Hamilton Library acquires 442nd Regimental Combat Team chaplain's papers

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: May 16, 2005

HONOLULU — Hamilton Library at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa recently acquired letters and other documents of Hiro Higuchi to add to its archives collection. Higuchi, an alumnus of UH Mānoa, served as chaplain of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a volunteer unit comprised of Japanese Americans, during World War II. As a chaplain, Higuchi did not engage in battle, but his duties enabled him to experience firsthand the nature of war and write about it.

"This is a very important addition to our archives," said Jan Zastrow, head of archives at Hamilton Library. "Hiro Higuchi was valuable to the men serving in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and his papers provide a rich documentation of his experience in the war."

Higuchi‘s papers are arranged in three series: "Official Papers," "Correspondence," and "Other Papers."

The "Official Papers" series dates from 1943 through 1967, and contains official military correspondence, correspondence with families regarding casualties, letters from various civilians concerning issues related to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Higuchi‘s enlistment papers and service record, and lists documenting casualties and burials.

The "Correspondence" series contains Higuchi‘s personal correspondence and consists chiefly of letters exchanged between Higuchi and his wife, Hisako, from August 1943 through November 1945. While serving as a chaplain, Higuchi wrote detailed letters documenting his activities at the U.S. Army Chaplain School at Harvard University, Camp Shelby, Miss., and the European Front in Italy and France. His letters included impressions of the war and the people and places he encountered, which provide insight into the mindset and experiences of the soldiers of the 442nd and the nature of military life in World War II. During Higuchi‘s absence, Hisako wrote him numerous letters describing activities and happenings at home. Her detailed accounts of daily life provide insight into life on the home front in Hawaiʻi during World War II.

The "Other Papers" series includes postwar sermons and memorial services delivered by Higuchi, a speech given at a 442nd Veterans banquet, biographical material, clippings related to Higuchi and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, as well as other miscellaneous items.

A finding aid with more detailed information on the collection is available online at the AJA Veterans Collection website at http://libweb.hawaii.edu/libdept/archives/mss/aja/index.htm

With over 3 million volumes, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library is the leading research library serving the university, the State of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Region. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library supports the teaching research and information needs of faculty, students, staff and the community. It also helps preserve the local cultural heritage as well as provide physical and intellectual access to the world of knowledge.

About Hiro Higuchi

Hiro Higuchi (1907-1981), a clergyman for the United Church of Christ, served as a chaplain in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. As a chaplain, he provided comfort and solace to the troops, held religious services on the front lines, transported the wounded and dead from the battlefield, comforted injured soldiers at first aid stations, wrote letters to the families of those killed in action, held memorial services, and performed various administrative duties. By the war‘s end, Higuchi had two battlefield commissions, and he retired at the rank of colonel. Following the war, Higuchi was actively involved in building and repairing churches on Oʻahu and Kauaʻi, and he participated in numerous community organizations. He married Hisako Watanabe in 1935 and had two children.

For more information, visit: http://libweb.hawaii.edu/libdept/archives/mss/aja/index.htm