At 1535 on April 28, 1945, Ensign Masanori Ōishi took off from Kushira Air
Base as pilot in a three-man Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Kate)
carrying an 800-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at
the age of 22. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Hachiman 
Shinchū Squadron from Usa Air Group. He was from Saga Prefecture, attended Tōkyō
Imperial University to study law, and was a member of the 14th Class of the
Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
Ōishi wrote the following final diary entries dated March 23 to April 15,
1945. He recorded no entries from April 16 until his death on April 28, 1945.
From March 18 to 23, 1945, he was at Miho Air Base in Shimane Prefecture, and
the diary entries below begin with his return from Miho to Usa Air Base in Ōita
Prefecture. In several places the diary refers to kutai, which is the
Japanese word for a four-plane tactical formation. Individual planes usually are
referred to by number (e.g., No. 618) in his diary.
As usual the weather was poor. Usa was clear. After 0900 the carrier
attack bomber unit took off, and at 1000 the carrier dive bomber unit took
off. The air currents were bad. Along the way we crossed over the Chūgoku
Mountains and returned to Usa.
Reserve students and others at the airfield came out to meet us. They
formed a line for us, and there was great joy. When I think back again, 30
minutes after we took off on the 18th, Grumman F4F fighters strafed the
airfield and launched rocket bombs for 30 minutes. Also, in the afternoon the
airfield suffered an attack, and the concrete aircraft hangars are full of
holes. After returning to the deck, they talked of the Grumman strafing, and
we talked about our life at Miho. We got along very well together.
Also in the afternoon the Himeji special attack unit came. All of our Usa
Air Group Type 97 Carrier Attack Bombers (Allied code name of Kate) were
organized into a special attack unit. I also was added as an honored member.
I will make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack on an enemy aircraft
carrier with a bomb-laden Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber although it is old.
Without thinking of my life, I expect death first. I desire to make a
jibaku (self-explosion) attack where I will be a bomb. I am happy if I
can bring peace for the Empire. When compared to the life of my family and
nation, it is light.
Clear. The 10th Air Fleet Wake Unit finally received an order to the
front. The Wake Unit 1st Hachiman Gokō Squadron was formed. Tomorrow they
plan to depart. There are a total of six aircraft with Lieutenant Fujii as
Commander, Ensigns Wakaomi and Takahashi as kutai 
leaders, and three instructors. Aircraft from Himeji Air Group will be added
to these. Also, they will send Ensigns Sugimoto and Ueno from among us to the
special attack squadrons of carrier attack bombers. Bombs will be attached
to Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber Trainers and Type 99 Carrier Dive Bomber
(Allied code name of Val) Trainers though they are old, and they will carry
out hisshi hitchū (certain-death, sure-hit) taiatari attacks.
At dinnertime they drank a toast to the two ensigns of the carrier attack
bombers. In the evening, the carrier dive bomber students went to the
gunroom  and attended a farewell party held by
the training officers. All officers of both the carrier attack bombers and
carrier dive bombers are reserve officers who are our seniors. Now we must be
inspired by capabilities of reserve officers.
Clear. At 0700, first the carrier dive bombers and then the carrier
attack bombers took off. Everyone saw them off at the airfield. At a
departure where they would not return, the divinely brave figures of these
seniors went smiling while each wearing a hachimaki (headband) dyed
with a rising sun (red circle) on front. They had rising suns stuck on their
right arms and life jackets, and cherry blossoms were attached to the front
of their uniforms. I also will make a crash dive while carrying an 800-kg
bomb. There is only a difference of time.
The carrier dive bombers only soon turned back due to poor visibility. At
noon they took off again. The three planes of Ensign Takahashi, Ensign
Wakaomi, and one instructor had engines in poor condition, and their
departures were postponed until tomorrow.
Usa Air Group has 10 planes, and Himeji Air Group Shirasagi Unit has 14
planes. At 1730, the formation of the 3rd special attack group was
announced, and I also had the honor of joining as a member. The observer
Ensign Onodera and the radioman Petty Officer 2nd Class Kubota are my fellow
crewmen who will die together with me in the same manner. Lieutenant Yamada
is the Commander, and there are four students, namely Murase, Tahira,
Fujiwara, and Ōishi. We each received a hachimaki with a rising sun
as a good luck charm.
