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The Sky Crawlers Translation

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Chukou bunko
The Sky Crawlers
Mori Hiroshi
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For the adults who have never known war.
They all make the same three mistakes.
They believe that children are given birth to by themselves.
They are convinced that they know more than the children.
And they hope that one day their children will become like them.
The foolishness of these ideas,
Leads to more miserableness than does war.
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Episode 1: Cowling
Episode 2: Canopy
Episode 3: Fillet
Episode 4: Spinner
Episode 5: Spoiler
About the novel
Tsuruta Kenji
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[No text]

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The Sky Crawlers

I didnt tell them when they were actually going to die, though. Thats
a very false rumor, Teddy said. could have, but I knew that in their hearts they

really didnt want to know. I mean I knew that even though they teach Religion and
Philosophy and all, theyre still pretty afraid to die. Teddy sat or reclined, in silence
for a minute. Its so silly, he said. All you do is get the heck out of your body when
you die. My gosh, everybodys done it thousands and thousands of times. Just
because they dont remember it doesnt mean they havent done it. Its so silly.
Nine storie/J.D. Salinger
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[Japanese version of previous]

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[Japanese version of previous]

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In my dream, I fought to protect someone important to me. She was
the last physicist on earth. If we lost her, a portion of humanitys history and
achievements would be lost forever. But it wasnt just that. Within her head was the
knowledge of the meaning of humanities existence. We tried to resist as much as
we could.
Just myself and her.
Other people had never crossed my mind.
The two of us fled into the subway system. We tried to get as far from
the enemy as possible and live as long as we could. We didnt have time for
conversation anymore. We have no time to dwell on how we came to be in this
situation. I just, I just wanted to do something for her. She was so frightened. I
couldnt stand her crying. Her crying left me in more pain than any physical injury
ever could. I was ready to die at any moment, I had never really feared death. If she
were ever to fall into enemy hands, I would kill myself without hesitation.
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Still, I asked her one time, why she was so afraid. With a strained
expression she answered me like this.
I dont want to be separated from youIm afraid of being alone.
So that was it.
The two of us, we werent really afraid of dying.
Isnt that what life is all about? To live is to continue with the possibility
of being separated from people. It is only because of life that we feel fear, are not
life and fear synonymous? That is, if I die, I will get separated from myself as well,
so it doesnt matter who I am with in life, or who I part from, Its all meaningless.
Who am I?
Only those who are alive have the audacity to think such a thing.
Only someone alive could be fooled by such illusions.
Its a desperate, clumsy lie that we feed ourselves.


Shall we end it here together?

I asked her, in the middle of this dark underground subway.

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Just as I thought, she was accepting of the idea. It wasnt out of a
sense of despair that we did this, more that it was the most convenient and at hand
Goodbye I said.
Thank you she smiled.
I turned the gun towards her head and pulled the trigger.
A shot.
The smell of gunpowder.
And then,
I watched as her body slowly fell over,
Her eyes shut, her breath stopped.
Goodbye. Forever.
Air. Space.
If you can speak, call my name.
It reminds me of a patterned cloth.
A smudge on the edge of a mandala (Buddhist visual schema of the
enlightened mind.)
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And then, I withdraw from the dream.
I know a way to force myself awake from my dreams, so I sometimes
use this method to escape. There is a condition though. I cant realize that it is a
dream. But I only try to escape when I am in a dream. Ive never once tried to
escape in the waking world. Im sure that she also knows of this method of
escaping. She must flee from the dream, a half moment before I shoot. That is my
hope anyways
Even after I awaken, my feelings for her still exist for a little while. Not
her figure, voice or smell. But rather her existence, her essence. Its not a feeling I
can fully express in words or symbols. Quickly though, her essence disperses like a
fog in sunlight. But compared with the way that her figure, voice and smell
disappeared, this way is much more appealing.
My pulse is rapid, and Im covered in sweat.
Finally my consciousness starts to invade the real world. My mind
starts to recognize itself.
In this silly reality there are no enemies coming specifically for me. I
have no physicist girlfriend. I have no experience of true love or of killing someone
directly face to face.
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Who am I?
I remember.
The act of remembering is proof of my curse.

