Welcome to John LaPlant's Chichi Jima Bonin Islands website. This site is in tribute to the people of the Bonin Islands (now known as Ogasawara Islands); especially the descendants of Nathaniel Savory and the other original settlers beginning in the 1830's. The pages consist of my photographs taken during the late 1960's which I'd like to share with anyone who cares to view them. The links page will take you to sites which chronicle history of the islands and people. The page also contains a short list of magazine articles written about the Bonins which you may find interesting. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. John L.Wick M.D. for his kind help in refreshing my memory regarding some of the islander's names and other information I'd forgotten since all of my notes made at the time were lost many years ago. Be sure to access his site from the links page for a historical summary of the islands, photos and more links.
While serving there with the U.S. Navy in 1966 and 1967, it was my great pleasure to have known these fine people and their beautiful sub tropical islands located about 600 miles south of Tokyo. My primary duty was making surface weather and upper air observations using radiosonde balloons. When combined with that of hundreds of other Naval weather stations, the resulting data helped facilitate U.S. naval operations.
Pictured at left is island artist Roy Gilley who created the Bonin Island Seal (inset). This example is from my coffee mug but it also adorned many other souvenir items such as ashtrays, glasses, etc. More importantly, the seal was a unifying symbol representing the island people as a group.
In the photo montage above, is one of three Grumman HU 16 seaplanes which served Chichi Jima flying out of Guam in the Mariana Islands. These aircraft provided a vital link shuttling people, supplies and mail to and from the island. At right is the sign from in front of the bachelor enlisted barracks. The two young ladies are Ruth (left) and her sister Lillian Savory. The gentleman on the right is Clark Gonzalez. Their faces mirror the diverse ethnic origins of their ancestors. See Dr. Wick's site for more about that. In the background is Hinko Maru which, having been torpedoed, was intentionally beached by the Japanese military during WW II in order to thwart a possible U.S. landing assault.
The site is best viewed using Netscape Navigator with a computer system displaying 24 bit color at a minimum of 800x600 pixels. If you would care to make comments, suggestions or have questions please contact me via email here.