With a leave from the base, I went on the 1949 train to the Hisatsune
home in Kamegawa. We woke them as they had already gone to sleep, and we
spent the night there. Today Ensign Nakagaki came at about 1500 since he was
added to the carrier attack bomber 3rd special attack group, and he returned
to base at 1947. He was eagerly waiting for me and had said, "It is the time
for Ōishi also to come, but …" I went to bed at midnight.
I got up at 0400. I received ohagi 
with thoughtful kanten (gelatin from native red seaweed called
tengusa). I received perfume from Tomoe. I returned to base on
the 0450 train.
Furthermore, last night I wrote my farewell to five persons: Yotsuya,
Principal Fujii, Konomi-sensei, Nishino, and Hirozawa.
It was decided suddenly that today the 3rd carrier attack bomber unit and
the carrier dive bomber unit would make a sortie. The schedule was that it
was intended that we go on the morning of the 8th, so we had a somewhat
unhurried attitude. I had told Hisagaki that perhaps I could come visit him
this evening, and then suddenly in a hurry we were making preparations.
However, the preparation of five planes was not in time for a sortie. The
crew (14 men) for the five planes would take off in a Douglas transport
plane. On top of our flight caps we each wore a white hachimaki dyed
with a rising sun on front. We had rising suns stuck on our right arms and
life jackets, and cherry blossoms were attached in front. With military
swords, I had joy in my heart with figures who seemed like warriors of
old. We shook hands with our comrades and bid farewell. I received a memento
from a Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) graduate, and I gave
him the mascot doll that I received from Yoshiko. Until the end I will keep
her handmade sewn bag with me when I go.
At 0900, the crewmen who would make a sortie assembled in the officers'
room. In addition to the Commander in attendance, there were toasts. The
Commander told us, "Now at the beginning of Operation Ten-Gō, I was honored
with a wise Imperial message from His Majesty the Emperor. Be strong." This
confirmed our resolve even more.
Before takeoff I suddenly wrote a waka 
poem. I asked a comrade to paste it to my photo album.
Waiting anxiously, worthwhile for Emperor
Today's joy to fly as shield for Him
Grumman fighters advanced south from Usa to Kumamoto and arrived at
It is expected that today at 1300 the general attack will commence. The
1st and 2nd Gokō Squadrons along with Himeji Air Group, with each plane
carrying securely an 800-kg bomb, made sorties raising clouds of dust and
divided into four shōtai (sections). I took the chalk of Lieutenant Junior
Grade Kijima. In total there were 30 planes. Next the special attack Tenzan
Attack Bombers (Allied code name of Jill) made sorties, and next the Tenzan
unit for the 251st Air Group and the night torpedo attack planes took off.
Radio telegraph messages came one after another from the Usa Gokō
Squadron. Messages from Ensign Kijima and Lieutenant Narita said they would
succeed in their taiatari attacks. "I am full of determination with
divine assistance," "make formation for crash drives," "attack target B
(battleship)." As for Lieutenant Fujii, after several messages in succession
of "hi" (hitai - evading enemy interceptor aircraft), after 6
o'clock the message was "making crash dive on A" (aircraft carrier). Besides
these, there were several person who had telegraph messages of "I am making
Masataka, I cannot contain my joy about your starting middle school. I
was thinking of something special as a congratulatory gift, but I was not
able due to being very busy. I congratulate you with money inserted in my
diary. Forgive me.
First there was deployment. Carrier planes from the enemy task force
attacked Miyazaki. No. 618 was scheduled (0800 departure) on an important
matter to Usa, but for that reason it was postponed. Yesterday all planes of
the torpedo attack plane unit returned.
When dying, one could not die in silence and had to die saying at least a
word of farewell. Therefore, it was necessary to pay attention to
maintenance of the radio telegraph. The condition of communications of the
Himeji Air Group was poor. Since there were not radio telegraphs in
planes, it was expected that they be able to confirm battle results.
Accordingly, in view of battle lessons learned from the 1st general attack,
planes that are flying as wingmen also should have radio telegraphs installed.
Radio telegraphs were loaded on a Douglas transport plane, and it
immediately headed toward Kushira.
We were without five planes because yesterday we rode in a Douglas
transport plane to Kushira, so it was decided that we would return to Usa.
However, the weather had worsened and rain also was falling, and the Douglas
transport plane also had little desire to fly there. We decided to return by
land to get the planes. We departed Kushira Station at 1900, and we spent
the night in Miyakonojō. Ensign Koida and his crew did not return since
there was one spare plane (No. 623), so the crews of four planes went back.
