The Bone Man of Kokoda

By: Happell, Charles:

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Macmillan Australia 2009 reprint. Card covers b&w plates. A little wear on edges and corners lightly creased else good-very good. Kokichi Nishimura was a member of the 144th Regiment of the Japanese Imperial Army. In 1942 he fought along every foot of Kokoda as the Japanese attempted to take Port Moresby. He was the only man from his company to survive the campaign. As he was evacuated to safety he made a promise that one day he would return to his comrades and bring them home to Japan for proper burial. After the war, Nishimura prospered. But in 1979, he shocked his family by returning to New Guinea to search for the remains of Japanese soldiers. For the next 25 years, Nishimura lived alone along the Kokoda Track. Armed only with a metal detector, a mattock and a shovel, he searched for his dead comrades, and over the years he found hundreds of them - some he was able to identify and return their bones to their families; others were unknown, and their remains were sent to Japan's official shrine for its war dead in Tokyo. In 2005 Nishimura, now in his mid-eighties and seriously ill, was forced to return to Japan. His story is an incredible adventure that gives us a radically different viewpoint on a battle that has become part of Australia's national myth.

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