. Ortega added. Please go to Ortega


"US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc."  is now a California non-profit organization.

Please go to ABOUT US to learn more.

Essay Contest announcement posted.  Please go to Essay Contest


Opinion essay by Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Kinue Tokudome posted.
This Veterans Day Will Japan Finally Apologize to the Last Survivors of Bataan?


New essay by Mr. William Bowen added. Please go to THE ARISAN MARU TRAGEDY

Response to Father Robert W. Phillips

Response written by Mr. Hiroo Sekita, Pastor affiliated with the United Church of Christ in Japan, posted following Father Phillips' essay.  Please go to Phillips


News from Japan: Longtime activist on POW reconciliation Mr. Nagase honored

Takashi Nagase, eighty-seven years old, was awarded the 12th Yomiuri International Cooperation Prize on October 26. At the ceremony held at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, 300 people gathered together to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Nagase on receiving the honor by the Yomiuri for their long term activities.

As an interpreter of the Japanese military police at the Thai-Burma Railroad, Nagase repeatedly attended the scenes of torture of the Allied POWs. Immediately after the war, he served for the Allied as an interpreter, searching for the tombs of supposedly 13,000 POWs who died in the area. "We should never forget the Allied POWs." he says, and has been engaged in personal apologies to and reconciliation with the former POWs who were forced to work at the Railroad. 

He had visited the Allied Cemetery in Kanchanabri more than 120 times for prayers. He established the River Kwai Peace Foundation for reconciliation with Thailand. "You must know that the Japanese were brutal occupants, but Thai people were so kind that they gave each Japanese soldier who was going back home as loser, a mess-kit full of rice and unrefined sugar." He sent scholarship to more than 1,000 Thai students, and recently has started medical aid as well, thus going on with good work without resting.

In November he is revisiting Thailand with Malay Peninsula Peace Cycle tour group, who plans to go along the old Railroad by bicycle. On his birthday, February 20, 2006, Thai former students are planning to unveil his statue in Kanchanabri, and in May he is going to England for a reunion with Eric Romax, a former POW, who is now a close friend of his. Wishing health for the couple, I'd like to share this good news with you.

-Yuka Ibuki

Mr. and Mrs. Nagase receiving award                  with members of POW Research Network


New POW Story on Mr. Roy Weaver added. Please go to  Weaver

News from Japan : Documentary film on the Mitsui Miike Coal Mine

Lester Tenney, former POW, visited Japan in 2003 to commemorate the publication in Japanese of his book My Hitch in Hell. On that occaion, he was interviewed by a documentary film director, Ms Hiroko Kumagai. Director Kumagai was in the process of making a documentary film on the history of Mitsui Miike Coal Mine, and Tenney talked about his experience of the slave labor during the war period. Director Kumagai spent two years on filming, listening to the voices of 72 people, who were involved in the history of the mine. Since 2003, shorter versions of the film have been on show at the Ohmuta Coal Mine Industry and Science Museum, and the visitors are listening to Lester Tenney's story. This year Kumagai made the longest version of 103 minutes, which is the officially invited work for the Fukuoka Asian Film Festival.

- Yuka Ibuki


New essay, "Never forgetting the war I fought, I shall keep telling the folly and the horror of a war," written by Mr. Kohken Tsuchiya added.

Mr. Tsuchiya is former President of the Japanese Bar Association and the lead lawyer for the Unit 731 germ warfare lawsuit against the government of Japan.

Please go to Tsuchiya.


News from Japan

POW Research Network Japan had the 4th Convention at Tenryu Village in Nagano Prefecture, during the national holiday of September 23 to 24. There are roughly forty members, most of whom are researchers of POW issues on voluntary basis, who have their own careers and live across the country. For this occasion, twelve of them got together, including the three representatives, Prof. Aiko Utsumi, Mrs. Taeko Sasamoto, and Mr. Toru Fukubayashi.

Branch No. 12 of Tokyo POW Camp, generally known as Mitsushima or Hiraoka Prison Camp, was situated in the Tenryu Village, where around 300 prisoners were held. They were forced to work at the construction site of the Hiraoka Dam on the Tenryu River. Fifty nine POWs, of whom 21 were American and 38 British, could not make it home and passed away here. In the war tribunal of B & C class after the POWs had returned home, 6 of those related to the camp received the death sentence and were executed. However, for trials where POW witnesses were unavailable and few capable interpreters were available, there left open a possibility of a case of mistaken identity. The prison camp left deep scars on many people.

