Interview of Latellik Johnson
Note: The interviewee is noted by initials, the interviewer by [Q].
Surviving the Japanese Occupation and Famine
[LJ] Before we three go ahead and talk about our story this evening, about a thing that maybe it is not that big of a deal for you two, I will introduce myself and tell you my name and where I live. So that I can start telling you my story. My name is Lattelik. I am a Mili-boy. Before the war, I used to live in Mili and stayed there until the time the Japanese were taking students.
They took me from Mili to Jabwor [capital city of Jaluit. An this time, the Japanese controlled Jaluit as an outpost]. I went and went and went and went and went and went to school. Let’s say after I was in the first grade, second grade, third grade [In the Japanese school system, there were only three grades, and students who were finished with school were frequently teenagers], the war started. People never seem to tire of the stories about the war because the war is one of the surprising and sad stories [of our people]. But I am also thinking about the duration of the war because it was really long time for a small country [Japan] to oppose a big country. A country the size of a grain of sand opposed a country as big a reef flat during the war.
I was in Jabwor at this time. As I reached third grade, the war began, and they [the Japanese] took all the students from Jabwor and distributed them among the other islets because it was clear that the ocean was close [and the American Navy was nearby]. There was no more time for school or other things. At this time I was moved from Jabwor to Jaluit and stayed on some small islet. But the war was still going: on and on and on and on, and in the middle of the war they [Japanese] created a law. Now that the ocean was not an option [for receiving supplies], everything was hard after they damaged Hawaii. There was a law concerning all the people who were in Jaluit, and the law was, “Marshallese are not allowed to eat local food.”
The Americans were mad, and they said, “Now, since there is no other thing we can do, the right thing to do is starve the Japanese.” For now we have to stop and think because in the mind of the American President, it was clear that America’s little finger had been broken. . . . So, one thing that the Americans really thought about was how to create a situation that would weaken the Japanese.
But [the Japanese] created a team coming from Imiej [islet of Jaluit] that went from islet to islet. The name of the team was “Tokimwang,” which means ‘the group that rations food’. And they made the Marshallese starve because in their minds, they said, “If we are starving, they should also be starving.”
. . . You may know about a man called Captain Andrew -- he was called to come and help with the damage that the Japanese did to Hawaii. The job that they offered him… they said, “You will be responsible for forming a blockade—so that no Japanese ship can move.” This will prevent Japanese movement of equipment and soldiers and it will keep the Japanese from preparing for attacks and [transporting] food and soldiers and armaments. . . . This guy, Captain Andrew, he answered the call, and he came and did exactly what was asked of him. When ships from Japan were coming with food and war equipment, and he heard that a ship would be entering a lagoon at a particular hour and place, he understood and prevented the ships from entering, and that is how it was.
So now, we were not eating local food, we were not fishing. The Japanese prevented us from all of this and it was they who would come and give us food. They began to assign all the men to make jakaro [coconut sap] for all the Japanese soldiers. Each man was assigned to bring five large bottles of jakaro. The women were assigned to grate coconut and make coconut hard candy [with the jakaro and grated coconut as an energy source], for the soldiers were beginning to starve. When we Marhsallese started to starve, the law became stricter. No one was allowed to set foot on the beach. Fishing was not allowed. Drinking a coconut was not allowed. Eating breadfruit was not allowed. Eating coconut seedlings was not allowed.
When you went fishing, you had to have permission. No one wandered around without permission. As for me, I was still a young boy, and the things that I heard, I was not really concerned about. I was just there minding my own business, though we were starving. We were in a lot of trouble because of what the Japanese did. And in that time period, I lived on a small islet, Jinpal. There were one hundred some soldiers there as well. We lived together. They lived lagoonside while we lived oceanside [in the Marshall Islands, oceanside and lagoonside are codified directions]. I stayed with the Marshallese (including my parents) who took care of me during the war: WWII.
At that time we were not supposed to go fishing. When you wanted to fish, you must notify [the Japanese], for they were watching. . . . If the Marshallese ate local food, they would be in trouble. So each group would watch the other day and night. Life was not easy, but it went on like that for some time until the Japanese came up with another law. They said, “This is clearly a very difficult situation, we must find different ways to survive.”
