To the end of the flowing clouds:
Writings of Navy reserve
who died in war (1952)
Last Letter of Ensign Masuji Endō to His Parents
At 1440 on April 6, 1945, Ensign Masuji Endō took off from Kanoya Air Base as
pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide)
attack off Okinawa at the age of 23. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps 1st Shinken Squadron from Ōmura Naval Air Group. He was from
Fukushima Prefecture, attended Nihon University in Tōkyō, and was a member of
the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter to his parents with two death poems in tanka
form (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7) for his mother:
Dear Father and Mother,
Since there is not time, I will make this my last letter to you.
I am sending this at the time when I will make a sortie as a Special
Attack Corps member.
I give you my deep thanks for your love for more than twenty years.
When meeting in this world is very difficult
Now I will ask for dreams
When spring, ahead of cherry trees in homeland
I smiling will bloom and fall
– There is nothing concerning money loans.
– There is no close relationship with a woman.
– I want to ask that you send a letter of thanks to the lodging house when I
was in the unit at Kokubu .
The trainees at Kokubu who I taught now stand on their on feet. I have no
regrets. I think that they also will follow after me and make hits on
Younger Brother Teisuke, now I am full of great happiness.
Letter and poems translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and poems come from Hakuō Izokukai
(1952, 95-6). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1952, 95) and Osuo (2005, 201).
1. Kokubu was a naval air base in Kagoshima
Hakuō Izokukai (Hakuō Bereaved Families Association), ed.
1952. Kumo nagaruru hate ni: Senbotsu kaigun hikō yobi gakusei no shuki
(To the end of the flowing clouds: Writings of Navy reserve student who died
in war). Tōkyō: Nihon Shuppan Kyōdō.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.