ADMIRAL TAKIJIRO ŌNISHI
Takijiro Ohnishi (June 2, 1891 - August 16, 1945) was the founder of the Kamikaze Squadrons during the World War II. During the final days of the conflict, the Japanese Empire suffered utter losses and its destiny seemed to be sealed. Facing inevitable doom of his country, the Admiral had proposed the foundation of the suicide units, which are known as Kamikazes. This decision can easily be misunderstood, when judged from todays position. However, we must bear in mind, that this highest, bitter sacrifice of young soldiers lives, could be the only (even if illusory) hope for Japan. The most tragic fact was, that all the situation was like an ancient Greek tragedy - every decision would bring fatal results.
No matter if we respect the Admiral's ideas, it should be pointed out, that adm. Takijro Onishi followed his believes to the bitter end, committing the honorable suicide by the seppuku, joining his soldiers. This page is a tribute to honour his memory and to allow todays visitors to think this tragic character about.
Today in bloom, tomorrow as scattered petals
Like a delicate flower, life is
How we could aspire this fragrance,
To last forever?
(-) adm. Takijiro Onishi's farewell poem
ADMIRAL TAKIJIRO ŌNISHI.
Admiral Takijro Onishi was born in 1892, in Ashida village. Descending from an old, traditional samurai family he was preparing since his early years to a career of a soldier. As an excellent student, he passed exams to Imperial Navy Academy of Etajima with easy. After completion of studies (with honours and 4th place on the year), he was detached for newly developed navy airforce. His duty assignment was aircarrier Wakamiya Maru (managed to sunk an enemy target - a German mine ship during Tsingtau operation).
As an open-minded and a brilliant young officer, Takijiro Onishi was fascinated by modern aspects of planes' role on the battlefield. His dedication to the service as well as family traditions gave the him excellent background to develop into a great soldier (at the same time he was known for being very modest). However, he often fell in conflict with older officers due to his personal link to the idea of the cooperation between planes and ships (which was a new approach to the marine warfare tactics). On the other hand, his charismatic, not common personality brought him many friends.
As an admiral, Takijiro Onishi was not only focusing on pure tactical aspects of war. He was also very interested in psychology and problem of soldier's reactions in the critical circumstances (in 1938 he published a book on this subject: "War ethics of the Imperial Navy"). In 1941 he was one of the archhitects of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour (even though he was heavily opposing the idea of war against USA). During the whole war acted as a brilliant soldier and a charismatic leader.
At the time of Japanese offensive's crush at Midway, (the begin of Rising Sun defeat), adm. Onishi was the commander of the First Air Fleet in the northern Philippines. Even at these grave days he was opposing the idea of suicide attacks. His opinion changed after the loss of Mariana Islands, when the situation was more than critical.
The first expressed suggestion came during a meeting at Magracut Airfield near Manila on October 19 (201st Navy Flying Corps HQ), The admiral told his staff: "I don't think there would be any other way to carry out the operation [defend the Philippines], than to put a 250 kg bomb on a Zero and let it crash into a U.S. carrier, in order to disable her for a week."
Kamikaze attacks seemed to the only hope for changing the fate of war (the name comes from the divine-sent hurricane which repelled Mongol invasion twice in the past). Understanding the tragic aspects of the plan, and teared apart between love for his country and respect for human life, yet still filled with the spirit of Bushido, he gave his whole energy to this idea.
Even if we are defeated, the noble spirit of this kamikaze attack corps will keep our homeland from ruin. Without this spirit, ruin would certainly follow defeat.
The operation, however, could not prevent the inevitable defeat - the power of the US Force was far too strong.
ADMIRAL TAKIJIRO ŌNISHI.
On 15.08.1945, admiral Takijiro Onishi proved his deep sense of loyalty and duty, joining his Kamikaze pilots by committing honorable, bushi's suicide - seppuku. His farewell note apologized to the brave young men he sent to their fate, as well as to their families. The Admiral asked all young civilians who had survived the war to work towards the rebuilding of Japan and peace among nations. He also stated that he would offer his death as a penance to the kamikaze pilots and their families.
An excerpt from Adm. Takijro Onishi's last will states:
I tell the spirits of the tokkotai (kamikazes). I thank you from my heart for your brave fights. Even though you believed the final victory of Japan and died gracefully like cherry blossoms, your faith has never been accomplished. I apologize to the spirits of my men and their bereaved families with my death. Next, I bid all the in Japan. It would be bliss if all of you realize that acting rashly, throwing your life would only profit your enemy, and decide with faith to follow the sacred order of the Emperor His majesty, and endure the pain. While enduring your pain, do not forget the pride to be Japanese. You all are the treasure of the country. Yet in the time of the peace, adhere the spirit of kamikaze and do your best for the welfare of the Japanese race and for the Peace of the people around the world.
Lieutenant General of the Navy,
It was recorded that while the seppuku was cleanly done, Onishi's attempt to cut his own throat was not perfect. When others found him and offered to assist, he declined. Do not try to help me; he said, choosing to suffer fifteen hours of pain to repay the debt of sending off so many kamikaze pilots.
ADMIRAL TAKIJIRO ŌNISHI.
This page does NOT support imperial Japanese policy and activity during WW2 nor any kind of nazism or racism. It only memorizes tragic choices made in defense of homeland as well as bravery and heroism of thousands of young pilots who sacrificed their life.