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Listen to the voices of the
sea new edition: Writings
of Japanese students who
died in war
(1995 edition)

 
Last Diary Entries of Lieutenant Junior Grade Norimasa Hayashi

At 1415 on August 9, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Norimasa Hayashi took off from Kisarazu Air Base in Chiba Prefecture as pilot of a Ryūsei torpedo dive bomber (Allied code name of Grace) carrying an 800-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Kinkasan in Miyagi Prefecture at the age of 25. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th Mitate [1] Squadron 2nd Ryūsei Unit from the 752nd Naval Air Group. He was from Ehime Prefecture, attended Keiō Gijuku University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following two last diary entries [2] after the formation of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th Mitate Squadron on July 25, 1945 [3]:

July 31

Today is the day of the sortie. It is the day of the special attack of the eight planes of our Ryūsei unit. When I got up this morning, there was a very thick fog. That fog became drops of water and fell drop by drop from the leaves and tops of the mountain trees.

When I got to the airfield, the items that needed to be loaded into our planes had been arranged neatly.

Last night I completely changed what I was wearing. I wrapped around my waist the senninbari (thousand-stitch belt) that Mother send to me. I prepared also the new pure-white muffler that my aunt in Yudachi [4] gave to me. I put on the best things that I have.

Waiting eagerly for the sortie order, I am writing this alone in an air-raid shelter.

Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters, and other relatives and friends, farewell.

Please get along well.

Soon I will go to the Hans Christian Andersen's fairyland, and I will become a royal prince there. And I will talk to the little birds, flowers, and trees.

I hope that the Empire of Japan will prosper forever.

August 9 [5]  clear weather

The enemy task force again has approached the mainland.

In an hour and a half I will make a sortie from here as a Special Attack Corps member. The sky of the first day of autumn is a very deep blue.

August 9!

Today I will fly a cutting-edge Ryūsei aircraft and will make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack into an American aircraft carrier.

My parents and everyone, farewell.

All of my comrades, thank you.


Diary entries translated by Bill Gordon
July 2019

The diary entries come from Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Kinenkai (1995, 394-6). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Kinenkai (1995, 389-90) and Osuo (2005, 233).

Based on the following two excerpts from Hayashi's diary entry dated April 23, 1945, he as a former university student despised the officers who graduated from Etajima Naval Academy [6]:

Nighttime flying began. After our flying operation we drank beer at a welcome party for Kamiōseko. I got a little high; and Second Sub-lieutenant Kamiōseko and I were enraged with indignation [about the current situation]. It was all about our position as reserve officers in the Imperial Navy. Now I declare! I will not fight, at least not for the Imperial Navy. I live and die for my fatherland, and, I would go so far as to say that it is for my own pride. I have nothing but a strong antipathy for the Imperial Navy―absolutely no positive feelings at all. From now on I can say in and to my heart: "I can die for my own pride, but I would not die―absolutely would not―for the Imperial Navy." How terribly we, the 13th class of pilots to come out of the "students mobilized for war" program, have been oppressed by them [the Imperial Navy]! Who exactly is fighting this war now anyway? A full half of my classmates of the 13th class who were bomber pilots on carriers, and my friends, are now already dead.

He ends the entry dated April 23 with the following words:

I will live and die for my fatherland, my comrades of the 13th class, all those senior fighting men who are members of the "students mobilized for war" program, and, lastly, for my own pride. I shall do so cursing all the while the Imperial Navy, which to me merely means a certain group of officers who graduated from Etajima [the Naval Academy].

Hayashi's diary entry dated July 12, 1945, includes the following statement [7]:

But I still manage to keep intact the idealism that I built up during the springtime of my life. That self-confidence brings me great personal happiness, and I only wish I could convey it to my older brother, Yukimasa. I would want to tell him, "Older brother Yukimasa, please believe me when I tell you that I have lived my whole life through as an idealist, and now that I have at last been able to keep that promise I made to you then, I am happy to fall like a cherry blossom petal [i.e., to be killed in action for the Fatherland]."

Notes

1. Mitate means shield.

2. Kike wadatsumi no koe (Listen to the voices of the sea) (1949, 254-8) also includes diary entries written by Hayashi on April 13 and 23, June 14 and 30, and July 12 before his assignment to the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps on July 25, 1945.

3. Osuo 2005, 141.

4. Yudachi is an area in Ainan Town in Ehime Prefecture.

5. The original publication of Kike wadatsumi no koe (Listen to the voices of the sea) (1949) did not include Hayashi's diary entry for August 9, 1945, but this was included in the new edition published in 1995.

6. Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Kinen-Kai 2000, 247-8.

7. Ibid., 249.

Sources Cited

Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Kinenkai (Japan Memorial Society for the Students Killed in the War), comp. 1995. Shinpan kike wadatsumi no koe: Nihon senbotsu gakusei no shuki (Listen to the voices of the sea new edition: Writings of Japanese students who died in war). Originally published in 1949. Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten.

Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Kinen-Kai (Japan Memorial Society for the Students Killed in the War—Wadatsumi Society), comp. 2000. Listen to the Voices from the Sea: Writings of the Fallen Japanese Students (Kike Wadatsumi no Koe). Translated by Midori Yamanouchi and Joseph L. Quinn.  Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press.

Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Shuki Henshū Iinkai. 1949. Kike wadatsumi no koe: Nihon senbotsu gakusei no shuki (Listen to the voices of the sea: Writings of Japanese students who died in war).  Tōkyō: Tōdai Kyōdō Kumiai Shuppanbu.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.