Notes written by crewman on photograph of Japanese battleship Hyuga found

Notes written by crewman on photograph of Japanese battleship Hyuga found

Matsuo Chinen holds the photograph of the battleship Hyuga that his father Matsukichi treasured.

May 3, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

Matsuo Chinen, 63, a resident of Sashiki in Nanjo, found a photograph of the Japanese battleship Hyuga, which saw service during the Pacific War, at his father’s house in Naha. His father Matsukichi, who died at the age of 75, kept a record of the ship’s journey from its departure to its end on the back of the photo frame. Notes by Matsukichi with the same content were also found.

Matsuo found the photograph and the notes when the house was to be demolished. In 1996, Matsukichi, who was on board the battleship as a marine, wrote a collection of notes entitled The Battle of Leyte Gulf and the End of the Battleship Hyuga.

On the back of the frame there is a record of the movements of the Hyuga from its departure to its last day of service.

The notes begin in 1944 when the Hyuga received its mission orders and describe the living conditions and terrifying scenes of the Battle of Leyte Gulf in vivid detail.
Matsuo said that before his death his father told him that the war was a miserable and horrible experience.

The notes close stating that “I pray for those who lost their lives and wish for lasting peace,” and “As long as I live, as someone who has been through such valuable experiences and knows how precious life is, I will treasure my life and pray for good health.”

“I think that my father always kept these feelings in mind and that he treasured the photograph,” Matsuo said.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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