Hiroshi Yabiku
Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone;
but if it dies, it produces much grain.
(John 12:24)
Takeshi Yabiku

Takeshi Yabiku

My older brother, Takeshi Yabiku (1946–1969), was drafted during the Vietnam War and was deployed to Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. This photo was taken in Vietnam, probably in December of 1968. As Takeshi did not want to be mistaken as a Vietnamese or Viet Cong in the jungles of North Vietnam, he grew a mustache. In this photo, he is smiling—he would smile only when people took his picture.

In his many letters sent to us back home, he often wrote, "This war doesn't make sense at all," "It is nonsense," and "We should never have entered this conflict.” He also encouraged our family, saying, "Stay in school," "Study hard so that you won't be drafted," and "I would never want you, my family, or anyone to experience what I now go through in North Vietnam."

Takeshi told us he had become very tough, both mentally and physically. He was used to sleeping in the damp jungle; he could survive in any weather conditions. He once wrote, "I now have confidence—I can even live in the streets of LA as a homeless person when I get back."

(2013)