hiroshi funasaka

blogging this again because I can (I’ll go back to art soon!)

My Grandfather, Vernon Forrest Crenshaw - who fought in the attack on Peleliu and acted as a translator. Because he spoke Japanese he also saw to the care of, and had to prevent the abuse of, the Japanese PoW’s.

The Japanese man embracing my Grandfather is Hiroshi Funaska, who had fought for the Imperial Japanese army also on Peleliu. After being wounded he ran a suicide attack on a marine position and killed several marines, but did not die himself (all documented in his book "Falling Blossoms" which is IIRC still in print in Japan, but no longer in print in English and if any ever wanted to give me a copy I would lvoe you forever). He was taken prisoner and ended up on burial detail, which my Grandfather oversaw.

I will never know what passed between them beyond what Mr. Funasaka and my Grandfather wrote down, and the very little my Grandfather spoke about.

I do know that Mr. Funasaka credited my Grandfather with saving his life, and spent many post-war years trying to look up “Sargent Grenshaw.”
Well between the typo on the last name and the fact that my Grandfather had ben promoted toward the end of the war, it took a very very long time for anyone  figure out who mr. Funasaka was looking for.

However, one of Funasaka’s letters was printed in the Marine newspaper “Leatherneck” and finally someone recalled the PoW my Grandfather was often with and put together that Grenshaw could be Crenshaw. So, my Grandfather- who had continued to learn Japanese - wrote Funasaka and was invited to Japan.

This is my Grandfather and Mr. Funasaka seeing each other again for the first time since World War II.