At 0730 I departed from where I had stayed, and at 1800 I arrived at
Yanagigaura Station. I was told that my Father and Mother had come to the
base yesterday. I went quickly to Kamegawa, but they already had returned
home and would be back later.
At 0726, I left Kamegawa and returned to base. In the morning and
afternoon, there was a stand-by where we had to be available immediately.
Also, we wiped the planes' windshields. Even though the planes were in
concrete hangars, it was inconvenient with the rain leaking in due to holes
from several days of Grumman machine-gun attacks. In the evening, I went to
the home of Ueno where Ensign Hiroaki Itō was lodging, and the family served
a nice meal for us. Besides me, there were Itō, Ozawa, and Izumi. Our hosts
told us that we were patriotic and enthusiastic warriors, "It is our
long-cherished desire to devote complete our family's goods on behalf of you
gods." They had levelheaded opinions one after another. "Even though you go
to make an attack, certainly return. And isn't it clear that we'll drink
again with you all in good health? Absolutely do not hurry to die."
Even though it was planned for me to spend the night, there was a
telephone call from the air group, and I returned to base.
Six students and about ten trainees who had received special attack
training and did not have any planes allocated to them went by land to
Kushira. At 0745, we saw them off.
I visited Usa Jingū (Shrine). When I was going by bus, it started to rain
heavily. It stopped, and rain did not fall until I returned to base. I
appreciate divine protection. In the afternoon I went to the home of Dr.
Honda where Ozawa was lodging, and they held a splendid farewell party. They
were extremely kind. I spent the night there.
At 0630, we gathered together in the officers' room, and we a meal
together with the Commander. We took off at 8 o'clock. Honda, his gracious
mother, and others saw us off. The observer in No. 303 was Ensign Onodera,
and we were in the 3rd plane of the 1st Kutai.
As we were going, it became more and more cloudy, and the 1st plane swerved
greatly. Also, who has competence when not flying a plane for a long time?
We passed through the skies above Kurume and Izumi.
Along the way lubricating oil was sticking to the windshield, and I could
not see well. Visibility and air currents were good when we reached southern
Kyūshū. I arrived safely. When returning to the apron, there was a strong
crosswind that spun me to the left. It was the first time to experience
From 1300 there was a talk by the Flight Operations Officer and
Lieutenant Yamada to persons scheduled for tomorrow's attack. I have a heavy
responsibility as 3rd Kutai Leader. It would be easy for me to die alone,
but I have the other planes. It is expected that the 2nd Kikusui Operation will
commence tomorrow morning.
The Wake Unit took off starting at 11 o'clock. They would crash dive
while fighter escorts opened up the path ahead. The objective was A
(aircraft carrier) or B (battleship). Since many transport ships were empty,
we were directed to choose one that is fully loaded and then make a crash
dive. Besides this, there was were general instructions about piloting, and
Lieutenant Yamada talked concerning navigation. Since I could not sleep, I
did not know anything that was said due to my nodding off.
At 16 o'clock the torpedo attack unit of Tenzan Attack Bombers and Type
97 Carrier Attack Bombers took off. Then there was an inspection by the 10th
Air Fleet Commander of Special Attack Corps members from Usa Air Group and
Himeji Air Group. One by one each man gave his name and saluted the officer.
In the evening from 7 o'clock there was a party in the officers' room. We
rested earlier than usual. Naturally I took a bath and changed my clothes.
Ensign Watanabe was saying to me, "Ōishi, you have not changed at all
from how you are always. Your eye color is different from other people, and
you are restless. Of course you are different than a natural person." When
he especially was chiding me, I had to all the more focus on tomorrow's
hitchū (sure hit).
It is the day of the 2nd general attack called the 2nd Kikusui Operation,
which follows the 1st Kikusui Operation on the 6th. That is, this day Navy
Ensign Masanori Ōishi will shatter as a jewel (gyokusai) at Okinawa
for the Empire as the end of his 24 years .
Now I do not have anything like a will. There is nothing to do but my usual
words and actions and a letter to everyone about these. Even though I should
be ashamed for not having done anything for Father and Mother who gave me
love for 24 years, at this critical time for the Empire, my dying as a
Special Attack Corps member in this greatest military operation is the
greatest honor and also can be said to be a great act of filial piety. I
regret that I was not able to read "Biography" that Father devoted himself
The pilot of my 2nd plane is Petty Officer 2nd Class Yoshiaki Mizukami,
who is a person I remember from my days at Namazuta. He told me that his
father Muneyoshi passed away, and in the 4th year of middle school it came
about that he entered the Otsu Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training
Program). Now along with being surprised at the unexpected meeting, I am
happy to die together with him.
