Jan. 1 In a conversation with his wife on her birthday, the author decides to go on a journey to see the wonders of the world.
Feb. 6 Susumu Hirakawa (Naval Academy graduate, formerly of the Maritime Self-Defense Force) of Kashiwa City in Chiba Prefecture visits the United States as a member of the Torrance-Kashiwa Sister City Affiliation 30th Anniversary Goodwill Tour Group. He visits the Tsurukame residence where he sees the photo of the author’s father in uniform. The author is asked for details of his father’s career including the vessel, the unit and naval base of his service and the approximate location where the submarine sank – but the author has no information.
Mar. 9 The author and his wife embark on a 101-day tour of the world, planning to return on June 17.
Mar. 10 The author celebrates his 62nd birthday in Honolulu.
Mar. 17 The author has a strange experience of ‘feeling’ his father’s presence on Truk Island in Micronesia. President Bush sends a 48-hour warning to Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq. Two days later, while the author is in Guam, U.S. forces attack Iraq.
Apr. 23 While in Beijing, the SARS scare breaks out and the author cancels the trip to return home. He finds a mail with a large envelope from Mr. Hirakawa dated March 23 which referred to information on wartime records about the submarine I-166, the time and date of its destruction (which was not July 22 as claimed in the official war casualty announcement but July 17), and the names and hometowns of the 88 war dead.
Jun. 9 Mr. Hirakawa attends a naval academy reunion held at Grand Hill Ichigaya in Tokyo, where he asks Kazuo Ueda, a junior graduate, for cooperation. With Mr. Ueda’s extensive knowledge on submarines, detailed information on I-166 and documents on the naval submarine school attended by the author’s father are found. The author also receives a video of the wartime propaganda movie “Gochin” as well as the nautical chart of the Malacca Straits from Mr. Hirakawa and Mr. Ueda. Based on information found in Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, the approximate location of the sunken I-166 is determined.
Jul. 17 The author goes to Monument Valley (Navajo Nation Reservation), Arizona/Utah. He sees the “Submarine Rock” and gazing upon the starlit sky, the author resolves to find out everything that he can about I-166 and his father.
Sep. 20 The author finds an article on the internet about Keiko Holmes, founder of Agape, a London organization that fosters reconciliation between British Far East POWs and the Japanese, and correspondence begins. He also receives an email from Duane Heisinger of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, and a friendship is found. Mr. Heisinger’s father was POW in the Philippines and died in Taiwan when Duane was 10 years old.
Sep. 26 A meeting is held with Susumu Hirakawa and Kazuo Ueda in Japan. The author visits the Record Division of the Social Welfare and War Victims’ Bureau (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), the Military Archives of the National Institute for Defense Studies, the Togo Shrine war memorial dedicated to men who died aboard submarines, and the Suikoukai [a Japanese Navy and Maritime SDF friendship association]. The statement of his father’s service and further documents on the military activities of Submarine Squadron No. 30 are found. The author also receives from Mr. Ueda a copy of a memoir written by Commander William King of HMS Telemachus, forwarded from George Malcolmson, archivist at the British Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
Oct. 9 Through the kind cooperation of John Ferguson, manager of the Royal Selangor Yacht Club in Malaysia, the author and his wife sail to a location in the Malacca Straits 7 miles from One Fathom Bank Lighthouse and offer red bougainvilleas in memory of his father. After 60 years, the author is finally reunited with the father he last saw at the age of 2 years and 7 months, and died in action 9 months later. As he watches the glow of the sunset, the author feels he can hear the voices of his father and crewmates.
Oct. 10 The author and his wife depart Malaysia, and resume their global tour visiting Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.
Nov. 11 The author and his wife lay a floral tribute at a memorial in the Dutch naval base of Den Helder, dedicated to the drowned 36 crew of submarine HR.MS. K XVI. The couple receives a warm welcome and is presented with a plaque signed by officers of the submarine unit.
Nov. 13 An email arrives from Katja Boonstra Blom, daughter of Wilem Blom who was an officer of K XVI. She expresses her wish to meet the author.
Nov. 14 The author is invited to Katja’s home near Amsterdam where he is also introduced to Henry Becanson, son of the K XVI submarine commander. After an emotional exchange, the author promises to find more information from Japan in order to determine the location where the Dutch submarine sank.
