So little is known of WWII Japanese aviators and it’s always interesting (to me at least) when I find photos like the ones in this album. I had discovered the second photo of a Japanese pilot pitching a baseball and I was curious to learn more about this young pilot. Shinichi Ishimaru was a well-reputed baseball pitcher before he entered the war for his nation. It’s an interesting story! The Google translation is somewhat poor but you will get the gist of the story.

Originally shared by Pete Panozzo

Kamikaze – Shinichi Ishimaru and baseball

Baseball is known in Japan since the late 1870, when a group of American teachers went to the country with the mission of teaching their language to modernize the nation. So this sport trickled slowly and the early 1940 already he had a track record and a deeply rooted tradition. Among young people who practiced it was Shinichi Ishimaru, an ensign of 22 years was a professional pitcher in Nagoya team. In the year 1943, won 20 games and was selected for the All-Star. At that time Japan was immersed in the war and like many young men his age enlisted in the army, entering the 1 from December to 1943 in the Imperial Japanese Navy, en Sasebo. In February 1944 is student pilot in the Navy Air Service and in December of that same year is promoted to lieutenant. In April 1945 Kamikaze squadron reaches Jinrai, en Kanoya.

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He 11 May 1945 He was called to participate in a Kamikaze mission. Shortly before boarding his Zero, he asks his friend Ensign Honda Oiichi a catcher’s mitt to put their latest releases. Spear 10 Oiichi times and yells the word “Strike” whenever you intercept the ball. to finalize, Shinichi offers Ball, glove and a band with the word courage inscribed to his friend and goes to hunt to undertake a mission that no longer would: His Mitsubishi A6M Zero was downed by American pilots who intercepted him while he was in the Okinawa.

In the year 1981 two monuments were erected outside the stadium Tokyo Dome: One names are registered 69 Japanese players who died during World War II and in the other words that gave him his brother Tokichi in which recounts his brief history are written.

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