Diary of a Japanese Army Doctor
Killed on Attu, Alaska, in 1943

© 2015-2021 Rodney A. Smith

The following is an accurate transcription, including spelling errors, of the US Army's
translation of a Japanese diary found on a dead Japanese doctor after the Battle of Attu, Alaska.
This copy of the diary was preserved by my mother-in-law, Esther Merriman Buechler Garver. I do not
know how she got it, but her husband, Jack Buechler, was in the Army and they both lived in Juneau,
Alaska during World War II.

The lowercase lines in entries for May 14 and 26 were missing from this copy and supplied by
Ardon Smith's copy. See the note below the map of the battlefield at the end.
The right margin of this webpage contains additional notes that I discovered as
I researched the Battle of Attu.

Rod Smith





                   COPY OF JAPANESE DIARY

                     TAKEN AT ATTU ALS

                          MAY 1943



                      PERSONAL HISTORY

     TRANSLATION OF CAPTURED ENEMY DIARY FROM HEADQUARTERS

LANDING FORCE OFFICE OF ACX2 G-2 MASSACRE VALLEY, ATTU ISLAND, 
                                                                        Alternate dates
JUNE 1, 1943.                                                           from Ardon Smith.

ON MARCH 6, 1929, GRADUATED FROM KERYE MIDDLE SCHOOL, PREFECTION        March 16, 1919

OF ORIASHIMA.

MARCH 1929 GRADUATED FROM FRAIZER ENGLISH ACADIOUS.                     March 1, 1923

SEPTEMBER 1926-MAY 22, 1932 PACIFIC UNION COLLEGE, MEDICAL DEPT.        Sept. 15, 1926 to

AGWIN, CALIFORNIA.                                                      May 11, 1932

SEPTEMBER 15, 1933-JAN. 1937 COLLEGE OF MEDICAL EVANGILIST.              - June, 1937

JAN. 13 1941 TRFD TO FIRST IMPERIAL GUARD INF. REG.                     These two lines are

JAN.10 1941 INDUCTED INTO FIRST REPLACEMENT UNIT IMPERIAL GUARD         in reverse order.

INFANTRY RGT.

MAY 1, 1941 ORDERED AS OFFICERGUARD AND PROMOTED TO PFC MEDICAL DEP

JULY PROMOTED TO SUPERIOR PRIVATE MEDICAL DEPT.                         July 1, 1941

AUG PROMOTED TO CORPORAL.                                               August 1, 1941

SEPT ENTERED MEDICAL SCHOOL GRADUATED OCT 22.                            - Oct. 24, 1941

OCT.31 PROMOTED TO SGT MAJOR ORDER PROB OFFICER.                        1941

DEC 1 ACTING OFFICER..                                                  1941




                     EXTRACTION OF DIARY

              NORTHERN 5216 DETACHMENT

             NORTH SEA DEFENSE FIELD HOSPITAL
                    NEBSI TATSUQUCHI

MAY 12, 1943 - 0155                                                     The dates in the
	CARRIER BASED PLANES FLEW OVER... FIRED AT IT. THERE IS A LOW   diary are one day
FOG AND THE SUMMIT IS CLEAR. AIR RAIDS CARRIED OUT FREQUENTLY           ahead of the dates
UNTIL 1000. HEAR LOUD NOISES. IT IS NAVAL GUN FIRING. PREPARED          recorded by the U.S.
"A" BATTLE EQUIPMENT.                                                   Army because the
                                                                        doctor ignored the
	INFANTRY , AMERICAN TRANSPORTS, ABOUT 41, BEGIN LANDING AT      International Date
HOKKAI MISAKI. 20 BOATS LANDED AT MASSACRE BAY. IT SEEMS THAT THEY      Line and used the
ARE GOING TO UNLOAD HEAVY EQUIPMENT.                                    current date in
                                                                        Japan.
	DAYS ACTIVITIES: AIR RAID, NAVAL GUN FIRING, LANDING OF US
TROOPS.

MAY 13, 1943- BATTLE..

	THE US FORCES LANDED AT SHIBA DAI AND MASSACRE BAY. THE ENEMY
HAD ADVANCED TO THE BOTTOM OF MISUNA YAMA FROM SHIBA DAI. HAVE EN-
GAGED THEM. ON THE OTHER HAND MASSACRE BAY IS DEFENDED BY ONLY ONE
PLATOON, UPON THE UNEXPECTED ATTACK THE AA MACHINE CANNON WAS DES-
TROYED AND WE HAVE WITHDRAWN. IN NIGHT ATTACK WE HAVE CAPTURED
TWENTY ENEMY RIFLES. THERE IS A TREMENDOURS MOUNTAIN ARTY GUN
FIRING. APPROXIMATELY FIFTEEN PATIENTS CAME INTO THE FIELD HOSPITAL.
THE FIELD HOSPITAL IS ATTACHED TO ARAI ENGR UNIT.

