Cherry-Blossom Petals

Hewing to the propaganda line of universal, suicidal resistance, Japan's Domei news agency last week reported a new band of self-liquidating heroes. This time, Domei said, the "special attackers" were schoolchildren on Aka Island, in the Kerama group, who rushed at U.S. invaders, "blasting themselves with hand grenades." Too deeply moved for prose, the newspaper Mainichi published this elegy:

Tears well up, involuntarily,

Just to hear of them. ...

Clutching tightly in their tiny palms

Real fire-belching hand grenades. . . .

The tiny special attackers fell admirably,

Like petals of a cherry blossom. . . .

The pitter-patter of their small army shoes

Keeps pounding my...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!