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Last Writings of Second Lieutenant Toshio Anazawa

On April 12, 1945, Second Lieutenant Toshio Anazawa took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 23. He was a member of the 20th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted a Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Fukushima Prefecture, attended Chūō University, and was a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.

The 3rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron, which included Anazawa and 11 other men, was formed at Taishō Airfield in Ōsaka Prefecture on December 8, 1944. On January 29, 1945, it was renamed the 20th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron.

Anazawa wrote the following last letter addressed to the older brother of his fiancée Chieko:

Dear Kenichi Magota,

I am waiting for the sortie in a few hours. From a base at the southern tip of faraway Kyūshū, I express my thanks for the kindness that everyone in your family has shown to me through today.

With my heart filled with many emotions, there no way other than to request, "Everyone, please be well."

Please pass the enclosed letter to Chieko.

Please give my thankful regards to your father and mother.

April 12, 1945

Toshio Anazawa

He wrote the following final letter to his fiancée:

Dear Chieko,

The two of us made efforts together, but ultimately they ended without bearing fruit.

Even while we had hopes, "losing the season," which I had feared in the corner of my heart, became reality in the end.

Last month on the 10th we parted at the train station at Ikebukuro while picturing in our hearts the enjoyable day, but right after returning to base, the situation directly concerning my squadron changed suddenly. Correspondence was prohibited for some time. I have been busy every day as we changed locations frequently.

And now the day of my fine sortie has come. I want to write a letter to you. There are plenty of things to write. However, I know that all these are not anything other than words to say thanks for your kindness until now.

Your parents, older brothers, older sister, younger brother, and younger sister [1] are all fine persons.

For the kindness that you showed to imperfect me, I really cannot close with commonplace words of gratitude, but I say from the bottom of a pure heart at the end, "thank you."

Now I do not want to retrace in vain the remains of our long relationship in the past. The issue is that there is a future.

I believe that your sharp mind always will give you proper judgment to go forward.

However, separate from that, as the man who was engaged to marry you and as the man who will go to fall, I want to say a few things to you who is a woman.

"There is nothing else other than my hoping for your happiness."

"Do not be fixated in vain on obligations of the past. You are not to live in the past."

"With courage forget the past and discover a new life in the future."

"You will live in the reality of moment by moment in the future. I no longer exist in the real world."

Perhaps these words went along extremely abstractly, but the intention is so that you make use of them in various real situations that will arise in the future and not that these be selfish one-sided words. I say this from a purely objective standpoint.

The cherry blossoms here have fallen already. The season of new leaves that I like very much will soon arrive here.

Now I am thinking what to say, and I want to say a bit of my desires.

1. Books that I want to read

Manyōshū, Kushū, Dōtei, Ittenshō, Kokyō

2. Paintings that I want to see

Madonna and Child by Raphael, Hibō Kannon by Hōgai

3. Chieko, I very much want to see you and talk to you. Hereafter, be happy and cheerful.

I will go smiling and cheerfully to not lose.

April 12, 1945

Toshio

Anazawa wrote the following to Chieko at the end of a final letter written at Miyakonojō Base and addressed to his uncle and aunt:

When you have an opportunity, please express my true sentiments. While I enjoyed living through my journey with a pure heart for those persons who I met, I also was a happy person who could go.

What I want to say strongly to you at the end is this, you should live based on your own particular will.

You should go forward without fear and believe in yourself in any circumstance on the path to happiness.

If I can sum up, you should completely forget Toshio of the past.

I think that the best path is that you as a wise woman should be a good wife and good mother.

You should be a truly strong person who for the future can forget all of the past.

At the end I earnestly appeal to you

Anazawa wrote the following last diary entries:

March 8, 1945

At 8:30, I stood at the train station of my hometown [2] covered in snow.

Standing before the station with powdery snowdrifts, I continued filled with emotion for a short while.

Miraculously in the evening of the same month and same day last year when I returned home in the same way, I thought that I would not return again, and now I see my hometown here once again.

