|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Sunday, August 25, 2019
|Iwo Jima Mementos, a Faded Photograph and Child's Drawing, Bring Closure to Japanese Family|
Framed photo of baby Japanese girl, sister of Chie Takekawa and a letter to her father is seen at a press conference in the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010. As a 21-year-old American GI fighting on Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, Franklin Hobbs III found them in the chest pocket of a fallen Japanese soldier and took them home as a souvenir. AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi.
By: Eric Talmadge, Associated Press
TOKYO (AP).- For decades, the faded photograph of a baby Japanese girl and a child's colorful drawing hung on a wall in the home of Franklin Hobbs III in America.
As a 21-year-old U.S. soldier fighting on Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, Hobbs found them in the pocket of a fallen Japanese soldier and took them as a souvenir.
Until recently, he tried not to think too much about the battle or the photo and drawing. Then, a few years ago, at his wife's suggestion, he decided to try to give them back.
For the girl in the photo and her sister, they meant the world.
Hobbs, now 86, returned to Japan this week for the first time since the war and met with one of the daughters whose life he changed by returning the items. Chie Takekawa had drawn the picture of an air raid drill that Hobbs found on her father a man she barely knew and whose remains have never been found.
"As a child, I had always wondered when my father would come home from the war," Takekawa, 74, said Thursday with a beaming Hobbs by her side. "I feel like he has actually come back after all these years. I am very grateful."
The story of the mementos very nearly ended on Hobbs' wall.
Hobbs himself an orphan from an early age said he first found them in an envelope on a Japanese soldier lying dead outside a large cave. A corporal in the Army Signal Corps, Hobbs had just survived an intense battle on the beach, dug in deep with a buddy and eating raw bacon for three days.
When the fighting had calmed enough, he was assigned to drive a truck to help set up lines of communication for the U.S. troops. He was steering up a hill when he came upon several other Americans searching the bodies of three dead Japanese.
One of them was 36-year-old Matsuji Takekawa.
"I saw the letter sticking out and I said, 'I don't want any swords or anything, but I think I'll take this letter.' I just picked it up, I suppose out of curiosity. But I felt a little bad about it at the time."
Hobbs took it with him when Japan's surrender that August meant he could leave the island after eight months.
He considered himself lucky.
The battle, which began on Feb. 19, 1945, and lasted more than a month, claimed 6,821 American and 21,570 Japanese lives.
Closure for the Japanese families is rare. About 12,000 Japanese are still classified as missing in action and presumed killed on the island, along with 218 Americans.
Japan's government announced last week it is investigating two sites believed to be mass graves that may contain as many as 2,000 of the dead. Officials say it could take months to collect the remains, and identification is expected to be extremely difficult.
The battle for the tiny volcanic island became a symbol and rallying point for the United States after the U.S. flag was raised on its highest ground, Mount Suribachi.
For Hobbs, it was simply a killing field.
"It was just death everywhere, and I hated it," he said.
Hobbs graduated from Harvard Business School, married and raised a family. His wife framed the mementos and put them up in one of their sons' rooms. Hobbs never discussed his memories of the war.
"My kids didn't know what the drawing was; they thought maybe their mother had drawn it," he said. "I never really told my kids because there wasn't that much to tell."
He later divorced, and when his new wife, Marge, was going through his things at their home in Brookline, Massachusetts, she noticed the mementos and suggested Hobbs try to return them. They contacted a family friend, Reiko Wada, who could read the address on the envelope.
Though the address was outdated, Wada contacted the Japanese health ministry which keeps records for pensions and was able to find the family in the northern Japan city of Sanjo, where it owns a liquor store. To Wada's surprise, the baby in the photo Yoko Takekawa was living in New Jersey, where she had moved to do missionary work.
On a trip to Japan two years ago, Wada turned the photo and drawing over to Japanese officials, who had them delivered to the older sister, Chie, who still lives in Japan.
Chie Takekawa said they are now on the family altar, where she makes daily offerings of water in her father's letters home, he often spoke of his constant thirst and how there was never enough water for the soldiers to drink.
"It's hard to bring back the emotions that I felt when I first saw the letter," she said. "We were all amazed that this could happen. I was just so happy."
Like Hobbs, Takekawa had tried to put the war and her loss behind her, but the return of the photo and drawing rekindled her feeling of a connection with her father and inspired her and her sister to join a government-sponsored trip to Iwo Jima for an annual memorial last March.
"When I got off the airplane I was shocked by how small an island it is," she said. "All my sister and I could do was cry. I felt I was walking on the soil where he is buried. I wanted to dig in my hands and try to find him."
Takekawa now intends to go to Iwo Jima every year. "I feel that somehow my father made this all happen," she said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
October 29, 2010
Sotheby's Presents Highlights from 19th Century European Art Auction in New York
Landmark Exhibition of German Artist Hans Hartung's Late Paintings Opens at Cheim & Read
Report from Cave Excavation Says Humans Mastered Tool Making 50,000 Earlier than Thought
Städel Museum Opens "In Chronological Order: Städel Works of the 14th to 21st Centuries"
Exhibition of New Work by Photographer Abelardo Morell at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
Ehud Netzer, Israeli Archaeologist Known for Excavating King Herod's Winter Palace, Dies
Sotheby's Sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics to Be Highlighted by a Blue And White "Peony" Jar
Bonhams to Sell Rifle Owned by Hunter Who Took Teddy Roosevelt on Safari
Damián Ortega Finds Inspiration in a Newspaper to Create Barbican Art Gallery's Latest Exhibition
Extremely Rare First Edition of Jane Austen's Emma to be Offered at Sotheby's London
Two 150-Year-Old Civil War Dolls Get X-Rayed at VCU Medical Center for Signs of Smuggling
Baltimore Nuns Auctioning Famous Baseball Card to Raise Money for Diocese
Kunsthaus Zürich Embarks on Ambitious Restoration Project on the Work of Alberto Giacometti
Caravaggio-Inspired Dutch Masterpiece Acquired for Fitzwilliam Museum
Danish Artist Awarded The Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Prize of $60,000 at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010
Iwo Jima Mementos, a Faded Photograph and Child's Drawing, Bring Closure to Japanese Family
Oakland Museum of California Acquires Historic "All of Us or None" Poster Collection
Harry Blain and Former Sotheby's Vice Chairman Emmanuel Di Donna to Open New York Gallery
Documentation and Artwork, 1972-1985 by Cuban-American Artist Ana Mendieta at Galerie Lelong
Christie's Sales of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art to Offer an Impressive Array of Rare and Important Works
Records Tumble for Some of the Most Seminal Works in English Literature at Sotheby's Today
Armenian Archeologists: 5,900-Year-Old Skirt Found
German Vending Machines Sell Miniature Art in Boxes
Mandela Objects to Sale of His Artwork at Auction
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Newly restored Titian's Rape of Europa set to be reunited with accompanying works
2.- Krannert Art Museum acquires complete works of conceptual gay photographer Hal Fischer
3.- The Met's Rock & Roll exhibition reaches a milestone 500,000 visitors
4.- A new species of giant penguin has been identified from fossils
5.- Fondation Phi pour l'art contemporain exhibits works by pioneering artist Yoko Ono
6.- Comprehensive exhibition of Elfie Semotan's work on view at C/O Berlin
7.- 'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dead at 79
8.- Major exhibition explores the romantic fascination with the Scottish Highlands
9.- Meet the Ercolines, the Woodstock lovebirds whose hug made history
10.- Dallas Museum of Art re-opens European Galleries after total reinstallation
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.