Sergeant Masato Shimohira
with his parents
Last Family Photo
The following story is on display at Hotaru Museum in
Chiran Town, Kagoshima Prefecture. Tome in the story refers to Tome Torihama,
who ran Tomiya Restaurant in Chiran during WWII. Reiko is her daughter.
Sergeant Shimohira spent time with Tome and her two daughters like his own
family until his sortie. Tome always used to tell the story, "I wanted to
be Sergeant Shimohira's mother."
Before Shimohira's sortie, his parents came to Tomiya Restaurant to see their
son off. (Telling beforehand about a tokkō (special attack) sortie was a
military secret. It is thought that Sergeant Shimohira, wanting to tell his
parents, sent a letter to them.)
Reiko was told by Tome, "Go together with
them to Ariyoshi Photography Studio." Shimohira and his parents had their last
family photo taken there. On the next day, as he took off, he waved his hand to his parents
who had come to see him off.
Sortie Date: May 11, 1945
52nd Shinbu Squadron
22 years old
Translated by Bill Gordon