Japanese Dog Tags From World War Two « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowJapanese Dog Tags From World War Two

Japanese Dog Tags From World War Two
Published on Monday, January 30, 2012 by

It began with my good friend insisting I listen to the book on CD, “Flags of our Fathers.”

Me:  “Will it make me cry?  Am I going to hate it?  How hard is it to listen to?”

My Friend:  “Just listen to it.”

In other words, “It’s your history.  It’s real.  Step up.”

Step up I did.  I’m not sure how many people pulled up to me over the next few weeks, only to see tears rolling down my cheeks… but I didn’t care.  The book was indeed incredibly hard to listen to.  But now I feel every American should listen to it.

I am ashamed to say I never knew there were two flag raisings on Iwo Jima.  And that there was a cover-up regarding the names of one of the flag raisers.  And that the Pima Native American Ira Hayes walked and hitchhiked 1,300 miles to tell the Block family that their son was one of the flag raisers – something that had been covered up by the military.

So much history.

Today, I watched the movie.  It was extremely hard to view, as I expected.  But the hardest part was looking at the actual Iwo Jima photos shown during the credits.  This brings me to the pictures below.

These Japanese dog tags are in my friend’s possession.  As you see from the note, his grandfather found them on a beach in the Pacific after a World War II battle.  And my friend let me hold them.  HOLD THEM.  Actual Japanese dog tags from what I assume were fallen Japanese soldiers.

I am not writing with any political views.  I am sharing these pictures as a piece of significant world history.  Holding these dog tags took my breath away, for many many reasons.  The history of what I held in my hands was truly overwhelming, to say the least.

A very special thanks to my friend and BB, for letting me share these pictures.

WWII Dog Tags

dog tags

Japanese tag

iwo jima

circular japanese dog tag

If you know anyone who can translate these tags or tell more about them, can you please post below?  I am particularly interested in what the circle tag was used for.  The history of these pieces leaves me speechless.

Have you ever seen or held something from the past that caused this type of feeling in you?

mom blog

  • Cool! I hope you learn more about the tags!

    I have an Italian book from the 1700’s that gives me that kind of feeling. It’s a sort of science encyclopedia. It was printed, but all the images were drawn by hand. It makes me wonder about what life was like way back then.

  • I don’t think I could handle reading a book that will make me cry that much, but I might just give it a shot. Only because you said so!

  • Chat online

    Thats history!!!!You have to conserve it as much as you can! http://es.smeet.com/chat

  • My son is a history buff and we have watched several movies from that time – including flags of our fathers. They all touch me deeply. Thanks for a great post.

  • Ron

    WOW….I actually got chills reading this post and then SEEING the tags!

    I love history-type stories like this.

    And yes, I have had a similar experience while in Kyoto, Japan and seeing the ancient temples. I actually had sit down and cry my eyes out because I was so moved by their history and beauty. I was overcome with emotion from the ‘energy’ of the past.

    Great post, Katherine. Thanks for sharing!


  • Mel

    Read the book….saw the film.  Bawled.  Unceasingly….rivers of tears.  
    I’m not good with stuff like that.  I’m not brave or understanding or angry….just horribly sad and confused by the decision making.  But things were not, then, as they are today.  I try to remember that–culture was different, values were different, society was different.  Stuff evolves–as it should, I guess.

    I don’t believe I could have held those dog tags.
    I was paralyzed at the photos, even.
    No.  I know I wouldn’t have been able to hold the tags.  I’da been awash with the horrific-ness of it all.

  • Those tags are so fascinating.  I hope you find out more about them.

  • I’ll agree, that was quite an experience.  I know it was an emotional experience stemming from the reason they were found on that beach.  It was a difficult time for the world.

    I still have some of my father’s military items, probably his dog tags, passport, diplomas, photos, etc.  He was an airplane mechanic in the Air Force.  He was in from ’46 to ’52. 

  • richard kitchenaid mixer

    Going to watch that movie this weekend, just find a Japanese person to translate them 🙂
    Or a language tutor at you’re local college maybe.

  • Pat Cattin

    Sorry to burst your bubble! Emotions being what they are. Those nameplates are not dogtags. Those nameplates came from an electric motor. They indicate voltage amperage horsepower and hertz. I would think they would also include manufacturer, date of manufacture serial number of the motor etc. here’s a modern version:

  • Pat Cattin

    Here is an authentic Japanese World War II dog tag:
    They were commonly worn as a wristband

Subscribe to our RSS feed and get site updates delivered immediately.
Let’s Network!