. . . I had a Japanese friend, his name was Yamamuchidai. We became blood brothers [here the speaker used the term jera- which describes the relationship formed by accepting someone as a brother which must then be honored in the family -- in other words, this man became a part of LJ’s family as if he were adopted]. One evening a Japanese came to him and said, “Hey, Yamamuchidai, can we find a way to live? Because if this is how we have to live, it is a disaster as we are dying from starvation and poor health. There are some things that we eat that have made us sick because they are poisonous and when we eat them, we are poisoned.” Then he [my jera] asked, “What do you have in mind?” One of the Japanese said, “I heard them say that there are some soldiers who are eating karuk [ghost crabs]” Ghost crabs crawl during the night. Yamamuchidai asked, “How do you suppose we can catch them [without getting caught ourselves]?” “Well, maybe we can agree to set a watch while some will catch the crabs at night on the beach.” We did this because there were no more coconut crabs, no more mice, there was nothing else, no more dogs, no more cats -- we killed them all and ate them.
Geez, we really had big problems. It was like this for some time. Then Yamamuchidai asked me, “My brother, could we find a way for the three of us to cook some ghost crab to eat?” I replied, “Well, there is one thing we can do: they call it kuwaal.” Then Yamamuchidai, my blood brother, asked, “What is kuwaal?” I said, let’s go, I’ll show you what kuwaal is.” So we went and collected the sheath covers from the stalks of the coconuts [a hard, triangular shaped woody cover over the stalk on which coconuts will develop: the cover itself opens and falls to the ground], and we collected them from the bases of the coconut trees. Then we brought them and split into slivers and tied them together again with pandanus [long and fiberous] leaves. The guy who thought up this scheme will be the one to watch while we are on the beach chasing ghost crabs. We will use the kuwaal to light the beach, and when we find the ghost crabs scrambling around, we will chase them. Once we get some, we will put them inside a can. When we fill the can, we would go and cook them at Yamamuchidai’s place because he was in charge of the Japanese on this islet since he was a high officer.
Everything that he learned from Japan he would tell me so I would know. They notified him that he would be in charge of all the small islets from Imiroj all the way to the islets farthest north. This includes Narmij, Manjin, Kaijin. They told him, “You will settle all situations that come up for the group that you are responsible for.” And all of these things I knew about. That was how we suffered and continued to suffer for a long time. And then one evening, my jera [Yamamuchidai], he came to me and said, “Well, I am notifying you that there will be a meeting.” And I asked the purpose of the meeting. He said, “The ferry [Japanese ship] will come and conduct a meeting, and one of the things they will talk about are the bunkers. Where there are three bunkers, they will destroy two and leave one.” This was in preparation for killing the Marshallese.
All of these plans were secret, and only one of our people knew about them. In all of the small islets, I was the only one who knew because of the Japanese guy, my jera, told me. He also said, “These things that I am talking to you about, don’t talk about them with others because these plans are not yet certain.” I thought all of these words he was telling me were not true [I couldn’t believe it] but then the ferry came one night and all of the Japanese high officers went to the meeting. After the meeting, they said, “Well, where there are three bunkers, there should be only one.” Mejjae [Medyai], Mejjetto [Medjado], Imiroj [Imrodj], and other islets in that region will have only two bunkers. One would be to the far north on one of the bigger islets. Seal all of the windows in all of the bunkers and make it so that there is only one door. One bunker will be in the north, one in the south. And the reason behind all of this is so that when they said, “Bring all the Marshallese in,” it would be easier for them to kill them in just one place.
All of this I knew about, but at the time, I was young, so I did not worry. I was still young, and these things were not heavy on my mind. The second time my blood brother told me about the Japanese plan, he said, “Jerai.” I said, “I am here.” He said, “Soon the Japanese will come out and get ready to kill – like I told you there would be a time — they will have a meeting to get ready for that moment. And when this evening comes, you will come to my house and we will have a talk.” That evening, he came looking for me and said, “Let’s go to my house so I can show you what we can do about the situation we are about to face. For now, they are getting ready to kill the Marshallese.”
The reason they were planning this is that if they lost to the Americans and died, well, the Marshallese would also die. And this plan came directly from Japan. It was not only the Japanese military that were going to carry out this plan, but also the Japanese educated [Marshallese]. As soon as the plan surfaced, the White House already knew and notified the American President and said, “Well, what do you think about the war? Should we end it or should we keep going?” And the President said, “Create two groups, one will stay in the bigger ocean and the other will go and end the war in the Pacific so that we can rescue the Marshallese.”