Also, I met Fujita from my time at Tomiyama. He is a member of the 251st
Air Group. I believe in eternal indestructibility and certain victory for
the Empire of Japan. When I believe in this way, I will die happily. It is
my long-cherished desire that now I will participate in the aerial battle
off Okinawa that will be part of the turning point for the Empire in its
offensive movements and attacks.
Long live His Majesty the Emperor.
Masataka, take care.
Yoshiko, be a good wife. Be prepared for anything with your husband.
I thank Fujii, Kikuchi, and other teachers who kindly helped me.
Father and Mother,
For good or for bad, today I was able to survive another day, and I again
write to you. I will record today's events.
At 8 o'clock in the morning there was a meeting held around Lieutenant
Junior Grade Yoshii about the operation. At 10 o'clock there was a line-up
at the Commander's Office. First, there was the naming by the Commander, "I
name the Usa special attack unit of the 2nd Hachiman Gokō Squadron." Then we
three crewmen each drank a little sake from one cup before going into
battle. Moreover, I was truly happy that they had my favorite food,
kanten (gelatin from native red seaweed called tengusa) on
yōkan (sweet jellied red bean paste). Together with this, I fondly
recalled that Mother and Younger Sister would frequently make kanten
for me. Then a press member took a photograph of us in the order that we
would make sorties. At 1130, first 6 planes from Hyakurihara took off, and
then 12 planes from Usa took off by kutai. We took off in No. 303 as
the 1st plane in the 3rd Kutai. However, from when I was circling on the
lead course, oil started to splash onto the windshield. Since it splashed
more and more onto the windshield when I passed over the airfield, I
indicated to the other planes by blackboard, "Oil leaking, will return to
airfield." When I turned toward the airfield and looked back, the other
planes were advancing as before. Therefore, not being my real intention to
return in this way, I again followed after them. I could not see ahead at
all through the windshield, so reluctantly I dropped my bomb (from 1,000
meters) and returned.
Each time a person who I met talked to me seemed to pierce me to the
heart, even more so since I was the 1st plane. As for my kutai, the
2nd plane afterward turned back, and only two planes went toward the battle.
In today's attack it seems that many planes were shot down by enemy
fighters. There were a considerable number that sent a succession of "hi"
(hitai - avoiding enemy interceptor aircraft) messages. Also, there
were only but a few planes that sent a message at the attack target. After 3
o'clock no messages at all came in. It seems that many did not succeed and
vainly made crash dives into the sea.
My three comrades Ensigns Murase, Fujiwara, and Horinouchi also finally
died, and I alone have survived again and am writing. I utterly cannot
express what is in my heart.
Tomorrow Ensign Tahira will leave. Only I will remain.
With regards to what I felt today and the matter of taking care of the
plane's maintenance, the flight instruments absolutely must be working well.
The temperature gauge for plane No. 303's outside tubing that was
splattering oil on the windshield was in bad condition, and the temperature
was fluctuating between 100 and 150 degrees. Altitude is important, but
course-keeping is number one. Next, today's leading of my wingmen's planes
was the poorest.
Last night the formation of the 3rd attack group was announced. Usa has
four planes, and I was left out. They improved special attacks with radar
deception . Finally I spent a day on stand-by.
Four planes from Usa Air Group departed for dummy communication and radar
deception. All planes returned to base.
Several dozen Grumman fighters and Sikorsky flying boats made attacks.
They launched rocket bombs and strafed with machine-gun fire. Type 1 Attack
Bombers (Allied code name of Betty) and Tenzan Attack Bombers were destroyed
in the attacks. No. 623 was destroyed by fire. Just before the air attack
five planes came from Usa, and one was destroyed. It was the No. 3 dive
bomber that came piloted by Ozawa. The 3rd Kikusui Operation was announced.
He wrote the following last letter to his younger brother Masataka, who was
the author of a 2007 book about his brother titled Pen o tsurugi ni kaete: Tokkō
gakutohei kaigun shōi Ōishi Masanori (Replacing the pen with
the sword: Special attack student soldier Ensign Masanori Ōishi):
The final diary entries and letters come from Ōishi
(2007, 160-181). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai
(1966, 40) and Osuo (2005, 117, 219).