When I think back, last year during the last part of March, with thoughts about remote southern seas, I said my final goodbyes and left the mainland. In a land of epidemics but picturesque, I obtained a place to train in Chaozhou. Intense training continued for four months. Whether by persons praying for me or by gods who protected me, I fortunately completed the course in good health and returned to the mainland. For four months I spent many pleasant days in Kashiwara in the Kawachi Area. I was selected for the Shinbu Unit. Not expecting to give my life here, I diligently carried out training for death. I transferred to Kita Ise, where the wind blows down strongly from the Suzuka Mountains.

I thought several times about death. I was saved several times by an accidental god. And now, my death certainly will be this year.

If I do not now offer my life, that opportunity will not come again. The opportunity when I will decide is approaching.

In these troubled times, for me there is still a god, and being able to see my parents and siblings was the greatest happiness.

Father, Mother, without trying to cry out, there was no voice. Looking at your kindly faces, I cried in my heart.

My responsibility is not light. It is not that I must do it tomorrow.

Will my mind thinking of hisshi (certain death) not change?

Father, Mother, as normal parents in this world, your hoping that I will return alive by some small chance is truly good.

When I think of that, a heartrending feeling rises up all the more. I only just pray for your health and for your living a very long life.

I welcome a peaceful evening.

March 16, 1945

I departed from Kita Ise.

What send-off for departure
Of warrior
Plum blossoms

March 18, 1945

From the day before yesterday on the 16th, we have been at Ōita Navy Airfield for training.

There was a warning at dawn today. The task force attacked.

In the afternoon there was a bombing attack. There was repeated bombing of attached facilities for about 40 minutes. In a single blow they vanished.

It seems that there was hardly any damage to the airfield. The concrete of the dispersed concrete hangars was damaged here and there because of the bombs.

There were several dozen attacking aircraft. Even though the base did not lack planes to take action, they did not have a single interceptor aircraft. Wishing for this, I regretted the conditions that I had no choice but to leave to them.

If the base had at least two aircraft, even though they would be insufficient, they would have been able to interfere with the attack. It is regrettable that they returned again and again.

It was supposed that the dropped bombs were both 50-kg and 250-kg types.

At about 16:00, five or six Grumman fighters came and strafed the area.

Several large aircraft were bombed and went up in flames.

At 17:40, I took off from Ōita and evacuated to Hōfu. There were only six planes. I finished dispersing and waited to assemble with everyone. It was already twilight, and the new moon shone dimly on the airfield. The stars also were twinkling.

When I quietly recite poems, I immediately leave the real world. Is it a dream with misery during the day?

March 19, 1945

There was a warning. B-29 bombers and carrier-based aircraft attacked the Chūgoku and Kinki Regions.

During the afternoon, they entered and passed by nearby villages.

Two planes came (Ei Yamamoto, Takimura).

Plums blossoms are fragrant
When I go along lane
Sea unfolds

With fragrance of plum blossoms
When I travel along lane
Sea unfolds

Seto Inland Sea
Seen from afar
Plum blossoms are fragrant

Fine weather for plum blossoms
Seen from afar
Seto Inland Sea

March 20, 1945

There is nothing to do. I returned from Kumagaya and Hiroshima. I hear that Miss Fujii is in good health.

After dinner, I left for Hōfu Town, got a haircut, and returned.

March 22, 1945

Ever since morning it was hazy with a gentle rain. The surrounding mountains were covered entirely with a light snow.

Three planes under the squadron commander came at about noon.

Even though in the afternoon there were preparations for maneuvers, they were cancelled due to rain.

Later in the day we took a bus to Hōfu City and stayed at Ishidaya Ryokan in front of the train station. Our group was five men under the squadron commander including Kazu Yoshida, Yamamoto, Takimura, and me.

When I opened the window, it was near a hill, and I got wet from the light rain.

