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Kaiten no haha: Ningen gyorai (Kaiten mother: Human torpedo)
Performed by Fumiko Utagawa
Duet with Michiko Kojima
Written by Fumiko Utagawa
Music composed by Akio Miyoshi
From Chiran no haha: hotaru; Kaiten no haha: Ningen gyorai (Chiran mother: Firefly; Kaiten mother: Human torpedo)
Nayutawave Records, 2001, CD

This enka CD contains two songs, one about Tome Torihama, who was known as kamikaze mother, and another about Asako Kurashige, who was known as kaiten mother. This web page gives an English translation of the enka song by Fumiko Utagawa about Kurashige, called Oshige by those who knew her well.

The Kaiten Memorial Museum on Ōtsushima Island tells about Asako Kurashige in one display. She lived nearby in Tokuyama City and worked at Matsumasa Inn, which was an inn where many kaiten pilots visited for group meals such as for farewell parties.

This song tells the fictional story of an unnamed kaiten pilot and a woman nicknamed Otora, who represents Asako Kurashige. Fumiko Utagawa (marked "FU" below) plays the roles of narrator and an unnamed kaiten pilot. In this duet, Michiko Kojima (marked "MK" below) plays the role of Otora. The sung parts are shown in bold, and the spoken parts are indented with normal font.

(FU) Human torpedo kaiten, with hopes to
Reverse the war situation, shaking the heavens

(FU) Oxygen torpedo, weapon 06 [1]
Fleet's decisive battle, in order to win
They volunteered, leaving their homes
Severity and hardship, more and more
They sleep, moistening their pillows
Giving their lives for their country
Japanese spirit, Imperial Navy

(FU) Enduring severe, strenuous training
Young men, the day of their sortie finally came
Unable to return, on their final journey

(FU) Otora kāchan [2], I have something to ask of you.

(MK) What can I do for you?

(FU) Please make a cushion [3] of the kimono you are wearing.

(MK) While making a cushion for your send-off
Sewing it stitch by stitch
My hands are wet with flowing tears
What is this thing called fate?
With both hands together, I pray
While saying it's for the country
Your young life will vanish

(FU) Even though I go to a watery grave
My spirit is immortal
Father, Mother, forgive me
For going before you sitting on this cushion

(FU) Otora kāchan
Thanks for everything you did for me
If our battle results are announced
Please celebrate our great exploits with red rice [4]

Translated by Bill Gordon
April 2007


1. The Japanese Navy General Staff had nine designated special (suicide) weapons in early 1944. The kaiten human torpedo was the sixth weapon on the list. The kaiten was sometimes referred to as "metal fitting 06" in order to keep secret the existence of the weapon.

2Kāchan means "mother" in Japanese.

3. This cushion is called zabuton in Japanese. A zabuton is a small square floor cushion on which to sit.

4. This is called sekihan in Japanese. It is rice steamed with red beans and eaten at special celebratory occasions.