Since 1952, Richard Gordon and several other American and British former POWs have visited the village, and a youth exchange program between the village and a hometown of a POW has started. In the location of the former POW camp now stands the local junior high school. In the fall of 2000, a memorial was built at the corner of the school ground for the Allied POWs who passed away in the village. Their names are engraved at the back of the natural stone. The members of the POW RN listened to the talks by a local historian, bereaved families of former prison guards and others who knew those days.

They also saw the materials exhibited at the cultural center of the village, thus learning a lot about the situations in those days. Along with Allied POWs, Chinese and Koreans had forcefully been taken to the construction site to be engaged in slave labor, causing a number of deaths. The group visited total of five monuments dedicated to the victims, and prayed for a better future based on solid facts of the past.

 - Yuka Ibuki with historical materials offered by Taeko Sasamoto

POW Research Network members in front of the POW memorial

Names of Allied POWs who died at Tokyo POW Camp #12
(photo courtesy of Nori Nagasawa)


Mukden Survivors Reunion

From September 7 to 11, Shelly and Sue Zimbler hosted "XXII Mukden Survivors Reunion" in Kingston, NY. Eleven former POWs who were interned in the Japanese POW camp in Mukden, China and Mr. Hal Leith, one of the 6 OSS members who liberated the camp in August of 1945, attended along with some 50 participants who were descendants of Mukden POWs.

All Survivors and Survivor family members received Proclamations from the Governor of NY State as well as a welcome letter from Mayor James Sottile and a Proclamation from State Senator Bill Larkin.

A featured highlight of the Reunion was the Tour of the City of Kingston and the Memorial Service to the Men at the West Point Old Chapel. Those attending the reunion were also able to view the excellent film, The Great Raid, made available by Miramax and Director Jon Dahl.

Reunion 2006 will be in Walla Walla Washington with a return to Kingston NY 2007.

                                                                   photo courtesy of Mr. Bob Rizzo

Robert Rosendahl, Hal Leith (OSS), Robert Wolfersberger, Robert Brown, Erwin Johnson, Jim Bogart   
    John Bo,         Val Gavito,        Charles Dragich,       Roy Weaver,       Joe Brasel,      Wayne Miller

One of the highlights of the reunion was a presentation on the preservation project of the former POW camp made by Mr. Yang Jing who flew from Shenyang (today's Mukden). Mr. Yang is the historical advisor for the preservation project now undertaken by the city of Shenyang. All the participants, especially former POWs, were delighted to hear that the camp site would become a historical museum and that all the names of some 1,700 POWs who were interned there would be inscribed on a newly built memorial wall. 


     Mr. Yang Jing                       Former Mukden POW camp being preserved

 Searching for relatives of kind Japanese persons

I recently received two requests from children of POWs.  Both are trying to locate relatives of the Japanese persons who were kind to their fathers during their captivity.

One is from Ms. Nancy Kragh, whose father, Army doctor Maj. Clarence White, was interned at Cabanatuan POW camp and later died on the Enoura Maru. She wrote:

“I have a picture from the Cabanatuan camp with several doctors (including my father) and the first camp doctor, Dr. Konishi.  One of the men in the picture is still living and has some interesting stories about Dr. Konishi. I also met a veteran at another meeting who told me a story about him.  They paint a picture of a man not totally in agreement with what his government was doing and one who tried to get medical help for the prisoners.  I have
thought a number of times that his family probably has the same picture (he had it taken with his camera) and might like to hear those stories."

Ms. Kragh hopes that she can locate relatives of Dr. Konishi.

Cabanatuan medical staff

1. Maj. Raymond McKinley Williams (survived)
2. Lt. Col. W.R. Craig (died on the Brazil Maru)

Dr. Konishi

3. Lt. Col. W. Hinton Drummond (died on the Oryoku Maru)
4. Maj. Harry Leighton VC (died on the Enoura Maru)
5. Maj. Clarence White (died on the Enoura Maru)
6. Capt. Charles Lewis (survived)
7. Maj. Karl H. Houghton (survived)


The other request came from Mr. Steve Bull, the son of a Bataan Death March survivor.

