• Kyodo

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The son of a second-generation Japanese-American who served in the U.S. forces during World War II is searching for family members of 130 Japanese soldiers and civilians his father saved in the Battle of Saipan in 1944.

In a recent interview, Lawrence Kubo, 67, said that he is hoping to hear stories from those who were there, or know the story of how his father, Bob Kubo, talked eight Japanese soldiers into releasing 122 civilians held captive in a cave.

“I would like to confirm my father’s courageous act,” by hearing the accounts of the Japanese families, Kubo said.

In light of his Japanese skills, Bob Kubo was dispatched to the Pacific theater and landed on Saipan in July 1944 as an infantryman.

After it was learned that several Japanese soldiers had barricaded themselves in a cave with more than 100 civilians, Kubo volunteered to go to there alone to persuade them to surrender on July 26.

Pointing guns at him, the Japanese soldiers asked, “How can someone of Japanese descent fight against Japan?” according to Kubo.

In reply, Kubo said, “I am also the son of Japanese parents but I was born in the United States. The United States is my country and I fight for it.”

Earning the respect of the soldiers, Kubo emerged from the cave some two hours later. All eight soldiers and 122 civilians surrendered.

Based on the testimonies of the Japanese soldiers, Kubo was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross before his death in 1998 at the age of 78.

His son can be contacted at lhkubo@aol.com.

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