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PFC Joichi Yamashita

PFC Joichi Yamashita

Birth
USA
Death 9 Dec 1952 (aged 21)
North Korea
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section A 442nd Nisei Memorial
Memorial ID 8807159 · View Source
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One cold morning in December, 1953, I returned from a reconnaissance patrol in the pre-dawn and I hit the sack in the bunker immediately. I did not know how long I slept, but I was awakened by sharp sounds of rifles and also mortars. I got up and went outside. It was still somewhat dark. I knew then that men of the other patrol fell into an ambush. A few of us were standing outside the bunker and looking toward the north where the sounds came from. Soon it became very quiet. Snow-covered ground was strangely beautiful. All of us went back to sleep. On that morning, Joichi Yamashita was killed in Korea. He was a radio man in the "C" Company. He was twenty-one years old. I met Joichi Yamashita at the Fort Ord (CA) when we were drafted into the Army and began our basic training at the same time. We slept in the same room. He was a kibei. I was also a kibei. There is one other kibei, Tadao Katayama, in the same room. All of us were getting along very well partly because we needed each other to survive in the new Army life. "Kibei" is a group of Japanese Americans who were born in the United States but grew up or educated in Japan. Eventually, they came back to the United States. They were all, to some degree, handicapped by their lack of English language ability and by cultural difference in living in the "new environment." Only way to get over these problems for us was to get education in the United States. Joichi Yamashita was always talking about going to college as soon as he was getting out of the Army. He came back to California after he graduated from high school in Japan. He did not talk much about his life in Japan. Instead, he often asked me about what is like college life because I went to college in Japan. He seemed to think that I was his big brother who can answer anything he asks. He used to laugh wholeheartedly when I could not answer his simple question. After the basic training to be "good" infantry men, we were shipped to Korea in 1953 and assigned to the front line with the Third Division. Joichi Yamashita volunteered to be a radio man for the Company Commander. He told me later that being a radio man with the Company Commander is much safer, he thought, than just an infantry man who has to go out to reconnaissance or combat patrols almost every other night. He was killed as a radio man. Joichi Yamashita was always smiling to other people even when he was sad. He showed his sad or troubling face only to his close friends. I came back safely to California. Tadao Katayama also came back safely to California. Joichi Yamashita came back to the Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. Every Memorial Day in the late afternoon, I visit the cemetery and stay with him for a while. Most of the time, we are not talking about anything. Sometime, I talk about the college that I went after the war. I have two children who are now much older than Joichi Yamashita when he was killed in action at twenty-one years of age. I feel that I am still twenty-three years old when I stand in front of his grave site. Memorial written by Edward E. Asawa. Gratefully used with his permission.


Inscription

Joichi Yamashita
California
PFC CO C 15 INF 5 INF DIV
Korea PH


  • Created by: Shiver
  • Added: 21 May 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8807159
  • Russ
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Joichi Yamashita (18 Mar 1931–9 Dec 1952), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8807159, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Shiver (contributor 46539565) .