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 line in the entry for May 16 is missing in this copy and is supplied by Otis Hays' copy
of the diary. The lowercase lines in the entries for May 14 and 26 are 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.
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 from JUNE 1, 1943. Ardon Smith's copy. 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-May 11, 1932 AGWIN, CALIFORNIA. SEPTEMBER 15, 1933-JAN. 1937 COLLEGE OF MEDICAL EVANGILIST. September, 1933-June, 1937 September 8, 1938 - Received California Medical license From Ardon Smith's copy. 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. Sept, 1941-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 diary CARRIER BASED PLANES FLEW OVER... FIRED AT IT. THERE IS A LOW are one day ahead of FOG AND THE SUMMIT IS CLEAR. AIR RAIDS CARRIED OUT FREQUENTLY the dates recorded by UNTIL 1000. HEAR LOUD NOISES. IT IS NAVAL GUN FIRING. PREPARED the U.S. Army because "A" BATTLE EQUIPMENT. the doctor ignored the International Date Line INFANTRY , AMERICAN TRANSPORTS, ABOUT 41, BEGIN LANDING AT and used the current HOKKAI MISAKI. 20 BOATS LANDED AT MASSACRE BAY. IT SEEMS THAT THEY date in Japan. ARE GOING TO UNLOAD HEAVY EQUIPMENT. These two paragraphs are missing in Otis DAYS ACTIVITIES: AIR RAID, NAVAL GUN FIRING, LANDING OF US Hays' copy. 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- U.S. troops found two GAGED THEM. ON THE OTHER HAND MASSACRE BAY IS DEFENDED BY ONLY ONE 20-millimeter cannons PLATOON, UPON THE UNEXPECTED ATTACK THE AA MACHINE CANNON WAS DES- and plenty of ammunition TROYED AND WE HAVE WITHDRAWN. IN NIGHT ATTACK WE HAVE CAPTURED abandoned, not destroyed. TWENTY ENEMY RIFLES. THERE IS A TREMENDOURS MOUNTAIN ARTY GUN The cannons could have done FIRING. APPROXIMATELY FIFTEEN PATIENTS CAME INTO THE FIELD HOSPITAL. serious damage to the land- THE FIELD HOSPITAL IS ATTACHED TO ARAI ENGR UNIT. ing crafts and troops.  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 flatly refuge in the trench in the daytime and took care of patients during denies that it used gas. THE BOMBARDMENT. ENEMY STRENGTH MUST BE A DIVISION. OUR DESPARATE It was white phosphorus DEFENSE IS HOLDING UP WELL. smoke shells. MAY 15, 1943- BATTLE.. 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 by giving them shots in the arm and die painless. This line is from AT THAT TIME THERE WAS AN ORDER FROM THE HEADQUARTERS OF SCTOR UNIT Otis Hays' copy. PROCEEDED TO CHICAGOF HARBOR BY WAY OF UMANOSE. 0100 IN THE MORNING, The correct spelling is PATIENTS FROM IND INF WAS LOST SO ACCOMPAINED THE PATIENTS. THERE 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 diary TO THE PASS. WAS RATHER IRRITATED IN THE FOG BY THE THOUGHT OF 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 diary ED WAS NINE HOURS FOR ALL OF THIS, WITHOUT LEAVING ANY PATIENTS; has struggling. OPENED A NEW FIELD HOSPITAL. WALKING IS NOW EXTREMELY DIFFICULT FROM LEFT KNEE RHEUMATISM WHICH REOCCURRED ON PASS. This line is missing in Otis Hays' copy. THE RESULTS OF OUR NAVY, THE SUBMARINE AND SPECIAL UNDER- WATER CRAFTS IN THE VICINITY OF CHICAGOF HARBOR SINCE THE 14TH . According to the US Navy, BATTLESHIP, CRUISER 3/ DESTROYER, AIR BORN TROOPS, TRANSPORTS 6, no ships were attacked BY THE FAVORABLE TURN SINCE THE BATTLE OF THE EAST ARM, RESERVES or damaged. COME BACK. OFF SHORE OF SHIBA DAI, 6 DESTROYERS AREGUARDING ONE 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 This sentence is missing THAT THE ENEMY CARRIED OUT A LANDING IN CHICAGOF HARBOR. EVERY- in Otis Hays' copy. 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 Otis Hays' 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.  BODY LOOKED AROUND FOR FOOD AND STOLE EVERYTHING THEY COULD FIND. The next day, 16 Betty bombers 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.  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 and Otis Hays' 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 Otis Hays' copy has BROKE THROUGH. THERE IS LESS THAN 1000 LEFT FROM MORE THAN 2000 750 left from more TROOPS. WOUNDED FROM COAST DEFENSE UNIT- FIELD HOSPITAL HQS, FIELD than 3500 troops. 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 and Otis COMPLETELY ANNIHILATED EXCEPT ONE OR TWO. Hays' copy. According to the Bushido code, suicide 303 BN HAS BEEN DEFEATED, YENEGAWA BN. IS STILL HOLDIN UMANOSE was an honorable way to die, while CONTINOUS CASES OF SUCIDE. HALF OF SECTOR UNIT HQS WAS BLOWN AWAY. surrender was extremely 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 TAL TOOK PART TOO. THE LAST ASSAULT IS TO BE CARRIED OUT ALL THE PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL WERE TO COMMIT SUICIDE. ONLY 33 YEARS OF Enkist probably means Jesus Christ LIVING AND I AM TO DIE HERE. I HAVE NO REGRETS. BANZI TO THE EM- since Dr. Tatsuguchi returned to PEROR. I AM GRATEFUL THAT I HAVE KEPT THE PEACE IN MY SOUL WHICH Japan as a Christian 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 about 2.5 LAST, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, GREET YOU GOD SPEED, I FEEL SORRY FOR miles before being stopped at YOU TAKIKO, BORN FEB OF THIS YEAR AND GONE WITHOUT SEEING YOUR Engineer Hill, where the remaining FATHER, HISAKA, WHO JUST BECAME FOUR YEARS OLD WILL GROW UP troops committed suicide. Only 28 UNHINDERED. WELL BE GOOD. MATSUO (BROTHER) KOCHAN, SAKEGHAN, MASS- Japanese troops on Attu survived. ACHAN, MITTICHAN, GOOD BY. One American sailor recorded in THE NUMBER PARTICIPATING IN THE ATTACK IS A LITTLE OVER 1000, TO in his diary that two women were TAKE ENEMY ARTILLERY POSITIONS. IT SEEMS THE ENEMY IS EXPECTING brought onto his ship early in AN ALL OUT ATTACK TOMORROW. . .END. . . the battle.
 Cloe, John Haile, Attu, The Forgotten Battle, Washington, D.C., National Park Service,
Department of the Interior, 2017, page 71
 The Aleutians Campaign June 1942 - August 1943, Washington, D.C.,
Naval Heritage and History Command, United States Navy, 2018, page 91-92
 Cloe, John Haile, Attu, The Forgotten Battle, Washington, D.C., National Park Service,
Department of the Interior, 2017, page 101
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.
Where do we go when we die?
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