Spokane veteran holds onto lost WWII letter for 70-years




Posted on June 24, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 24 at 7:29 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.—A Spokane Pearl Harbor survivor kept a letter he found while he was serving in Okinawa in the 1940s for more than 70-years. The veteran’s family wanted the public’s help in June of 2014 to help find the letter’s original owner.

In the letter, a Japanese soldier named Tatsumasa wrote to his wife.

The late Spokane veteran, Warren Schott, found the four-page letter with a flag inside the walls of an Okinawa home. The veteran’s widow, Betty, found the pages in 2013 and the couple determined they belonged to someone else. Schott’s wife was more determined than ever to find the owner after Schott died in May of 2014.

The letter depicts a Japanese soldier, Tatsumasa, writing to his wife in a town calls Kohatsu.

"Even I am a father of three children, eating is the only pleasure I have in the life of the army,” wrote Tatsumasa.

Tatsumasa was in southern Japan, about 600 miles from Kohatsu, according to the letter.

"Thinking of you makes me yearn for you and my family. I miss you so much,” wrote Tatsumasa.

Schott found the letter in Okinawa at the end of the war.

"There was a brick loose and he pulled it out from outside the house and found the letter inside the brick of the house,” said Schott’s relative, Susan Wold.  "This belongs to someone's family and it might be precious to them. They just want them to let them know that they care about them and they want to return it to the family.”

Betty Schott sent the letter to Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute where students translated the letter. Japanese Cultural Center staff reached out to media outlets overseas but did not have any luck.

Betty Schott was asking for the public’s help in June to find the letter’s rightful owner.