Takijiro Onishi was born in Ashida village in Japan. He worked on a battle cruiser during World War I before being assigned to his first aircraft carrier in 1928 and served as an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, eventually becoming head of the Naval Aviation Development Division.
Commonly credited with inventing the technique for suicide air attacks known as “kamikaze,” Takijiro was also known an amateur poet and often presented his troops with pieces written in the style of traditional Japanese calligraphy. One notable piece reads, “Today in flower, Tomorrow scattered by the wind—Such is our blossom life. How can we think its fragrance lasts forever?”
Following the surrender of Japan in 1945, Takijiro committed ritual seppuku in his quarters and died of self-inflicted wounds.