The town's row of houses has a special charm that makes one think just of an onsen (hot springs) town. The five of us, looking at this while sipping tea, are encouraged for the miraculous deed of our sorties in a little while, and we wonder only about falling as flowers.

At 19:00, we left the inn and went into a movie theater. A movie titled Utau tanuki goten (Palace of singing raccoon dogs) was playing. It was an incomprehensible movie. I had expected to have the ability to know where was the true meaning.

March 23, 1945

I did training for ship attacks. I did not complete the training since the target ship was not in the prearranged location.

I carried out a compulsory steep dive attack against a warship similar to a cruiser that was in Tokuyama Bay.

I took off again and searched for the target. Visibility was extremely bad, and I could not find it.

Perhaps they changed the set location. It was not in Beppu Bay.

March 25, 1945

At 13:30, I departed from Hōfu and headed toward Miyakonojō.

Since there was a haze up to about 2,500 meters altitude, visibility was about two kilometers. It extended until Beppu Bay.

At 14:30, I arrived at Miyakonojō East Airfield. The 101st Flying Regiment already was there, and we received a welcome from them. The barracks are half underground, and it is a pleasant setting surrounded by mountains.

My friend said, "If we live in this kind of place, we should live long."

March 26, 1945

In the morning, I saw a little frost. As the sun rose, it rapidly became warm. It was as expected in the southern part of Kyūshū.

In the morning I made a reconnaissance flight. The Type 1 fighter is excellent.

Inside the officers' room, there was the fragrance of lily magnolias, camellias, and peach blossoms. A slight breeze came and shook the treetops of the mountain forest.

I feel that the sortie will be soon. I burned my letters. What remained were entirely ones from Chieko. As the flames blazed up, my feelings and heart were shaken immeasurably.

I selected the below poems that I saw in her letters, and I felt that there remained a lingering fragrance.

Last night of my life in hometown
Person who knows this will wait for me

Even though I leave it seems we should meet again
My heart is filled with sadness for our love

When I think of you who parted as if that easy
I look back to the street corner

Having a letter filled with a warm heart
A nightingale sings when I think of the person

When this night passes and I slip out of house
Being utterly not decided can't be endured

Evening moon
Appears as typically
A moon in the window        Hakugetsu

Two crossed eggplants
Circles in water with ducks swimming
Plum blossoms bloom        Shūōshi

Water with ducks
Near drawing room
Perfect day for plum blossoms       Shūōshi

Drawing room hearth
Nice kettle hanging
Ideal weather for plum blossoms       Shūōshi

White plum blossoms
Light in humble abode
Does not reach them       Shūōshi

While looking at plum blossoms
When I go, smoking
Charcoal burns       Shūōshi

We received an order to change tomorrow to Chiran Airfield. Isn't it that probably the sortie will be right away? In the evening we went by truck to Miyakonojō City. We stayed the night at Kaikōsha Inn. I arranged my personal belongings.

March 27, 1945

Finally we departed. I requested Yukitaka to send three books to Chieko at the office.

We said farewell to the maintenance unit men who we shared joys and sorrows for four months. At 15:00, we were aboard our aircraft.

Among those in the maintenance unit, there were many men who cast their eyes downward as their tears flowed. We who were departing also felt heartbreaking grief.

We took off. We crossed Kagoshima Bay and to the right was Sakurajima emitting smoke. There was drizzle and low clouds.

We moved into a single-column formation and proceeded to Chiran Airfield.

Even though it was scheduled for us to advance further immediately this evening, it was postponed due to bad weather.

The Air Brigade Commander, 103rd Flying Regiment Commander, and 56th Flying Regiment Commander attended our dinner.

Afterward we went out to Chiran Town and stayed the night at an inn. A drizzle still continued.

March 28, 1945

Even though the planned sortie was 16:00, it was cancelled.

Evening arrived, and it was decided that the sortie would be tomorrow at 3:00 in the early dawn.

The squadron members passed a sake cup around, had a small meal, and went to the airfield for preparations.

