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Shinichi Ishimaru

 

Date and Place of Birth: July 24, 1922 Saga Prefecture, Japan
Date and Place of Death:    May 11, 1945 near Okinawa
Baseball Experience: Japanese Professional League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Ensign
Military Unit: Kamikaze Special Attack Force Jinrai Corps, Imperial Navy
Area Served: Pacific

Shinichi Ishimaru was born in the Saga Prefecture of Japan on July 24, 1922. A star high school pitcher in Saga, Ishimaru signed with Nagoya in 1941 and, playing the infield alongside his older brother Tokichi, he batted .197 in 73. In 1942, Ishimaru made 56 appearances as the ace of the Nagoya pitching staff with a 17-19 record and 1.71 ERA. In 1943, he had an all-star season with a 20-12 record and 1.16 ERA. He hurled a no-hitter on October 12.

In late 1943, Ishimaru entered military service with the Imperial Japanese Navy and became a student pilot with the Navy Air Service in February 1944. In December 1944 he attained the rank of Ensign. In April 1945, he was assigned to the Kamikaze Special Attack Force Jinrai Corps in Kanoya, southern Japan, where he awaited orders to attack American ships at Okinawa.

At noon on May 11, 1945, Ensign Ishimaru prepared for his final flight. After giving his comrades his baseball, glove, and a headband with the word "courage" written on it, he boarded his plane and flew towards Okinawa.

Ishimaru’s plane was shot down by American fighters enroute.

His last letter home included the following words:

“Playing baseball was my happiness
A life filled with devotion and filial piety
I have nothing to regret even though I die at 22.”

Date Added: February 2, 2012

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