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This is a Japanese Army service booklet that was taken from IWO JIMA during the battle by a US Marine, in Feb or Mar 1945. It surfaced in 2004 at a flea market in the San Diego area and was purchased by a former WWII British Royal Navy veteran, Edward Cordner and his wife Edna. When Cordner saw the service booklet he recognized its significance and purchased it hoping to someday return it. They gave the WWII booklet to Mrs. Vickie Prosser after learning she had been instrumental in returning a real-life "Letter from Iwo Jima". Prosser is an aide to Oceanside City Councilman Jack Feller and secretary of Oceanside's Sister Cities Foundation.

It was entrusted to me by Mrs. Vickie Prosser who had recently played an active role in the return of a real-life "Letter from Iwo Jima".

Upon examining the Guntai techo (military service record) I learned the dead soldier's identity and background. He was Private First Class Toshiki Kawasaki, born in Nagasaki on July 2, 1920. He was drafted Dec. 1, 1940 and served with an artillery unit based in Korea. He was discharged on Dec. 7, 1943 after fulfilling his 3 year enlistment.

After his military service he found employment working the night shift in the "Production Planning Dept" at the Mitsubishi ship factory near his parents' home in Nagasaki. His civilian career ended just six months later when he was recalled to active duty on June 18,1944. He was immediately sent to Iwo Jima on July 14th (via Chichi Jima) with the 86th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 1st Company on a 150mm mortar team.

In order to find the family of PFC Kawasaki, I requested assistance from fellow WWII Pacific war historian Nobuhiro Nakamura who was able to find the family after an amazing sequence of phone calls and letters to various temples in Nagasaki.

His younger brother Sadao Kawasaki stated he was deeply moved at the gesture of friendship by the American couple who entrusted the booklet to me to be returned.

 

Dan King with the Japanese Army service record of
Private Toshiki Kawasaki who was killed on Iwo Jima in March 1945.

Thank you letter from Michiko Asada to Mr. Nobuhiro Nakamura for his efforts at finding the family of Private Kawasaki. Asada is a priestess at the temple in Nagasaki where the family records were located. The temple staff were "deeply touched at the great lengths gone to by all of the kind Americans who aided in returning the booklet."

Letter from Mr. Sadao Kawasaki (younger brother of Pvt Kawasaki) to Dan King in appreciation for returning his brother's military service record book.

 

Letter from Mr. Sadao Kawasaki to Mr. Nobuhiro Nakamura thanking him for his help.

Mr. Sadao Kawasaki and his wife. His older brother died at Iwo Jima, and his older sister was a nurse at the Nagasaki University Hospital when the bomb was dropped on Aug 9, 1945 and was among 850 doctors, nurses, students and patients who were killed at the hospital. He himself joined the Naval officer cadet trainee program in 1945. He has three adult children and is living happily with his wife. He wrote that he cherishes his brother's Army service booklet as it is the only physical reminder he has of him.

Read more about this event in this article that appeared in the San Diego North County Time.