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Tome Torihama
with kamikaze pilots

 
Tokkou obasan arigatou (Tokko aunt, thank you)
Performed by Michio Oda
Written by Funato Okino
Music composed and arranged by Yasukatsu Ikeda
From Tokkou no haha: Heiwa e no inori (Tokko mother: prayer for peace)
King Record Co., 1987, Audiocassette 

The Japanese enka song "Tokkou obasan arigatou" (Tokko [1] aunt [2], thank you) refers to Tome Torihama, who ran a restaurant in the small town of Chiran in Kagoshima Prefecture. Many kamikaze pilots visited her restaurant from the nearby Army air base. This song's lyrics express how the kamikaze pilots who perished appreciate the kindness shown by Tome Torihama toward them. Below is an English translation.

In the blue southern seas
We went to sleep forever
Your many kind acts
Will never be forgotten
Your face gently smiling
Tokko aunt, thank you

How have you been since then?
This season of falling cherry blossoms
Every Sunday we all stopped by
Happy memories of those noisy days
Mother of Chiran's Tomiya [3]
Tokko aunt, thank you

Recently on our base
A peace museum was built [4]
Grateful most of all
A feeling of relief
Please watch over us forever
Tokko aunt, thank you

Notes

1. The word tokkou (or often shown as tokko) means "special attack," a Japanese euphemism for "suicide attack." Kamikaze pilots were part of Japan's tokkotai (Special Attack Corps).

2. The Japanese word obasan means aunt, but the word is also used as a general term for middle-aged women.

3. Tomiya was the name of Tome Torihama's restaurant in Chiran. The building was converted in 2001 into the Hotaru Museum, which has displays about the personal stories of pilots who knew Tome Torihama.

4. "A peace museum" refers to the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots, which opened in 1975 and moved to a new building in 1986.

Translated by Bill Gordon
July 2006