Little Ryujo spends the next two years busily shuffling repatriation troops between the outer reaches of the empire, before being laid up into fleet reserve.
The little carrier has by now developed severe structural problems.
Our two stokers, Agarshi and Shimto remain with her during these days, and both return to civilian life there after –both returning to farming.
Regretfully, both die in 1960, victims to the immense amounts of asbestos the ship has utilised through out her frame
Umeya remains in the Navy until 1959 – seeing some action of the Manchurian war against the soviet bear during 1946, 1947.
His beloved carrier Junyo finally finds her fate there –torpedoed by a Soviet SS just south of Toyahara on Christmas eve 1947, just three days before this wars dramatic and horrific end
Umeya leaves Japan, and establishes a casino in Japans new pleasure centre Hong Kong. His gambling instincts never leave him, he dies 1972, very rich, and still full of adventure
Hara becomes Commander of Mobile fleet 1 in January 1945, taking 6 fleet carriers with him to the Med via the Suez canal in early 45. In a brilliant campaign, this fleet does much to help stem the soviet invasion of Greece until hostilities complete.
Returning to Japan in 1948, he retires, writes his memoirs, and retires happily.
His death in 74, is noted by many as a passing of an era. Its fun to note that he is buried, at his request, with his steel helmet that he dodged so many bombs wearing –“my lucky hat”
Yamamoto falls dead on the bridge of the Yamato of heart attack three days after the Soviet invasion of France –it is hard to tell what shocks Japan more –his death, or the realisation that Japan is at war again………
The Mighty ship herself fights hard off the coast of Manchuria –her guns worn down with use.
Following the war, she conducts a world tour with her sister ship, before paying off to Kure –where she is now the worlds most popular museum –over 3 million souls tramp her decks every year.
She remains the symbol of Japan.
Iwaya remains in London, and after the war –and during the Soviet war, establishes a factory constructing simple gas ovens –he retires a rich man too –retaining until his death a fondness for his rolls Royce, Port, and Cuban cigars.
He never returns to Japan
Seaman Miyazuki serves on Yamato until its decommissioning. He remains on her still –as a guide, perfectly happy. He will still –to this day, tell you about her guns.
His Brother, the aviator, remains with 47th sentai after the pacific war, and is with the unit flying over Korea during the soviet /allied war, when he is shot down by a new fighter –a jet one. Despite all his missions, he will never fullfill his dream of making Ace
Nagumo leads his Government through “a period almost as difficult as the pacific war’
It is not easy to convince the Japanese people to join former, and very fresh enemies , to push Soviet troops out of Paris. Perhaps the fact that Japan has been relatively undamaged by the war helps his case.
He resigns 2 days after the nuclear strikes on Moscow, Leningrad at the end of 47, and becomes a Buddhist monk.
Peace does not go well for Juni.
On his very return flight from Iwo –his undercart collapses upon landing – severely injuring him –again.
It took a great deal of research tracking him after his discharge.
Sadly, it appears, like a lot of veterans, the world had little use for skilled killers –and his life became one of near destitution and drunkedness.
He disappears –ironically- off the same ferry between Kagoshima and its volcano in the winter of 49
It’s a cold, foggy night apparently. Fell, or jumped, we will never know.
His past remains a single yellowing photo, and a legacy I have enjoyed discovering very much.
Finally –Nakamura .
Nakamura transfers to a training command in September of 44, and remains there for three years. Some body, some where does not want him in combat ever again…….
He retires, and , well here things are a bit vague.
I do know this. At some stage in 1946 –he braved the soviet bombing of Toyahara, and he must –this I presume –he must have visited ‘a certain little bank” mentioned by Iwaya.
He, and his wife, appear to not have worked since then, but are doing very well.
Question him –and those damn eyes twinkle ‘investments” he will laugh ‘just investments”
He is, of course, still alive –very, very old. And still full of mischief.several times over or talks, he would suddenly stop, smile, and say –“Come on then –we are going”
And we would – maybe to another room, or out. But go we would.
I never did find out how many planes he shot down –but I suspect juni was not even close.
The southern Co prosperity sphere is a fact. And now, under it, peace and stability are the norm – with the phillipines in particular a power house of production and trade..
Guarded by a navy that even today still contains a dozen super carriers, the Empire simply –well it simply exists.
It is not the place of this story to tell of the post pacific war period, but one often wonders what if Iwo had gone the other way…………………