I am, today, a pilot just transferred here.
My job is flying a fighter plane.
That is why I havent killed anyone face to face. I cant say that I
havent killed anyone. I have killed people, just indirectly.
That is an important distinction in the world. The difference between
directly and indirectly.
Ive gotten my breath under control.
I kicked off my blanket and raised myself up in bed. I lowered my feet
to the floor. My head is heavy as a rock, but my body has stopped shaking. The floor
is cold enough to be uncomfortable so I slip my feet into my shoes. I dont believe
that its a miracle that my shoes are nicely arranged there for me to find easily in
the early morning. Isnt it strange that we always wake up in the same world? Or is
it that the world is just made to appear the same as we remember each time we
wake up? Or when were born is there some sort of magical device implanted in us
that connects us to this world?
13.10 14.1:
I stand up. Light dimly shines through the frosted glass of the
window. It seems that dawn is near. I had slept on the lower level of a bunk bed. On
the upper level another man slept. I hadnt seen his face when I came in, but I had
heard his even breathing as he slept. I hadnt asked his name. There was no need to
get worked up about something I would eventually find out. His body was much
larger than my own. But I have no idea what he is like. It doesnt feel great to have
somebody you dont know sleeping right above you. It is a special circumstance
though. Im sure there are lots of people not capable of dealing with this sort of
situation. Im not one to complain about such things. I can sleep anywhere and eat
anything. Other than that I dont really have any outstanding qualities.
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Well I do have these dreams occasionally that wake me up and then
afterwards Im not able to sleep. Thats one of my less than outstanding qualities.
I hear very faintly a rhythmical sound. At first I thought it was the
wings of an insect or some such. But then it kept on going and going.
I get my jacket and put it on and leave the room. I walk down the
hallway that is dark like a dirty muffler and open the door to the quadrangle. Its a
heavy but obedient door.
The air is cold. But, for me, and for the night, that is just perfect.
I start to hear the sound a little clearer now. It sounds like some sort of
motor. I forgot to look at the time before coming out, so I look up at the sky. I almost
immediately find some constellations I recognize and from their position figure out
the time. I learned this trick as a child. Its around 4 in the morning.
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I walk alongside the concrete wall and then a ways ahead I see a bright
light. Its coming from the direction of the hangars.
I drew closer. The shutter was only half way up. Just behind the hangar
was a truck that looked like it was used for moving heavy things. I could see the
light leaking out from under the shutter.
I bend in half to get under the half open shutter. It was a really big
hangar. The light came from only one spot near the entrance and the rest of the
building was controlled by darkness and shadows. The ceiling looking like the night
sky outside except for the lack of any stars, it was that dark and high.

The light came from a single spotlight on a stand. I determined that the
motor sound was coming from a compressor next to the wall. In the middle of the
light stood a single man. He was wearing an oil stained white overalls and in one
hand he held a monkey wrench. He had goggles on, probably for welding. Right in
front of him was an eight cylinder engine that was held up by a block chain and
crane on both sides so that it was hanging in the air. Whether he was lifting it out or
putting it down was unclear. There was a dolly nearby but it didnt seem to be
getting used. The closest aircraft was about ten meters away to the rear. The
cowling had been taken off and the rear engine compartment was visible. The light
reflected dully off the empty frame of the plane in the round hole. It seemed that
the engine he was working on was from there.
I got a bit closer before he realized I was there.
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Oh, Good Morning. He said as he lifted his goggles and grinned at
me. He looked pretty young.
Have you been working at it all night? I asked.
I dont seem to remember seeing you before:
I transferred here just yesterday.
Ah, then that means, that this will be your plane.
Mine? I look over the plane again.
He raises the goggles further up onto his head and glances at me. He
then fishes in one of his overall pockets and brings out a package of smokes and
then uses a match to light one.
Isnt this area non-smoking? I asked. I could smell a faint odor of
Do you like aluminum? He lets out a forceful breath of smoke and
then continues. Its a very ductile metal. And thus, it melts a little too easily
Its an alloy isnt it?
Its an alloy but, you cant get rid of all of its bad qualities. He smiled
at me. I could see his white front teeth.
So right now, what are you doing? I bluntly asked, getting straight
to the heart of the matter. If this is going to be my plane then I had a right to know
what he was doing.
It would be better for you if you didnt ask that question.
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Not knowing your limits can sometimes give you an advantage.
Of course sometimes it would give you an advantage, but sometimes
it might give you the opposite. I laughed.
Of course, Im referring to taking things easy.
Taking things easy? I love to take things easy, with a beer in my
hand, I joke, trying to be friendly.
You will be fighting to the death. He breathed out some more smoke.
No This is just a job.
Just as an assassins job is to kill people?
True I look at some of the containers nearby. I needed to look away
from him for a bit. Is it okay if I sit here?

