Research

Digital Resources: Higuchi Wartime Correspondence

Chaplain Hiro Higuchi at a memorial for members of the 442nd killed in action in Europe

During World War II, Hiro Higuchi of Hawaiʻi volunteered to serve as one of two chaplains attached to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all-Japanese American unit formed in January 1943. Following his enlistment, Higuchi attended the U.S. Army Chaplain School at Harvard University in the fall of 1943. In November 1943, he joined the soldiers of the 442nd RCT for intensive training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. In June 1944, Higuchi accompanied the 442nd RCT to Europe, where he served with the unit in Italy and France. Chaplain Hiro Higuchi returned home to Hawaiʻi in December 1945.

As chaplain of the 442nd RCT’s 2nd Battalion, Higuchi did not engage in battle, though his duties enabled him to experience firsthand the nature of war. He provided comfort and solace to the troops, held religious services on the front lines, transported the wounded and dead from the battlefield, comforted injured soldiers at first aid stations, wrote letters to the families of those killed in action, held memorial services, and performed various administrative duties.

While serving with the 442nd RCT, Chaplain Higuchi wrote frequent letters to his wife Hisako reassuring her of his safety and documenting his experiences and impressions of the war. His descriptive letters provide insight into the mindset and experiences of the soldiers of the 442nd RCT and the nature of military life in World War II.

Hisako Higuchi also wrote frequent letters to her husband describing life at home in Pearl City, Oʻahu. She describes the daily activities of family and friends, as well as noteworthy happenings around the island. Her detailed accounts of daily life provide insight into the nature of Hawaiʻi‘s homefront during the war.

This website contains a selection of the letters exchanged between Chaplain Hiro Higuchi and his wife Hisako during World War II. The letters are listed in chronological order and are available in PDF format.

To learn more about the correspondence and other papers of Chaplain Hiro Higuchi, please see the Hiro Higuchi Papers Finding Aid.pdf file

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Selected Letters of Hiro and Hisako Higuchi, 1943-1945

Wartime Letters of Chaplain Hiro Higuchi: 1943

  • 30 August 1943 pdf file Ft. Ethan Allen, VT: Hiro writes of his arrival in Vermont
  • 7 September 1943 pdf file Ft. Ethan Allen, VT: Hiro describes his activities in Vermont
  • 20 September 1943 pdf file Ft. Ethan Allen, VT: Hiro gives a description of his recent activities
  • 30 September 1943 pdf file Chaplain School, Harvard, MA: Hiro writes home the day before Chaplain School begins
  • 4 October 1943 pdf file Chaplain School, Harvard, MA: Hiro describes his activities at Chaplain School
  • 21 October 1943 pdf file Chaplain School, Harvard, MA: Hiro discusses life at Chaplain School
  • 24 October 1943 pdf file Chaplain School, Harvard, MA: Hiro writes to Hisako in the style of a military letter
  • 11 November 1943 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro describes the beginning of his training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi
  • 12 November 1943 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro gives an account of his activities during training
  • 25 November 1943 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro describes going on maneuvers
  • 4 December 1943 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro discusses his activities during training
  • 8 December 1943 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro writes Hisako about the birth of their daughter
  • 15 December 1943 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro describes training in poor weather conditions

Wartime Letters of Chaplain Hiro Higuchi: 1944

  • 7 January 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro describes a recent bivouac
  • 4 February 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro writes about life at camp and rumors of going into combat
  • 21 February 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro discusses camp life and the attitude of mainland AJA soldiers
  • 29 February 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro compares training at Camp Shelby to Chaplain School
  • 6 March 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro writes about life at camp and giving morality lectures
  • 30 March 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro returns to camp following a two week furlough
  • 7 April 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro writes about the origins of the phrase “Go for Broke”
  • 10 April 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro discusses his preparations for going overseas
  • 19 April 1944 pdf file Camp Shelby, MS: Hiro describes recent activities and camp life
  • 31 May 1944 pdf file Crossing the Atlantic: Hiro writes about his voyage across the Atlantic
  • 4 June 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro gives his impressions of Italy shortly after his arrival
  • 16 June 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro describes conditions in Italy and the reputation of the 100th Infantry Battalion
  • 8 July 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro provides an account of his first battle experience
  • 22 July 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro describes conditions in Italy and on the front lines
  • 15 August 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro discusses casualties during the recent fighting
  • 24 August 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro writes about services he conducted on the front lines
  • 27 August 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro gives an account of life on the front lines
  • 4 September 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro describes a trip into a mine field
  • 8 September 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro explains his duties and speculates on the future of veterans after the war
  • 20 September 1944 pdf file Italy: Hiro writes while in transit to a new location
  • 17 October 1944 pdf file France: Hiro conditions the conditions and recent fighting in France
  • 18 October 1944 pdf file France: Hiro writes about helping wounded soldiers during battle
  • 20 October 1944 pdf file France: Hiro gives an account of his encounter with a wounded German soldier
  • 31 October 1944 pdf file France: Hiro describes the fighting in France
  • 2 November 1944 pdf file France: Hiro discusses recent shelling and casualties
  • 6 November 1944 pdf file France: Hiro describes his attempts to hold services on the front lines
  • 17 November 1944 pdf file France: Hiro writes about the recent memorial service and the food people sent him
  • 4 December 1944 pdf file France: Hiro describes his activities during a break from combat
  • 24 December 1944 pdf file France: Hiro gives an account of the Christmas services he held
  • 30 December 1944 pdf file France: Hiro describes writing letters to the families of soldiers who have died