"I am sending you a copy of the Japanese guard that was good to my Dad, Pvt. Floyd (Johnny) Bull when he was a POW in the Philippines. He had been stationed at Clark Field and after the surrender made the March to Camp O'Donnell. From October of 1942 to September of 1943, he was at Fort McKinley as a truck driver and mechanic. I believe this is most likely where he met this guard.

In July of 1944, he was sent on the Nissyo Maru to Kamioka, Japan and worked as a driller in the lead mines until September of 1945.

After the war, he went back into the service and we were stationed at Yokota and Tachikawa AFB at the end of the 50s. Every once in a while when we go off base he would show the picture of this guard in hopes that someone would recognize him. Dad never held anything against the Japanese people and he loved his time over there at the end of the 50s.

If by chance someone does recognize his picture you can give them my address and I would like to send them a letter of thanks." 

I realize that, after more than 60 years, the chances of finding the relatives of these two Japanese persons are slim. But I am posting these photos because they remind us all that acts of kindness by people like them, however few in number, restore our faith in humanity.

-Kinue Tokudome


New Essay on the Bataan Death March added to the ESSAYS section

Drawing on materials from both Japan and the U.S., Mr. Jim Nelson wrote "The Causes of the Bataan Death March Revisited" in an effort to pay tribute to his late father who was a POW of the Japanese.  Please go to Nelson

Mr. Edward Jackfert's POW collection display

On August 15, a new display of Mr. Edward Jackfert's WWII collection of POW material "Defenders of the Philippines, 1941-1945, Bataan/Corregidor POW" was dedicated at the Brooke County Public Library in Wellsburg, WV. It will be used as an educational tool for teaching future generations the true account of the courageous acts of sacrifice that were made by American POWs.

Former POW Mr. Edward Jackfert in front of the display of his POW collection

News from Japan

Twenty-four students of a comprehensive Cheney High School of Oxford City visited Japan from Aug. 2 to 11, with four teachers, in a 60th Anniversary Project, ”Their Past, Our Future.” They are history majors of this school year. The project was organized by the Imperial War Museum and was sponsored by the Big Lottery Fund. Four members of the staff of the IWM, and one from BLF also participated.

The group first had time at Yokohama War Cemetery to remember the POWs, who passed away while being engaged in forced labor in Japan. They then visited and studied at Yasukuni Shrine and its War Museum and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, the museums related to the A-Bomb, and listened to a Hibakusha. They finally enjoyed home stay in Tenryu village, where a POW camp was. Seventy Japanese students joined them in Tokyo-Yokohama, and 30 in Hiroshima, to talk and work in groups on various issues related to wars of the past and present, including terrorists attacks. Overcoming the heat, humidity, and strange food, with mutual effort, enthusiasm and good will, the project finished in “unbelievable success” according to comment made by the adult participants. POW Research Network organized the entire program in Tokyo and Yokohama. We look forward to compiling essays by the participants into a booklet as soon as possible.
-Yuka Ibuki



New POW Story on Mr. George Francis added. please go to Francis


New POW Story on Mr. Carlos R. Montoya added. Please go to Montoya


News from Japan

First I would like to express my gratitude for the warm reception I had at the ADBC Convention in Cincinnati. It was my first attendance, which was an eye opening, great learning experience. Personal meetings with the participants motivated me for more effort to promote general concern in Japan on the issue of POWs caused by the Japanese treatment of them, through meetings and publication. I and other members of the POW Research Network Japan (POWRNJ) are very much looking forward to welcoming Valor Tour in January 2006. We will do our best to make your visit meaningful and enjoyable, so please try to join the tour. You are of course welcome anytime to come on your own, and I would like you to contact me as early as possible, so that we will be able to do preparation to make your stay memorable.