The branch maintenance workers cannot be relied on strongly enough.

Preparations for the most part were not ready, and in the end the sortie was again cancelled.

March 29 1945

Ah, I was left behind.

Seven men under the squadron commander already departed.

I am a miserable figure who saw them off.

March 30, 1945

At 16:00, Second Lieutenant Yoshida, Second Lieutenant Itō, Second Lieutenant Takimura, and I departed in high spirits toward Tokunoshima.

The weather up to near Nakanoshima worsened moment by moment, and we got into a single-column formation and continued until we encountered clouds.

We went down to an altitude of 50 meters. Going ahead was dark like spilled black ink.

One hour and 45 minutes into the flight, the four planes together entered into the clouds. In an instant I banked sharply to the right and even though I came out from the clouds, I got rid of the map that I strongly relied on. For unavoidable reasons, my plane alone returned to base. What was the fate of the other three planes?

March 31, 1945

Ah, has the weather betrayed my squadron?

I do not know the whereabouts of the other three planes.

I am dispirited.

April 1, 1945

I welcomed April, and it is warm. The temperature is near 25 degrees Centigrade, and I have a feeling of early summer.

April 2, 1945

At 9:00, Sergeant Terasawa returned from Tokunoshima.

When he landed on the 29th, his plane was damaged seriously when the landing gear hit a bomb hole.

In the end will the fighting strength of our elite squadron be cut in half?

I asked him about the situation on Tokunoshima.

He said that Second Lieutenant Akihiko Yamamoto made a sortie yesterday on the 1st. He hit a large transport ship and sunk it instantly.

Today on the 2nd at daybreak, the squadron commander and Corporal Kojima made a sortie, and battle results are not yet known.

Furthermore, it is still not known what happened to Second Lieutenant Takimura who flew with me on the 30th. It may be that his fuel ran out and he disappeared into the sea. Ah……

At 16:00, even though I went in my single plane together with the 30th Shinbu Squadron, I returned again due to the lead plane's engine trouble.

To the end I am not blessed with fortune in battle.

I am planning for tomorrow's sortie together with the 30th Shinbu Squadron.

I who share fate with flowers that fall
Happiness realized that I requested

April 4, 1945

Sergeant Terasawa obtained a replacement plane.

In addition to waiting for completion of the repairs, we informed the staff officer that we had planned to depart with three planes. The staff officer agreed.

Six maintenance men from our squadron came. They all are excellent persons. I expect flawlessness in the repairs.

Sergeant Shibata, who arrived the day before yesterday, was added to the squadron. There are seven men in total.

April 5, 1945

The maintenance workers have been working hard at maintenance since early morning.

There are no words that can express appreciation to these men who are busy at their work without even eating breakfast.

April 6, 1945

At nightfall today, we received a sortie order.

I wonder if we will go now. With a flash of the sword, there will be no enemy ship.

Today the 2nd Buntai (Squad), made up of Second Lieutenant Ōhira in the lead plane, Sergeant Terasawa in the escort plane, and my plane, departed, but we returned when the lead plane misunderstood a signal made by a Type 3 fighter (Allied code name of Tony) in the skies above the coastline.

April 7, 1945

Even though an afternoon departure has risk with low clouds, the sortie has been decided.

Rain began to fall in the afternoon, and the approximate departure time gradually strengthened.

We took off at 15:10, and visibility was bad due to low clouds over the sea.

We took no chances and again turned back.

I saw the newspaper from the day before yesterday. I found out that the squadron commander and Second Lieutenant Yamamoto hit large transport ships and sunk them instantly.

Did the planes attack all together? Or did the achieve the above battle results by dropping only bombs? It was not clear from only the article.

When I think of our 20th Shinbu Squadron that diligently carried out much training with the objective of a task force attack, I earnestly wish to have been the latter pilot.

My hope sure enough will be realized.

April 8, 1945

In the evening I met Ōhira and Terasawa at Tsukimitei Restaurant.

