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A Wartime Diary

by Tatsusei Yogi

Edited by Takashi Yogi

     One can find ample documentation of battles in the archives of
military history.  For example, World War II is recorded in minute detail: 
number of rounds fired, casualties, times of battles, maps, and
photographs.  However, one rarely finds any mention of civilians in the
battle accounts.  This is understandable since civilians are not a
strategic factor; they are not even pawns in the game.
     June 22, 1945 marks the end of the bloodiest battle in the
Pacific during World War II.  Over 12,000 American and 110,000 Japanese
soldiers were killed in three months of fierce fighting for control of
Okinawa, a tiny island south of Japan.
     Caught between the two armies were roughly 450,000 Okinawan civilians,
who fled before the advancing forces and huddled in caves and tombs to
escape the torrent of bombs and shells.  Among these civilians were
Tatsusei and Chiyo Yogi, Tatsusei's father, and four children.  Ironically
Chiyo was an American citizen, born to one of the first Okinawan immigrants
to Hawaii.  The following are excerpts from Tatsusei's diary in the context
of the military events.

               When Napoleon was told that there existed a kingdom in which
          no arms were found and (as the visitors believed) the art of war
          was unknown, a society governed by a code of polite manners and
          good behavior among all classes, the general who had set Europe
          aflame refused to believe that such a people could exist.
          [Captain Basil] Hall felt that he was fortunate in having
          something of exceptional conversational interest, and Napoleon
          "devoured information" about the Ryukyu kingdom and the Okinawan
               "Several circumstances... respecting the Loo-Choo people
          surprised even him a good deal; and I had the satisfaction of
          seeing him more than once completely perplexed and unable to
          account for the phenomena which I related.  Nothing struck him so
          much as their having no arms.  'Point d'armes!' he
          exclaimed;...'Mais, sans armes, comment se bat-on?' ['No arms!
          But without arms, how can they fight?']     "I could only reply,
          that as far as we had been able to discover, they had never had
          any war, but remained in a state of internal and external peace.
          'No wars!' cried he, with a scornful and incredulous expression,
          as if the existence of any people under the sun without wars was
          a monstrous anomaly."

October 10, 1944

     The first air raid warning sounded at 7 a.m.  The bombing started at
8. People did not realize at first that the planes were not Japanese.  The
bombing continued until 4:00; the city [Naha] was on fire.

                    When the camera-bearing U.S. carrier planes appeared
               over Okinawa on the morning of October 10, they were on a
               bombing mission as well-- to blast any Japanese planes and
               ships that might attempt to disrupt MacArthur's invasion of
               Leyte 10 days hence.  By the time the raid ended at sunset,
               1,000 Hellcats, Helldivers and Avengers had sunk at least 15
               ships; according to a Japanese report captured later, they
               had exploded five million rounds of small-arms ammunition,
               killed a Japanese general and set 300,000 sacks of rice
     October 11
          We left at 9:30 a.m. to go to the countryside and arrived at
     11:00.  We had a house which the company lent us.  We wanted to go to
     Kunigami [northern Okinawa], but we could not because of the
     difficulty of traveling with children.
     October 14
          We left to go to Kunigami, past Nago.  Grandfather was there.
     February 15, 1945
          We were all prepared to take a boat to go to Japan, but Takashi
     burned his hands in the cooking rice, and we missed the boat.  [We
     later learned that this boat was sunk.]
     March 22
          We decided to leave tomorrow for Japan on any ship instead of
     waiting for the Kaijo-maru, the regular ship to Kagoshima.

