Japanese Soldiers Who Had Near-Death Experience During the War

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These are true stories of Japanese soldiers who had a near-death experience during the war.

People involved in war seem to be more likely to have near-death experiences due to their unusual circumstances.

Tachibana received a lot of letters from the Japanese soldiers involved in the war.

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Takashi Tachibana (born 1940) is a Japanese journalist, non-fiction writer, and critic.

Takashi Tachibana (born 1940)

Tachibana is well known for his extensive study of more than 300 cases of Japanese near-death experiences.

Tachibana published articles titled “Near-Death Experiences” in a distinguished Japanese monthly magazine, Bungeishunju from August 1991 to April 1994.

These articles were later put together into a bulky two-volume book titled “Near-Death Experiences” of a total of 868 pages.

Nowadays, Tachibana is known as one of the leading authorities on NDE studies in Japan.

In this post, I would like to introduce one of the amazing cases of Japanese NDEs reported by Takashi Tachibana, “Intellectual Giant.”

[Case 1] The Near-Death Experience of the Crew of a Japanese Aircraft Carrier 

Michitake Takatori is a Japanese man living in Nishitama District, Tokyo, Japan.

Takatori went on board the Japanese aircraft career Shokaku as a probationary company officer after graduating from the accounting school of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Japanese Navy Aircraft Carrier Shokaku type “Shokaku” immediately after completion photo

In June 1944, Shokaku was assigned to Operation A-Go, an attempt to repulse the Allied invasion of the Mariana Islands.

On June 19, the Japanese carrier group including Shokaku was attacked by American submarines and airplanes in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Source Uwe Dedering – Own work

Battle of the Philippine Sea

Shokaku was struck at 11:22 by torpedoes from the submarine USS Cavalla.

USS Cavalla, a Gato-class submarine of the United States Navy

As Shokaku had been in the process of refueling and rearming aircraft and was in an extremely vulnerable condition, the torpedoes started fires that proved impossible to control.

At 12:10, an aerial bomb exploded, detonating aviation fuel vapors that had spread throughout the ship.

When the first torpedo hit near the engine room of Shokaku, Takatori was in the kitchen.

Takatori said about the situation at that time.

The room shook violently and there was a sudden blackout.

Lieutenant Ueki and I ordered the sailors to go up to the deck immediately.

In the meantime, Shokaku was struck by three torpedoes.

Then the ship began to submerge and listed forward slightly, retarding her progress markedly.

Suddenly, it became red and dark around me.

The aft deck near the room with a Ramune (Japanese lemon soda) manufacturing machine was hit directly by a bomb.

When the bomb exploded, I was blown off by the blast and slammed against the wall of the hangar.

At that time, I heard the cries of sailors from everywhere.

Tennōheika Banzai! (Long live His Majesty the Emperor)

Tennōheika Banzai!

Then Takatori had a near-death experience.

He was crossing the bridge in front of his house where he was born.

Strangely, he was crossing in the air about two meters (about seven feet) above the bridge plank.

Then Takatori saw his father and mother and brothers standing near the gate of the house.

They were all staring at him.

Takatori thought deep down in his heart,

This is ‘death’ …

Much deeper in his heart, Takatori thought,

When I got to the gate, I would actually die.

So, I also have to cry,

Tennōheika Banzai!

Suddenly, Takatori recovered consciousness and found many sailors lying over his body.

They were all dead.

[Case 2] The Near-Death Experience of the Japanese Soldier Who Fought in China

Shigeo Niitsu is a Japanese man living in Koto, Tokyo.

In May 1944, the Imperial Japanese Army began to attack Luoyang, Henan Province, China.

Source Uwe Dedering – Own work

Japanese troops firing a heavy machine gun

Niitsu was in on the attack but took a bullet to the head.

He describes the situation as follows:

Suddenly, a bullet pierced my helmet.

I fell to the ground, bleeding badly.

I took off my helmet and fresh blood poured out of it.

The fresh blood ran down my face, staining my military uniform red.

Niitsu was bleeding badly and feeling faint.

At that time, I felt like I was being pulled into the ground.

Niitsu felt a throbbing pain in his head and he lost and regained consciousness over and over for about half an hour.

Niitsu had a strange experience then.

He says,

All the while, various memories of my childhood were flashing, one after another, such as the time I went on a school trip, being scolded by someone, going to a festival in Asakusa …

And many other memories came flooding back to me.

After that, Niitsu was completely unconscious and wandered between life and death until he was taken to a field hospital about an hour and a half later.

During that time, Niitsu had a near-death experience.

Niitsu describes the experience as follows.

I was lying face down on a riverbank.

I found my feet facing the river.

I noticed the sound of water in the river.

When I looked ahead, I saw someone beckoning to me.

When I looked closer at the person, I found he was my father, who had died four years before.

I wanted to get as close as possible to where my father was.

So, I tried to turn my body around and move in that direction.

But I felt so frustrated that I couldn’t get close enough to where my father was.

There were a lot of people on this side of the river, too.

Niitsu said that what he saw was probably the Sanzu River (The River Styx).

He said,

If I had answered my father’s call to the other side of the river at that time, I would be dead by now.

But that doesn’t mean he is religious.

He was and still is not religious, he says.

He says that his near-death experience has never changed his view of life or death.

But there is one thing Niitsu wonders about.

It was thirty years after that experience when he went to Kamikochi for the first time on a company trip and stood on the banks of the Azusa River.

