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28th April 1945

With a new American attack under way in Okinawa, the spotlight has been turned again on the tokotai. Both the English papers today carry their quota of last-minute interviews with the suicide pilots.

A second sub-lieutenant remarks: “Fire is cool, as the Zen Buddhists say, to those who have attained an impersonal beatitude. “Even if our flying suits catch fire, we shall surely manage to hit our targets.”

A 31-year-old lieutenant with 2,000 flying hours to his credit, composes a farewell poem:

The golden chance has arrived.

Surely will I make the death attack,

Crashing my plane and all in the dive

Thunder-sinking a carrier as I smack.

A sub-lieutenant, member of the Shimbu unit, plans to crash-dive in the company of a snow-white rabbit. It is one of three presented to his unit by the boys in the national primary school near the base. The other two rabbits have already made suicide dives.

A sergeant, the only survivor of his squadron, intends to take along the ashes of a fallen comrade. “These are the remains of Sergeant Nakamura”, he explains. “Sergeant Nakamura, Sergeant Koyama, and myself were class-mates in aviation school. The three of us pledged to crash-dive together. Unfortunately Nakamura died before we could do so. In order to fulfill our promise, Koyama and I divided the ashes of our friend. Koyama has already fulfilled his mission. Now it is my turn.”