English translation sentence↓
(Translated by Hugh and Reiko Young, Jan.2007)
Thoughts by Lieutenant Ryoji Uehara
Born September 27, 1922
Graduated from the Department of Economics, Keio University
This was written by him the night before the assault.
I feel deeply honored and privileged to have been chosen to become a member of the Army's "Special Attack Corps," which embodies the glory of Japan. Having delved deeply into logic and philosophy at my university, what I am about to say can be described as the ideology of liberalism. What is obvious to me is the inevitable triumph of liberty. An inherent and essential element of all humans, freedom cannot possibly be destroyed. Even though at times such feelings may be suppressed internally, they are constantly fighting to emerge and will eventually prevail. This is a belief and truth stated by the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce
It is a clear fact that authoritarian and totalitarian governments may at times flourish; but ultimately they will be defeated. We can see the truth of that when observing the governments that are playing leading roles in the world war, as manifested by the defeat of Fascist Italy, not to mention Nazi Germany. Authoritarian governments are disappearing one after the other, crumbling like buildings without a foundation. The universality of this truth is now being tested by reality. Just as history has shown in the past, liberty will once again prevail and flourish.
These beliefs that I hold may turn out to be catastrophic for my homeland; but the fact that what I have believed in all along has proven correct gives me nothing but satisfaction. Today's struggle, whatever form it may take, stems from differences in ideology; and the result is predictable on the basis of those belief systems. Thus, the ambition of having my beloved Japan become a mighty empire like that of Great Britain must remain unfulfilled.
If the leadership positions in Japan had been held by those who truly love Japan, my country would not have been driven into the situation it faces today.
My dream was to be a person able to take pride in being a Japanese, no matter where one may be in the world.
What one of my friends once said is true: a pilot of the Special Attack Corps is merely a mechanical instrument. He just steers the apparatus. He is only a molecule within a steel device intended to stick fast to an enemy aircraft carrier, possessing neither personality nor emotions.
If one thinks about it rationally, this act is incomprehensible. These pilots are simply suicidal. This is a phenomenon that occurs only in a country such as Japan, a nation that places so much emphasis on the spiritual aspect of life.
Since I am nothing but a machine, I have no right to state my case. I only wish that the Japan that I dearly love will someday be made great by my fellow citizens.
In such an emotional state, my death may accomplish nothing. Nonetheless, as I stated at the outset, I feel quite honored to have been chosen to be a member of the Special Attack Corps. True, once inside an aircraft, I am a mere instrument; but when not aboard, I do have emotions and passion.
When the woman for whom I cared so dearly passed away, I died with her, emotionally. I believe that she waits for me in Heaven, where we will be reunited. Death does not frighten me, because it occurs as part of the process of going to Heaven.
Tomorrow is the day for the assault. My motivation is highly unorthodox, so it is not worthy of public notice. I just wish to express the true feelings inside me. Please forgive me for my disorganized thoughts. Tomorrow a man who has always advocated the values of freedom and liberty will depart from this earth. Although he may appear forlorn, he is in fact very content.
Once again, please forgive my rambling.
Date of death: May 11, 1945
Among his effects left behind was a book on philosophy written by Benedetto Croce. In the book there were markings here and there. When one strings together the characters so marked, it reads as follows: "Goodbye, my beloved Kyoko. I loved you so much; but even then you were already engaged, so it was very painful for me. Thinking only of your happiness, I suppressed the urge to whisper into your ear that I loved you. I love you still."