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To the end of the flowing clouds:
Writings of Navy reserve
students who died in war

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 [1] - Iwo Jima has surrendered. Japanese soldiers shattered as jewels. Oh! Cherry blossoms are falling, remaining blossoms also are going to fall [2].

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
May 2018

The diary entries come from Hakuō Izokukai (1952, 242-3). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Hakuō Izokukai (1952, 242) and Osuo (2005, 196).


1. The dates are not provided and are indicated by an "X."

2. This is a famous haiku poem by Ryōkan (1758-1831).

Sources Cited

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.