22 October 2005

Japanese Pilot's Diary, 8 April 1945

April 8, 1945, clear

In the morning we practiced dropping thousand-kilogram practice bombs. One bomb was twenty meters off the target, and a second misfired.

The engines of our planes were in great shape, and we were in good spirits. Preparations for the attack.

This time--I'm definitely not expecting to return alive.

No, it's not that I don't expect to return alive. I simply intend to body-crash, and thus my dying can't be avoided, can it?

I'll get myself ready, write my last letters, and make arrangements for the things I'll leave behind.

In the end, my life will have been twenty-two years long.

I'll smear the decks of enemy warships with this teenager's blood. It'll be wonderful!
SOURCE: Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese, by Samuel Hideo Yamashita (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2005), p. 79

The pilot, Itabashi Yasuo, died in a special-attack flight on 9 August 1945.

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