My Mother

My Mother

Last Poem of Wataru Okunaka

Mr. Wataru Okunaka was from Imazu Town in Shimoge-gun, Oita Prefecture. In August 1943, he left Nakatsu Middle School and entered the Flight Reserve Enlisted Training Class at Kagoshima Air Base. As a flight trainee he specialized in reconnaissance at Ooi Air Base. The operational unit to which he belonged 801st Air Group, 703rd Reconnaissance Flight Corps.

On April 21, 1945, he sortied from Kanoya Air Base as radar man on a Type 1 attack bomber. While searching for the enemy, he died in battle with an enemy night fighter. He was 17 years of age at death.

I also who volunteered for my country, as a person feel lonely when I think of my hometown

When I hear the exploits of my brother eagles, I want to go quickly to the skies of battle

Even with the wished-for seven buttons on my uniform, I am thinking of my mother

Eager to return home again after leaving Imazu Station a half year ago

Over there tea fields one after another, wanting to show my mother Fuji's peak

My life dedicated to the Emperor, a young cherry blossom facing the storm

My mother sends a letter with a pressed cherry blossom encouraging me to come back home

Dividing my only life between loyalty and filial piety, I will leave the nest for the south sea skies

A clear moonlit night unchanging, but people's circumstances change based on events

Flying through the blue sky searching for the enemy, seeing below the shape of Mt. Fuji

After enduring hardships, transformed into a cherry blossom with beautiful color and smell

Translated by Bill Gordon
April 4, 2004