We knew the hour the Japanese would carry out their plan because they said, “At exactly ten they will step on dry land and kill the Marshallese.” When the White House knew about it, it said, “Well, that is an important hour.” The Japanese would go out to where the Marshallese were working for the Japanese and this important hour would be ten o’clock. The Americans thought, “Let’s set our plans aside . . . . It is better for us to head to the Marshall Islands to rescue them.” And this is the plan that jera told me about so I knew and that is good because it is the reason why I am still sitting here today.
We stayed [in his house]. Then he said, “While you go and stay over there, I will be over here. But he had already placed all his weapons in front of us. And he said, “In the time when the Japanese start killing the Marshallese, I think it is better that you know how to use these things. It is better that you kill one instead of sitting there waiting for them to kill you. It is better for you to kill one than to die. It is not good if you die without trying to defend yourself.” All of this equipment, he taught me how to use, so I learned how to use all the rifles and hand grenades.
There are several steps to using a hand grenade. I don’t know how the Americans use their hand grenades, but as for the Japanese hand grenades, you grab one, bite it and then you start to count. As soon as you bite it you count “one” then you throw it away. You have to not hold on to it. If it falls, don’t go after it . . . . Everything that jera taught me that night, I memorized. Jera and I had already killed a Japanese because of the famine -- we killed a Japanese at the end of the islet called Jinpal [Jinbal]. I am fortunate.
[Q] Why did you kill him?
Murder of a Japanese Soldier
LJ]We killed him because he was from the Japanese camp, lagoonside (because their camp was lagoonside and the Marshallese camp was oceanside). And maybe he had a bad stomach because it was just dawn and he went to the beach because he had cramps. He went to the beach to do his business there. And maybe there were waves there because he did not stay long (this was good because the tide came in at dawn and went out in the early morning).
This Japanese guy came southward and jera and I were already at the end of Jinpal. Jera asked me to climb a coconut tree. He asked, “Can you climb that coconut tree?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Did you Marshallese get breakfast?” I said, “We did not.” He said, “Well bring us two coconuts to drink. As you climb that tree, I will go over there and watch [stand guard]. So that if I see a Japanese crossing from the other islet, I will shoot him, but if a Marshallese comes I will bring him while you climb the tree and I watch.”
I went and climbed that coconut tree so that I could bring us two coconuts to drink. After I dropped one to the ground, the other Japanese soldier appeared. He came and squatted [to empty his bowels) right under the coconut tree I had climbed. As for me, I was twisting the coconut to break the stem, I tired and I straightened my back taking a rest because the coconuts were large and the stem was thick. I tried again to loosen the coconut and it slipped from my fingers and hit the ground. I bent and twisted and twisted and but it slipped from my hand and it fell. It crashed through the coconut leaves making noise. When the Japanese looked up, he saw me standing on top of the tree. I don’t know if this guy had finished, but he was a dedicated soldier who knew about the Japanese law that required each group to watch the other and inform the authorities of any unauthorized activities. The law also says that if you see an incident and you hide it, you will die.
He yelled at me and said, “Hey boy! Do you know there is a law? We have to watch one another so no one eats local food because there are special times for food distribution. We have not yet eaten because the Food Committee has not yet given us permission to eat yet. And now I am going to shoot you.”
You see that kind of kiden that grows and has just three branches? [a sapling] He stood up and hitched up his pants leaning toward the kiden where he had placed his rifle. I thought to myself, “What is taking him so long? He has been aiming at me for a while now.” And my friend jera heard him when he was talking to me and my friend came northward along the brush and when he looked, he saw the Japanese soldier taking aim.
But you know at that time, a Japanese soldier did not just walk around without purpose -- everywhere a soldier went, he carried all his equipment. Like when they go to eat or sleep, all of their equipment should be with them because they were expecting the Americans at a moment’s notice. They had often seen the American planes flying overhead, and they thought that the Americans would soon arrive in Jaluit. Little did they know that these planes were flying out of Mili, which the Americans had already conquered.
I was still standing on the coconut tree, and I was so frightened I wanted to cry but my voice caught in my throat. I didn’t feel like I was standing on the tree because my body was numb. I said to myself, “Oh boy! Is this really the end?” and when I looked around, I couldn’t see jera, I did not know where he was!
The Japanese soldier was aiming at me. I said to myself, “I am screwed!” As I was standing on the coconut tree and thinking, I heard, “Pop.” My friend he was a really good shot. His unit had just come from the war in China, and when they had won, they came here . . . When I looked down, I saw the Japanese soldier was curled up on the ground. Imagine what it is like when a person is lying on the ground shot. That person keeps turning and turning looking for comfort. The Japanese soldier kept turning and turning until he died.
