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The Bone Man of Kokoda

The Extraordinary Story of Kokichi Nishimura and the Kokoda Track

Author: Charles Happell  

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Kokichi Nishimura, a soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army, was the only man from his company to survive the Kokoda campaign. He made a promise that one day he would return to his comrades and bring them home to Japan for proper burial. In 1979, he returned to New Guinea. Over the next 25 years he found the remains of hundreds of his dead comrades.

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Paperback

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Summary

Kokichi Nishimura, a soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army, was the only man from his company to survive the Kokoda campaign. He made a promise that one day he would return to his comrades and bring them home to Japan for proper burial. In 1979, he returned to New Guinea. Over the next 25 years he found the remains of hundreds of his dead comrades.

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Description

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. Nishimura's life and quest above all offer a poignant reminder of the futility of war.

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Awards

Short-listed for National Biography Award (Australia) 2009

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About the Author

Charles Happell is a former journalist with The Age newspaper.

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Product Details

Publisher
Pan Macmillan Australia | Pan Australia
Published
1st April 2009
Edition
1st
Pages
288
ISBN
9780330424844

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

21 Sep, 2017
Very good read. I've read many books with an Australian perspective of the PNG conflict. This was the first time I'd even thought about how it was for the Japanese soldiers.
By Tony
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