Kan Nakamura's journal exposes the mind of a young Japanese officer during the Second World War, serving with one of the highly disciplined, but outmanned regiments stationed on Guadalcanal. A young officer, apparently fresh out of a military academy, Nakamura is a sympathetic figure, motivated but sensitive, a man who yearns for home, fears combat, but who guts out the worst conditions of hunger, disease, death, and threat from the air.
Although the journal entries are brief and often perfunctory, and although he took part in little actual combat on Guadalcanal, Nakamura's journal is a valuable record of the first major land battle in the Pacific involving American forces as seen from the Japanese perspective. It is particularly useful for revealing the emotional and mental preparation of a typical Japanese junior officer and provides revealing glimpses of day-to-day service during the worst period of the Battle of Guadalcanal, as well as the hardships experienced by the entrenched forces.
The typescript translation (23 pages) from the original Japanese was purportedly made in April, 1943, shortly after the American victory at Guadalcanal. It was presumably translated by American intelligence agents interested in information on Japanese troop movements, strength, or strategy, but it contains no information about Nakamura's fate.
The manuscript translation (57 pages) title page states "Diary of / Kan Makamura [sic.] / Probational Officer / of / Sano Gronze Shoji / Butai Takizawa Butai / Matsungo Tai / September 19, 1942 / to / January 8, 1943". At the back of the manuscript volume is a 1-page word list in English and "Morovo" [Marovo] followed by the name M. K. Raina, Seventh Day Adventist Mission, Batuna, Marovo Lagoon, British Solomon Islands.
The two translations contain over 120 minor (i.e. I am very happy vs. I feel very happy), factual (i.e. This makes 16 persons from my platoon vs. This makes 6 persons we lost from my platoon), and meaningful variations (I took a look vs. I took a bath), plus frequent alternate spellings of places and names. In addition, the typescript notes days of the week and the manuscript does not; the manuscript notes weather conditions after each date and the typescript does not until September 24, 1942.