The 56th "Shinbu"
force , Army captain ,Ryoji Uehara
Born September 27, 1922
From Nagano Prefecture
School Keio-gijuku University, Fuculty of Economics
I am keenly
aware of the tremendous personal honor involved in my having been chosen
to be a member of the Army Special Attack Corps, which is considered
to be the most elite attack force in the service of our glorious fatherland.
My thoughts about all these
things derive from a logical standpoint which is more or less the fruit
of my long career as a student and, perhaps, what some others might
call a liberal. But I believe that the ultimate triumph of liverty is
altogether obvious. As the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce[1866-1952]has
proclaimed, "liberty is so quintessential to human nature that it is
absolutely impossible to destroy it. "I believe along with him that
this is a simple fact, afact so certain that liberty must of necessity
continue its underground life even when it appears, on the surface,
to be suppressed---it will always win through in the end.
It is equally inevitable
that an authoritarian and totalitarian nation, however much it may flourish
temporarily, will eventually be defeated. In the present war we can
see how this latter truth is borne out in the Axis Powers [the alliance
of Japan, Germany, and Italy] themselves. What more needs to be said
about Fascist Italy? Nazi Germany too has already been defeated, and
we see that all the authoritarian nations are now falling down one by
one, exactly like buildings with faulty foundations. All these developments
only serve to reveal all over again the universality of the truth that
history has so often proven in the past: men's great love of liberty
will live on into the future and into eternity itself.
Nov.25,1944 Just before the attack to air-craft carrier
Essex, Special attack air plane "Suisei"
Although there are aspects
to all this which constitute something the fatherland has reason to
feel apprehensive about, it is still a truly wonderful thing to feel
that one's own personal beliefs have been validated. On every front,
I believe that ideologies are at the bottom of all the fighting that
is going on nowadays. Still further, I am firmly convinced that the
outcome of each and every conflict is predictable on the bases of the
ideologies held by the opposing sides.
My ambitious hope was to
have lived to see my beloved fatherland---Japan---develop into a great
empire like Great Britain in the past, but that hope has already been
dashed. If those people who truly loved their country had been given
a fair hearing, I do not believe that Japan would be in its present
perilous position. This was my ideal and what I dreamt about: that the
people of Japan might walk proudly anywhere in the world.
a real sense it is certainly true that a pilot in our special aerial
attack force is, as a friend of mine has said, nothing more than a piece
of the machine. He is nothing more than that part of the machine which
holds the plane's controls---endowed with no personal qualities, no
emotions, certainly with no rationality---simply just an iron filament
tucked inside a magnet itself designed to be sucked into an enemy air-craft
carrier. The whole business would, within any context of rational behavior,
appear to be unthinkable, and would seem to have no appeal whatsoever
except to someone with a suicidal disposition. I suppose this entire
range of phenomena is best seen as something peculiar to Japan, a nation
of spirituality. So then we who are nothing more than pieces of machinery
may have no right to say anything, but we only wish, ask, and hope for
one thing: that all the Japanese people might combine to make our beloved
country the greatest nation possible.
Were I to face the battles
that lie ahead in this sort of emotional state, my death would be rendered
meaningless. This is the reason then, as I have already stated, that
I intend to concentrate on the honor involved in being designated a
member of the Special Attack Corps.
When I am in a plane perhaps
I am nothing more than just a piece of the machine, but as soon as I
am on the ground again I find that I am a complete human being after
all, complete with human emotions---and passions too. when the sweetheart
whom I loved so much passed away, I experienced a kind of spiritual
death myself. Death in itself is nothing when you look upon it, as I
do, as merely a pass to the heaven where I will see her once again,
the one who is waiting there for me.
Tomorrow we attack. It
may be that my genuine feelings are extreme---and extremely private!
But I have put them down as honestly as I can. Please forgive me for
writing so loosely and without much logical order. Tomorrow one believer
in liberty and liberalism will leave this world behind. His withdrawing
figure may have a lonely look about it, but I assure you that his heart
is filled with contentment.
I have said everything
I wanted to say in the way I wanted to say it. Please accept my apologies
for any breach of etiquette. Well,then.
-----------Written the night before the attack