Growing up, he had been fascinated by planes. He wanted to fly them one day and when the war began, he enlisted in the armed forces. He eventually joined Yokaren, which is an elite group of teens who were trained as Navy pilots.
Odachi is now 93 years old and he is the one of the last living members of a group that was never meant to survive.
Odachi hoped to memorialize the pilots as young men whose valor and patriotism were exploited. Here is a brief statement from Odachi: “I don’t want anyone to forget that the wonderful country that Japan has become today was built on the foundation of their deaths.”
His souvenirs from the war are photos from a young woman he met in Taiwan. It was a present. Odachi did not reveal the woman's identity, not even in his memoir. It is one of the few things about the war he still refuses to talk about.
All in all, he wants his memoir to remind people of not just of the conflict's cost, but also of the humanity of the young men whose lives were sacrificed for it.
“We were the same age as today’s high school students and college freshmen,” he said. “There wasn’t a single person among us who would have decided on their own to die.”
Source material: The New York Times