??? Re Rising Sun Over Suribachi...

??? Re Rising Sun Over Suribachi...

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 14th, 2007, 1:12 pm #1

Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 18:30:02 -0500
From: "Scott Hendrix" <hendsn1@GMAIL.COM> Add to Address Book Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Subject: Query: Rising Sun Over Suribachi?

From: "Roger Brown" <
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 16:49:10 +0900

To: "'H-NET Military History Discussion List'"
Subject: Rising Sun Over Suribachi?

Clint Eastwood's movies about the Battle of Iwo
Jima have spurred quite a
bit of interest here in

Japan. Likewise, they've
rekindled my interest in
the battle and I've thus tried to fit into my
schedule some reading of
Japanese accounts of it. The most recent such

account by a veteran (and

perhaps the last) is _Juunana-sai no Ioutou [A
Seventeen-year-old's Iwo
Jima]_ (Bungei shunju, 2006) by Akikusa Tsuruji,
who served as a 17 year-old
member of a naval communications unit, was

wounded and, eventually, taken

prisoner. According to his book, upon returning
to Japan from a US POW camp
he wrote his experiences down, but then set the

notebooks aside for years
before putting his recollections into book form.
The final product was
published in December.

The reason I bring this to the list's attention
is that, about halfway

through the book, Akikusa writes that between 23
and 25 February there were
pitched battles for control of Mt. Suribachi in
which the US flag was
replaced twice by the Japanese flag before the
Marines put the Stars and

Stripes up for good; naturally, I was more than a
wee bit surprised by this
particular recollection, since I've read more
than a couple of accounts of
the battle and have never run across any inkling

of such happenings. While
taking, losing, and then retaking hills was not
at all unusual in the
bitterly contested campaigns in the Pacific and,
indeed, happened in the
fight for other high ground on Iwo, my

understanding of the patrol that put
up the first flag on Suribachi is that, although
they expected serious
resistance, what ultimately happened is that they
received a sharp but short
response from some outraged Japanese soldiers,

who were quickly dealt with;
these events were followed shortly by the second
larger flag going up
without incident. After that, the destruction of
Japanese fortifications and
their defenders on and around Suribachi continued

(and many Japanese
soldiers were killed trying to make their way
north); I've never run across
any reference to further fighting for the summit
of the mountain. In fact, I
can't recall having read anything much at all

about the summit in the
immediate wake of the flag-raisings.

In sum, and to be charitable, all I can do is
assume that the memories of an
old veteran about a very bitter experience have
become, shall we say,

confused. However, I also know there are members
of this group who possess
far more knowledge about the operational history
of the Pacific campaigns
than I do, so I thought I would run this by the

list and see if anyone has

any idea what Akikusa might be talking about.


Roger Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Japanese History

email: rhbrown@oregano.ocn.ne.jp

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