NIIGATA-KEN, NISHIKANBARA-GUN, KOYOSHI-MURA, OAZAROKU-BUN
WIFE - KIYO. Children: 2 boys and 3 girls
I believe it was the night of January 31 that we received orders to retreat and together with the unit departed marching towards Los Baños. (The company commander had gone ahead by truck.) At the same time as we reached Los Baños in the early morning of Feb. 5, we received company orders to go immediately to Calamba with the subordinate platoons and set up defense around that vicinity. So, without rest or sleep, we left at once and arrived in Calamba about 0700 hrs the same day. Immediately, we reconnoitered the area and occupied a position in the vicinity of a hill on the east side (bananas were abundant on this hill and there was a graveyard on the west slope). We called it “Banana Mountain,” and carried out our mission. The strength at this time, aside from myself, was 45 men and our duties were: (1) defense for [the] vicinity of Calamba; (2) gathering of intelligence; and (3) lead [the] natives into collaborating with [the] Jap army. Thereafter, we decided the terrain was not suitable for
One day (I believe it was on the night of the 10th), I was summoned by Lt. Sakata and when I reported to his quarters, Kanto was also present.
Sakata said that “the subjugation of Calamba was ordered to be executed immediately,” and he asked what we should do. (It appeared that this order came directly from the Regiment.) I inquired, “What is the gist of it?” “The male folks must, of course, be rid of and the female folks must be rid of with thoroughness so that Calamba will be a deserted city,” he replied. I was surprised. Then asked, “Isn’t that rather a severe order? That is not subjugation, that is murder, I could do no such thing, could you?” Sakata replied, “I am of the same feeling, however, if this order is not carried [out], we will receive punishment from the devils, Reg. commander and Chief of Staff Uyohara. That is the reason why I called this 3-man meeting to see if we can find an excellent plan.” The decision of the 3-man meeting was that they could not execute the order, and we would not tell the Regimental Commander whether we executed it or not. If, however, he did inquire about it and they decided to tell him that the preparation for the anti-tank defense combat, which was their chief duty, was a handful in itself and it was to a point where they could almost use assistance themselves, so being engaged in the subjugation was out of the question, and they parted.
Early the morning of the 12th, I was awakened and requested to report immediately to Lt. Sakata. It was still rather dark
The platoon ordered to guard and surround Calamba immediately began preparations. One (1) squad (10 men) in the vicinity of Banana Mountain, 1 squad (7 men) in the vicinity of our quarters on the road to Tanawan. Guarding our quarters. The remaining force (19 men) will be responsible for the security of the left bank of the river flowing on the north side of Calamba.
Remarks on security:
2. Arrest the males attempting to escape from the town, however, allow the females escape, especially the women and children and do not harm them.
3. Carry weapons and if there is any resistance, you may kill them.
It was around 6:30 when I took my 19 men and guarded the left bank of the river.
(2) Prior to loading into the trucks, a sort of simple interrogation was carried out, and there were many people who seemed happy being released from there and going home, but there were those who were loaded onto the truck with no interrogation whatsoever. It seemed that the interrogation was carried out chiefly by Kanto, but it seemed Sakata was also interrogating at times.
(3) It seemed that 3 trucks had arrived simultaneously and there were 2 entrances and exits from the church, but the inhabitants were being taken out from the west exit.
(4) At times, an automobile would make its appearance, and then disappear again. There were instances of Captain Saito who alighted from the car giving instructions to the men who were working at the place the inhabitants were being loaded on the trucks. At times, Sakata would be in the automobile with him, at times an officer I do not know would be in the car with him, and it seemed at times Captain Saito rode alone.
(5) There was a considerable number of people who tried to pass in food and bananas to the people in the church only to be stopped and dispersed by the guards. I remember that I advised the sentinels, “Just as long as the men in the church don’t escape, it’s alright. Allow them to receive food stuffs. It is not necessary to be so strict.