Jera said, “Climb down. Come down so we can pull this guy out into the water, we will float him down to the pass between the two islets.” When I was on the ground, he said, “Take off all his clothes and leave the buntoji [underclothing]” and he took the bullets, rifle, hand grenades, the knife, and the bayonet. He walked along the beach while I pulled the body of the soldier along in the water. Thankfully, the tide came in and washed away all the blood. As we reached the weir at the south end of Jinpal, he said, “Go and bring some rocks from the Oceanside
I went and carried and carried and carried rocks to hold the body under the water. We kept this up until he said, “Are there no more rocks?” I said, “Yes, there are still plenty of rocks.” He said, “Go and bring some more.” So we kept on piling rocks on top of the dead body until the mound was only an inch below the surface.
He said, “Come and stand on this guy.” This was when he brought larger rocks and we placed them on top of him and pushed them down. When we were done he said to me, “Well you can go now. But if anyone asks where you are coming from, tell them you were looking for maeo [a small crab found among the rocks].”
The Japanese knew the names of everything because of how dire the famine was. They knew the names of all kinds of crabs. “You will say you were looking for maeo, the crab that lives under the reef flat. Tell them you were looking for toys. Hear this. Don’t tell them what happened.” And I listened to his instructions and I went on my way. As for the dead soldier, they did not look for him that week. The second week they began to look for him because of jera’s insistence. He said to the Japanese soldiers, “I have not seen this guy, where is he?” This is when all the other Japanese started to look for him and then another disaster came upon us.
Two of the high ranking officers from Imiej came and brought us Marshallese together and asked us, which one of us did this [for they suspected foul play]. And I was really anxious because we were staring down the barrels of their loaded rifles. But Jera had already told me, “Do not to tell them anything even if while they question you, they are aiming right at you. Just say you don’t know. Don’t tell them the truth.” And he also said, “You see that person who will shoot you? I will shoot him along with all the other soldiers who are there.” Jera was holding on to his machine gun. He had already loaded it, and he was there with us when we were on our way to the interrogation. He was holding on to his machine gun, and in his mind he was saying, “I am going to go along with these people so that if they shoot my Marshallese brother, I will shoot them.”
The law was being strongly enforced, if the Food Committee first came at five in the afternoon, then that is when we would eat. But the reason we survived the famine is because we [young boys] were making jakaro and sharing it among all the Marshallese. And another reason was because of my friend.
One time he came and asked me, “How many people are there where you live?” I said that there were thus and so many. He said, “Well go and tell Manbij to come.” So Manbij came [and he said to him] “Ok, collect this many fallen coconuts. And if there is jakaro left over, well you guys share it among yourselves. A bottle of jakaro for two people. Five pieces of copra for each person.” And in this way, we were able to survive the famine. We were all in a tight spot.
As for me, who is telling the story, it was the first time I ate rat, cat, and dog, and raw octopus while under the water. That is how hard life was for us. Sometimes it was better for me because Jera would give me food when he knew that we had not yet eaten. It was a little better for me.
Rescued by the Americans
Then came the time for the Japanese to carry out their plan to kill us. . . . Jera said, “Tomorrow, the Japanese ship will come. The killing ship will come tomorrow, and it will be here at ten o’clock.” And everybody else learned because I told them, “Well, my friend says this will happen.” Then they all went oceanside to discuss what they would do. And a ferry came and brought all the Marshallese from Jinpal to Mejjae. It would bring everyone from the south region to Mejjae so that everyone could be in one place. That ship would also bring all the soldiers to Mejjae. All the Marshallese would be in one place, so that when the ship came, they would kill us.
So they told us, “Make two bunkers. The people in the south would go into the bunker to the south and those people to the north would use the one to the north.” When they said, “Kuju.” We would all go in because the ship that was going to kill us was on its way.
This guy, Captain Andrew, also knew the hour when the ship was to arrive. Because he had communicated with the Americans and the Americans said, “Well, do you know about the plan, Captain Andrew?” “Yes,” he answered, “I kind of knew about it.” And America said, “Do what you have do to.” Captain Andrew said, “Don’t worry.” America asked, “Where are you now?” Captain Andrew, “Well, I am here oceanside of Lallal [a very small islet of Jaluit Atoll]. I am just awaiting the hour.” And America replied, “Okay.”
[Q] What kind of ship is Captain Andrew on?
