TOKYO – A postcard that a Japanese soldier mailed from a Southeast Asian battlefront during World War II has reached a recipient in Japan 64 years later, a university whose student helped deliver it said Saturday.
Shizuo Nagano, an 80-year-old retiree in Japan's southwestern state of Kochi, received the card Friday — by way of Nagasaki, Arizona and Hawaii — said a statement from Mukogawa Women's University.
Nagano's former colleague at a retail store, Nobuchika Yamashita mailed the card in 1943 from Burma, now called Myanmar, a year before Yamashita died at war at age 23, the university statement said.
It said the card had initially failed to reach Nagano's address in Nagasaki, and was instead collected there by an American soldier during the U.S. occupation after Japan's 1945 defeat.
The American kept it at his Arizona home until he died 25 years ago and was kept by his son — who moved to the Hawaiian island of Maui and then gave the letter to a Japanese exchange student he met through his wife, who taught her sewing, the statement said.
"I never would have guessed I could see (Yamashita) again this way ... I'm overwhelmed," Nagano said as he was handed the postcard by the student, who spent two years after her return from Maui trying to find Nagano through the government. The student, Yuko Kojima, is now a sophomore at Mukogawa Women's University.