Wartime postcard returned by Okinawan-American

Wartime postcard returned by Okinawan-American

On December 20, at the Okinawa City Hall, Takako Kuwae (on the left in the front row) receives the postcard from Katsue Garner (second from left in the front row).

December 23, 2012, Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 20, an old military postcard was returned home to a bereaved family in Okinawa. About 70 years ago, Japanese soldier Ryobun Kuwae wrote this card and sent it to his friend. When Kuwae’s daughter Takako received the card from Katsue Garner, she said, “It’s significant that the card was returned on December 14, which is the 13th anniversary of my father’s death.”

Garner is originally from Nishihara, and currently resides in Georgia, in the United States. She married a U.S. soldier and left Okinawa in 1965. About 20 years ago she was given this postcard by her friend whose brother was also in the U.S. military.

This is Garner’s first visit home in 47 years, and she asked one of the local representatives of Nakagusuku, Hiromasa Arakaki, to look into the card. With help from the Okinawa Municipal Historiographic Office, they were able to find the information about Takako.

Katsue Garner kept this military postcard, which was returned home to Takako Kuwae.

Takako received the card at a ceremony held in Okinawa City Hall, and said, “When I first heard about the card, I was a little doubtful, but I recognized my father’s handwriting on it. I am grateful to her for keeping it safe.” Garner also commented, “I am glad that I came back, and am very happy to see Kuwae-san.”

The postcard was written to Koumei Arakaki when Kuwae was serving with the 4th Detachment on the Japanese cruiser Natori. In the card, Kuwae wrote, “I took part in the Hainan Island Operation.” It is thought that he wrote it after the Imperial Japanese Army attacked Hainan Island in China, in 1939.

Yoshifumi Kuwae was born in 1914, and after the war, he served as a local representative of Misato. Yasuaki Arakaki was born in 1881, served as a teacher and lived abroad. Kuwae died in 1999, and Arakaki in 1950.

(English translation by T&CT, Kyoko Tadaoka and Mark Ealey)

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