From Redditor u/junkyarddag:
A small diary/journal written in Japanese with small letters also in Japanese in it. My grandfather fought in WWII in the Pacific. He gave the journal to my father before he died. He said it was from a Japanese officer that he killed. My father said he was very shaken and seemed deeply disturbed by the memory. He made my father promise that he would never look to return the journal to the family or try to look into it.
My father has now passed and I have the journal. Creeps me out. Wtf.
Lotta people asked what it says. I have no idea. It could be anything from a personal journal to a grocery list. I’ve never had it translated. I haven’t had it out in years. I’ve always just kind of avoided it. Many years before my dad passed, I asked him if we should try to have it returned to the family and he was uncharacteristically serious about not doing it, as he promised his father.
From what I understand, my grandfather was a cook with the CeeBees (forgive my military ignorance; I think that’s the division’s nickname) somewhere in the pacific theater. Something weird happened with this Japanese soldier as my grandfather wasn’t a front line type. My father said his dad always got real weird/freaked out about it.
I probably should investigate and return it but I've always been hesitant because
A. It definitely feels like the start of a horror/revenge movie where I get some dude hunting me to avenge his grandpappy and,
B. The whole awkwardness of, “Hi how’s Japan? I love sushi. Btw my granddad killed and possibly tortured your granddad, here’s some stuff he stole from him.”
But you have all inspired me to pull it out later and investigate. I will post a second update with more details or pics of it later after I get home from work.
EDIT 2 (8pm 1.18.22)
As promised, I got home from work and pulled everything out. Over time, some of it has gotten mixed in with his other war stuff (I have a whole box of pics, newspapers, flags, etc.) so it’s hard to tell exactly what all went with the journals. But here’s what I have with as much detail as I can provide
Journal 1: small (about the size of a pack of baseball cards) pages are lined like a notebook. The first three pages are written in handwriting, presumably Japanese. Very neat printing and held up well, despite the age. I will try to Google Translate it with a photo as some of you suggested and post it if it works.
Journal 2: slightly larger, leatherbound, printing on the cover in Japanese (embossed). Inside the front cover is a map of the North America, South America, and Europe. Inside the back cover is a map of Asia. The next page seems to have four printed photos with Japanese printed words in middle. There's photos of a bunch of men with female dolls, a group praying to a bridge in the distance, a military line up, and a pile of packages that look like shoe box sized. Next page: printed Japanese writing large, like a title page. The next five pages have printed Japanese on them, not handwritten. A few pages look like a calendar. I’m guessing this was officially issued. The rest of this book is blank pages. Tucked in between some pages is a torn piece of paper that has Japanese printing on it. Again, maybe a prayer.
Tucked in one of the journals, now no longer in, were a bunch of small photos (size of a small post-it). Mostly military shots. Men in uniform. There are three that stand out. One is a family with seven women, a baby, and an older man. It has Japanese writing on back. Another is a close up of a man in uniform (maybe the owner) and the third is of a Japanese man in a suit wearing eyeglasses.
The final piece seems to be a homemade picture album. About 20 pages, normal sized paper, bound at the top with string, Japanese writing printed on cover, and a tab of paper taped on with Japanese handwriting. Inside are pages of small pictures taped with Japanese handwriting under each. I think it’s handwriting at least, but it’s so neatly written it’s hard to tell. The photos appear mainly of military scenes.
I think that’s all that is related to the journals. Everything else seems to be newspapers and pictures of our GIs and my grandfather.
I cannot figure out how to post photos to this thread. If anyone can tell me how, please do.