2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2010
Format: Library Binding
Here is a very well written and informative history of the trial and sentencing of Japanese War Criminals. The book has several photo's of the old prison, many of the Japanese war lords, as well as civilians such as American born, Iva Toguri, better known as Tokio Rose, the woman who broadcast Japanese propaganda to American troops. Talmadge Blankenship served as a prison guard, he is better known today as James "Maverick" Garner. Granted several soldiers who served at Sugamo Prison are missing from the Personnel Roster, including this reviewers father, Arthur Marcus Simpson. The author acknowledged this fact in his letter dated January 6, 1990:
"...Your dad and I had a lot in common. He and I, were not loners, found something to do with our abundance of spare time - Study. We were not out raising hell every chance we had. We were both in Korea at the same time, but in different circumstances. I went in June 1950 and was assigned to the 1st Cav. Div. -5th Bat - L. Co. was in combat for 6 months and spent the next 8 months in hospitals in Korea, Japan, Hawaii and throughout the United States... ."
The author followed up with a second letter dated, January 19, 1990, when he writes: "Dear Dennis: ...your letter is one of seven that I've received from my request in the January 1990 issue of DAV [Disabled American Veterans] that you can qualify as authentic. I've got some quack letter from nuts. Apparently one hell of a lot of guys at Sugamo got killed in Korea. I realize that your help to me is limited and that I just might be able to help you which I'm most happy to do and feel somewhat obligated having known your dad.
First. You should know that the American troops at Sugamo were a very close knit group. We had a tough job in one sense yet we had lots of time off duty. We were really a family. Even the relationship between the officers and E.M. were special and closer than in most outfits in the occupation. I really did not think about it very much - even during my tour of duty in Korea - until I was in Hospitals in Tokyo, Hawaii and throughout the States. God! How I missed those guys. I loved them as a family and felt that I was loved in return. No one ever last long enough in Korea to really know them. In any event, they and I disappeared from each other as we were sent into numerous other outfits to beef up short Divisions and Regiments. I never saw nor heard from any Sugamo once I set foot on Korean Soil - until just recently from the response in D.A.V. Magazine.
To the best of my knowledge I am one of three men not killed out of the first two companies that I was assigned - I was in only one company - what I mean is every man was either killed or seriously wounded and replaced by new men from the States in forming a new company. I and the other two men were seriously wounded at the same time completing the eradication of two complete companies.
Second. Early in my stay in Japan I met and married a Russian-Japanese girl 6'1" tall and named Seventia Hashomota. Her father was Russian and was a merchant in Japan - and disappeared shortly after she born. She spoke Russian, Japanese and English perfectly. She also had an extreme difficult childhood due to the race standards of the Japanese. Anyway we were married, Happy and living in a 4 room Japanese house whose monthly rental was $12 in American Food. After 5 months of Happy marriage I arrived home and no wife. All her clothes, purse, bicycle and everything she owned was there intact. It never occurred to me then and I was not aware of the decisions and actions that were taking place in the MacArthur Headquarters. He would not allow the Russians any form of decisions nor action in the occupation and in fact - Told them they were not welcome in Japan. It was two years before I found out the Russians took all people in Japan they considered Russian with them. In fact she was kidnapped. She was also pregnant. So I want you to understand that I fully understand your feelings about your sister in Korea. Lets just hope she looked more Korean than American for her sake.
Third. I want you to send me the picture of your dad, with another G.I., in front of the hugh barbed wire fence, at the DMZ in Korea. i believe that he was at the time at Panmunjom - the site of the truce talks at the close of the Korean War - especially if he was fluent in the Korean Language... ."
Missing personal can be expected, as records are not always available when writing a book of historical value such as Mr. Ginn's book on Sugamo prison. As stated earlier, this book has several dozen photo's of not only the Prisoners themselves, but on the American Soldiers stationed there. The sad part of this history is the old prison was torn down by developers whose whole purpose was to make money making it a parking lot. Never-the-less, the facts that are presented make this book a must to read. The author is to be commended for writing a history that is based on facts and first hand knowledge from the soldiers that served there.