Samurai

Samurai

A Story by bailish
"

My writing took me in a different direction than I originally intended.

"

Hello.  My name is Takashi Oshimi.  My father is Hiroshi Oshimi, the editor of the newspaper in my hometown.  I'm sure you've never heard of it.  It's a small village in the north, on the island of Hokkaido.  I'm a reporter for my father's paper, or at least I was up until a few months ago.  That's when I volunteered for the army.  They call it volunteering, but I don't feel I had any choice.  You see, my father is a samurai, the proudest and highest ranking class of people in my country.  To not volunteer brings disgrace and loss of face to my family.  Everything here is dictated by face.  To lose face is worse than death.  Much lower.  The highest honor a samurai can receive is to give his life protecting his master.  This is called the supreme honor.  My master is the emperor.  And so to have a chance of dying for him, I must become a soldier in the army.

For the past few months, I've been training to be a pilot.  And today is my first mission.  It will probably be my only mission, though, because they only gave me enough fuel for a one way trip.  You see, this war has been very expensive for my country, and so they cut costs everywhere they can.  Whether the mission is a success or a failure, returning home would be dishonorable. 

 

We've been flying for several hours now.  I think we're close, but I don't really know.  I'm just a follower.  We're not allowed to talk to each other.  It's called "radio silence."  They're afraid the enemy will hear us coming.  Our mission today depends on being secret.  If they knew we were here, then they could blow us out of the air before we had a chance to complete our mission.  In fact, we've flown many hundreds of miles out of the way in order to avoid detection.

Well, what else can I tell you?  Oh, let me tell you about my training as a child.  My father would spend long hours with me, teaching me Bushido, the Way of the Samurai.  Today, no one calls himself a samurai.  The name was outlawed after the samurai led a revolt against the shogun.  One of the most important lessons was art of the katana, the heavy, long-handled sword used by all samurai.  Well, no one actually uses it anymore, except for training.  Weapons are more sophisticated now.  If those foreign devils had never brought guns to our shores, we'd still be using them, though.  There's no honor in killing your opponent from a distance.  But it's still an essential part of samurai training, as it probably will be for another 1000 years.  The samurai will never die.  We're too proud.  My father also told me that as a samurai, I must maintain a certain level of dignity in everything I do.  I can never bring shame to the samurai class.  That would be unthinkable.  I feel sorry for my sister, though.  My father has always treated her as a second-class citizen.  He scolded me whenever I played with her too much.  He said I would grow soft if I occupied my time with females.  The sole purpose of women is for breeding.  Sometimes my father looked at me as if he doubted I would be brave when my time comes.

My hair has been cut in the same style since I was a child.  The head is completely shaven, except for my chonmage, which has never been cut.  This is the sign of a samurai.  Everyone in my squadron is a samurai.  After all, we are the warrior class.  This is our purpose.  Other squadrons have some pilots who are not samurai, but we don't mix with them.  And every samurai learns the eternal chant, "Wind of the gods."  It refers to the time when the samurai defeated the invading mongols with the help of strong winds.

My two best friends from school volunteered at the same time I did.  Ryozo is now stationed in Thailand.  He's got it easy.  In his last letter to me, he says that he and his friends walk down the street of the town they're at, and all the local people give them free food and gifts.  Almost every week, the most beautiful women are brought from the surrounding area for his friends and him to enjoy.  His snake has made many visits to the cave this past year.  Those Thai people have no honor.  They signed a treaty wih our government to allow us to pass through their country so we could invade their neighbors, just so they wouldn't have to fight us.  As a result, we conquered the entire Malay peninsula in only one month!  I'm glad I'm not Thai.  How dishonorable to worry about your own life.

But my other friend Minoru is stationed in Borneo, off the coast of Malaya.  His situation is not so nice.  The local people are friendly, but they're not welcome outside of the cities.  Every time they hire a guide to the back areas, our men are led into an ambush.  And an ambush in Borneo means that they eat the people.  Yes, that's right.  Have you ever heard of anything so barbaric in this day and age?  Our soldiers are being eaten by the natives.  Well, it's just a matter of time before we eradicate all those savages.  I sure hope Minoru makes it out of there alive.  No matter how honorable it is, I wouldn't want to be eaten for my emperor.

Uh oh.  The pilot in the plane next to mine has just given the signal that we're close to our target.  We spent weeks studying the outlines of the different warships so we could identify them from the air.  It can't be long now.  I can see the islands off my starboard side.

Bombs are exploding all around me, but they're not hitting us.  Oh, there it is.  That one is my target.  The pilots in my squadron are trained to do our mission without questioning, and this is our time to attack.  We make a first pass to drop our bombs.  After we run out of bombs, we use our planes as torpedoes.

Father, I want to make you proud of me.  I want all the people of our village to know how well you raised your son.  I want to show you that I am a good samurai.

Wind of the gods.  Wind of the gods.  Wind of the gods.  

I'm so close I can see the markings on the side of the ship now.  It says "USS Arizona."  Thank you, my emperor, for giving me the chance to make the supreme sacrifice.

Wind of the gods.  Wind of the gods.  Wind of the gods.

© 2008 bailish


Author's Note

bailish
All comments welcome. I'd especially love someone to correct me on any mistakes of culture.

My Review

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Featured Review

The last part is tragic. Fascinating how the illusion of honor can lead a man to his grave.
Your story is touching, interesting and informative.
I have thought before ,how it must have been like for a kamikaze warrior during the attack at Pearl Harbor, and the way you imagine his thoughts is amazing.

A.M.


Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I didn't see that last line coming. It flew out of nowhere. You say so much in this story. Commenting on the culture of an ancient society. Great write.

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A well-researched and interesting slice of history! It reminds me of the 1929 WWI blockbuster novel by Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front, where the story is told from the point of view of a German soldier. I guess Remarque's point was that the enemy soldiers are no different from our soldiers: they all have blood coursing through their veins that often spills onto the battlefield and can be either side's blood since all blood is wet and red.

You write in an easy, smooth way that hooks the reader and doesn't let go until the last line. I am glad I read it.

Sal

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The last part is tragic. Fascinating how the illusion of honor can lead a man to his grave.
Your story is touching, interesting and informative.
I have thought before ,how it must have been like for a kamikaze warrior during the attack at Pearl Harbor, and the way you imagine his thoughts is amazing.

A.M.


Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I only know a little about the topic and the culture, so I cannot make comment on that. But you really took me into the pilot's mind. The kamikaze are a fascinating subject! I will now have to read further!

Posted 12 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on July 16, 2008
Last Updated on July 29, 2008

Author

bailish
bailish

You've seen one polluted city, you've seen them all., Thailand



About
I want to be a writer, just like you. My goal is to write 10 pages a day. I often fall short, but I just try harder the next day. more..

Writing
Let's play! Let's play!

A Poem by bailish