Azusa River located in Kamikochi in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture

Source 663highland

I’ve seen this scene before …

I’ve definitely seen it somewhere!

Niitsu crouched down on the riverbed and lowered his perspective to find that it was the same river he had seen at that time.

However, he had no idea why the Sanzu River was the same as the Azusa River.

Before the NDE, Niitsu had never seen the Azusa River in photographs or pictures.

[Case 3] The Near-Death Experience of the Japanese Soldier Who Fought in Inner Mongolia

Kanemori Morisaki is a Japanese man living in Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture.

Morisaki once participated in the Battle of Wuyuan as a private of the Mongolia Garrison Army of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1940.

Source Flappiefh

Morisaki’s troops encountered Chiang Kai-shek’s forces on the steppes.

Chinese 35th Army during the Battle of West Suiyuan against the Mongols and Japanese.

That night, Morisaki was confronted by the enemy at a distance of about fifty meters (about 55 yards) from them in a trench they had dug.

Morisaki was the acting squad leader because his squad leader had been killed in action.

It was after midnight on February 1.

Morisaki leaned a bit out of the trench and checked the enemy’s movements on the right.

There was nothing unusual about it.

So as soon as he turned his upper body to the left, he received a strong impact on the left front of his head.

Morisaki reports his experience as follows:

It was like being hit with an iron bar.

It seems I had a concussion and I just passed out.

I didn’t feel any pain.

Then I rode on something fluffy like a cloud and began to ascend.

I ascended fluffy higher and higher in a circle in the air.

‘Is this the journey to the end?’

I wondered if the destination would be my hometown or the Yasukuni Shrine (where many soldiers who died in wars were enshrined).

Then I heard someone faintly calling out my name in the distance.



The voice got closer and closer.

When I thought it was getting louder, I suddenly came to myself.

I found myself lying in the trench and my comrade in arms was frantically calling my name.

Morisaki interprets this to mean that his soul had just left his body and was on the journey to another world after death.

He hasn’t made it to the other side yet, but he believes it would have been the other side if he had stayed that way.

Like that time, he believes that the journey to another world without any pain would be a journey to Paradise.

However, this experience has not particularly changed his outlook on life and death, Morisaki said.

[Case 4] The Near-Death Experience of the Japanese Boy Who Got Bombed in an Air Raid

Keiji Gomi is a Japanese man living in Suginami Ward, Tokyo.

His experience was not that of battlefield experience, but rather that of an air raid.

On March 4, 1945, Gomi, then in the fifth grade of junior high school, was living at his teacher’s house in Komagome, Toshima, Tokyo.

Source Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa)

It was a cloudy day in the morning.

At around 6:30 a.m., the warning sirens sounded, and a few minutes later, the air raid warning and then the incoming enemy planes followed in rapid succession.

The B-29s flying over Mt. Fuji were the first landmarks of the Tokyo invasion.

B-29 bombers raiding Tokyo

Gomi looked around from a small elevation and saw a plume of smoke rising in the direction of Oji.

At that time, a bomb fell nearby with a bang.

Gomi felt scared and alone.

Mother and child fleeing in an air raid

Gomi carried the family tree that his teacher had asked him to carry with him.

Then he jumped into the bomb shelter.

At that moment, with a bang, he got a great shock.

A bomb hit the bomb shelter.

Gomi passed out and had a strange experience.

He describes the experience as follows:

A world of dazzling flashes of light opened up in the darkness.

I saw a flower garden.

It’s a beautiful flower garden.

I still remember the colors of the flowers clearly.

Purple, yellow, white, and red flowers … flowers of all colors were in full bloom.

In the flower garden, there was someone who was gestured me to come.

He was a monk dressed in a pure white robe.

At first glance, the monk seemed like a bundle of light, but Gomi felt like it was a person with a personality.

The monk gestured Gomi to come.

However, as Gomi tried to step out to get to the flower garden somehow, the ground under his feet turned into a bottomless pit of darkness.

Gomi saw a young girl crossing the abyss on the right side without a care.

So, Gomi also tried to go there, but he couldn’t cross the dark abyss.

After many attempts, Gomi realized that someone was calling his name out loud.

Suddenly he realized that the bomb shelter had collapsed and he was trapped against the crumbling wall, unable to move.

The impact of the pickaxe digging up the soil and hitting his helmet brought him back to consciousness.

At first, Gomi thought this experience might be a dream, but then he came to believe that people enter the spirit world when they die.

And he has come to believe that the Sanzu River (the River Styx) also exists.

Strangely enough, Gomi stopped fearing death after the near-death experience.

Later, he had stomach cancer surgery and heart surgery, but he had no fear at all, which made those around him wonder.

And Gomi says he started living each day to the fullest, trying to make lots of good memories while he was alive.

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In this way, people perceive the near-death experience in different ways.

It varies with the culture in which we are born and raised, and it varies with the individual.


Published on June 20, 2020

Written by OTAKUPAPA


  1. Bungeishunju (February 1998). “Everything about Takashi Tachibana.”
  2. Takashi Tachibana (September 1994). “Near-Death Experiences (Vol. 1 & 2).”
  3. Takashi Tachibana (October 1996). “Testimonies of Near-Death Experiences.”
  4. Takashi Tachibana in Wikipedia.
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A dad blogger who loves manga, anime, games. In this blog, I will introduce amazing Japanese spirituality and philosophy.


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