MAY 14, 1943- BATTLE..

	OUR TWO SUBS FROM KISKA ASSISTING US HAVE GREATLY DAMAGED TWO
ENEMY SHIPS. 1ST LT. SIEYUKI DIED BY SHOT FRM RIFLE. CONTINOUS
FLOW OF WOUNDED IN THE FIELD HOSPITAL. IN THE EVENING THE US FORCES    
USED GAS, BUT NO DAMAE WAS DONE BECAUSE OF THE STRONG WINDS. TOOK       The U.S. military
refuge in the trench in the daytime and took care of patients during    flatly denies that
THE BOMBARDMENT. ENEMY STRENGTH MUST BE A DIVISION. OUR DESPARATE       it used gas. It
DEFENSE IS HOLDING UP WELL.                                             was probably
                                                                        white phosphorus
MAY 15, 1943- BATTLE..                                                  smoke shells.

	CONTINUOUS FLOW OF CASUALTIES TO OUR FIELD HOSPITAL CAUSED BY
THE FIERCE BOMBARDMENT OF ENEMY LAND AND NAVAL FORCES. THE ENEMY
HAS A GREAT NUMBER OF NEGROES AND INDIANS. THE WEST ARM UNITS HAVE
WITHDRAWN TO NEAR SHITAGATA DAI, IN A RAID I WAS ORDERED TO WEST
ARM BUT IT WAS CALLED OFF. JUST LAYED DOWN FROM FATIGUE IN THE
BARRACKS. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS OF SOLDIERS BACK FROM WEST ARM IS TENSE.
THEY ALL WENT BACK TO FIRING LINE SOON...


PAGE TWO:

MAY 16,- BATTLE..

	IF SHITAGATA DAI IS OCCUPIED BY THE ENEMY THE FATE OF EAST
ARM IS DECIDED SO BURN DOCUMENTS AND PREPARE TO DESTROY THE PATIENT
AT THAT TIME THERE WAS AN ORDER FROM THE HEADQUARTERS OF SCTOR UNIT
PROCEEDED TO CHICAGOF HARBOR BY WAY OF UMANOSE. 0100 IN THE MORNING,    Correct spelling
PATIENTS FROM IND INF WAS LOST SO ACCOMPAINED THE PATIENTS. THERE       is Chichagof.
WAS AN AIR RAID ATTACK SO TOOK REFUGE IN THE FORMER FILED HOSPITAL
CAVE. THE GUNS OF A LOCKHEED SPITTED FIRE AND FLEW PAST OUR CAVE.

MAY 17, 1943- BATTLE..

AT NIGHT, ABOUT 1800 UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS, LEFT THE CAVE.
THE STRETCHER BEARER WENT OVER MUDDY ROADS AND STEEP HILLS OF NO
MANS LAND. NO MATTER HOW FAR OR HOW MUCH WE WANT, WE DID NOT GET        Another copy of the
TO THE PASS. WAS RATHER IRRITATED IN THE FOG BY THE THOUGHT OF          diary has went, not want.
GETTING LOST. SAT DOWN AFTER EVERY 20 OR 30 STEPS AND WOULD SLEEP,
DREAM, WAKE UP AGAIN. SAME THING ALL OVER AGAIN. THE PATIENT ON
THE STRETCHER WHO DOES NOT MOVE IS FROSTBITTEN. AFTER ALL THE
EFFORT, MET SECOTO COMMANDER COL YAMSAKI. THE PASS IS A STRAIGHT
LINE WITHOUT ANY WIDTH AND ALL STEEP LINE TOWARDS CHICAGOF HARBOR.
SITTING ON THE BUTT AND LIFTING THE FEET I SLID VERY SMOOTHLY AND
CHANGED DIRECTIONS WITH THE SWORD. SLID DOWN IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES.
AFTER ARRIVED AT CHICAGOF HARBOR WARD AFTER STRAGGLING. TIME EXPEND     Another copy of the 
ED WAS NINE HOURS FOR ALL OF THIS, WITHOUT LEAVING ANY PATIENTS;        diary has struggling.
OPENED A NEW FIELD HOSPITAL. WALKING IS NOW EXTREMELY DIFFICULT
FROM LEFT KNEE RHEUMATISM WHICH REOCCURRED ON PASS.