Ah, that wouldnt be in my jurisdiction to decide. He looks at me from
the corner of his eye and gives me a nod.
Whose jurisdiction is it?
Who is responsible for people who want to sit there?
What is the boss here like?
I really think you should go back and get a little more sleep. Call it
some friendly advice.
17.14-18.1: Thank you. Now it looks like you are repairing the engine I sit down
and change the subject. Whats wrong with it? I thought I should ask seeing as Ill
be flying it.
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Please I would like to know.
What type of experience do you have with this kind of aircraft?
Ive flown its type many times without equipment. I answered.
The plane in question was a Sanka Mark B. Pretty soon here they were
going to roll out the new mark D model. On scouting and test flights Id flown it
many times without weapons equipped. Although I didnt really remember it well.
No, I remembered the feel of the plane very well, I just didnt remember the
missions at all. Im sure Id flown it a lot at my previous position.
Do you know how much equipment it can hold?
Around 35% if I think.
Its 30%.
The percentage tells you how much weight in guns and ammunition
the plane can hold compared to the weight of the plane itself.
Thats still quite heavy. I mutter.
Theres no other option. You cant squeeze anymore out of this
engine. Once it gets up to around 6 thousand it starts to slow.
Not enough oxygen right?
Its because the air intake starts to struggle when you get into
the higher altitudes. If you know about it, it shouldnt be a problem.
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I know that much. Isnt there a trick with that were you can cut the
throttle way down and it recovers quickly?
Who taught you that?
I didnt answer him. The person who taught me that was very
important to me and I had decided that the only time I would use their name was
when I was with them.
Most everybody knows that. I said evasively.
True enough, of those who survive. Those who dont, dont. He didnt
smile this time.
So what are you repairing then? I tried to get back the conversation
back on track.
Im making the plane able to properly intake air. He showed his white
front teeth again as he smiled. Here. He pointed at the side of a valve. When the
engine is changing over, for just a moment, pressure is released through here.
Suction is delayed for just a moment. Its a simple fix but it makes the trick you just
spoke of obsolete.

Are you sure you should be doing that? I was a little nervous about
this change.
Alright, heres what you do. Instead of killing the throttle you actually
want to push it all the way up for a moment.
Many pilots have died doing just that. I said a bit coolly.
Thats true, but Ive fixed it so that you wont. Have a little faith.
Faith in what?
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In your own luck.
I havent been killed up to now with the old method. I dont want to
have to rely on luck. Can you change it back please?
Im sorry. The hole has already been made.
I clucked my tongue in annoyance and sighed.
I had an unpleasant feeling about this, like a seal on an unstable
So far this assignment was not taking a turn for the better. It was
almost like he was saying that this was the place I would die. Of course there are
people I know who actually want me to die, and I know Im not without sin. I
remember leaving home and how all my friends who knew everything were silent.
They were silent as the stump of an ancient tree cut down in its prime.
Have a little faith in me too. When you raise the nose of the plane,
punch the throttle for a moment.
Hmmm I half heartedly replied.
Id only get one chance to try it if he was wrong.
And on top of that, I was likely to forget what he had just told me
in the heat of the moment. Words and thoughts often fail just before people do.
Still, better to believe in what this guy was telling me rather than just
relying on blind luck. Or at least thats what I thought at the time.
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Episode 1: Cowling

The mouse, Ive been sure for years, limps home from the site of the
burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat.
(De Daumier-Smiths Blue Period)
Nine Stories/J.D. Salinger
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[Japanese version of previous]

