|Born||31 Jul 1887|
|Died||22 Jun 1945|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima was the Japanese Army commander in southern Okinawa during the American invasion. He had two divisions and two mixed brigades of the 32nd Army under his command. After losing ground to the advancing American forces, he refused to surrender. On 16 Jun 1945, he sent out this written message:
"With a burning desire to destroy the arrogant enemy, the men in my command have fought the invaders for almost three months. We have failed to crush the enemy, despite our death-defying resistance, and now we are doomed."
"Since taking over this island our forces have, with the devoted support of the local population, exerted every effort to build up defenses. Since the enemy landing, our air and land forces, working in concert, have done everything possible to defend the island."
"To my great regret we are no longer able to continue the fight. For this failure I tender deepest apologies to the Emperor and the people of the homeland. We will make one final charge to kill as many of the enemy as possible. I pray for the souls of men killed in battle and for the prosperity of the Imperial Family."
"Death will not quell the desire of my spirit to defend the homeland."
"With deepest appreciation of the kindness and co-operation of my superiors and my colleagues in arms, I bid farewell to all of you forever."
Ending the final letter was a poem written by Ushijima.
"Green grass dies in the islands without waiting for fall,
But it will be reborn verdant in the springtime of the homeland.
Weapons exhausted, our blood will bathe the earth, but the spirit will survive;
Our spirits will return to protect the motherland."
On 22 Jun, after the final offensive failed, Ushijima committed ritual suicide to prevent capture.
Source: the Divine Wind.
Mitsuru Ushijima Timeline
|31 Jul 1887||Mitsuru Ushijima was born.|
|1 Dec 1939||Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima was named the commanding officer of the Taiwan Army.|
|22 Jun 1945||Mitsuru Ushijima committed ritual suicide at Okinawa, Japan.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945