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Taichi kara no inori: Chiran tokkō kichi (Prayer from the earth: Chiran special attack base)
by Noriko Uemura
Takishobō, 2008, 35 pages

Kamikaze pilots who took off toward Okinawa from air bases in southern Kyūshū passed by Mount Kaimon on the southern coast of Satsuma Peninsula. Mount Kaimon, sometimes called Satsuma Fuji, often was the last place on the Japanese main islands that kamikaze pilots saw as they headed toward death. In this children's picture book, Mount Kaimon serves as a narrator who observes kamikaze pilots flying by her. The wind informs Mount Kaimon of various happenings in faraway places, and Mount Kaimon gets news from her friend the Moon about the mood at Chiran Army Air Base as kamikaze pilots spend their last night there. Due to difficult vocabulary in places, children probably need assistance to understand some references. The book lacks a detailed plot but might provide a useful supplement for Japanese parents or other adults to talk about the tragic history of the kamikaze pilots after a visit to the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots, which sells this book in the lobby.

Eight oshie (raised cloth pictures) illustrate this book, including ones of the human figure of Mount Kaimon, a distant view of Mount Kaimon, a kamikaze pilot sitting atop the roof of the triangular barracks at Chiran Base, two junior high school girls carrying picked flowers for kamikaze pilots, and Tome Torihama kneeling after the war's end before a wooden post she had stuck in the ground as a memorial to kamikaze pilots who had given their lives. The middle of the book has four pages with short excerpts from nine different letters written by kamikaze pilots at Chiran, including the following one by Shinpei Satō:

Father and Mother,

I do not have any regrets. I am full of happiness that I can die splendidly for my country. My only worry is that you will lose two of your children in half a year. The spirit of my older brother and me will always be watching over you.

Noriko Uemura has authored or co-authored eight other children's books with the majority about Kagoshima Prefecture, where she lives and used to work as a high school teacher. The details related to Mount Kaimon in this book will probably be appreciated most by Kagoshima residents. The bibliography lists several books on Chiran and children's books about war. The author does not in any way try to justify the war and Japan's imperialism. When discussing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere created by Japan, she states that Japan should have respected each Asian country's language and culture rather than occupying various countries and discriminating against non-Japanese persons even to the point that they lost their lives. She also mentions forced Korean laborers who helped build the Army's training air base at Chiran in 1941.