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

Last Statement of Lieutenant Junior Grade Yuzuru Ogata

At 1120 on March 21, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Yuzuru Ogata took off from Kanoya Air Base in a Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) carrying an ōka rocket-powered glider bomb. It was planned for Ogata to pilot the ōka glider bomb into an American ship after it was dropped from the bomber, but from 1420 to 1445 a group of about 50 American Grumman fighters intercepted the 18 Betty bombers that had taken off from Kanoya and shot all of them down before any ōka glider bomb could be released. Ogata died in this special (suicide) attack at the age of 23. He was a member of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 1st Ōka Squadron. He was from Kumamoto Prefecture, attended Kansai University in Ōsaka Prefecture, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final statement:

At time of sortie

My dear old town, the old familiar people, now I will give up everything as I go forth during the country's crisis.

I will live for an eternal cause. Now I begin the attack and as a spirit will return to the country. I will fall like a cherry blossom and become a spirit that protects the country forever.

Farewell. I, a glorious mountain cherry blossom, will return to my mother's side and bloom.

Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade
Yuzuru Ogata

Naito (1989, 113) describes below how the ōka pilots (identified as "Thunder Gods") wrote their death statements after Lieutenant Commander Gorō Nonaka, leader of the 1st Ōka Squadron of 18 Betty bombers and 15 ōka glider bombs, received the official order at 0945 on March 21, 1945, for launching the first ōka mission:

Nonaka selected the best pilots in his squadron for the mission, dividing the 18 into six groups of three. Only 15 of the Bettys were to carry Thunder Gods and their stubby-winged Ohka bombs. Lieutenant Mitsuhashi and his 14 men were chosen to man the flying bombs.

The 15 Thunder Gods and the mother plane crews took clippings from their fingernails and hair and placed them in unpainted wooded boxes for delivery to their parents so they could hold funeral services for them. They took off their old clothes and burned them, putting on new uniforms. They then sat down and carefully wrote out their death statements.

Last statement translated by Bill Gordon
May 2018

The last statement comes from Hakuō Izokukai (1952, 22-3). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Bungeishunjū (2005, 568-9), Hakuō Izokukai (1971, 22), and Osuo (2005, 181).

Sources Cited

Bungeishunjū, ed. 2005. Ningen bakudan to yobarete: Shōgen - ōka tokkō (They were called human bombs: Testimony - ōka special attacks). Tōkyō: Bungeishunjū.

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.

Naito, Hatsuho. 1989. Thunder Gods: The Kamikaze Pilots Tell Their Stories. Translated by Mayumi Ishikawa. Tōkyō: Kōdansha International.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.