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Saburou Hotaru (Saburo, the Firefly)
Performed by Hiroshi Kanoh
Lyrics written by Keizo Hoshi
Composed by Koji Tokuhisa
Arranged by Nobuyuki Sakuraba
Gauss Entertainment, 2005, CD

On June 5, 1945, Saburo Miyakawa told Tome Torihama, who operated Tomiya Restaurant in Chiran, that he and his friend Enosuke Takimoto would both return as fireflies after their kamikaze squadron completed its mission the next day. Takimoto was forced to return to Chiran Air Base due to driving rain and heavy clouds, but Miyakawa continued on to try to complete his kamikaze mission. At 9 o'clock on June 6, a single firefly came into Tomiya Restaurant, and Tome Torihama and the people in the restaurant, including Takimoto, thought Miyakawa had returned as a firefly.

The enka song entitled "Saburou Hotaru" (Saburo, the Firefly) by Hiroshi Kanoh is based on the actual history of Saburo Miyakawa, but the song provides few details related to Miyakawa's real story. Below is an English translation of this song:

Tomorrow at the bottom of the sea somewhere
The short lives of both you and me
If they are lost we'll reach our long-cherished ambition
We'll become fireflies and return here
If I come, give me amazake [1] to drink
"Firefly, come to me, firefly, come to me"
Please softly sing

(spoken) Mother, my departure finally has arrived
It was a short life, but thanks for giving birth to me
I am going one step ahead
Mother, please come without hurry
Mother! (shouted)

Farewell, my homeland, my loved ones
We do not want to die but
Our lives will serve a useful purpose
If we say farewell to Mount Kaimon [2]
Even though tears may fall, still we'll be in high spirits
Firefly, come to me, firefly, come to me
Please congratulate and tell us, "Thanks for returning"

Firefly, come to me, firefly, come to me
Do not forget us

Translated by Bill Gordon
February 2008


1. Amazake is a sweet alcoholic drink made from fermented rice.

2. Mount Kaimon, which looks like a smaller version of Mount Fuji, is a mountain at the southern tip of mainland Japan where kamikaze pilots from Chiran Air Base and other kamikaze air bases in southern Kyushu flew over on their flights toward Okinawa.