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Toshio Kojima
228th Infanty Regiment, Japanese Army
by John Innes, 1995

I errected the cross for Toshio, when the bones were found on Hill 27 in October 1995. All the implements around him in the foxhole were American and he was in an American foxhole. At the time, there was a rededication ceremony for Lofton Henderson. General Paul Henderson (his brother) and a group of Marines for the ceremony at Henderson Field. Innes took them along to see the remains. They all agreed that the remains were likely to be that of an American because of all the American equipment in the foxhole.

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'The American'
Simultaneously, there was a visit by a group of 57 Japanese veterans and the Honiara Fukuoka society being headed by General Kawaguchi's daughter. Mr. Innes told her about 'the American' that we had found on Hill 27. We had even figured out after phoning Joe Micek that he was in 2nd Battalion 132nd infantry and we new his name. It was someone Joe's Company had lost on Hill 27 and his body had not been recovered After telling General Kawaguchi's daughter about 'the American' the Japanese made a special visit to the grave site and all 57 Japanese prayed for the soul of 'the American'

The American Marines accompanying General Paul Henderson in the meantime arranged with CILHI that a recovery team would visit and remove the remains. In the meantime John Innes arranged for a simple cross to be made to mark the site and organised Father Percy the Local Catholic priest to perform a Christian ceremony for 'the American'. It seemed appropriate. After not hearing from CILHI for some weeks and our anxiety to establish the identity of the American we went back into the grave site looking for a dog tag. Around his neck was a Japanese dog tag!

Toshio Kojima
From his dog tag we were able to establish his identity. He was Toshio Kojima of the 228th Infantry. We determined that since the Japanese had prayed for 'the American' that the situation had become very ecumenical and therefore Innes left the cross there and put his details on the cross. English on one side and Japanese on the other. Very pleasingly, his 92 year old sister who lives in Nagoya, Japan, received his dogtag and for her there was a completion of the story of her brother. The remains of the missing American who we thought we had found was in fact located after the battle for the Gifu was over in 1943.

The flowers you see around the grave site were from some flowers we picked at the main Japanese memorial on Guadalcanal. Innes put them in a bottle, and placed at the gravesite. Fittingly the flowers dropped seeds and germinated and now grow around the grave.

In 1996 a Japanese bone recovery team did take some bones from the grave. Some of his bones became part of a bone burning ceremony at the Japanese memorial. The grave however still has some of Toshio's remains.

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