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Second Lieutenant
Haruo Araki

Never Seeing His Child

The following story is on display at Hotaru Museum in Chiran Town, Kagoshima Prefecture. Haruo Araki, the 21-year-old pilot in this story, departed from Chiran Air Base in 1945 to make a suicide attack on American ships near Okinawa.

Haruo Araki was the leader of the 51st Shinbu Squadron, which included Second Lieutenant Mitsuyama and Sergeant Kawasaki. Because he was ordered to sortie to make an attack on the enemy, he was going to cancel his wedding with Shigeko, a friend since his early childhood. However, Shigeko said to him, "I want to marry you."

At the time of his final sortie, Araki had only been married for one month. After his sortie, Shigeko realized she was pregnant with his child. Araki disappeared into the sea never seeing his child.

The year following his sortie their son was born in good health, but he died of an illness when he was a year old. Shigeko visited the remains of Chiran Air Base, Araki's last place on earth, to bury part of their son's ashes. She quietly dug a hole in the ground and buried the ashes. She bowed deeply and said, "Haruo, your son has come to be with you."

Sortie Date: May 11, 1945
51st Shinbu Squadron
21 years old

Translated by Bill Gordon
June 21, 2004