	THE RESULTS OF OUR NAVY, THE SUBMARINE AND SPECIAL UNDER-
WATER CRAFTS IN THE VICINITY OF CHICAGOF HARBOR SINCE THE 14TH .        According to the
BATTLESHIP, CRUISER 3/ DESTROYER, AIR BORN TROOPS, TRANSPORTS 6,        U.S. Navy, no ships
BY THE FAVORABLE TURN SINCE THE BATTLE OF THE EAST ARM, RESERVES        were attacked or
COME BACK. OFF SHORE OF SHIBA DAI, 6 DESTROYERS AREGUARDING ONE         damaged.
TRANSPORT.

MAY 18, 1943- BATTLE..

           THE YENEGEWA DET. ABANDONED EAST AND WEST ARMS AND WITHDREW
TO UMANOSE. ABOUT SIXTY WOUNDED CAME TO THE FIELD HOSPITAL, I HAD
TO CARE FOR ALL OF THEM ALL BY MYSELF ALLTHROUGH THE NIGHT. HEARD
THAT THE ENEMY CARRIED OUT A LANDING IN CHICAGOF HARBOR. EVERY-
BODY DID COMBAT PREPARATION AND WAITED. HAD TWO GRENADES READY.
2ND LT. OMURA LEFT FOR COMBAT LINE ON HA KUCHIN-TAMA. SAID FAREWELL
AT NIGHT A PATIENT CAME IN WHO ENGAGED A FRIENDLY UNIT BY MISTAKE
AND WHO HAD RECEIVED A WOUND ON THE WRIST. THE COUNTER SIGN IS
ISSHI-HOKE..


PAGE THREE:

MAY 19, 1943-BATTLE..

	AT NIGHT THERE WAS A PHONE CALL FROM SECTOR UNIT HEADQUARTERS.
IN SOME SPOTS ON THE BEACH THERE ARE SOME FRIENDLY FLOAT TYPE
PLANES WAITING. WENT INTO ATTU VILLAGE CHURCH, FELT LIKE SOME ONES
HOME. SOME BLANKETS WERE SCATTERED AROUND. WAS TOLD TO TRANSLATE
A FIELD ORDER PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN DROPPED BY AN ENEMY OFFICER IN
MASSACRE BAY. WAS ORDERED TO INALUATE A DETAIL MAP SKETCH OF MASSAC     Another copy of the
RE AND HOLTZ BAY WHICH WAS IN THE POSSESSION OF CAPT ROBERT AND         diary has evaluate.
EDWARDS, ADJ OF COL. H SMITH. GOT TIRED AND WENT TO SLEEP. FIRST
LT UJIE IS ALSO IN CHARGE OF TRANSLATION.

MAY 20, 1943- BATTLE..

	THE HARD FIGHTING OF OUR 303 BN. IN MASSACRE BAY IS FIERCE, AND
IT IS TO OUR ADVANTAGE. HAVE CAPTURED ENEMY WEAPON AND HAVE USED IT
TO FIGHT. MOWED TEN ENEMY CLOSING IN UNDER THE FOG. FIVE OF OUR
MEN AND ONE MED CAL NCO DIED. HEARD ENEMY PILOTS FACES CAN BE SEEN      This sentence is missing
AROUND UMANOSE. THE ENEMY NAVAL GUN FIRING NEAR OUR HOSPITAL WARD       in Ardon Smith's copy.
IS FIERC2. DROPS AROUND TWENTY METERS AWAY.

MAY 21, 1943 - BATTLE..

	WAS STRAFFED WHEN AMPUTATING A PATIENT ARM. IS THE FIRST TIME
SINCE MOVING OVER TO CHICAGOF HARBOR THAT I WENT INTO OUR AIRRAID
SHELTER. ENEMY PLANE WAS A MARTIN. NERVOUSNESS OF OUR CO IS SEVERE.
AND HE HAS SAID HIS LAST WORDS TO HIS OFFICERS AND NOC'S THAT HE
WILL DIE TOMORROW AND GAVE ALL OF HIS ARTICLES AWAY. HASTY CHAP THI
S FELLOW. THE OFFICERS ON THE FRONT ARE DOING A FINE JOB. EVERYONE
WHO HEARD THIS BECAME DESPERATE AND THNGS BECAME DISORDERLY.

MAY 22 1943.-BATTLE..