[LJ] He was in a submarine, this guy, Captain Andrew. These days, why do we say, “Irooj Day?” Why do we say Chief’s Day, Minister’s Day, Senator’s Day, Old People’s Day? But why don’t we say, “MacArthur Day? Why don’t we say, “Captain Andrew Day?” “John Winn Day?” Why did we come up with these days?
Why didn’t we give the people who fought for us during the war days to remember them by? But we honor days that don’t belong to us. And the truth is, the day does not belong to the chief or anyone else, but it belongs to those who survived the Japanese rule. From the elderly to the students everyone was under one law. Everyone should have died according to the Japanese plan. In the name of Japan, no one should live. The Japanese schools should vanish like we [Japanese] will. We don’t need another flag flying over the Marshall Islands.
[CA]So this guy Andrew he listened?
[LJ]This guy was listening and said, “Don’t worry because I am here.” The Americans said, “Do you know about the ship?” Captain Andrew said, “I know, don’t worry. You will see, before I do anything you will see a big ship. I will…” This is why this guy was really good: after he had destroyed all the big ships, he would take pictures and place them in his briefcase ready to be sent to America. He said, “Well, the ship that you guys are talking about, we will bring you the pictures on this day and we will come back on that day.” So this guy was really careful in his work. This was a real man. Captain Andrew was a savior, you will see it in storybook [History book?] that he has done a lot. This guy came to Jabwor and stayed there for a short time and then went to Lallal and on to the other islets that the Japanese used during that time.
When the Japanese said, “Kuju,” I went inside the large bunker in Mejjae. They sent two men to guard the bunker because the men who were to carry out the plan were soon to arrive. When the Japanese ship set out, the Americans set out too: the same day, the same hour. And the good important thing is not because they rescued us, but the important thing was the timing. Because if the Japanese and the American ships had been delayed, the war in the Pacific would have been over, and we would have been dead. . . . [The Americans delayed their plans so that the Marshallese could be rescued before the Japanese were defeated.]
We are grateful today because a good thing has already happened, and it was not by our hand, but by the hands of one who really knows about all things--God. He said, “I have to do this because I created the world, and I am tired, so I have to make use of my exhaustion by employing the people in this world, and I will give them an hour and it will be a good hour.” The important thing now in our islands is about the timing, not because of the rescue. The rescue has little importance. At the time when the ships went out, when America heard about the plan, America said, “On which ocean is Captain Andrew?” “Captain Andrew is in the Pacific.” Get ready for the hour. You must set foot on dry land. One wheel: I don’t know what ‘one wheel’ means, but I heard it in the books and I heard other people talk about this word. It is like saying, “Faster than a chariot.” Set foot on dry land at this hour!
We were in the bunkers, and I said to the group, “Everyone must be quiet so that we can hear what they are saying.” But they sent a man to guard the door. They had locked the door with big locks so that no one could get out. The each had a mortar, and they brought them [the guards] a box full of shells and placed it right next to the door of the bunker. For when they give the signal, they would shell inside the bunker. Twenty Americans had already landed. We did not hear any news, but a ship had already arrived. Because there were only two ships that came to the Marshall Islands, one for the Ratak Chain one for the Ralik Chain. The one that went to the Ratak chain came out of Kiribiti and came here [perhaps Arno]. The other one went all the way to Jaluit.
Suddenly, we heard an explosion. Then we wondered, “Where are they shooting from?” But it was the work of Captain Andrew. Just after the explosion, they said, “There are a lot of American soldiers in the northern region [of the atoll].” Like was said in their [the American] plan to step on dry land before the appointed time, and they yelled to the guards, and said, “News from the northern region! The Americans have arrived!”
The guards asked, “And what orders do we have from the officers? Is it time yet?” “Not yet, he said to wait.” But they did not know that the American soldiers had already arrived and were readying their positions. Because the Japanese, if they set a time, it should not be delayed or advanced. If they say wait, then no one should advance the time. The Japanese call that “meri,” and the Americans call it “order.” Since they had not yet sent the order to kill, then they [the soldiers] must wait until the order is sent. They must wait for the meri but the appointed time for the executions was ten, as I have said, but they were calling and saying that there is a ship that has arrived in the lagoon, an American ship. They [the Japanese] would call from Imiej and say, “Notify the guard, that it is clear that it is too late. We don’t have time [to kill the Marshallese]. We will just stay and wait.” They also said, “There is a ship in the lagoon off Imiej.” The Americans had already arrived.
