Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps: Collected last
letters of youth that
would not return (1983)
Last Letter of Ensign Cadet Shigeo Fukuda to His Parents
At 1152 on April 12, 1945, Ensign Cadet Shigeo Fukuda took off
from Kushira Air Base as pilot in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of
Kate) carrying a 800-kg bomb. He was a member of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Gokō Shirasagi  Squadron
from Himeji Naval Air Group. He died in
a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 24. He was from Okayama
Prefecture, attended Nagasaki College of Commerce, and was a member of the 1st
Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Seito).
He wrote the following final letter:
Dear Parents, Brothers and Sisters ,
Not doing anything for the long period of 24 years, I only caused you
worries with my mischief. Please forgive me for my great lack of filial
piety. I truly thank you for the care that you provided to me for a long
As for me, finally as a young Japanese man, it has come about I will bear
a great responsibility to defend the country at this critical time for the
Empire as an officer crewman for the glorious Imperial Navy. Being able to
sink one ship instantly with one plane is what only we crewmen will be able
As members of the same 1st Class of Reserve Students, please be glad with
my honor of being selected at the beginning from my classmates who will go
forward to protect the skies. I certainly will do my very best for the honor
of our family. My greatest long-cherished desire is to go and fall at the
same time as cherry blossoms on many branches. Believing in the Empire's
prosperity for a thousand, nay, eight thousand generations, I will go
Finally, I will not stop praying for everyone's health and
Brothers and Sisters, I ask that you please take care of our parents.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kitagawa
(1983, 133-4). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1983, 133) and Osuo (2005, 221).
1. The word Gokō means protecting the Empire.
Shirasagi means white egret. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th
century, has the name of Shirasagi Castle.
2. The Japanese word can mean that he had one or
more brothers and one or more sisters.
Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1983. Sōretsu kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho
shū (Heroic Kamikaze Special Attack Corps:
Collected last letters of youth that would be lost). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.