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I stood in front of Kusanagi Suitos white desk and saluted. Her office
was on the second floor of the administration building and looked out on the
runway, but the blinds were down and I couldnt see outside. Upon the wall framed
pictures and documents were hung in rows. From where I stood I could see a lot of
silver stars and gold foil among the documents. Many of them probably represented
exemplary achievements. Thinking about it for a moment, I realized that this room

was really only suited for people who liked to display their past achievements or at
the very least people who werent opposed to such displays. And thus only people
with such qualities were suited for this kind of job. But what if they had to do things
like this. Maybe she was being secretly watched. Of course I couldnt know that. I
was just absent mindedly day dreaming. The other thing I noticed was the smell of
tobacco. There was enough of an odour for me to know that this officer smoked. I
had decided never to trust an officer who didnt smoke. I was certain that a smoking
officer was a good omen. It meant they had stress to deal with.
23.3 24.1: Kannami Yuuhichi She said as she rose from her seat. She handed
over a single piece of paper. Her pronunciation was intelligently restrained, and
gave me the impression that she was a very cool, collected sort of individual. She
seemed like a stoic, prickly cactus and yet there was something enchanting about
her at the same time. Here is the paper work for your transfer. Your first flight will
be later this morning. You are on standby until then.
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Yes maam
I paused my observation of her and looked over the document she had
handed me. It had all the usual information and phrasings and at the very bottom,
were a set of freshly added numbers. That was my password. I committed it to
memory immediately.
Where is Tokino? Kusanagi asked while she flipped through a book on
her desk.
Who is Tokino? I asked in return, still standing at attention.
Kusanagi slowly raised her face and took her glasses off with one hand.
Her expression didnt change much but by the momentary silence it was clear that
she was surprised. I could also tell that there was some indignation mixed in as well.
The Tokino who shares your room. She said.
Ah, he was sleeping. I replied.
Is he still sleeping?
Well, right now I am here, so I cant say for certain whether he is
currently sleeping or not. All I can say for certain is that he was sleeping from the
moment I woke up until I left the room.
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Why didnt you wake him?
I didnt have any reason to wake him.
why? Her chin lifted and her eyes narrowed. I could tell plainly
enough now that she was angry, even though the change was slight. But it seemed
that she had actually been angry earlier.
Allow me to clarify myself. At that point in time I knew of no reason to
wake him. It seems now, that there is some reasonShall I go wake him now?
On the other side of the desk, Kusanagi stood straight up and glared at
Your orders I inquired.
Nobody told you that you were going to be partnered with Tokino?
Thats correct maam. Although even had someone told me, unless
they also told me that I would be sharing a room with him, the end result would
have been the same, since I

Alright, I get it. She interrupted. She inclined her head slightly,
expressionless again, looking at her watch. In ten minutes report back here. We are
finished for the moment. You may leave.
Yes maam. I saluted and left her office.
I checked the time, and then considered whether I should go back to
my room (The dorms werent that far), or whether I should go down to the lounge
area and have a smoke, while I went down the stairs.
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Behind me I hear the door and Kusanagi Suito came storming down the
stairs. I made space for her to pass on the stairway landing. She passed me without
a single glance and continued through the lobby, pushed open the glass door and
went outside. Her straight backed walking style, made her look sort of like a walking
I entered the lounge and lit a smoke. Through a large window I could
see out into the quadrangle, and without taking a seat I could see Kusanagi
marching towards the dorms. It was only then that I noticed she was wearing a
short skirt. For some reason, it made me nostalgic, though I couldnt figure out why.
The lounge room itself had many yellowing couches and tables
arranged in sets around the room. Towards the window side of the room was a man
with a newspaper spread out in front of him. His hair was strangely pure white, and
he had small lensed glasses on. Only his eyes moved to look at me briefly and then
his gaze returned to his newspaper. One hand moved up scratch his unkempt hair at
the back of his head and he scowled. I thought he looked like he was about to say
something so I waited a little bit but his head stayed down and silent. I walked
towards the ashtray nearest him and made the motion of tapping some ashes into
it. Id just lit it so there was no real need to do that. But I used it as an opportunity
to get closer to him.
Im Kannami. I just transferred here yesterday, I said. I figured there
was no harm in introducing myself. Upon thinking such things, I figure Ive lived a
pretty long time.
Hello, he raised his head, You seem to have angered, Miss
26.6 27.1: ahh, no I looked out the window. But, she wasnt visible anymore.
I couldnt see into the dormitory because the glass was reflecting light. I think it
was because Tokino didnt wake up and come to the meeting.
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really He made a bored face. Its just something like that.
So since Ive come here, uhhhnobody has explained anything to
What needs explaining? He asked while still looking at his spread out
Well, that is, I dont know who anyone isor what their responsibilities
are. That sort of stuff
So you want to know that stuff?
Are you a pilot? I asked him. From his attire, it was clear that he was.
I intended it as a light joke.