No Japanese execution ship could arrive at the bunker site because the Americans had already arrived to rescue the Marshallese. And the thing that we have to be thankful for is the Japanese [that the Japanese set the hour]. We were in the bunker [waiting to die] and someone was calling shoreward, “The war is over, America won but if you do not believe it, send two men—one Japanese and one Marshallese. Send them so that they can come get their clothing, their bread, their shoes, their most delicious cigarettes, and all of the other things that are piled up in the ship. Tell them to come and take them and gather the information about the end of the war.”
And then the Americans said to two fellows [Japanese] near the ship, “Hey, you next to the ship, carrying those things, if you do not quickly get out of here, you will become ashes.” The two men did not wait, but they got rid of their load and ran away. They ran toward the lagoon. As they arrived lagoonside, the Americans had already lined the Japanese in a line and said to them, “Get rid of your rifles, take off your clothes, and don’t move.” We were really lucky, the timing was perfect.
After the Americans arrived, when I was there, I who am telling the story, when they said there was a lot of food, I didn’t wait, the Americans said, “Wait! Wait!” but the c-rations were piled taller than the coconut trees. I was so happy that they said, “Wait!” so that we can… but there was no time to wait for us [we couldn’t wait]. We went and we picked whatever we wanted. I picked a tin of ham. I thought it was a very delicious food.
When we went to open it, we did not know what it was. And one of the boys came with a tin of biscuits. That is what we ate with the ham. The Americans shouted at us, but it was no use. Every kind of soda. Wealth had poured upon us and it was really good. From that time, they said “You guys don’t move because ships will come and take you.” After this, when they said that there would be ships, from there they took us to Jabwor. I was the first person to get off the boat so I could go see if Kakko [the Japanese school] was still there because I went to school there. But the buildings were not there [had been destroyed]. I did not know where it was. The only things that were still standing were the cement water catchments. When I looked the other way, Tijinjo and Aijinjo were still standing, but without form.
[CA]What happened to them?
[LJ]They had been destroyed in the war because there was an airplane flying over from….You see those airplanes that have two propellers, they were flying near shore from Jaluit and you see the big well, in Lallal they dropped a bomb there. The plane flew on and dropped a bomb on the southern part of Lojkar. They dropped another one. They didn’t drop one, but two. That is why the bunkers were destroyed at Mili and Arno. Many died and many were injured.
[CA]Now, what about your friend, the Japanese?
[LJ]Now, the guy [Yamaguchidai] said “The notice is clear… maybe they will take us [Japanese] but I don’t know where we will go. You will go and take our bed, the blankets that are inside the trunk. And there is a knife. Take all the clothes. You can have them, for it is clear that I am leaving this place forever and I don’t know where I am headed.” But because I was still a really young boy, I wasn’t really sad. It was later that I became sad. I said to myself, “I miss my friend. We had very special times together.” When he said, “Ok, let’s do this,” then we would do it. Like the time when he said, “Let’s kill that man.” He said, “I am going to kill that man so that he won’t tell anyone.” My friend was a sharp shooter. There was only one part that I didn’t tell anyone…. During the war, my friend, jera said, “If life becomes harder, and the war keeps going, and people keep dying from hunger and other sicknesses, all of the Marshallese men should get together and march to Imiej. I said, “What?” He said, “March to Imiej.” The plan was good because all of the guys that I sent to Imiej said, “the idea was good.” However, the plan was not really clear -- they were just starting to plan as they were weathering the war.
Well this is what my friend said. He said, “Do not talk about this because it is not really clear…” If you talk about it, then we will all be destroyed. That is why I am teaching you these things because if ever an event like this occurs, it is better if you kill a soldier. The place where we had our meeting was Larere. And the people in the northern islets liked the plan. But now they wanted me to talk to the Jutaiji [Yamamuchidai] to see if the plan was a good one or not. When I brought him the plan, he said, “Good, the plan is good.” When he told this to his friends, they said, “Good.” One of his friends said, you see the strong things? Well, I am the one who is keeping the key. And the other said, “Well, I am the one who is in charge of the rifles, but how will we…” “Half of us will go and… but the other half will bring rifles so that we can distribute them among the Marshallese.” The plan was good, but the Americans had already arrived. This is the end when we got back to Arno from Jabwor.
[CA]Did you ever see your friend again?
[LJ] As I remember it later, I said, “I miss my friend.” I don’t know if he is alive or dead because he said, “We are going, but I don’t know if we will be alive or dead. But go and do what I have said. Our towel, sheets, blankets, the very thick blanket, and our tools, as for these things, you will not have because I will take them all. But you have to be quick and get to the house and hide those things.” But the Americans had already arrived.