I can't remember if I posted anything about this yet, so forgive me if I have.
In the 80's, my dad gave me a drafting set he said was Japanese and from WWII. I asked him where he got it and he said from a cave. Since he was in the Navy, I couldn't see how he could possibly get this from a cave. He was serious, and I secretly doubted his story.
It is a beautiful set, with what I believe are ivory handles on the inkers. I kept it in its box and never used it.
He's gone now, and I was reading a book about his ship, the U.S.S. Colahan, called "The Original Tomcat". I was intrigued when I read that after the peace treaty was signed, they got shore leave:
"Meanwhile, Colahan sailors explored well-stocked caves in surrounding hills. Quartermaster striker Leslie Anderson selected four bayonets from a big pile and kept them forever as souvenirs of a memorable time in his life. 'One lad found a machine gun,' said Anderson, 'and he stowed it in his locker. The captain got wind of it and made him get rid of it.' "
and this from a sailor on the Colahan…
"Sep 3 45: Entered Tokyo Bay. Anchored off Yokohama. Went into Yokosuka and tied up to Piedmont until September 19. Went to Confession on Sept. 14, Holy Communion on Sept. 16, on PIEDMONT. The chaplain was real nice. We had liberty in Yokosuka. I didn’t go. I walked around the navy yard here. Everything is wrecked except the big cranes and the dry docks. Lots of caves here, with lathes and all kinds of other machinery around. I have a few souvenirs in my scrapbook. Guys went into the caves and brought back rope galore, knives, guns, blocks, everything, even sail needles and electric light bulbs. The **** really stocked up in these caves. The town of Yokosuka is a real dump. It stinks, and I mean just that. You have to have a gas mask when you go through the streets, so the guys tell me. I didn’t go."
So now I believe that his story was entirely true, and I regret that I doubted it.