Jan. 15 The author sends to Katja records and other documents from Japan on the events of Christmas Day, 1941 when I-166 attacked and sank the Dutch K XVI.
Jan. 20 Keiko Holmes flies from London and meets Duane Heisinger who was staying at the author’s home on his return from the Philippines.
Mar. 11 The author begins his search for the surviving families of the I-166 crew. Over the next 4 weeks the author travels to shrines dedicated to the war dead and local newspaper publishers in Shikoku and Kyushu, and tracks down 22 families. Good fortune follows – at a gathering held on March 14 at a Tokyo church (Agape reconciliation trip coordinated by Keiko Holmes), the author is introduced to Sir Peter Anson, Bt., formerly of the British Royal Navy. On March 16 he meets Yoshihiko Yamada of the Nippon Foundation’s Maritime Affairs Department and Seiji Sasaki of the Malacca Straits Council. A visit is made on March 21 to the residence of Katashi Matsushita, Director General of Sachin Senko-kai[Sasebo Naval Base Submarine Association]. The author learns about a monument at Higashiyama Naval Cemetery honoring the I-166 , and receives a copy of the journal “Senbokyo [Periscope].” He goes to the cemetery and pays his respect at the monument.
Apr. 28 An email arrives from Sir Anson and the author learns that Commander William King, age 94, resides at Oranmore Castle in Ireland.
May 5 To the media and individuals affiliated to the Maritime Self-Defense Force in Maizuru and Sasebo that assisted his research, the author sends an account outlining his findings about the surviving families and Commander King.
May 20 The author visits Oranmore Castle in Ireland with his wife and son for 3 days, sharing memories and experiences with Commander King, his daughter Leonie, her husband and their daughter Heather. Katja travels from the Netherlands to join them.
Jun. 2 An email arrives from Emiko Yoshiwara in Nagasaki, inquiring about Sakae Mukai, her uncle. Ms. Yoshiwara assists in the search for surviving relatives and locates 5 additional families.
Jul. 17 Sixty years after the destruction of I-166, the first memorial service is held at the Higashiyama Naval Cemetery, organized by Katashi Matsushita. More than 20 people attend. “The I-166, mourning the submarine, cicadas cry and cry” (by Ryokufu Takada, haiku poet and Emiko Yoshiwara’s friend)
Jul. 30 Yutaka Hagiwara of TBS, on a coverage tour in Pakistan, hears about the author’s research from Mariko Shirai, a local Japanese and friend of the author. He sends a message expressing interest in the story, and requests a meeting.
Jul. 31 The author receives an email from Tom Flanagan in Ireland, and is asked to take part in a documentary film on Commander King.
Aug. 6 A message also arrives from Katja, with a request for the Japanese, British and Dutch families to be in a film made jointly by the Royal Netherlands Navy and surviving families of K XVI crewmen to document the search for the submarine off the Borneo coast.
Aug. 15 The friendship between families of former enemies is featured on the front page of the Daily Breeze, a local Torrance (California) newspaper.
Aug. 16 The author receives many phone calls from readers, including one from Eddie Brooks, Jr., a Pearl Harbor war hero.
Aug. 20 Katja and her three children and the Tsurukame family reunite at Oranmore Castle with Commander King and his family. The families enjoy 3 days of conversation and filming. The grandchildren of the war generation plant an apple tree in the garden as a symbol of lasting peace and friendship.
Aug. 24 The author goes to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Hampshire (U.K.) to thank George Malcolmson in person. He also calls Sir Anson and his wife to share his findings and express gratitude for their contribution to the search.
Oct.1 Through the support of the Malacca Straits Council, the search for the I-166 continues until October 8, with the author and television crew from TBS present. The search is made based on Commander King’s testimony and Japanese records; while some objects are found, no conclusive confirmation is made.
Oct. 9 The author travels again to the Royal Selangor Yacht Club to share subsequent findings and express his appreciation to John Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson is surprised to discover that Commander King was introduced to the author by Sir Anson, whom he served under more than three decades ago in the British Royal Navy.
Oct. 10 The author visits Penang Hill and the site of the Japanese submarine base – the last dry land where his father must have stood before his death – and honors the memory of Tsuruichi Tsurukame and his crewmates.