TOKYO (AFP) — A postcard mailed by a Japanese soldier from a World War II battlefield in Burma reached his friend 64 years after it was sent, thanks to a Japanese exchange student and the family of a former US soldier who kept the card.
The card travelled from Burma, Nagasaki, Arizona and Hawaii before finding Shizuo Nagano, 80, in southern Kochi prefecture, according to Mukogawa Women's University.
The postcard was written by Nobuchika Yamashita. He used to work with Nagano at their neighborhood store before Yamashita was drafted.
The postcard was handed to Nagano by a 20-year-old student of the university last week, it said in a statement recently.
The student, Yuko Kojima, gave it to Nagano after staying as an exchange student in Hawaii.
There she met a local woman whose dead father-in-law had brought the card to the US after his tour of Nagasaki as a member of the Allied Occupation forces after Japan's defeat in World War II.
The former US soldier lived in Arizona and died 25 years ago, but his son kept the card even after moving to Hawaii from the US mainland, the university said.
"I had never dreamed of meeting him again like this," Nagano was quoted as saying after receiving the card. "It is like a dream."
The postcard, dated February 16, 1943, featured a color photo of farmland, with labourers using horses to cultivate the field. Snow-capped mountains stand in the background.
"Mr. Nagano, it's been a long time," Yamashita wrote in the card, which went through Japanese military inspection.
"It must be still cold (in Japan). Over here, the climate is like July or August in Japan," he wrote.
The soldier died of an illness in November 1944 at age of 23 in Burma, now officially called Myanmar, the university said.
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