    Ms. Yuka Ibuki

A British POW killed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki memorialized

A Hiroshima historian Mr. Shigeaki Mori knew there was one British POW who was killed by Nagasaki A-bomb from the death roster compiled by POWRNJ. Mori tried to find the bereaved family of Cpl. Robert Show. On his request The Times of London put an article of him on March 31, and the son of his sister, who is 94 and lives in Scotland, responded, which made the second article in The Times. The Tokyo Shimbun article, June 23, wrote that the family wanted to add his name to the Death Roster of A-bomb Victims and register his photo to the National Peace Memorial Hall of Nagasaki A-bomb Victims, which was done by Mr. Mori on June 24, in Nagasaki. Mr. Mori is also trying to locate the families of the Dutch POWs who were killed in the atomic bombing.

Tokyo Shimbun 6/23/05


Interview article added to the ESSAYS section : Glusman
Mr. John A. Glusman, the author of Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945.


New POW STORY on Father Robert W. Phillips added. Please go to


New essay by Naoko Jin added.

Sixty years after the war--What can young Japanese generation do?


New essay added.  Mothers' Letters


Visit with Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Mrs. Annette Lantos

On May 9, Mr. Hap Halloran, Mr. Roger Mansell and I visited the district office of Congressman Tom Lantos in San Mateo, California. Congressman Lantos, the ranking Democratic member on the House International Relations Committee, and his wife, Annette Lantos, are both Holocaust survivors and have been champions of human rights issues for many years.

Mr. Halloran spoke about his POW experience, Mr. Mansell explained his work on Center for Research: Allied POWS Under the Japanese, and I explained my work on US-Japan Dialogue on POWs

Mr. Halloran's POW story: 
Mr. Mansell's research website:
US-Japan Dialogue on POWs:

Mrs. Lantos suggested that we should honor the brave sacrifice of American POWs of the Japanese this summer, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII in the Pacific.

- Kinue Tokudome

Mr. Halloran, Tokudome, Congressman Lantos, Mrs. Lantos, and Mr. Mansell


New POW story on Mr. Ralph Holewinski added. Please go to Holewinski.


News from Japan:
Australia-Japan Foundation Award

The POW Research Network of Japan was awarded the Australia-Japan Foundation Achievement Award at the Australian Embassy on 22nd March 2005. This award was established in 2001 by the Australia-Japan Foundation; a cultural organization affiliated to the Australian Government.
The ceremony was a harmonious event, and was hosted by Mr Murray McLean OAM, Australia's Ambassador to Japan, and Ms. Leonie Boxtel of the Australia-Japan Foundation.  Taeko Sasamoto, Nori Nagasawa, and Yoshiko Tamura received the award from Mr Alexander Downer, MP, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Photo by Kerry Raftis

The site of the Foundation is:

-Yuka Ibuki


LINKS section updated

Japanese GLOSSARY section updated

Article on POW lawsuits published

Article on POW lawsuits written by Kinue Tokudome and her daughter, Azusa K. Tokudome, was published in UCLA's Pacific Basin Law Journal. To request copies, please e-mail us at


Essay added:
Former POW Robert A. Brown returns to Mukden camp


New POW story on Mr. Harold Wilson added. Please go to


New POW story on Mr. Robert F. Goldsworthy. Please go to Goldsworthy

New section added to website: Please go to

News From Japan: Death Roster receives media attention

The POW Research Network Japan is excited to have received media attention for the Death Roster publicized in its website.

The Japan Times

The Daily Mainichi (Please search “POW Research Network Japan”)

Taeko Sasamoto, Co-Representative of the Committee Chairperson of the Death Roster has been contacted and interviewed by national and local newspapers of Japan, and from abroad including Australia and Britain. "Relatives would like to know where and why they died. We also want the Japanese people to properly know the truth about abuse (suffered by the prisoners)." 

The researchers of the Network have compiled the roster from the information they obtained from GHQ materials, memorials, and first-hand personal experiences published by former POWs. However, there is possibility that the whole truth is still unknown, especially about their Cause of Death. Those of you who know the true story, please contact the Network at
- Yuka Ibuki


News from Japan:

A Complete Death Roster is Now Available on the Internet
The POW Research Network Japan has just completed a roster of all the Allied POWs who died in Japan. The information is arranged according to each camp, and the roster was put up on their website so that the information would be available through the Internet. By the end of the war, approximately 3,500 POWs had passed away while in Japan. Yet this fact has been little known. The reason is partly because the related papers were all burnt at the end of the war by the Japanese Army, and also because the Japanese Government has neglected to make efforts to let the historical facts be known to the peoples of Japan and the countries concerned. The Network has completed the roster as part of the task of uncovering the history of Allied POWs. For more details, please visit the following URL:

