On January 12, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Minoru Mori died in a
special (suicide) attack at the age of 18 when submarine I-58 launched his
kaiten manned torpedo at Guam Island's Apra Harbor. On December 30, 1944,
submarine I-58 made a sortie from Ōtsushima Kaiten Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture
with four kaiten pilots who were members of the Kaiten Special Attack Corps
Kongō Unit. Mori was from Hokkaidō Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Kō
Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program). He received a
promotion to Ensign after his death by special attack.
Dear Older Brother,
I write a note to leave behind for you.
Receiving life as a young Japanese man, I offer my unimportant life as a
shield for the Emperor and country. I absolutely will devote all of my
strength and will charge in to complete my mission so that the enemy will
not be able to rise again. I believe that I will show Japan's hidden reserve
of strength and the spirit of a young man of Shinshū .
This one action is not special and new. I will just put into action
directly the teachings of each of my parents, teachers, siblings, relatives,
seniors, and friends during 19 years .
Even though for this ambitious undertaking I now am not leaving behind
any new statements at all, I really regret that I was not able to repay you
in any way your kindness. If I can repay a ten-thousandth of your kindness
though this one action, I will be extremely glad.
Although even a little child can think seriously about sacrificing his
life for the Emperor and country as a Japanese person, I do not know other
than I will do it somehow.
Also, even though I know sufficiently "living for an eternal cause" based
on the words, I do not know the true meaning. Today before the one great heroic undertaking, I understand that one part
for the first time. Of course, even though ultimately I should understand
all of that, I am not able to do so.
Even until the moment that I create a great column of fire and an
explosion, I think that my final wish is that I want to learn for myself the
real meaning of taigi (great cause).
When I think back over 19 years, even though I walked on a path that
always had several twists and turns and though it was like one dream, now my
heart aches. The words of advice from my parents, teachers, older brothers,
and older sisters have sunk deeply into my mind. As for memories like this,
even though it is difficult to bear thoughts of self-criticism, they are
especially fondly remembered.
I greeted the new year of 1945 en route to my mission. From inside our
boat, I looked far off on the ocean at the skies of the homeland ruled over
by the Emperor. Saying long live the Emperor, when I pray for certain
victory for the Empire of Japan, I am moved to tears at the homeland's
mountains and rivers and at persons' faces that appear as vivid memories.
The feeling that I must destroy the enemy completely has strengthened even
A saying of the ancients is that one values a flower when it falls.
Blooming is splendor but not the essence. One knows the true flower when it
Although I may lack courage as I now say falling and blooming, please
forgive my dishonor as a young person. While saying that I value honor above
life, I know that there is still some way to go before I achieve it. For the
Emperor and country, I want to go without concern for even my honor.
The Empire now faces its greatest crisis. The country's citizens equally
shout themselves hoarse with one another about the country's crisis, and I
believe that they are working with all their strength in their positions.
Even though the Empire always has divine aid, however, without effort,
without truth, without honesty, and without things that one absolutely must
obtain, there will be peril again even though they try to rely in vain on
Now doing with resolve from several days before, I will realize without
stopping my long-cherished ambition. It will be with just "long live His
Majesty the Emperor" and "long live the Empire of Japan." I am confident in
certain victory for the Empire of Japan, and I will burst into enemy
The heavenly spirits of the war dead also will watch our show of hard
I will go
In my heart
There is gladness
The letter and poem come from Orihara (1973, 224-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Konada and Kataoka (2006, 125-35, 378), Mediasion (2006,
46, 48, 80), and Orihara (1973, 224).