At 0655 on May 11, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Takamitsu Nishida took off from Kanoya Air Base
as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died at the age of 23 in a special
(suicide) attack off Okinawa. He was a member of the 5th Tsukuba Squadron. He was from
Prefecture, attended Ōita Teachers College, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve
Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
Finally, in two or three days there will be a sortie. From tomorrow will
be the 4th Kikusui Operation. From the 1st to the 3rd Operation, there have
been considerable battle results together with many comrades who died in
When I look back one year, dead friends
Are difficult to count
When the 4th Operation ends, it will finally be the turn of my chūtai
(squadron) to make a crash-dive attack. Until the end I will be prudent. At
Okinawa I certainly will not yield to the enemy. Not needing life, not
needing honor nor position, I only will make a hitchū (sure-hit)
attack. Like cherry blossoms at Fukayama, I will fall bravely when I must
blossom and fall without others knowing. I will banish any idle thoughts.
At 10 in the evening, we received an order to advance.
At 0500, I woke up and completed preparations to advance.
From 0800, the commanding officers, flight officers, and senior officers
gave us a farewell ceremony.
At about 1100, I departed toward Kyūshū in a Douglas transport plane.
I checked the map, and from the air I gave farewell to my homeland, as I
flew away from it. I have fond memories of my homeland's islands that I will
not see again. When I passed by beautiful Cape Sada, I saw the chimneys of
Saganoseki . It is part of my old home.
Arriving in the area of Tomitaka , which is
linked to my home, I think of my parents, siblings, teachers, students, and
friends at home, and I again fondly remember them even more. With the
connection of seeing Kyūshū from where I will go on a final ambitious
undertaking, memories of the mountains and rivers of my home and the days of
my youth come to mind one after another.
Mother at the end of this land's surface
I pray to complete tomorrow's heroic undertaking
In the dark air-raid shelter, I heard the sound of explosions. I
certainly will hit the target. With all the effort of my life, now I will
show proof of the 23 years that I have lived. I am glad that I am in very
To Younger Brother
Hisamitsu, take care in the future. I am fortunate to have many younger
brothers. I will do it smiling with determination. Take care of Yoshikatsu
and Sanetatsu, and go forward together as fine Japanese persons.
Hisamitsu, I scolded you a lot. As an older brother who did not do
anything like an older brother, my heart is pained. I wanted to at least
once have some drinks and talk together. You are a good person. I scolded
and teased you a lot, but I think that it was for you. There is canned
pineapple at my bedside. I want to give it to you.
Be a manly man. I ask that you show filial piety for my part.
Your health absolutely is necessary in order to live and in order to be
able to die.
From the morning there was rain like that in the rainy season. In the
evening I bought ten bottles of beer. When I drank a huge amount and sang,
the sky cleared and the stars came out. Tomorrow will be the sortie.
Today I will live also, and I am committed to tomorrow's hitchū
Parting, ways of world, and also living and dying
At faraway end of sea
Many ardently dedicated persons agree eagerly
Get drunk a while and break the full moon with drinking glass
Skies of Okinawa to where we go
Sovereign also continues to there
This night our leaving and deaths are distant
Someday again will appear cherry trees with many branches
Parting, ways of world, and also living and dying
Where water meets sky
Clouds go high above us
Clouds can go
Being overcast, at last it is the final decisive battle of Okinawa. That
is to say, tomorrow will begin the 5th Kikusui Operation. In the evening,
additional special attack squadrons came, and at 8 o'clock there was an
attack by Consolidated (B-24 Liberator) bombers. Several planes went up in
flames, and there were several casualties. This evening the decisive battle
at last has started. Throughout the night there were explosions, and special
attack planes headed to Okinawa one after another.
The first day of the 5th Kikusui Operation began at about 0200. At dawn
several dozen special attack planes made sorties. Bomb-carrying fighter
squadrons, ōka squadrons, Suisei carrier dive bomber squadrons, and
other squadrons took off one after another. The Army also made sorties in
the same way. The huge special attack unit made crash-dive attacks on ships
We did not receive an order to attack since the enemy task force, which
is our objective, was near Ishigakijima and Miyakojima to the south. As I
lost this friend and that friend, with indignation I survived today also.
Poems for Boy's Day
Points to south
As it is spinning
You carp streamers also
Toward the south
Are you also facing?
