Hiroshi Ohta, poet &
Kochinda, music teacher
by Tokyo University of the Arts Archives
At the end of 1944 during World War Ⅱ, forthcoming landing operation of U.S. Armed Forces were feared in Okinawa. Hiroshi Ohta as a second lieutenant of antiaircraft platoon, had a duty to determine a position for battle. Under his command, ”Himeyuri girl students” were mobilized to cooperate with soldiers to build a position of an antiaircraft gun. Despite severe work of carrying soil and rocks, they worked so much beyond his expectation without his order. Their devotion to the work touched Ohta’s mind much, so he made a poem named “ Poetry to give graduates" and gave it to them.
Acacia confusa trees grew along the road to their schools. At end of next March, upperclassmen of them were expected to graduate the school. The poem comprised two meanings described above and celebrated coming graduation.
Among the teachers who led girl students, Keii Kochinda was a music teacher. Kochinda wrote the song to the poem and
named the music as "Farewell Song". Two young men cooperated with each other over different positions of a military officer and a music teacher, and the sad and beautiful story had started .
* “Himeyuri girl students” comprised both
students of Okinawa First Girls' High
School and Okinawa Female Normal
School located at the same campus
in Naha City, Okinawa.
by the courtesy of Naha City
Acknowledgments to Mr. Jirou Ushio,Shirokuma Mixed Choir
Kochinda thought Ohta would like to see the campus because he had never visited there. One Sunday, Kochinda invited Ohta to his schools and showed him around the campus.
In the school dormitory, Kochinda happened to visit a room in which a student was playing reed organ. He asked the girl to play "Farewell Song” because he knew that she had been practicing the song with a piano in the school. To hear the music just then, many students gathered around the reed organ and big chorus came up that it was not at time echoed in the school. During the war,it was the time of a miraculous exchange of courtesies that Kochinda's friendship with Ohta and trust in Ohta of young girls produced .
Ohta seemed deeply impressed to have watched that scene. His poetry moved many students, and as a poet it was the first experience in his life. He remained standing alone in his military uniform outside the room.
by the courtesy of Naha City
This song was also called "Song of Acacia Confusa(Soushiju Tree)" according to the content of the poetry. And it was sung in severe work of making position and at the time of relaxation in the school dormitory. They sang while letting their hearts jump for a coming ceremony and encouraged each other. But their wish was not realised due to sudden mobilization as the nursing personnel by the order of Japanese Army at end of March, 1945.
Both girl students and teachers were urged to move to Army Field Hospital built suddenly in Haebaru. The Farewell Song could not be sung at the simple graduation ceremony in the army barrack where candles stood.
While the Japanese Army was retreated south Okinawa, Himeyuri students also traced the same way into the midst of gun bombing. They had no food and water reserved,
and sipped the muddy water in which the dead body of Japanese soldiers floated. Besides, by the attack of the United States Armed Forces friends were falling down wounded or dead one after another.
To avoid attack of U.S. Foces, they hid themselves in a natural cave. They sang the "Farewell Song" to encourage each other while in the cave and on the Arasaki shore. And they resigned themselves to severe fate with dim wish to live for.
In the cave, teacher Keii Kochinda who composed the song also sang together with his students but they finished their short life by attack of U.S.Forces. Four teachers as well as 38 students were killed by the attack.
Hiroshi Ota who wrote the words of the song died at the desperate attack to U.S. Foces tried on 20th of June 1945 at the place not far from the Ihara Third Surgical Cave of the Himeyuri students.
Himeyuri Monument / Himeyuri Peace Museum, Itomann Okinawa
(Song of Acacia confusa)
The fouth verse of the Poem was
translated as follows by Mr. / Ms.
doromamire on You Tube
we will see you off with a hearty smile,
wishing a lot of happiness and good health,
in an admiration for your bright and shining eyes,
which keep the memories of the past days.
Cornerstone of the Okinawa Peace * Hiroshi Ohta among over 200,000
late souls of the dead.
In order to explain the deep insight that Mr. Ota Hiroshi embedded in this poem, the Japanese notation is expressed in Roman alphabet.
Lyricist Hiroshi Ohta
Composer Keii Kochinda
The first and third reams are presented from graduates to current students. The second and fourth reams are presented from current students to graduates in return. Rylic poem unthinkable during the war, they can sing goodbye alternately according to their genuine feelings. Full of words of encouragement are spelled out among the poem. There are more efforts to Ota's poetry, alliteration from lines 2 to 4 of each series , you will find pronounced "Yu- Wa- I- Su", it is a congratulatory word in Japanese. Expressions celebrating the graduation ceremony that young girls are looking forward to are studded with multiple layers.