	O6OO AIR RAID AGAIN. STRAFFING KILLED ONE MEDICAL MAN. OKAYAKI
WOUNDED IN RIGHT THI H AND FRACTURED ARM. DURING THE NIGHT A MORTAR
SHELL CAME AWFUL CLOSE.

MAY 23, 1943- BATTLE..

	17 FRIENDLY MEDIUM NAVAL BOMBERS DESTROYED A CRUISER OFF SHORE  The planes strafed and        
BY NAVAL GUN FIRING A HIT WAS SCORED ON THE PILOR POLE OFTENTS FOR      launched torpedoes at a
PATIENTS AND THE TENTS GAVE IN AND TWO DIED INSTANTLY. FROM 0300 IN     gunboat and a destroyer
THE MORNING TO 1600 STAYED IN FOX HOLE. DAYS RATION 1 GO, 5 SHAKER      but the only damage was
(1.5LBS) NOTHING ELSE. OFFICERS AND MEN ALIKE IN THE FROST. EVERY       by 25 bullets. [1]
BODY LOOKED AROUND FOR FOOD AND STOLE EVERYTHING THEY COULD FIND.       The next day, 16 Bettys
                                                                        were intercepted by 6
                                                                        P-38s. 5 Bettys were shot 
PAGE FOUR:                                                              down and the rest retreated.
                                                                        1 pilot and 2 P-38s were 
MAY 24, 1943 - BATTLE..                                                 lost. [2]

	IT SLEETED AND WAS EXTREMELY COLD.. STAYED AT MISUMI BARRACKS
ALONE. A GREAT AMOUNT OF SHELLS WERE DROPPED BY NAVAL GUN FIRE AND
ROCKS AND MUD FLEW ALL AROUND AND THE ROOF FALLS DOWN IN FOX HOLE
ABOUT FIVE YARDS AWAY FROM HAYASKA A MEDICAL MAN DIED INSTANTLY BY
A PENETRATION OF SHRAPNEL THROUGH HIS HEART.

MAY 25, 1943 - BATTLE..

	NAVAL GUN FIRING, AERIAL BOMBARDMENT, TRENTY WARFARE--THE WORST
IS YET TO COME. THE ENEMY IS CONSTRUCTING THEIR POSITIONS. BN
COMMANDER DIED. AT UMANOSE THEY CANNOT FULLY ACCOMMODATE ALL THE
PATIENTS. IT HAS BEEN SAID AT MASSACRE BAY DISTRICT THE ROAD COMING
TO SECTOR UNIT HEADQUARTERS IS ISOLATED. AND SUFFERING FROM DIARRHE     This sentence is missing
AND AM DIZZY.                                                           in Ardon Smith's copy.

MAY 26, 1943 - BATTLE.

	BY NAVAL GUN FIRING IT FELT LIKE THE MISUMI BARRACKS HAD BLOWN
UP AND EVERYTHING WAS SHOOK UP TREMENDOUSLY. CONSCIOUSNESS BECAME
VAGUE. ONE TENT BURNED DOWN BY HIT FROM INCENDIARY BOMB. STRAFING
PLANES HIT THE NEXT ROOM. TWO HITS FROM FIFTY CAL SHELL. ONE STOPPE
ON CEILING AND OTHER PENETRATED. MY ROOM LOOKS AN AWFUL MESS FROM
rocks and pebbles, that came from the roof. Nirose, 1st Lt.             This line is from
SAND MEDICAL CORPS IS ALSO WOUNDED. THERE WAS A CERMONY OF GRANT OF     Ardon Smith's copy.
EMPIRIAL EDICT. THE LAST LINE OF UMANOSE WAS BROKEN THROUGH.
NO HOPE FOR REINFORCEMENTS, WILL DIE FOR THE CAUSE OF EMPERIAL
EDICT.

MAY 27, 1943- BATTLE..

	DIARRHEA CONTINEUS. PAIN IS SEVERE. TOOK EVERYTHING FROM PILLS
OPIUM, MOROPHINE THEN SLEPT PRETTY WELL. STRAFING BY PLANES. ROOF
BROKE THROUGH. THERE IS LESS THAN 1000 LEFT FROM MORE THAN 2000
TROOPS. WOUNDED FROM COAST DEFENSE UNIT- FIELD HOSPITAL HQS, FIELD
POST OFFICE. THE REST ARE ON THE FRONT LINE.


PAGE FIVE:

MAY 28, 1943 - BATTLE.

