Few paper documents made it through the fighting intact since most Japanese positions were smashed by demolition charges, tanks, naval bombbardment, flamethrowers, or a combination of all these. However, these interesting Japanese documents, recovered on Tarawa by PFC John "Jack" E. Pease, Special Weapons Group, 2d Defense Battalion, 2d Marine Division, were some of the few that survived. They were found in what can best be described as a "ditty bag" which still shows stains from Betio. One of the documents is a diary. The the cover page and the first three pages are shown here. More of it exists but is quite fragile and difficult to copy without damaging the papers. The colorful stickers on the front cover are reportedly various types of military awards. The pages are shown here in B/W but a link is available to view the original color page. They are large files and load slowly. The second document found in the bag is some type of military paper that appears to map out a training exercise.
Interestingly documents discovered on Betio and other battle scared islands were required to be sent to the divisional intelligence sections for translation and evaluation. Those of no military value could be returned to the finder and these turn up from time to time. Usually these documents will have a stamp from the intelligence section declaring them reviewed but curiously this document seems to have no discernable stamp from the 2nd Division intelligence men. Hopefully someone with Japanese language skills will translate these documents for Tarawa on the Web.
Donated by Susan Pease
PFC John "Jack" E. Pease, Special Weapons Group, 2d Defense Battalion, 2d Marine Division.
copyright 2000 Wheaton, Illinois
Created 17 November 2000
Return to Documents and Diaries