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Last Letter of Ensign Setsurō Asou to His Mother

At 1413 on April 29, 1945, Ensign Setsurō Asou took off from Kanoya Air Base and died in a special (suicide) east of the northern end of Okinawa at the age of 24. He was a member of the 4th Tsukuba Special Attack Squadron. He flew a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb. He was from Fukuoka Prefecture and was a student at Waseda University [1]. He was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Mother,

The season of spring green has arrived. I trust that you are doing well.

I was relieved after deciding about Takako. There was a letter of consent from my older brother Koga. In the quick reply, I wrote that I think that it is best to do as soon as possible.

The fighting has become more and more intense, and astounding deeds surely have arrived. I am living only for an eternal cause.

There is no way to apologize repeatedly to you for my lack of filial piety.

Please open the sealed letter that I left at the household shrine on the occasion when I entered the Navy the year before last. Together with it, there is a diary that I wrote in those days.

I am praying that you take good care of yourself and that you have good health for many years in the future.

Finally, I want to tell you that there is nothing related to money loans and women.

Please tell Shiroto and Matsu also that I am praying that they will enjoy happiness for many more years.

Please tell everyone in the neighborhood association that I request them to please accept my apologies.

Take care,
Setsurō


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 59).

Note

1. Osuo 2005, 198.

Sources Cited

Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tokyo: Kōjinsha.