A Gift from Iwo Jima

After 64 years, World War II veteran Franklin Hobbs ’46 was able to return chance-found battlefield keepsakes to a Japanese family.

The New York Times recently profiled Franklin W. Hobbs III ’46, M.B.A. ’52, who as a young soldier at the Battle of Iwo Jima retrieved an envelope from the body of a Japanese soldier. The keepsake contained a child’s drawing and an infant’s photograph, which for years hung in the Hobbs family home. 

At his wife’s urging, Hobbs decided to try to return the memento to the family of the slain soldier. With the help of a Japanese-American friend, the search led to the soldier’s daughters: Chie Takegawa, 70, in Sanjo City, Japan, and Yoko Takegawa, 65, in northern New Jersey.

Yoko Takegawa, the infant in the photograph, never knew her father, Matsuji; she was born after he left for the war. Hobbs and Takegawa met a short time ago near his home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

“When she walked out of the car and came over and gave me a hug, it hit me,” Hobbs told the Times. “It meant so much to her. I had done something that I didn’t even realize would mean so much to anybody. I just thought it was a collector’s item.”

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