Myitkyina, capital of Katin, northernmost province of Burma, occupied by the Japanese, was retaken by General Stilwell, (1883-1946), a West Point graduate, the Allied Commander, more well known as Vinegar Joe.
Very few records of the war exist because most of the soldiers at the front perished. One best selling fiction Harp of Burma by Michio Takeyama released right after the war became a movie and I had to see it. It was a tearjerker all throughout. One defected Japanese soldier became a monk to bury and mourn for dead friends. Takeyama, who had no war experience, claimed he wrote a children's story, fantasizing the battleground as a "Home Sweet Home" chorus competition between British and Japanese armies.
Mr. Koichi Tsukamoto (1920-1998), the founder and manufacturer of Wacol, Kyoto women’s apparel, was one of three survivors out of a 55 man platoon.
I recently read a sad story that one Japanese soldier sought shelter at his Burmese friend's house as he had no family in Japan. While he was taken care of by his friend's daughter, the two got on well. Everything seemed to be going alright, until one day he ventured out to see a dentist (he claimed he couldn't stand his toothache) and was caught by the police and sent to a concentration camp. Eventually he was sent back to Japan. He tried to recontact his Burmese family, but was out of luck.
Decades later, he learned through the news media that his son in Burma was looking for him. The reason he got no response from Burma was because the family was ostracized from the village for hiding a Japanese defector.
The 124th Battalion was from Fukuoka. At the Guadalcanal landing (Aug 1942), he wrote: the carrying boat was shipwrecked on the coral reef while fleeing from the Allied Air night raids, 300 meters away from the seashore. Soldiers had to swim to shore. On landing alone, one third of the battalion was lost. On the island during fighting, he injured his leg and was unable to walk. His Hancho advised him that they had to move on without him. He made a wooden stick for a cane in order to follow, limping. The retreat order came and they left Guadalcanal on January 1943. The 4,000 Fukuoka Battalion had only 200 soldiers left, all with injuries and health issues of some kind.
I had read that former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (1941-) listed Guadalcanal Diary written by Richard William Tregaskis (1916-1973), as one of his favorite books. I wonder why he specifically mentioned it. I'll read it when I finish reading Kojima's story.
The 200 Fukuoka survivors were then sent to Saigon on June 1943 to be incorporated into 34th Army Division for the Impahl Operations, but he redeveloped malaria which he suffered in Guadalcanal. He was sent to a Hong Kong Hospital from Saigon for special treatment. When he recuperated, he traveled alone to catch up with his troop via railroad, and random rides available, which led through retreating routes.
I was impressed with his way of thinking that you can't walk the ocean back from Guadalcanal, but once you were on the continent, the road led to Japan. Even limping, he had the fortitude to continue walking. He and two friends walked over 1,000 kilometers to Chiangmai, Thailand. He was very thankful for all the help and alms from local Burmese along the way.
*This figure was taken as the most reliable number from the "Museum of Kohima" of York (UK) Website - "85,600 Japanese soldiers participated in the Imphal Mission, 30,000 died in action, of starvation and illness and 20,000 were injured or succumbed to malnutrition and illness. The road between Kohima and Imphal was called ‘White Bone Road’ on which lay the remains of many corpses in military uniform who have never been taken back to their home."
The same website has a link to Sato Memorial, posted on Feb 13, 2012, by Akiko MacDonald, Honorary Secretary of Burma Campaign Society, related with the Anglo-Japan Alliance.