What's new

Postcard

ati1

Registered
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Hello everyone!

What does this say?



 

Davey

先輩
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
7,308
Reaction score
341
Wow that's a nice postcard... But you can't just say : Hi translate all!

First of all how about some background about the postcard, and then maybe some might try to help you out.
 

ati1

Registered
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Wow that's a nice postcard... But you can't just say : Hi translate all!

First of all how about some background about the postcard, and then maybe some might try to help you out.
My apologies. I'm new to this forum, and I didn't know if it were appropriate to go into detail about the subject. However, I thought the translation might be of interest to all.

This is from WWII; my family served all around. My grandfather (sharp shooter) served the full term of 42 months and spent much of his time in the South Pacific - Guam, Hawaii, Philippines. Of course he engaged many Japanese throughout his time but I am unsure where this particular postcard was retrieved. Probably Guam.

Thank you for taking a look. Much respect for the Japanese people and culture!
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
Postcard from a Japanese soldier to his parents back home.

Typical content....sorry not to have written for so long, inquiries into their health and of siblings, uncle, etc. He's working hard at his military duties and doing fine so they shouldn't worry about him, etc.

Conjecture that the postcard will reach them about the time the cherry blossoms are falling. Remarks upon looking up at the moon and reflecting on his family back home looking up at the same moon. Closing admonition to take care of themselves.

Actually a whole lot easier to read than it looks at first glance.

The postcard is addressed to Shintaro Matsumoto and written by Shin Matsumoto. Not sure of the address...Kumamoto?

The family would almost certainly appreciate it if you would see that the card gets delivered to them as it was meant to be.
 
Last edited:

ati1

Registered
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Postcard from a Japanese soldier to his parents back home.

Typical content....sorry not to have written for so long, inquiries into their health and of siblings, uncle, etc. He's working hard at his military duties and doing fine so they shouldn't worry about him, etc.

Conjecture that the postcard will reach them about the time the cherry blossoms are falling. Remarks upon looking up at the moon and reflecting on his family back home looking up at the same moon. Closing admonition to take care of themselves.

Actually a whole lot easier to read than it looks at first glance.

The postcard is addressed to Shintaro Matsumoto and written by Shin Matsumoto. Not sure of the address...Kumamoto?

The family would almost certainly appreciate it if you would see that the card gets delivered to them as it was meant to be.
Wow. That is quite sad.:cry: I assumed it was strictly military and not relating to family or personal life, which is probably why it was intercepted to begin with. Battle was often very fierce and soldiers were trained to take advantage of all opportunities, including recovery of potentially valuable data. Since many were not understanding of the Japanese language there was no way to tell the difference between personal and military content.

I would have no idea how to even begin finding this family. The family name "Matsumoto" is the 16th most common Japanese name!
Ideas?

Thank you Mike Cash for the translation.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
Nope, no military information would be written in the open on a postcard. Not even in letters. Japanese soldiers had their outgoing mail checked by censors (as did Allied soldiers), which put a real damper on what a fellow could say. Notice on the first image there is a red box for the seal of the censor.

There are several organizations which can help in repatriation. Here is one, for example: Non-Profit Organization Association of Peace and War Mourning

Click the "assistance and information" link in the menu.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
I think the address might be in what is now Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture.

福島県耶麻郡喜多方寺町

I have found an address and phone number in that city under the same name as the soldier who wrote the postcard. Just tried to call to verify, but no answer. Will try again later.
 
Last edited:

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,604
Reaction score
474
Probably if you copied, put that address on an envelope, put the card in an envelope and sent it to Japan, the post office would get it there. Just put a return address so you get it back in case they can't deliver it.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
Probably if you copied, put that address on an envelope, put the card in an envelope and sent it to Japan, the post office would get it there. Just put a return address so you get it back in case they can't deliver it.
That address no longer exists.
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
1,581
Reaction score
592
I think the address might be in what is now Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture.
Well done. I got the Yamagun bit, and Teramachi, but the rest eluded me. In fact, I still don't get how those first two kanji can be Fukushima, but given the Yamagun location it could hardly be anywhere else. The second one looks to me like 京, but I think that line of exploration is a dead end.
One nitpick, the recipient is Shinjirō.
 
Last edited:

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
Well done. I got the Yamagun bit, and Teramachi, but the rest eluded me. In fact, I still don't get how those first two kanji can be Fukushima, but given the Yamagun location it could hardly be anywhere else. The second one looks to me like 京, but I think that line of exploration is a dead end.
One nitpick, the recipient is Shinjiro.
Nice catch on the nitpick!

I had to reverse-engineer the address. The 麻 and 郡 were clear, so I started googling on those two together. Went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole of discontinued 郡 for a while, then decided to do a multi-radical kanji lookup on the preceding character, since the right side was very clearly 阝 and I hoped the left side was 耳. Threw them together, got 耶麻郡, which google revealed to be in Fukushima. I figured the third kanji was just a highly cursive styling for the old 縣. If you look carefully at the first two you can see 福 with the old style 示 on the left. Again, use your imagination and compare with some of his other shortcuts from the body of the card and you can see 島 once you know it's there. The city was easy to work out once the 郡 was known, as the 方 was very clear. Once you know the city it is easy to see he used the old style 夛 (多). The first kanji I just take on faith, as I still can't see 喜 there.