Wartime Letters of Chaplain Hiro Higuchi: 1945

  • 7 January 1945 pdf file France: Hiro writes about the “Champagne Campaign”
  • 24 February 1945 pdf file France: Hiro reflects on some of the close calls that he experienced during battle
  • 7 March 1945 pdf file France: Hiro describes his recent activities
  • 25 March 1945 pdf file Italy: After relocating, Hiro thinks the 442nd is about to go back into battle
  • 6 April 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro describes the attack on the Gothic line and his interactions with German prisoners
  • 14 April 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro gives an account of his experiences during the recent fighting
  • 8 May 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro writes about he service he held following the announcement of peace in Europe
  • 22 May 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro discusses his activities working with German prisoners
  • 11 June 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro describes his trip to France to visit the graves of fallen 442nd soldiers
  • 6 July 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro writes about his recent activities
  • 21 July 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro gives a description of his German orderly and his upcoming trip to Athens
  • 6 August 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro describes about his work as regimental chaplain and his Legion of Merit citation
  • 20 August 1945 Italy: Hiro writes about his work as regimental chaplain and the end of the war in the Pacific
  • 2 September 1945 Italy: Hiro gives an account of his recent trip to Palestine
  • 14 September 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro shares the latest rumors of when he will get to come home
  • 18 September 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro writes that he hopes to be home by Thanksgiving
  • 26 October 1945 pdf file Italy: Hiro writes that he is at the depot waiting for a ship to cross the Atlantic
  • 19 November 1945 pdf file Charlottesville, VA: Hiro sends Hisako a telegram upon his arrival in the United States

Wartime Letters of Hisako Higuchi: 1943

  • 5 August 1943 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes of Hiro’s departure to join the 442nd RCT
  • 16 September 1943 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes a brief note on V-Mail paper
  • 17 October 1943 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses daily activities and relocation camps
  • 8 November 1943 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes of preparations for the baby and an air raid drill
  • 27 December 1943 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes to Hiro about the birth of their daughter

Wartime Letters of Hisako Higuchi: 1944

  • 15 January 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about recent happenings and casualties in Italy
  • 7 February 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses events at home and the blackout
  • 11 February 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes life at home and local boys who are getting draft cards
  • 13 March 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako reassures Hiro not to worry about the family
  • 1 April 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about Easter and recent happenings
  • 2 May 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes recent events and starting her job at the YWCA
  • 28 May 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses daily activities and her work at the YWCA
  • 6 June 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes concerning the news of the D-Day invasion
  • 16 June 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about daily activities and receiving V-Mail from Hiro
  • 11 July 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes of daily activities
  • 23 July 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses recent happenings
  • 21 August 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes a wedding she attended
  • 1 September 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako includes news of soldiers and their families
  • 21 September 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes of daily activities
  • 3 October 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako congratulates Hiro on his promotion to Captain
  • 10 October 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about gas rations and the recent election primaries
  • 18 November 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes a recent air raid alarm and news of casualties
  • 24 November 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses the bombing of Tokyo and news of casualties
  • 6 December 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about Japanese American soldiers and casualties
  • 17 December 1944 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes the family’s Christmas preparations

Wartime Letters of Hisako Higuchi: 1945

  • 9 January 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about the war effort and a luau she attended
  • 17 January 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako gives news of Japanese American soldiers
  • 23 February 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes her work and recent activities
  • 15 March 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses the housing shortages and recent happenings
  • 12 April 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about President Roosevelt’s death
  • 9 May 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about VE Day on Oʻahu
  • 27 June 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses an outbreak of the flu in Hawaiʻi
  • 15 July 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako describes recent happenings and shortages at local stores
  • 16 August 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako writes about VJ Day and the end of the war
  • 12 November 1945 pdf file Hawaiʻi: Hisako discusses how the end of the war has impacted Oʻahu

 

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