To the end of the flowing clouds:
Writings of Navy reserve
who died in war (1952)
Final Diary Entries of Lieutenant Junior Grade Saiki Nakanishi
At 1445 on April 29, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Saiki Nakanishi took off
from Kanoya Air Base in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died in a
special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 27. He was a
member of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 9th Kenmu Squadron. He was from
Wakayama Prefecture, attended Keiō Gijuku University in Tōkyō, and was a member
of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following diary entries before his death in battle:
March X  - Iwo Jima has surrendered. Japanese soldiers
shattered as jewels. Oh! Cherry blossoms are falling, remaining
blossoms also are going to fall .
March X - Older Brother's house in Tōkyō was destroyed by fire in air
raid. It is unknown who lived or died.
March X - There was a letter from Yoshida who I have not heard from in a
while. I am relieved to know that my Older Brother's family is safe. She
enclosed some entertaining photos from our school days. As I remembered the
distant past, for a short while I yearned for it.
March X - Death is in no way difficult. It is difficult only to decide
what course to follow until death. Truly by strength of willpower, even when
one is pure white one does something disgraceful. Until death I want to
remain without shame.
April X - I received a marriage proposal from Yoshida. She loves me, and
I also love her. However, my future is too short. There is nothing else to
do than to turn down respectfully that proposal.
April X - Older Brother Kyūtarō finally has been drafted. His age is 50.
Age does not matter on behalf of the country, but I think about the family
he leaves behind after he goes. I pray secretly that his daughters, Sawako
and Yukiko, please do their best.
April X - While I have put into words that people die, the idea of death
truly has not yet drawn near. Finally tomorrow will be the day that I crash
into a ship, and for the first time dying is on my mind. No, even that still
feels like another person's matter. However, tomorrow I will crash into a
ship. If I do that, certainly I will die.
Diary entries translated by Bill Gordon
The diary entries come from Hakuō Izokukai
(1952, 242-3). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1952, 242) and Osuo (2005, 196).
1. The dates are not provided and are indicated by
2. This is a famous haiku poem by Ryōkan
Hakuō Izokukai (Hakuō Bereaved Families Association), ed.
1952. Kumo nagaruru hate ni: Senbotsu kaigun hikō yobi gakusei no shuki
(To the end of the flowing clouds: Writings of Navy reserve student who died
in war). Tōkyō: Nihon Shuppan Kyōdō.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.