Last Words

My joy of dying as His Majesty’s shield
     as a son of Japan.

Those with life will surely die. It is the long-cherished desire of a man to die for his country in a national crisis and there is nothing that surpasses this. I happily offer my life.
As the wife of a military man you must be resolved for this day and you must never be distraught.
After I have died, lead a life that befits the wife of a military man.
You must raise Hiroshige so that he will be certain to be a land or sea military man. Provide Hiroko with a proper education as a woman and have her marry if there is a good marriage partner.
If the child you are carrying is a boy, have him become a soldier like Hiroshige. If it is a girl, she should marry like Hiroko. After I have died, promptly return to our hometown and be dutiful to my adoptive parents. Be mindful of your conduct to avoid the criticism of others.
With the death of my body, my spirit will become a guardian of our country and destroy the enemies of the Emperor.
You must prevail over the rough seas of this world and devote yourself to our children’s education. I will watch over your happiness from the other world.

The above are my last words to you.

November 29, 1940
To: Etsuko

Tokuji Onodera Mikoto
Lieutenant, Japanese Navy
Killed in Action on June 13, 1945, in the Direction of Okinawa
Born in Ariga-mura, Kurihara-gun, Miyagi Prefecture
Age: 39