     March 23
          At 6:30 in the morning, we heard an air raid warning.  Everyone
     rushed to the nearest cave and stayed there until 6:00 p.m.
          Mr. Suzuki of the OSK staff came in the evening and said that the
     last boat would leave tomorrow.  [This boat was later reserved for the
     March 24
          Early morning air raid again.  Another whole day in the cave.  To
     the south we could hear the sounds of bombs from airplanes and
     artillery from the warships, and these sounds continued until evening.
      Tomorrow we must seek a safer place by going toward Kunigami.
               March 24:  Mine sweeping begins under cover of naval and
               aerial bombardment.
     March 25
          An air raid warning sounded at 6:30 a.m., and the bombardment
     from the ships was worse than yesterday.  One of the Japanese soldiers
     said that American forces had landed at Kerama, Zamani, and Tokashiki
     islands southwest of Naha.  So we left home at 7:00 p.m. to go to
     Ginowan along with some neighbors.  We found a cart on which we loaded
     bare necessities -- blankets and clothes for the children.  The cart
     also carried Grandfather (83 years old), Sachiko (9 months), and
     Takashi (2 years, 7 months).  Chiyo pulled the cart while Emiko (8
     years old), Takenobu (6 years old), and I pushed.  We passed Shuri on
     the hill.
     March 26
          We finally reached Ginowan at midnight and stayed with Mr.
     Nakandakari. We were all exhausted and said nothing, but wept.  We
     could hear bombing noises coming from the direction of Oyama.  I
     should have sent the family to Japan earlier; I feel very sorry for
     March 27
          Late last night we moved to a natural cave not far from Mr.
     Nakandakari's place.  Many people were staying there, and some of them
     said that we should not go to Kunigami because the American forces
     would be landing there soon.  So we stayed in the cave and helped dig
     a well.

                    The eve of the invasion found its planners satisfied. 
               The preliminaries had gone as hoped.  Okinawa had been
               deprived of the use of two of its satellite island groups. 
               Its perilous fringing reef had been given a thorough
               going-over.  And the island itself had been subjected to six
               days of ferocious pounding by the Pacific Fleet--twice the
               duration of the softening-up process at Iwo Jima. 
               The Invasion
               April 1:  Joint Expeditionary Force lands Tenth Army on SW
               shore of Okinawa in vicinity of Hagushi at approximately
               0830, following intensive naval and aerial bombardment by
               supporting forces of Fifth Fleet.  Northern Attack Force
               puts marines of 6th and 1st Mar Divs, III Amphibious Corps,
               ashore N of Bishi R while Southern Attack Force lands 7th
               and 96th Divs, XXIV Corps, S of the river.  Japanese offer
               little opposition as assault units move inland to gain
     April 2
          We heard bombing sounds often.  They seemed to come from the
     direction of Kiyuna or Oyama and gradually came closer.
     April 3
          People in the cave began to leave in small groups to go toward
     Shuri or elsewhere.  Many people left, so we felt very helpless and
     lonely.  Finally at midnight we also decided to leave, but the bombing
     was so severe that we were forced to return to the cave.
     April 4
          We spent the day waiting for darkness so that we could leave for
     Shuri. About a hundred people remained in the cave.  We heard U. S.
     tanks moving past the cave in the afternoon.  Darkness finally came,
     and we left the cave.  Grandfather had to walk slowly and lagged
     behind.  Both he and Emiko were lost in the darkness.
     April 5
          We reached Tanabaru at dawn.  The bombing was so severe that we
     stayed in the village of Kochi all day.  Grandfather and Emiko were
     not with us. Takenobu cried and did not eat.  At night we arrived at
     Shuri, where the houses were still burning.  Shoro-san let us stay at
     their place which had a cave and a good source of drinking water.