(6) When it was around 1530 hours, the security unit arrived according to the order and selecting 10 men from the entire personnel to remain as necessary sentinels, I sent the rest of the unit back to their quarters ordering them, “Go quickly and make preparations for supper.” When it started getting dark, transportation was ended for a while, so I withdrew the sentinels and started back together with the soldiers. I think this was about 1830
(1) I asked Sakata, “What is the name of the unit and commander which came in from the outside and executing those subjugations? And where did they come from?” “I only know 1st Lt. Yamada of the Air Unit and W/O Sato of the Rapid Fire Gun Unit. It seems they came from Tanawan. The rest of them, I do not know well. Anyway, it was such a sudden occurrence,” he answered. They really came quite unexpected like that, put everything in a bedlam and evacuated. The Sakata I saw in the vicinity of the church was truly a busy man and I thought at that time it was not unreasonable and didn’t especially pay any attention but at the present, after countless numbers of interrogations, when I think quietly back on my memories of that time, I wonder if it was not
(3) Without considering our inconvenience, they executed the people near our quarters; so we decided to move to another camping area on the eastern side of Calamba, along the vicinity of Mt. Banana. Our main duty was to construct our positions; so we devoted on that task. After staying here for 4 or 5 days, the conditions were becoming critical that we decided we could no longer stay here, and so we moved approx. 2 Km. southwest to the terrain on the eastern side of the Tanawan Highway (since the hill resembled that of a ¾ moon, we called it such) and started continuing with our task we started out to do. In the early morning of 23 Feb., during our construction, we commenced our first battle with the American forces. In the evening of the same day, 1st Lt. Sakata said, “My job was finished, so I’m going back to Regt.” And with about 10 of his subordinates, he left us a went toward Santo Tomas. We stayed in this vicinity with the engineer unit fighting against the American forces. On
Here, I received the treatment from medical officer – 1st Lt. Ohno and 1st Lt. Tsuruoka and later, I was hospitalized in the No. 4 Field Hospital which was situated in SANFUAKEN [San Joaquin?] at that time. It was about 15th March when I was hospitalized. Soon after, the hospital began to move from place to place because of the bombardment and finally settled down on the northern foot of Mt. Malipunyo [Malepunyo]. I stayed here until 18th April and before I was completely well, I was ordered to leave the hospital because of the critical situation. Unable to find my unit, I went to Fujii Army Group Headquarters which was located in the space west of the hospital at that time and stayed there until 29th April. I had no particular duty there. By the order of changing positions, we
1. San Pablo. I heard in the tent that about 200-300 people including females and children were killed and it was carried out by the KASAMA Unit within he SAZAWA Unit commanded by Staff Officer Ohno of the Fujishige Army Group.
2. Bai [Bay]. I heard in the tent that about 200 people were killed by the Yamamoto platoon of the Fujii Unit.
3. Los Baños College. I heard from 1st Lt. Fujii that the executions were carried out by the KUDO Unit, Fujii Unit and others under the command of battalion commander Saito and at that time the battalion commander was wounded.
4. St. Tomas [Santo Tomas] I heard in the tent that many inhabitants were killed.
5. Tanawan. I heard in the tent that many inhabitants were killed by the Air Unit of 1st Lt. Yamada.
6. Lipa. When I was in Calamba, I heard that several hundred inhabitants including females and children were killed by the air unit stationed in Lipa.
7. Cuenca. When I was in Calamba, I heard that several hundred inhabitants were killed by the Ichimura Battalion of the 17th Regiment.
Who was responsible for regarding to the subjugations?
Of course, I believe that Col. Fujishige, who was the group commander, was the one. He summoned various unit commanders and heard he made the following statements, “The execution of the subjugation of the Fuhiishige Army Group security area will be done thoroughly. There’s no question about the men and even to the women and children in the least who walks with two legs, kill
I solemnly affirm that the information contained therein is true.
17 January 1946.
/t/ Taichi Yamada
/t/ Mr. Myron Buttram
/s/ T/4 Naomi Iwasaki
/t/ T/4 Naomi Iwasaki
|Photo taken during the war crimes trials in Manila. Image credit: U.S. National Archives.|