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During those final days, it was a stark choice between "surrender" and "stay the course." I think he hated to surrender his country, just as a handful of Iraqis who, after agonizing over what to do against America, chose to take up arms for Saddam they hated. Or Wehrmacht troopers who fought Russians. (Sorry, DoDo.) At one point, he reportedly said he was dying for the one he loved but not for the emperor, so he would not be in the shrine.

In another note, he wrote to his parents (translation mine):

It was my dream to model Japan after the great British empire. The dream has been lost in vain. I am happy to give my life for the freedom and independence of my country. The rise and fall of a country is a grave matter for a man, but is meaningless in the time of the entire space. Just as the old saying says, the pomp will never last long. Even if US and UK win this war, they will lose one day. Even if they don't, they will all perish in the space time... The question is whether you live longer or not.

This young man was just extraordinary. There is none like him, before or after.

Uehara was educated in college, but there was another navy lieutenant, Usubuchi who went to the cadet school. On board the battleship Yamato on another suicide mission, young college graduate officers couldn't understand the mission, whereas the cadet school graduates were enraged that questioning the mission was betrayal. They were about to fight, when this young gunroom chief calmed them all down with these words (recounted by a survivor, translation mine):

Those who do not value progress will never win. The best that could happen to our country is to lose this war and wake up anew.  Our country has forgotten the real progress for a long time, always caught up in moralizing and perceived integrity. Lose this war and wake up, how else can our country be saved? If not now, when? We are all the vanguard of the path for Japan to follow. Isn't it good enough? We are dying for the dawn of the reawakening. What more do you want?

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Wed Dec 7th, 2005 at 11:46:48 AM EST
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