Looking for a mystery area: Satarumaina ?

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by George Pritchard, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. Hello,

    As part of a personal research project I'm looking into the circumstances of a specific solider's death. He was a Japanese corporal in the 15th army, 15th division, 67 IR, 12th Company and was killed on 21st June 1944. The record puts the location of his death as the Assam State, Satarumaina area.

    Assam is a state in the north west of India but 'Satarumaina' seems to turn up no results online. Has anyone come across it before?

    The original Japanese script from which the name was taken is as follows: サタルマイナ附近.

    Many thanks,

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  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi George,

    I had a similar situation a couple of years ago. A British soldier had perished as a POW to the Japanese and on his index card it described in Kanji characters his place of capture. This was translated as Moregumito in Northern Burma. I could not locate this town or village in my research, but a few years later found that he had been captured with some other soldiers at Mong Mit. So it could be that your interpretation of the characters is not a perfect translation of the place name.
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  3. I think you're probably right, I've emailed a few Japanese speakers I know to see if I can get some different interpretations.

    Also a quick correction: Assam is in north eastern India, obviously, not north west as put originally!

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Possibly SAFARMAINA (RK 3399).
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  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    George, inspired in the best part by Jitter Party's suggestion, I had a quick look for the location on Kohima area maps on line and found the attached. It is a place called Satarmaina on the Manipur Road, roughly two miles north east of Kanglatongbi.

    If this is a possibility for your location, then it brings into play forum member Lionboxer who has a fine knowledge of this general area from his own research.

    The map is reference no. NG46-11 from this website:

    India and Pakistan AMS Topographic Maps - Perry-Castañeda Map Collection - UT Library Online

    Kohima map NG-46 11.jpg
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  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

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  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  8. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Undoubtedly Safarmaina, milestone 114 Imphal Dimapur Road though at the time of this Japanese soldiers death the withdrawing Japanese had been pushed northwards along the main road to around m/s111-112 near Keithelmanbi with their main forces concentrated at Mission (Kangpokpi) m/s 105.
    Will have a look through my Japanese papers see if I can glean anything else.
  9. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Japanese sketch map giving the names of villages in English and Japanese.

    Attached Files:

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  10. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    From 83 G/SE.
    Map 004.JPG
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  11. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    RK 3391 :)
  12. A huge thanks to all of you for this. I contacted a Japanese historian who confirmed this is accurate. According to google maps the town is now called Saparmeina.

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  13. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    George do you have details about your soldier? We maybe able to help further with locations and likely actions in which he was killed.
  14. I know a little about him: he was a corporal in the 15th Division, (67th IR, 12th Company)
    His name may be irrelevant in this context but he was called Zenji Tatsumi (辰巳善次)

    Not much else other than that he was killed on the 21st June 1944 in the area around the village we've been discussing.

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  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I just googled those Japanese characters & the results give a portrait of a Japanese soldier & a flag.
    Is that connected to the same chap ?
    If so it's just nice to put a face to the name.
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  16. The flag that comes up on google was his Yosegaki Hinomaru 'good luck' flag that was discovered amongst the possessions of late great-grandfather who served in the Royal Artillery in India and Burma. I've been making a film about trying to find the relatives of this Tatsumi, something I was able to achieve this summer.

    It seems that photo may indeed be of the same guy. If so it's the first time I've seen what he looked like. I've sent the article to my friend to translate.
  17. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    The attached photo is of “Pork Pie” one of the Hill features to the east of the Dimapur Imphal Road and just north of the range of hills in the background where “Liver”, “Pill”, “Milk Loaf” are located. These are the features that were attacked when Tatsumi was killed on 21st June, so its likely he is still there somewhere, probably in a filled in trench or bunker as I don’t think his comrades would have had time to recover him to be buried in a mass grave somewhere near Mission.
    George, do you know what unit your great grandfather served in? War diaries might reveal where he was at the time. It’s also possible that the flag may have come into his possession from someone else though.
    A great feat of yours to discover the extant Japanese family of Tatsumi. I know how difficult it is as I too have families I wish to contact.

    Attached Files:

  18. Incredible stuff Lionboxer, thanks so much for this.

    My great-grandfather was an Adjutant in the 1st Medium Regiment and so from what I understand he rarely left the regiment HQ. I've seen the war diaries so I know that on the 21st he was at Kigwema, roughly 60km away, so I think it's probably quite certain he didn't take the flag himself. I think the closest he came to this area was four days later in a village called Yaingangpokpi, about 25 miles away.
  19. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Yaingangpokpi is on the Imphal Ukhrul road so unless he arrived there from Ukhrul, a very difficult journey cross country from Kohima, I think it’s probable he came via Imphal and would have travelled down the Dimapur Imphal road and passed by the hills on which Tatsumi died.
    We are now considering a battlefield expedition to those hills to see what information we can gather to further our knowledge of those ferocious actions.

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