I remembered "Song in Praise of Alcohol" by Okura. It is a good one once in a while.

Just because spring rain falls there is no need to be sappy
You do not be sentimental now
Isn't there life tomorrow and the next day?
Put away thinking foolish things

No matter how many times I hear such voices in the corner of my heart, I am still a sentimental boy.

When I walk alone down a road with young leaves wet from a gentle rain, my innate character raises up my head with inside of my heart.

In regards to forgetting, there are so many precious memories that pop into my mind one by one due to my innate nature.

For a man without a past, if there is such a man in this world, even the spring rain will not fall. Even the young leaves do not mean spring in a southern country.

Times passes with past, present, and future and gives history to a person.

While having longings for eternal things, a person enjoys limitless time, establishes the present, and possesses past and future.

Do not laugh at the contradictions.

Even in unending time, it is because a person in the world will not be able to cut and measure the same length of life that I have of 50 years.

Even I as a person in the world, besides a life that was so short, has a past and has a present.

Eternal things must not be cut off by a human's circumstances and conveniences.

Even though a human's life can be divided, there is no need to write in this way.

The noncommissioned maintenance officers of the 30th Shinbu Squadron are cutting bamboo and making flutes.

They are heating up long metal chopsticks until red hot and making holes one by one. When I picture in my mind when they are completed soon, now and again they will be placed happily up to lips.

They put long metal chopsticks into the fire to make holes. As they waited for them to heat up until red, while I watched from the side, they were smiling as they put their fingers up to their lips as if they were blowing. I suddenly remembered that Chieko once wrote this that she sent to me, "While reading poetry, a Japanese man who is fighting is happy, believe it or not."

The officers and men in our unit are writing poems or enjoying the comfortable sound. Humans who have a quiet side certainly are rich persons as humans.

April 9, 1945

It was raining and windy all day.

I started to read Shizen to tomo ni (Together with nature) by Yoshirō Nagayo.

I was reading aloud the Manyōshū. I was reading aloud the poems.

Books I want to read

  1. Manyōshū, Kushū (collection of haiku poems by Bashō)
  2. Dōtei (Journey) by Kōtarō Takamura
  3. Ittenshō by Tatsuji Miyoshi
  4. Kokyō (Hometown) by Minoru Ōki

Things I want to see

Madonna and Child by Raphael
Hibō Kannon (Merciful Mother Kannon) by Hōgai

Things I want to hear

  1. Collection of Strauss waltzes
  2. Voices of fondly-remembered people

April 11, 1945

The sortie has been set for tomorrow on the 12th.

Fortunately, the weather also has improved.

My life only tonight in my hometown
Person I know likely is waiting for me


Writings translated by Bill Gordon
April 2019

The writings come from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 10-26). The biographical information in the first two paragraphs comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 10), Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 160), and Osuo (2005, 52, 81, 195).

Notes

1. When Toshio Anazawa first met Chieko on July 21, 1941, when she was 17 years old, she was living with her parents, two older brothers, a younger brother, and a younger sister (Mizuguchi 2007, 10). Anazawa's letter mentions an older sister, but she may have married and moved out of her parent's home prior to the first meeting of Toshio and Chieko.

2. Anazawa's hometown was Komagata Village (now Kitakata City) in Fukushima Prefecture (Fukushima 2009, 280).

Sources Cited

Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (Chiran Girls High School Nadeshiko Association), ed. 1996. Gunjō: Chiran tokkō kichi yori (Deep blue: From Chiran special attack air base). Originally published in 1979. Kagoshima City: Takishobō.

Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.

Fukushima, Yasuki. 2009. Sokoku yo!: Tokkō ni chitta Anazawa shōi no koi (My country!: Love of Second Lieutenant Anazawa who fell in special attack). Tōkyō: Genki Shobō.

Mizuguchi, Fumino. 2007. Chiran kara on tegami (Letters from Chiran). Tōkyō: Shinchōsha.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.