Diary of Leon Ma. Guerrero

2nd April 1945

The American landing on the main Okinawa island yesterday has been announced and all the vernaculars are howling for a decisive victory. The Yomiuri is typical: “The coming decisive battle in the Okinawas is one under our complete control of the air and our supremacy at sea… Unless the enemy is smashed now, when can we expect to shift to the offensive? The day of discontinuing our patience has come at last.” While the task-force was pounding Okinawa and hundreds of B-29’s were covering the operation by blasting airfields on nearby Kyushu, some 50 other super-forts raided the western area of Tokyo before dawn this morning. It was a short raid and we went back to bed soon.

Everyone however is tensed for longer and heavier attacks. The house-dispersal program has been pushed through “with unexpected rapidity” although the time limits set were only from five to 15 days. Workers eating in downtown restaurants will be given bags of dried biscuits (one bag, 225 grams, 22 sen) in exchange for regular meal tickets for use in case raids shut down restaurants. “Wiping away tears of determination with their fists”, a group of oyabun (“traditional-type bosses of free-lance labor”) have volunteered to clear the debris from the raided areas in Tokyo. The neighborhood associations in turn will plant pumpkins and potatoes or raise hogs end poultry in the cleared areas without much thought of land ownership or land lease. At least, so the announcements go.

A German at the Fujiya, going to Tokyo one day, found the train packed to the roof as usual and, unable to set a seat, remained standing next to a window. It was not long before a kempei approached him. Why was he staring out of the window and at what? Nothing in particular, he replied, he just had not been able to get a seat. Nevertheless he was asked to open up his valise inspection. Aha, what was this? How did he propose to explain carrying his instrument around? The kempei raised his hand. He was hoIding — a nail file.