               April 5:  96th Div encounters well-organized enemy positions
               near Uchitomari and Ginowan that limit its progress.  383rd
               Inf, on W makes unsuccessful attack on Cactus Ridge, 600
               yards SE of Mashiki.  382d gains 400-900 yards.  7th Div
               moves S to positions almost abreast 96th Div.
     April 10
          A bomb shook the cave at 4 a.m., but we were safe.  Emiko has
     been missing for seven days now.  No air raid today because of rain.
                    The 381st Regiment joined the 383rd in the assault on
               April 10.  Together they threw four battalions--twice the
               number originally deployed--against the ridge after it had
               been subjected to heavy air strikes from the carriers
               offshore, a bombardment by the battleship New York and a
               rolling barrage by eight field-artillery battalions. 
     April 11
          Fair sky with wind from the west.  Bombing started this morning.
               April 11:  In XXIV Corps area, 96th Div continues futile
               effort to take Kakazu Ridge under intense fire.  Elements of
               32nd Inf, 7th Div, push into Ouki but are forced to retire
               since tanks cannot follow.  Virtual stalemate exists along
               corps front on approaches to Shuri.
     April 14
          We found Emiko at a big cave in Taira.  Police Officer Zukeran of
     the Naha Police Station, who was from Ginowan, had taken care of Emiko
     along with his family.
                    By way of overture, the attack of April 19 was preceded
               by the most massive and concentrated artillery pounding of
               the Pacific War.  A total of 27 artillery battalions, 18
               Army and nine Marine, took part, raking the front from east
               to west with 324 pieces of artillery--from 105mm to 8-inch
               howitzers--and firing a total of 19,000 shells into the
               Japanese lines and rear areas.  When the morning mists
               cleared, a bombardment by six battleships, six cruisers, and
               six destroyers thundered in, and 650 Navy and Marine planes
               struck at Japanese positions with bombs, rockets, napalm,
               and machine-gun fire.

               April 24:  In U.S. Tenth Army area, XXIV Corps pushes
               through first line of enemy's Shuri defenses on Okinawa with
               ease, except on W flank, Japanese having withdrawn
               southward, night 23-24. 
     April 25
          More bombing today.
     April 27
          The police said this evening that refugees in the Shuri area
     might be moved to Shimajiri [southern Okinawa].  So we decided to go
     to Tsukazan tomorrow evening.
     April 28
          We confirmed the police instructions to go to Shimajiri.  We left
     Shuri at 6 p.m.  The bombing was still severe.  At Samukawa, part of
     the city of Shuri, an old lady named Tomiyama-san gave the children
     food and spoke kindly to them.  The children were so happy and
     encouraged.  We passed Mawashi, which was not far from home where
     Grandfather might have gone.  But we were not able to go there.
     April 29
          We walked all night.  The children were so tired that they did
     not speak. We finally reached Kochinda but could not find a cave or
     hiding place.  We walked and walked and finally reached Tomoi by
     morning.  The only cave we could find was filled with muddy water, so
     we had to stand there all day.  We rested under the sky in the
     evening.  It was a good place since there was almost no bombing
     April 30
          The Japanese army told us to go to Kiyabu, Makabe, Mabuni, or
     Gushichan. We decided to go to Makabe since we had heard that there
     was a natural cave with plenty of drinking water.
               April 30:  77th Div takes responsibility for 96th Div zone
               and continues costly battle for Maeda Escarpment.  17th Inf,
               7th Div, is still unable to make progress against Kochi

     May 1
          We started about 6 p.m.  The mountain path was rugged and steep,
     and soon our feet were hurting.  It was dark, and we were tired when
     we reached Maehira [near Makabe].
     May 2
          At Maehira we found an empty hut which people told us was an army
     officer's hut.  We slept peacefully in it.  We decided not to go to
     Mabuni because we were so tired.  We wept at the kindness of the
     village people of Maehira. 
     May 7
          Before dawn, Chiyo and Emiko went out to a potato patch to dig. 
     They returned safely and we had enough for three days.
     May 8
          It rained this morning.  Since it was wet in the cave and no
     planes were flying, we moved to the officer's hut temporarily.  Steady
     bombing all night from the ships.  Someone shared some horsemeat with
     May 9
          The weather cleared.  There was bombing from both planes and
     ships.  The inside of the cave was damp.
     May 10
          Fair sky.  Not too many planes.  The bombing at night from the
     ships was heavy.

