Captain Ryoji Uehara

"To my dear father and Mother"

Captain Uehara on "Hien"

To my dear Father and Mother:

   I was so lucky ever since I was given my life life some twenty years ago that I was brought up ever deprived of anything. Under the love and affection of my loving parents, and younger sister, I was so fortunate to spend such happy days. I say this in face of the fact that at times I had a tendency to act in a spoiled and selfish manner. Throughout, of all of us siblings, I was the one who caused you, Father and Mother, the most worry. It pains my heart that my time will come before I can return, or try to return, any of these favors I received. But in Japan, where loyalty to the Emperor and filial piety are considered one and the same thing, and total royalty to the nation is a fulfillment of filial piety, I am confident of your forgiveness.
   As a member of the flying staff, I spent each and every day with death as the premise. Every letter and each word I wrote consituted my last will and testament. In the sky so high above, death is never a focus of fear. Will in fact die when I hit the target? No, I cannot believe that I am going to die, and, there was even a time when I felt a sudden urge somehow to dive into a target. The fact of the matter is that I am never afraid of death, and, to the contrary, I even welcome it. The reason fo this is my deep belief that, through death, I'll be able to get together again with my beloved older brother, Tatsu. To be reunited with him in heaven is what I desire the most. I did not have any specific attitude toward life and death. My reasoning was that the cultivation of a specific attitude toward life and death would amount to an attempt to give a meaning and value to death, something that would have to stem from a person's utter fear of an uncertain death. My belief is that death is a passage leading to reunion with my loved ones in heaven. I am not afraid to die. Death is nothing to be afraid of when you look at it as just a stage in the process of ascending to heaven.
  Succinctly speaking, I have always admired liberalism, mainly because I felt that this politecal philosophy was the only one to follow were Japan really to survive eternally. Perhaps this sort of thinking seems foolish' but it is only because Japan is currently drowned in totalitariansim. Nevertheless, and this state of affairs notwithstanding, it will be clear to any human being who sees clearly and is willing to reflect on the very nature of his or her humanity that liberalism is the most logical ideology.
  It seems to me that a nation's probable success in the prosecution of a war would, on the very basis of that nation's ideology, be clearly evident even before the war was fought. It would in fact be so obvious that eventual victory would clearly be seen to belong to the nation that holds a natural ideology,i.e., an ideology which in its way is constitutive of human nature itself.
  My hope of making Japan like the British Empire of the past has been utterly defeated. At this point, therefore, I gladly give up my life for Japan's liberty and independence.
  While the rise and fall of one's nation is indeed a matter of immense importance for any human being, the same shift dwindles to relative insignificance when and if that same human being places it within the context of the universe as a whole. Exactly as the saying has it, "Pride goeth before a fall (or, those who savor victory will soon find themselves in the camp of the defeated), "and, even if America and Great Britain turn out to be victorious against us, they will eventually learn that the day of their own defeat is imminent. It pleases me to think that, even if they are not to be defeated in the near future, they may be turned to dust anyway through an explosion of the globe itself. Not only that, but the people who are getting the most fun out of life now are most certainly doomed to die in the end. The only difference is whether it comes sooner or later.
  In the drawer, right side of my bookcase, in the annex of the house, you will find the book I am leaving behind. If the drawer does not open, please open the left drawer and pull out a nail --- then try the right drawer again.
  Well, then, I pray that you will take good care of yourselves.
  My very best to my big brother [i.e., the older of the two elder brothers], sister Kiyoko, and to everyone.

  Well, then, Good-bye. Gokigen-yo(Farewell). Good-bye forever.

   From Ryoji