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Lieutenant Commander Kenji Mitsui
Japanese coastwatcher on Guadalcanal

Lt. Commander Kenji Mitsui landed by destroyer near Lunga on October 4, 1942.  Mitsui watched the progress of the battle, reporting American aircraft losses to Rabaul by radio. 

From atop a Mount Austen, the highest point in that area on Guadalcanal, he lived in a camouflaged foxhole and reported on American movements and activities. Clearly visible from his location was Henderson Field, the American perimeter and the Lunga Point anchorage. Even Tulagi in the distance.

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The Americans suspected that an observer was radioing messages from Guadalcanal, but his exact position was never determined.  Mitsui survivied the battle and was evacuated from Guadalcanal by submarine I-16 on January 25, 1943.

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Ewan Stevenson adds:
"The closest thing the Japs had to the coastwatchers was various ‘outposts’ with radios. They were dotted around like at Astrolabe on Malaita, Marau on Guadalcanal, Cape Hunter, Koilutumaria also isolated outposts on Rendova, and Vella Lavella, etc. The Allied CW used to watch these outposts as well! A crashed Catalina crew accidentally stumbled into a Jap CW post on Vella and I think some of the crew killed in the fray."

References
Sydney Morning Herald "Secret Battle of Guadalcanal" by D. Jenkins May 7, 1974
War by Stealth by Alan Powell
Thanks to John Innes, Stan Jersey, Ewan Stevenson and Peter Flahavin for information
Present day photos by Justin Taylan 2003 & 2006

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