                    Then on May 12, the leathernecks encountered an
               insignificant hillock that would dominate their lives for
               the next week.  It rose 200 feet, and because of its shape
               they named it Sugar Loaf Hill.
     May 14
          It was raining in the morning so we moved to the hut.  Many
     refugees came from Muwashi, Shikina, and Tsubobawa.  They said that
     many died on the road. We were thankful that we came early.
               May 17:  In III Amphib Corps area, while badly mauled 22d
               Regt, 6th Mar Div, conducts holding action, 29th Marines
               continues attack for Sugar Loaf after heavy naval gunfire,
               air and artillery bombardment.  Striking from the E after
               1st and 3d Bns have opened approach from W end of Crescent
               Hill, 2d Bn drives to crest of Sugar Loaf but falls back
               when ammunition is exhausted.
                    Sugar Loaf had been taken, but at a terrible price. 
               The 6th Division had lost 2,662 men killed or wounded
               between May 10 and 19.  And that was not all. An additional
               1,289 men had succumbed to what the doctors and corpsmen
               called battle fatigue.  
     May 20
          At about 2 p.m. we heard sounds of increasing bombing coming from
     Mabuni.   We thought troops may be landing.  Where should we go? 
     People started to move, but we had no information so we waited, along
     with the Nagayama family.
               May 22:  In U S. Tenth Army area, rains, intermittent during
               past few days, become frequent and heavy during rest of
               month and early June, hampering operations.   Japanese begin
               withdrawing their supplies and wounded from Shuri. III
               Amphib Corps, with supporting armor immobilized by mud,
               curtails its activities sharply.

     May 24
          Mr. Nagayama came in the morning and passed on the army's warning
     to go to Tamashiro.  We left Maehira for Tamashiro at 7:30 p.m.  After
     we passed Gushichan, the bombing from the ships was very severe.  The
     road was muddy, the children were tired, and my legs were hurting
     again.  Maekawa cave had too much bombing, so we went to Fusato and
     asked Mr. Minei, a classmate, for help.  It was raining and dark, and
     we were so tired that we simply sat on the roadside and slept. 
     May 25
          When we awoke it was a bright morning and we saw that the village
     was near.  It was raining and we heard some sounds of planes.  We went
     to Yakabu village and met a group from the police department, who
     recommended that we go back to Makabe.  So we went back to the same
     place we had just left.  It was raining heavily and we arrived at
     May 26
          The natural cave was taken over by the army so the villagers were
     forced out.  We slept in the hut.  It rained all night.
     May 27
          The village people crowded in the hut and we could not stay in
     the cave. Misfortunes every day.
               May 29:  1st Bn of 5th Marines, 1st Mar Div, takes Shuri
               Ridge, S of Wana Draw, and crosses into 77th Div zone to
               occupy undefended Shuri Castle at 1015.
     June 2
          We were ordered by the army to leave the cave and go to
     Tamashiro.  The bombing was so heavy near Nakaza that we decided not
     to continue.  We spent the night at a mountain shelter and were
     treated kindly by Kiyo-chan, a nurse of Dr. Shimabuku.
     June 3
        We spent the whole day at the shelter, since they told us that
     going to Tamashiro was dangerous.  We started to walk in the direction
     of Komesu, Makabe, or Kiyan. 

     June 4
          Chiyo was exhausted and she wanted to return to Makabe, so we
     did.  It started raining in the morning and continued raining heavily
     all day.  A soldier told us to leave the area because heavy bombing
     was expected.  So we went to the mountains.
               June 4:  In III Amphib Corps area, after preparatory
               bombardment, 6th Mar Div land 4th Marines, followed by 29th
               Marines, on N Oroku Peninsula.
     June 5
          We had no shelter so we stayed under a bush.  It rained heavily
     in the afternoon.  Chiyo looks so tired.  We spent the day waiting for
     the rain to stop.
                    On June 5, the second day of the Oroku invasion, the
               heavy rains that had bogged down General Buckner's main
               force suddenly came to an end.  With the flooded roads
               draining and drying, Army and Marine units--infantry and
               tanks together--slogged into position facing the last
               Japanese line of defense across the southern tip of Okinawa.
                By June 8, the lines were formed for a general attack.
     June 6
          The rain stopped this morning.  There was bombing from both air
     and sea.  A bomb fell very near, but we were still alive.  We left to
     go north toward Maezato.
     June 7
          We passed Makabe in the dark and reached Hanja.  The mayor of
     Hanja gave us a place to sleep.  From early morning the aerial and
     naval bombardment was severe.
     June 8
          The heavy bombing from air and sea continued.  We tried to go to
     Itoman in the evening, but people told us that the Americans had
     invaded there so we returned to the shack and slept.