	THE REMAINING RATIONS IS FOR ONLY TWO DAYS. OUR ARTILLERY HAS
BEEN COMPLETELY DESTROYED. THERE IS A SOUND OF TRENCH MORTAR. ALSO
OF AA GUNS. THE COMPANYS ON THE BOTTOM OF ATTU-FUJI HAD BEEN COMPLE
LY ANNIHALATED EXCEPT ONE. I WONDER OF COMMANDER YENEGAWA AND           These two sentences are missing
SME OF THE MEN ARE STILL LIVING. OTHER COMPANIES HAVE BEEN              in Ardon Smith's copy.
COMPLETELY ANNIHILATED EXCEPT ONE OR TWO.
                                                                        According to the Bushido code,
	303 BN HAS BEEN DEFEATED, YENEGAWA BN. IS STILL HOLDIN UMANOSE  suicide was an honorable way to die,
CONTINOUS CASES OF SUCIDE. HALF OF SECTOR UNIT HQS WAS BLOWN AWAY.      while surrender was very dishonorable.
THEAR THAT THEY HAVE FOUR HUNDRED SHOTS OF MORPHINE TO SEVERELY         Ardon Smith's copy of the 
WOUNDED AND KILLED THEM. HALF FRIED THISTLE. IS THE FIRST TIME I        diary has Heard they gave
HAVE EATEN SOMETHNG FRESH IN SIX MONTHS. IT IS A DELICACY. ORDER
FROM THE UNIT COMMANDER TO MOVE THEFIELD HOSPITAL TO THE ISLAND
BUT WAS CALLED OFF.

MAY 29. 1943- BATTLE..

	TODAY AT 2000 WE ASSEMBLED IN FRONT OF HQS. THE FIELD HOSPI     Enkist probably means
TAL TOOK PART TOO. THE LAST ASSAULT IS TO BE CARRIED OUT ALL THE        Jesus Christ since Dr.
PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL WERE TO COMMIT SUICIDE. ONLY 33 YEARS OF       Tatsuguchi returned
LIVING AND I AM TO DIE HERE. I HAVE NO REGRETS. BANZI TO THE EM-        to Japan as a Christ-
PEROR. I AM GRATEFUL THAT I HAVE KEPT THE PEACE IN MY SOUL WHICH        ian missionary.
ENKIST. BESTOWED UPON ME. AT 1800 TOOK CARE OF ALL THE PATIENTS
WITH GRENADES. GOOD-BY TAEKI MY BELOVED WIFE, WHO LOVED ME TO THE       Japanese troops charged 
LAST, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, GREET YOU GOD SPEED, I FEEL SORRY FOR        about 2.5 miles before
YOU TAKIKO, BORN FEB OF THIS YEAR AND GONE WITHOUT SEEING YOUR          being stopped at
FATHER, HISAKA, WHO JUST BECAME FOUR YEARS OLD WILL GROW UP             Engineer Hill, where
UNHINDERED. WELL BE GOOD. MATSUO (BROTHER) KOCHAN, SAKEGHAN, MASS-      the remaining troops
ACHAN, MITTICHAN, GOOD BY.                                              committed suicide.
THE NUMBER PARTICIPATING IN THE ATTACK IS A LITTLE OVER 1000, TO        Only 28 Japanese troops
TAKE ENEMY ARTILLERY POSITIONS. IT SEEMS THE ENEMY IS EXPECTING         on Attu survived.
AN ALL OUT ATTACK TOMORROW. . .END. . .                                 One sailor recorded
                                                                        in his diary that two
						                        women were brought
                                                                        onto his ship early
                                                                        in the battle.

[1] The Aleutians Campaign June 1942 - August 1943, Washington, D.C.,
Naval Heritage and History Command, United States Navy, 2018, page 91-92
[2] Cloe, John Haile, Attu, The Forgotten Battle, Washington, D.C., National Park Service,
Department of the Interior, 2017, page 101


CAUTION. If you click on a link and a blank screen opens, then connects to a strange website, close the new window immediately. The link will work correctly on the second try.

Map of Attu invasion

Another version of this diary supplied by Ardon Smith with slightly different wording and spelling can be found at aleutians.hlswilliwaw.com/Attu/html/attu-diary_of_nebu_tatsuguri.htm

Wikipedia identifies the doctor as Paul Nobuo Tatsuguchi The article includes the doctor's biography and the reaction to the diary by the military and the public.

A detailed account of the American side of the battle can be found at Warfare History Network.

Personal accounts of the final battle at Engineer Hill can be found at The 50th Engineers.

A detailed account of the Aleutian Campaign from both sides by Colonel John Cloe can be found at Attu The Forgotten Battle.

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