Real bravery of my subordinate officer

.......... Junzo AKAO ..... Japanese version is here
I, Junzo AKAO have been the lieutenant colonel of Ground Army and honorably was awarded
Kun 3rd: The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon and Ko 4th : The
Order of the Golden Kite, Military Decoration Medal. .. Live in Otsu City now.
In 1940, I was a commander of a battalion ( about 1.000 officers and soldiers ) and owed
to the duty to keep the safety of the District of Hyosui and around it, that was located 60 km south
from Nanking City in China.
There was a very strong castle that had been built a long time ago, and it had four gates on each side of
the north, south, east and west points. The east gate and the west gate were close to the enemy forces,
so these had sometimes received attacks by the enemies and had the good targets for them.
Ah, I will remember a real brave officer: the first lieutenant : Ryozo ITO
Every evening I observed the situation of the lines of enemy forces from the top of the wall ofthe Castle
and had been prepared for their attacks.
In fact, every night they had attacked us with trench mortars, then we had attacked back with our
battaion canons and the hours of those battles were sometimes one hour and were sometimes as
many as several hours.
On May 27, 1940, the situation was the same as usual. You know, the day was the Memorial Day for
the Japanese, for our Combined Fleet foutht with the Baltic Fleet in the Straits of Tsushima in the
War between Japan and Russia in 1905, and had got a great victory. After that the Japanese had
cerebrated it as the National Naval Memorial Day.
Then, I wished to stop the battle of that day in a short time and fortunately it finished in a few
minutes, so I was thankful for the late-Admiral of Fleet TOGO.
About 10 o'clock p.m. on that day, I heard someone crying, " Hello, Hello, open the door ! ", so I
wondered who was speaking so fluently in Japanese and observed carefully the man and
questioned severely who he was. Then the man answered, " I am the first lieutenant ITO."
I was so surprised with it and soon opened the gate, and saw Mr.ITO who wore a sword
on his back in the usual style of him and a sergeant OKU and some soldiers that had been select-
ed by Mr. ITO, and more than thirty Chinese prisoners who had been bound with the ropes.
I was so astonished with it and asked him, " What have you done about it ? " He answered ,
Every night they attacked us with annoying airs, so we had waited for them out of the Castle
and made a surprise attack on their headquarters and caught them.
I felt their actions and evaluated in my mind, but considering about not obtaining my permission
for the attack beforehand, I scolded them and told them, " So reckless ! What do you do when
you die with such absurd actions ! For me it would be so sad ! ".
But I also thought that on such a dark night no one could have foreseen how many enemies
might attack them, and they suddenly had made an attack so bravely with only some swords
and some bayonets, and had caught about thirty officers and soldiers of their enemies.
This was real bravery and I was taught it by my subordinates, even I was their commander.
After that the attacks that had continued every night by our enemies stopped perfectly.
I thought they should be afraid of our bravery.
After a few days I received a letter from Mr. ITO's mother. It was written in beautiful Japanese
politely on a scroll. The contents were like the following:
Mr. ITO's father had died a few days ago, and had finished the funeral and the following
memorial ceremony of Buddhism : Shonanuka, on the 7th day after the death, fully. So,
please tell to my son ( Kozo ITO ) the truth of it at a good time for you and for him, and tell
him not to be sad of his father and do the best as a military officer for our country.
Then I considered deeply how to manage this problem for a short time, and I determined
to tell him the truth and called him to come to my office, and then expressed my condolences
forward his late father and his family and told him not to be sad, thinking about the will of his
Then he asked me, " Please let me borrow the letter a little while.", so I gave it to him.
He went back to his room which neighbored to my room, but within twenty or thirty minutes
I could not hear any reaction from his room, so I opened the door of his room silenty, and
he didn't know that I was watching him, and I found the following scene.
He was sincerely praying both souls of his father and his late-subordinate first-class soldier:
Kaibazawa, putting the picture of his father and the skeletal remains of late-Kaibazawa's and
lightening an incense stick on his simple desk.
I was thinking that I might have done so pitiful for him to tell the truth and it would have
been better for him not tell the truth a little while more, then suddenly he began to cry his heart
out and had continued for a long time, and I wept with him in sympathy.
Mr. ITO was a brave Japanese Ground Army officer and had always fought at the top of our
lines on the battle-fields, and also had trained his new conscripts with much affection and
sincerity, treated Chinese kindly and politely, and had taught Japanese letters to
his subordinate: late-Kaibazawa new conscript ( after his death, the first -class soldier ),
and carrying always his ashes rapped with white cloth on his breast on the battle fields.
Now he and his subordinates had waited for our enemies at the outside of the Castle and
had caught several groups of Chinese military officers and soldiers.
Like this, he had embodied with " Wisdom, Affection and Bravery " perfectly, so he was justly
deserved as like the God of Warors, I think.
But unfortunately I heard that he died on the battle-field in Burma on the way of the Imphal
Strategy in February 17, 1945, and devoted his precious and promising young life to our
I, one day, visited his house in Kyoto City and prayed to his soul in front of his tomb with some
former-comrades: Sergent Fujikawa who had an intimate friendship with him, and some others.
Then I heard that his elder brother had also died on the battle-field on the Island of Iwo in the
Pacific Ocean, and at that time his wife had been pregnant, so he could not see the new-
born baby. Fortunately the baby is a very good citizen now.
Truly I mourned over the death of them with a lot of sympathy, and their mother died a few years
ago, being sad with losing her two sons. I appreciated so much for their devotions to our
Here, I will describe the outline of Mr.ITO's personal history:
Mr.ITO was a graduate from the Law Department of Kyoto University and was enlisted in the Army
as a duty for male-Japanese. Then he was selected as a candidate of military officiers and
received education and training for it at the Toyohashi Preparatory Ground Army Academy, and
became a military officer of the 1st Company of the 51st Infantry Regiment. Of course, he
was an unmarried youth.
Recently Japan has become a little immoral as a country, so I do wish a lot of young persons like him
will increase in the future.
And at the end of the story I will add an opinion to it as the following:
There were a lot of very good Japanese soldiers and officers in our Military Forces, particulary
that had been selected by the conscription system. Some of them had died at the battle fields
and some others have lived on after the War.
Why has this very good Japanese Military gone away ? I am alive after more than fifty years and
feel so heartrendingly now.
@Written in August, 1998