     June 9
          We were surprised when the police chief told us that troops had
     landed at Itoman.  He told us that the shack was in danger, so we left
     for Kiyan.  We slept under the shelter of a rock to avoid the rain. 
     The only food we had was sugar cane; the sugar we had was gone.
     June 10
          The rain stopped and many planes came.  We felt safer than when
     we were in the shack.  There was no food except for sugar cane, and we
     felt sorry for the children.  We tried to dig for potatoes this
     morning.  The bombing was heavy, but we are still alive.
          We moved to Komesu, but a soldier told us that the mountain area
     of Kiyan would be safer so we went there.  I thought that the mountain
     would have a rock shelter, but we could not find any.  We stayed in
     the shallow overhang of a rock.
               June 10:  XXIV Corps begins all-out assault on Japanese
               defense line, with tank support that is now adequate.  While
               383rd Inf, 96th Div, is pressing toward town of Yuza, 381st
               gets 2 cos to intermediate ledge in saddle between
               Yaeju-Dake and Yuza-Dake peaks.
     June 11
          We tried to find a better shelter but failed and returned to our
     original place.
     June 12
          The owner of the shelter came and we had to leave in the evening.
      We tried to find some potatoes but failed.  We started to go toward
     Komesu, but it was dark so we slept in a house at Makabe.
     June 13
          Terrible bombing this morning and many bombs came very close. 
     One bomb shook the house so hard that it loosened the soot in the
     rafters, which fell and covered us so that we were all black except
     for our white eyes.  We looked so funny that we all laughed for a
          In the evening we went to the Fukuji Mountains.
     June 14
          Endless bombing.  We found some sugar cane.

     June 15
          Constant bombing from morning to night.  Sachiko kept crying so
     we left the mountains and had soft rice at a house and slept under the
     June 16
          We started to go to Hanja in the early morning, but later decided
     to go to Maezato instead.  When we were passing Nagusuku there was a
     heavy bombing attack.  So we took shelter behind a stone wall all day.
      Then we went to Hanja, dug a shallow hole, and slept.
     June 17
          We were so tired that we could not dig any more.  We were able to
     get enough water in the village.  We could only have one meal every
     other day.
     June 18
          We spent a long day in our shallow hole.  Then we found a
     drainpipe and moved to it.  
     June 19
          We found that staying in the drainpipe was more comfortable than
     we first thought.  We saw many people heading toward Komesu, but we
     could not safely go there in the daylight.  Chiyo insisted that we go
     to Itoman, so after we ate we headed there.  But we changed our minds
     and went to the seashore and slept there.  It was so quiet and many
     refugees were there.
     June 20
          We stayed the whole day under an adan bush.  There was some
          [At Nashiro beach, near Itoman, we met the American troops. 
     Chiyo was able to speak English and we were saved.]

               June 22:  U.S. Tenth Army completes capture of Okinawa and
               conducts flag-raising ceremony.  Lt Gen Mitsuru Ushijima,
               commander of Japanese 32d Army, and his chief of staff,
               commit suicide.  U.S. battle casualties, during this last
               and most costly campaign against the Japanese, total 49,151,
               of which 12,520 are killed or missing and 36,631 wounded. 
               About 110,000 Japanese are killed and 7,400 captured.
          Okinawans had no part in formulating Japan's military policies
     which led to this [battle], and fewer than 5,000 trained Okinawan
     conscripts took part. Nevertheless, the Okinawan people were forced to
     make a hideous sacrifice on Japan's behalf.  More than 62,000
     Okinawans perished; the great majority were civilians caught
     helplessly between opposing armies.  The physical heritage of the old
     kingdom vanished, and more than ninety percent of the population was
     adrift and homeless when surrender came.


Beginning and ending quotations from:
Okinawa  The History of an Island People
Tuttle Co., 1958

Dated military entries from:
United States Army in World War II  Special Studies  
Chronology 1941-1945
Washington D.C., 1960

Other military history from:
World War II  The Road to Tokyo
Time-Life Books, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia                  1-4-98                                                                           

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