Im Yudagawa. He said as he lifted his face. He forced himself to
smile briefly, it was like the flash of camera, it was so brief. Ive been here three
years. Im a nerd, uhhhwhat did you say your name was again?
Its Kannami.
Kannami, Yudagawa nodded. He stuck a hand in a chest pocket and
pulled out some smokes and a lighter. Ohhhh, you. Ive heard rumours about you.
How many pilots are there here? I didnt really want to go down that
road so I asked another question.
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Ordinarily, there are usually four of us here.
Including me?
At this base?
Yes, at this base.
Only four of us?
Yes, only the four of us, Yudagawa said as he held his lit cigarette in
one hand and exhaled a thin plume of smoke. Although, if you include our beautiful
Miss Kusanagi, there are five of us who can fly.
But, isnt this a fairly large base? I look out the window once again,
but the runway is on the opposite side of the building from us and so I cant see it.
Right in front of us is the two floor dormitory. On our left hand side part of a hangar
and workshop are visible. To our right is the gate, a storehouse, and an iron fence.
On the other side of the fence is a road and then a wide field. A railroad bridge
crossing a leveed stream is also visible. At the edge of the field is a dark forest.
Altogether everything was very still and silent seeming. I couldnt see anything
moving. There doesnt seem to be any wind today. Although it looks like there is a
chance of rain this afternoon.
Yudagawa had left the cigarette in his mouth and fallen into silence
reading his newspaper again. Apparently that was as much as he wanted to say
about the matter.
28.10 29.1:
With nothing better to do, I approach the window and gaze
outside. After a little while, Kusanagi exits the dormitory. Her chest out, and with
straight posture she marched back across the quadrangle. I glance at my watch. It
hasnt even been five minutes yet. My cigarette has gotten short though so I crush
it in the nearest ashtray. I want to smoke another but I recognize that feeling as
proof that Im nervous. I take a slow deep breath. I decide to forgo another
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Tokino appears in the quadrangle and walks this way too. He probably
had just put on his clothes. The buttons on his shirt werent completely done up. I
time my leaving of the lounge to match his entry into the building and go into the
Good morning, I say to him.
Good morning, he replies, screwing up his face in a painful
Miss Kusanagi woke you up didnt she?
Oh, it was her was it? He nods as he lets out a yawn. I wasnt awake
enough to realize who it was. Speaking of, who are you?

Im Kannami, your new roommate.
ohhh Tokinos eyes opened a little wider, and he looked me up and
down. Would you mind using the bottom bunk?
I already have, I answered.
Really, my apologies.
29.11 30.1:
I know he saw me last night. He came in really late. First I heard
a motorcycle engine approach the base, and then I heard his footsteps. I had gotten
out of bed so that I could properly meet him. But he had seemed really tired, and all
he did was nod in reply to my words, took off his clothes and gotten into bed. At the
time I had thought he was just the silent type, but it now seems likely that he was
drunk, because he apparently had no memory of last night. He hadnt looked that
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You dont seem that well, I said.
yeah, Ive been better, he replied. But he also smiled a little and
gave his head a shake. Lets go.
He started walking, and I joined in beside him. On the stairs he turned
back towards me once.
Im Tokino by the way, a pleasure, he offered his hand to me on the
landing. His hand was a lot larger than mine.
30.7 31.1: The cockpit of the Sanka Mark B is not large. My small body fits
perfectly into it though. If you compare it to the earlier Mark A models, just formwise, the bonnet is somewhat lower and the rear of the canopy expands outwards.
This improves both forward and rear visibility. This is tremendously beneficial.
Furthermore, the Mark As had their guns on the wings while the Mark Bs have the
guns set into the bottom of the main body. Ive heard that it was a last ditch effort
to make the wings thinner but the impact it had on improving the moment of inertia
was incredible. You can roll the Mark B so fast it looks like a pinwheel. Pilots
welcomed this improvement the most. Many non-pilots would stress weapon load
out as being important, but for most pilots the important thing is maneuverability.
The former is worried about being downed by fault of the pilots abilities, whereas
the latter fear that the pilot will die because of a limitation of the plane. This gap
has existed since the first airplane flew through the sky and it has only gotten wider.