In these images, originally photographed by USMC War Photographer Joe O’Donnell on October 20th, 1945, we see an Imperial Japanese Army officer, commander of the Airfield Management Team at Ashiya airbase, in Hyoga Prefecture, Japan, showing an American serviceman a unique mural of a Japanese aircraft diving on an American naval vessel, painted onto the side of an Imperial Japanese Army Air Service Ki-61-1D fighter plane. Said Ki-61 was the personal aircraft of one Japanese Army Corporal Nishino, who was a pilot of the 159th Shinbutai, a kamikaze unit formed in 1945.

Presumably, Nishino painted this harrowing artwork on his aircraft for luck on his final mission, which luckily for himself and potentially dozens of American sailors, never came. Instead, this artwork is a testament to the madness and desperation of the final months of the war in the Pacific.


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