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