Although the ground around the airfield is scorched, May's sky is clear,
and the early summer wind is fragrant. Barley in the fields is growing, and
the paddy fields are filled with water. Our carp did not have time to climb
the great waterfall  to heaven with sacrifice
and loyalty. At 1100, a radio message was received from our Saiun
reconnaissance aircraft searching for the enemy. It said that there was the
enemy task force including aircraft carriers. Even though we were waiting
for an order to make a sortie very soon since we were on standby for two
hours, in the end it did not come. Today also I again was able to live.
Regarding living normally just before a sortie order is expected to be
issued, even though today also was precious, it was a day that could not be
We were on standby for three hours from 1100. Although Saiun
reconnaissance aircraft searched for the enemy task force with full-scale
efforts, they could not yet get confirmation. As a result, In the afternoon
we utilized a moment's leisure from the decisive battle. All of the crewmen
under the commanding officer, communications chief, and operation head held
an athletic meet.
At 1900, the standby was cancelled. I think that I am a person who has
lived a very long time. We hastened to this base, and the next day we were
to carry out a
hitchū (sure-hit) attack. Information was delayed, and next there was
rainy weather. Following that, eventually the task force ran away. Today
seems like the tenth day here. During that time, other special attack
squadrons carried out missions a number of times, and already in just ten
short days the number of friends who did not return has become difficult to
count. As for our enemy, since the task force moves and turns, it is the
most difficult attack. Even until now, I have not seen success, and the
number of men who have not returned has not been small. We were selected for
this attack, and each cutting-edge Model 52 carrier fighter will be equipped
with a 500-kg bomb and rocket. That responsibility is very important. If I
die in vain, the planes following me also will not be given that place to
die. This is inexcusable when being the squadron commander. All of our lives
are only the sure-hit attack. In the evening all eight squadron members
drank sake while eating chicken sukiyaki. It was a pleasant
Today will be cloudy with light rain later.
Since Saiun reconnaissance aircraft today will go out on flights
to search for the enemy, there will not be a standby today. Until tomorrow
morning my life is not in danger, and I decided to restore my energy by
taking it easy.
We today do not know how long we will live
Though the days to stop are fading, we again are happy
I fished in the afternoon, and the battle results for one hour were three
aburame (fat greenling) fish. I could not fish like in the Nikoge River.
I drank beer in the evening and restored my energy for tomorrow. It was a
Even though Saiun aircraft were going throughout the day, in
the end they still had not discovered the enemy task force that perhaps was
not yet in the north.
I found out that there was an attack of a low-pressure system with cirrus
clouds. We were on standby for three hours from 0800. When there is a two-hour
standby or three-hour standby, it means that there is a time of two or
three hours from receiving the attack order until takeoff. However, even
though the enemy's location is known and there are two or three hours of
time, there are tasks such as aircraft preparation, navigation planning,
looking after other aircraft, code signals, and research of atmospheric
condition and ground condition. Although it is called hitchū (sure
hit), it is very difficult to do. A crewman has no way of knowing how busy
and difficult it is to carry out a great death. The only way to be able to
do that well is through clear thinking with cleverness, bold initiative,
systematic thinking, and ability to command and by only normal hard work and research.
While waiting from 0800 to get the order for the time of the sortie for a
hitchū (sure hit) attack, they really are sincerely cheerful and
pleasant as usual and are focused on the hitchū (sure hit) attack.
They are making these efforts, and if there is free time, there is baseball,
dominoes, shōgi (Japanese chess), singing, eating, or sleeping. It
truly does not seem they are persons who are waiting just before an order for
a hisshi hitchū (certain-death, sure-hit) attack. Also, there is not
such a thought at all. Only when the Imperial command is handed down, they
will do it, and only that will happen. Therefore, like they have joy in
living a simple life, they are doing things simply with all of their desires
and regrets already in the other world. Also during each day, as expected
they recall people or their parents about once a day.
With our Jinrai Squadron there is an 11-year-old boy named Akio Setoguchi
who is a foster child without parents. He lodges with the squadron, and he
enters the underground air-raid shelter together with us if the enemy comes.
Although he is not good at mathematics, he is very talented at drawing. He
often talks with us and has no belongings. He goes into the public bath with
the squadron. He is a popular person who seems nice. He goes by the name of
The weather is fine. We were on standby for two hours.
