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Kamikaze pilot says goodbye to Chii-chan with Mount Kaimon in background

 
Nijuuroku ya mairi (A Moon Twenty-six Days Old)
Written by Tetsuya Takeda
TBS, 1998, 92 min.

Mizuki Kaieda, a young elementary schoolteacher in Yokohama, wants to find out about her grandmother's secret past after her death. Mizuki's family opens a box kept by her grandmother and finds many postcards written over the years, with the oldest one dating back to the late 1940s. All the postcards come from a woman named Chizuko Mutsumiso (with maiden name of Maezono) living in Kagoshima Prefecture, who ends each postcard with the perplexing words, "I am waiting for you at Mount Kaimon." Mizuki decides to travel alone to Kagoshima to discover the mystery of her grandmother's past. She gradually unravels the romantic tragedy surrounding her grandmother as she talks to various people in Kaimon, a small town located at the southernmost point of mainland Japan, and in Chiran, where the Japanese Army had a base in 1945 for kamikaze pilots to attack American ships off Okinawa.

Popular actress Emi Wakui plays both principal characters in this television movie broadcast in Japan by TBS on August 17, 1998. Wakui plays not only Mizuki Kaieda but also Mizuki's grandmother, Kimiyo Maezono, who operated a small inn near Mount Kaimon until 1947. The movie highlights Mount Kaimon in the background of several scenes, both in 1945 and 1998. When kamikaze pilots flew missions from Kagoshima to Okinawa, the last thing they saw of Japan was Mount Kaimon. The film also features the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots, located only about 20 km from Kaimon. Mizuki visits there to find out about the history of Army pilots who flew kamikaze missions to Okinawa. Although kamikaze pilots actually flew from Chiran over Mount Kaimon, the film's plot and characters are fictional.

Three kamikaze pilots say goodbye to Kimiyo and Chii-chan at inn

 
After Mizuki arrives in Kagoshima, she goes to a small inn that Chizuko and her husband operate near Mount Kaimon. Chizuko's husband tells Mizuki that her grandmother Kimiyo used to operate the inn until 51 years ago in 1947. He then tells the story of the love affair that led to her departure from Kaimon to Yokohama. One day three young kamikaze pilots from Chiran came to stay at the inn on the night before flying to Okinawa. Kimiyo and her young daughter, Chizuko (or Chii-chan, the term of endearment used by the pilots), warmly welcomed the pilots. They ran the inn alone since Kimiyo's husband went to war, and she had heard that he had died in battle in the Philippines. The three young men enjoyed a bath in an outdoor onsen (hot spring) and a delicious meal prepared by Kimiyo from food she bought from nearby farms. When Kimiyo went out in the evening to get food for the next morning's breakfast, Chii-chan enjoyed playing games and singing songs with the three pilots.

Kimiyo and Chii-chan went to pick yellow flowers the next morning to give the three young pilots before they left the inn. An Army truck came to take them to Chiran Air Base, where they had to immediately depart to Okinawa on their suicide missions. Chii-chan went outside the inn and asked one pilot, Hirakazu Kaieda, to return to see her and her mother. Kaieda promised to do so as Kimiyo cried inside the inn. After the truck left, later in the day Kimiyo and Chii-chan heard planes in the sky. They ran outside to see the three pilots fly over their home, and then Kaieda flew his plane close to the ground and saluted to Kimiyo and Chii-chan. As the three planes flew next to Mount Kaimon, the pilots threw the yellow flowers out of their planes to the ground so that at least the flowers with their seeds might survive.

Kimiyo (left) and Chii-chan (right) say goodbye to kamikaze pilots

 
After hearing this story, Mizuki then joins Chizuko and her husband in an annual procession of the townspeople to a point near the ocean where many yellow flowers now grow. As Chizuko and Mizuki slowly walk together in the procession, Chizuko tells her what happened to her grandmother after the kamikaze pilots left. Kimiyo gave birth to the son of Hirakazu Kaieda, the pilot with whom she had a secret love affair during his one-night visit. Although Kimiyo thought her husband died in battle in the Philippines, he suddenly returned one day long after the end of the war. The situation soon become unbearable for Kimiyo with a son from the affair while her husband was away, so she decided to leave her daughter Chizuko with her husband and to move to Yokohama. Her daughter continued to write her each year, "I am waiting for you at Mount Kaimon." However, Chizuko never saw her mother again.

The movie's scriptwriter, Tetsuya Takeda, wrote a children's book in 1999 with the same story. However, the book only tells the story that happened in 1945 from the point of view of Chii-chan, with no mention of her mother's affair with one of the pilots. The yellow flowers given by Kimiyo and Chii-chan to the three pilots have the popular name of tokkobana (kamikaze flowers). However, the true origin of these flowers remains a mystery, although most people think that this non-native flower did not come to Japan until after the war.

This fictional story portrays kamikaze pilots as kind, loving individuals. Although the three pilots outwardly seem to face death without showing fear, one pilot cries out loudly in grief as he lies down to sleep. Even though Kimiyo moves away because of the shame of having a child with another man, no character in the film other than her husband speaks negatively of her love affair with the pilot.