Two stone monuments erected in 1981 stand outside of Tokyo Dome, home of the
Yomiuri Giants professional baseball team. The right one has 69 names inscribed of former professional
baseball players who died in battle during World War II. The left one has the
following words about Shinichi Ishimaru, a star pitcher who died as a kamikaze
My younger brother Shinichi was a pitcher for the Nagoya professional
baseball team. He won 20 games in 1943 and was selected to the All-Star Game. On December 1, 1943, he joined the Sasebo Naval Corps. He
became an Ensign in 1944. Later he was assigned to the Kamikaze Special Attack
Force Jinrai Corps in Kanoya.
Shinichi received an order to sortie at noon on May 11, 1945, and he
pitched a white ball into the glove worn by a war comrade.
Yes, ten strikes
Then he boarded his plane after giving to his comrade the ball, glove, and a
headband with the word "courage" written on it. His plane flew away
toward the south in search of enemy ships.
Playing baseball was my happiness
A life filled with devotion and filial piety
I have nothing to regret even though I die at 22
His final letter with the above words and his baseball were delivered
together to his bereaved family. When he played catch with a pure white ball, there was
neither life nor death in Shinichi's heart.
Tokichi Ishimaru, Representative of Bereaved Families
Tokichi Ishimaru played professional baseball on the Nagoya team with his
younger brother Shinichi. The short life of Shinichi Ishimaru is the subject of the
movie Ningen no Tsubasa (Wings of a