In the afternoon Ōsaki Town gave our special attack squadrons about 85
chickens and 3,000 eggs together with letters of comfort. I was extremely
grateful. I really regret the slight decline of human feelings in the city.
In full view was how the farming villages in remote areas can preserve the
pure Imperial Way. We talked together filled with awareness of the decisive
battle that we will join. With cheerful bravery, we were filled more and
more with a spirit of hitchū (sure hit).
At 1600, there was a line-up of the Special Attack Corps members.
I am looking forward to tomorrow in the early morning. My squadron has
been given the long-awaited attack order. It has been more than ten days
since we came to the front-line Kanoya Base, and I feel like there are lice
while wearing the uniform when I arrived. In the end the task force is not
near Kerama, and there is not an opportunity to attack. Even if it does not
come, we will go.
After a four-hour flight over water, with my eyes open wide in fury I
certainly will hit the target. In the afternoon at 6 o'clock I went on a
test flight with the aircraft at the airfield. Its condition was good. When
it was finished, I passed the border of the dark airfield and returned.
Luminous night cirrus clouds are running north to south like fish scales.
The wind is blowing from the southwest, and tomorrow will be splendid
weather. May 11——I tried to count my years on the dark path. I became 23
years old this year on April 1. From when I breathed, tomorrow I will become
23 years and 42 days old . It seems long, but
truly it seems that it was short. Just like a dream I remembered things from
the past when I was young. I pictured in my mind the faces for my parents
and brothers and faces of all of the people who I knew, and I recalled
everyone with only smiling faces. Last night I dreamed that ahead on the
path where I was walking there were seven baby snakes. Three of them fled
when I approached, but four proceeded at a leisurely pace and did not flee.
When I asked certain people, they said that the snake dream is the best.
Today I heard about tomorrow, and the dream is not altogether a lie as we
received an order to attack the task force that has seven aircraft carriers.
Without doubt we certainly will hit the targets.
I have blood of ardent sacrifice and loyalty, a fighting spirit for
complete destruction, conviction of hitchū (sure hit), and a strong
spirit not less than anyone as a young Japanese man. Nevertheless, there
remains as not understood weaknesses as a human, mysteries of life, and
mysteries of death. However, that does not mean that there is anything like
worries or regrets. Receiving this opportunity as a military man is an
unbearable joy. Now I think that it is good that I die. No, even though now
I die, it is good. I will create a time to strike that will turn back to the
beginning of the war's outbreak. If I do not go now, there will not be an
opportunity to go. When I think, it does not seem likely that tomorrow my
body will become fragments. However, I am a person who has lived on for some
time. Even until today. After being called as a sakimori 
of the skies until now, I have found a way out of desperate situations, and
I have narrowly escaped from death when I faced it several times in rigorous
practical training. In my mind there always is the poem, "To the beach a
woman diver also wears straw raincoat in drizzling rain." Fortunately, I
have been so healthy up to today.
Not being able to obtain an opportunity today, I think of many friends
who have died. Now I am filled with happiness to be able to participate in
this ambitious undertaking. I surely will show proof that I have lived a
life of 23 years, and with all my might I certainly will carry out my final
service for the Empire. I am filled with the people's indignation at 200-kg
bombs, and with sweat and blood together with my plane I will leave and bury
the enemy deep at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
At about 9:30 a.m. on May 11, 1945, I as a subject of the Empire bid
farewell with appreciation for everything. I will wake up tomorrow morning
at 3:30. Not having any lingering regrets, I will sleep for tomorrow's
hitchū (sure-hit) attack. Believing only in certain victory for the
Empire, I pray for still more success and happiness for the Empire's
Father, Mother, brothers, and men who I trained, and
other people, farewell.
Jinrai Bomb-Laden Fighter Unit Tsukuba Squadron 1st Section Leader
Lieutenant Junior Grade Nishida
The morning of May 11 has come.
Five hours from now I will make a hitchū (sure-hit) attack.
Please take care.
Father, Mother, I am going.
Last writing of my life.
The person who saw me off at the end was the writer Sōhachi Yamaoka.
In the skies, clouds are going, clouds are floating,
Stars forever shine
Forever twinkle in sky, in sky
The diary entries come from Hakuō Izokukai (1952, 127-38). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Hakuō Izokukai (1952, 127) and Osuo (2005,