I first read this poem over thirty-five years ago, relating to impermanence, in a university Asia history class textbook. The poem was composed by Takijirō Ōnishi. He was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, during World War II, and also known as the father of the Kamikaze. Around 3800 Japanese suicide pilots died during World War II. He committed seppuku after Japan’s unconditional surrender.


“Today in flower, Tomorrow scattered by the wind- Such is our blossom life.

How can we think its fragrance lasts forever?”


By: Takijirō Ōnishi