I'm hoping I can get the guy or his relatives on the phone today. And if I do, I hope the OP checks back in so I don't end up looking like a jackass for my efforts.

Alright, finally got someone to answer the phone. Learned that Shin Matsumoto has passed away. Did NOT learn if it was the same guy or not. The phone was answered by an old woman who just kept saying she is old, living alone, and doesn't know anything. I strongly suspect it is the right family, but this is going to require third-party help to go talk to her and see if either she or any children or grandchildren are interested. I think the poor old lady was just a wee bit around the bend.

OP, please let us know if you want to try to return it or are just going to hang onto it. I don't want to mobilize other people if it turns out you're going to keep it.
 
Last edited:

Majestic

先輩
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
1,581
Reaction score
592
Well, in the worst case you can point them to this site and they can see the card for themselves. Awesome effort, by the way. I wouldn't have the bollocks to cold call.

I was hoping I could pick out some info about the regiment
南()派遣軍洋第二三九八部隊
Not completely sure about the 支, but it does pop up when combining 南 with 派遣軍. Not sure what the 洋 is doing in there either, unless my translation of 第 is also wrong (I have my suspicions).

South (China) Expeditionary/Dispatch Force Battalion #2398

It doesn't seem like any such troop was stationed on Guam. The card is dated April 12th (no year). Battle for Guam happened in July. I'm thinking it may not be from Guam, but too many question marks in my search to say anything for sure.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
I read it as 南海, but I haven't even tried looking up anything on the unit yet.
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
1,581
Reaction score
592
Spot on about 縣. Cursive style looks very much like our Mr. Matsumoto has written in.

縣.png


南海... makes sense.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
Actually, 㐂 is a variation of 喜.;)
㐂 - Wiktionary
Actually, I knew that....but I couldn't even recognize the kanji as 㐂 !

Just one more nitpick, the reading of the sender's given name might be "Arata".
Good point. But if the old lady I spoke to this morning is his widow then it is "Shin" in this case...unless she just didn't feel like correcting my error. She also said "Matsumoto Shin".
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
15,023
Reaction score
2,071
Yeah, I thought "Shin"was also possible since his father was "Shinjirō". I wrote that because I have a friend whose name is "Arata", and, to tell the truth, I couldn't read his name correctly at the first time. Later, in a classical Japanese class, I knew that the reading of an i-adjective 新しい was originally あらたしい, and あたらしい was spread as a result of misreading. My teacher showed his name as an example of the correct reading in the class. A memory of my high school days...
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Reaction score
2,223
Yeah, I thought "Shin"was also possible since his father was "Shinjirō". I wrote that because I have a friend whose name is "Arata", and, to tell the truth, I couldn't read his name correctly at the first time. Later, in a classical Japanese class, I knew that the reading of an i-adjective 新しい was originally あらたしい, and あたらしい was spread as a result of misreading. My teacher showed his name as an example of the correct reading in the class.
I always wondered why it was あたらしい and あらたに

A memory of my high school days...
Was that about the time they switched from saying 新しき to saying 新しい ?
 

ati1

Registered
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Nice catch on the nitpick!

I had to reverse-engineer the address. The 麻 and 郡 were clear, so I started googling on those two together. Went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole of discontinued 郡 for a while, then decided to do a multi-radical kanji lookup on the preceding character, since the right side was very clearly 阝 and I hoped the left side was 耳. Threw them together, got 耶麻郡, which google revealed to be in Fukushima. I figured the third kanji was just a highly cursive styling for the old 縣. If you look carefully at the first two you can see 福 with the old style 示 on the left. Again, use your imagination and compare with some of his other shortcuts from the body of the card and you can see 島 once you know it's there. The city was easy to work out once the 郡 was known, as the 方 was very clear. Once you know the city it is easy to see he used the old style 夛 (多). The first kanji I just take on faith, as I still can't see 喜 there.

I'm hoping I can get the guy or his relatives on the phone today. And if I do, I hope the OP checks back in so I don't end up looking like a jackass for my efforts.

Alright, finally got someone to answer the phone. Learned that Shin Matsumoto has passed away. Did NOT learn if it was the same guy or not. The phone was answered by an old woman who just kept saying she is old, living alone, and doesn't know anything. I strongly suspect it is the right family, but this is going to require third-party help to go talk to her and see if either she or any children or grandchildren are interested. I think the poor old lady was just a wee bit around the bend.

OP, please let us know if you want to try to return it or are just going to hang onto it. I don't want to mobilize other people if it turns out you're going to keep it.
No, not at all and thank you for your assistance. I am trying to keep on eye on this thread for any developments, but I have been in and out of the hospital for something potentially very serious, so the computer has taken a back seat to other things.

Thanks again for your efforts.
 
Top