(permission required from
Yuko Shirako for photo use)
I have translated thirteen pages for Stories
of Bereaved Families, which are included on the Japanese web site Aozora
no hateni (To the blue sky's end). These stories relate to families of
kamikaze pilots who died in the war, and several of the stories include letters
written by the pilots. The webmaster for this site is Senri Nagasue, a former
kamikaze pilot who has written several books in Japanese on the Navy's kamikaze corps in
addition to creating this large Japanese web site about his wartime experiences and the
stories of men who served with him in the Japanese Navy.
The following web pages are a sample of
these translated stories:
- To Hometown Skies - Kamikaze pilot flies over home to drop final letter to
Duty to His Parents - Mothers worried about their sons' situation and
searching for some news. Final letters of kamikaze pilot to his mother and to his
- Bravely - Son writes only a short letter to family prior to kamikaze
attack probably due to military censorship of correspondence.
- Connecting Threads - Woman finds out details of uncle's death more than
fifty years after end of war.
- I Do
Not Yet Want to Die! - Son's final farewell to mother is very different
words in his final letter to his family.
This web site on Kamikaze Images contains the following personal stories:
- A Cargo Doomed to Boom - John
Laughton, Hobbs Victory crewman, describes kamikaze attack that
killed 13 men and sunk his cargo ship at Kerama Retto during Battle of
- Assorted Thoughts During War - Kiichi
Kawano writes about two fellow airmen in Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th
Mitate Unit who died in suicide attacks from Kisarazu Air Base less than one
week before the end of WWII.
- Censored Suicide - Tragic suicide by wife and two children
of Japanese Army First Lieutenant so that he would be free to join Special
Attack Corps in order to carry out suicide attack against enemy.
- Crash Attack With New Wife On Board -
Story of squadron of Japanese Army pilots in Manchuria who made suicide
attack against Soviet tanks after Emperor announced war's end.
- For Five Seconds, A Gunner - Account of
twin engine Japanese attack bomber that dove into Dutch freighter off Ie
- Forever Grateful - Fred Mitchell is
forever grateful to shipmates who helped him survive after two
kamikaze planes hit the destroyer Drexler, which sank in 49 seconds
after the second plane hit the ship.
- Kamikaze Pilots Visit Ritsu Tsurumaru's Home
- Letter written to kamikaze pilot's parents by woman who received two
visits from their son to her home near Kokubu No. 2 Air Base.
- Kamikaze, the Ultimate Sacrifice
- Eyewitness account of kamikaze plane that dove into American landing ship
off Okinawa on May 20, 1945.
- Little Italy to Okinawa - Joe Curgino,
sinking of destroyer Drexler by two kamikaze planes, relates his
wartime experiences and his family's loving support.
Magnificent Comrades of Tsukuba Unit - Nobuya
Kinase, former Tsukuba Air Group flight instructor, describes kamikaze unit
formed mostly from Reserve Students (Yobi Gakusei).
Man Killed In Action Who Returned -
Yoshihiko Konishi, leader of 433rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron, crashed
into mountain on Okinawa and hid in cave until more than two months after
end of war.
May 28, 1945—Another Day of Infamy
- Dr. Rex Davis tells how his landing craft, the LCS(L) 114, saved 119 men
from the water when the destroyer Drexler sank after being hit by two
- Mighty Midget 2007 Reunion - 21st
annual reunion of veterans of 130 LCS(L) (Landing Craft, Support (Large))
ships, many which battled kamikaze planes during the Battle of Okinawa.
- My Personal History: Two Lives -
Excerpts from Kaoru Hasegawa's memoirs about his experiences in the Japanese
Naval Air Corps including the kamikaze mission in which he crashed into the
sea and was rescued by an American destroyer.
Preparing to Sortie and Waiting for
Orders Every Day for Two Weeks - Yukitoshi Kataoka, pilot in the 302nd
Shinbu Special Attack Squadron, writes about his feelings while waiting for
two weeks for his expected suicide mission.
Remembering Times Past from 34 Years Ago -
Article by former buntaicho (Division Officer) about kamikaze pilots from
Tsukuba Air Group who advanced to Kanoya Air Base to sortie on suicide
Rescued Kamikaze Pilot Also Callaghan
Survivor - Leo Jarboe, survivor of the sinking of
the destroyer USS Callaghan (DD-792) by a kamikaze plane attack on
July 29, 1945, describes the earlier rescue of
a kamikaze pilot who crashed into the sea on
May 25, 1945.
- Shinyo Special Attack Squadron - Toshio
Ohta, member of the 118th Shinyo Special Attack Squadron stationed in Saga
Prefecture, relates what happened during an enjoyable day on leave from the
shinyo explosive motorboat base.
Shunsuke Tomiyasu - Story of
kamikaze pilot who hit aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6) with his
Zero fighter carrying 500-kg bomb.
Sinking of USS Drexler DD-741 - Gene
Brick, founder of the Drexler Survivors Reunion Association, gives
his account of what happened when two twin-engine kamikaze aircraft crashed
into the destroyer Drexler.
Special Attack Corps Waiting Room at Tomitaka Base
- Yuji Naito, who became President and Chairman of a large pharmaceuticals
firm, describes the feelings of kamikaze pilots waiting at Tomitaka Base in
Survival of Drexler Survivors
Reunion Association - May 2006 reunion of 14 men who survived sinking of Drexler.
2007 USS Callaghan (DD-792)
Reunion - Cincinnati reunion of 17 survivors from last ship sunk by
kamikazes in WWII.
2007 USS Morrison (DD-560)
Reunion - Gathering in May 2007 of ten survivors of sinking of destroyer
Morrison, which was hit by four kamikaze planes on May 4, 1945.
2010 USS Drexler (DD-741) Reunion -
Six survivors meet in San Antonio and visit National Museum of the Pacific
War for 65th Anniversary Memorial Service of destroyer Drexler's
sinking by two kamikaze aircraft.
2012 USS Callaghan (DD-792) Reunion
- Reunion in New Orleans of four survivors from last destroyer lost in WWII
when sunk by Japanese kamikaze training plane carrying a bomb in nighttime
- Who Sank the Destroyer Drexler? -
Investigation to determine which squadron of kamikaze planes sank Drexler
on May 28, 1945.
- Yoko's Hopes and Losses - Yoko Sato
becomes engaged to Osamu Shibata, who dies shortly thereafter in a kamikaze attack off Okinawa.
Story written by daughter of Yoko Sato.