Taeko Sasamoto's Book on the Allied POW receives the Honor of Recommendation Another wonderful news is about a book by a member of the POW Research Network, one of the three representatives, Ms. Taeko Sasamoto. She published the fruit of her seven-year research under the title of The Epitaphs of the Allied POWs by Kusa-no-ne Pub. Com. in August 2004. In the Japanese leading book review of the Asahi Newspaper, on Dec. 26, 2004, Prof. Naoyuki Kinoshita recommended this book as one of the BEST THREE BOOKS OF THE YEAR.  He introduced Sasamoto's work as "a Labor of Love that started with a casual question the author had one day about the Common Wealth War Cemetery, which exists near her home in Yokohama." He recommended the book to be read along with Siberian Requiem by Takashi Tachibana. Sasamoto says, "I feel the profound consideration of the viewer in that he has chosen both a book of the Allied POWs and another on the Siberian Internees. It's an honor." Sasamoto is the central figure in the project of the Death Roster, mentioned above. 
- Yuka Ibuki


Updated: Mr. James Murphy's page

Mr. Stuart E. Eizenstat, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, responds to Kinue Tokudome's questions on POW forced labor lawsuits

You wrote in the Notes to your Imperfect Justice, “These suits have been dismissed at the district court level, in significant part, because of the U.S. government’s intervention that I was unable to stop.” You seem to be unhappy with the way the U.S. government dealt with POW cases. Could you explain why?  Do you think that the
U.S. government should have acted differently? What parallels, or lack of it, did you see between German slave/forced labor cases in the U.S. and those against Japanese companies, legally, politically and morally?

I agreed with the legal analysis by the State and Justice Department lawyers that the U.S.-Japan Treaty banned suits against Japan and its nationals.  But the suits against German slave labor companies were also on shaky ground.  Yet we urged German companies and the German government to do justice to slave and forced laborers on a moral basis.  I wanted a similar effort by the U.S. government to be made on behalf of U.S. POWs who were subjected to Japanese slave labor.  I was disappointed this did not occur.

Now that all POW cases have been dismissed, do you think there are things that the Japanese defendant companies and both the U.S. and the Japanese governments can and should do for aging former POWs?  (Please note that as plaintiffs, they emphasized that their lawsuit was not about money but about “responsibility” and “honor.”)

Yes. The Japanese government should work with its companies to provide a fund to pay POWs who were subjected to slave labor out of historical accountability and moral responsibility.  This would demonstrate that Japan is prepared to come to terms with its history and mistreatment of American POWs.


Death March survivor Mr. Lester Tenney honored by Smithsonian

On Veteran's Day, a new exhibit honoring American sacrifice during many wars opened at the Smithsonian's museum of American History. Included in the exhibit is the POW experience of Mr. Lester Tenney who survived the Bataan Death March and three years of forced labor in a Mitsui coalmine. 

Mr. Tenney at the Smithsonian Exhibit

News from Japan: Kind-hearted Japanese from Camp Mukden found
Ms. Pamela Gonzales received good news for an inquiry she sent to this website. Pamela's father, late Sgt. Francis Stuckey, having been captured at Corregidor, spent most of the wartime at Camp Mukden. When telling his family stories about his experience, he spoke most highly of Yoshio Kai who was among the guards, some of whom were very cruel to the POWs. With only a photo of the old note with an address and map drawn by Yoshio of his home in Tokyo, she contacted us. This was forwarded to the bilingual homepage of the POW Research Network Japan. The response came that same day. It came from Fuyuko Nishisato, a TV journalist/writer, who is a long-time researcher on Unit 731, the Biological Warfare Unit in Manchuria. She informed us that Yoshio Kai, then employee of MKK Co. in charge of the POWs and a second generation Japanese American, was still alive in San Jose CA at the age of 96 as of December 2003. Fuyuko had attended the first Reunion held September of last year in Shenyang (formerly-Mukden) after 58 years, had met Yoshio's son, Kenneth Kai and his wife.
Yuka Ibuki