Last Letter of Ensign Masaji Fukushima to His Parents
At 1610 on April 6, 1945, Ensign Masaji Fukushima 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 Tsukuba Squadron. After his death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to Lieutenant. He was from Tōkyō
Prefecture, attended Morioka Higher Technical School (now Iwate University), and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve
Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following last letter to his parents:
Today finally I will make a sortie.
Please forgive me for dying before you without being able to show any
filial piety to you.
In high spirits and full of energy, I will make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack into an enemy aircraft carrier. Please rest assured
that I certainly will fall splendidly in line with your expectations.
Even with the current lack of filial piety of persons in the family,
during the war before victory we must be prepared to sacrifice in
I hope that this does not cause despair for you. I request that later I
will be reborn.
Like clear autumn water and like a mirror, now I head towards the
battlefield with feelings of a clean slate. The place where we are heading
certainly will bring news of enemy destruction.
Father and Mother, I deeply thank you for your care during my long life
of 25 years.
In my room the following words are hanging on the wall:
We are soldiers of His Majesty the Emperor under protection of the
The kamikaze (divine wind) of the divine country will arise from
the Tsukuba parade ground.
Each man with a five-foot body will make a taiatari
(body-crashing) attack into an aircraft carrier.
Devoted to my mother, I will fall with my body as a shield for the
In my mother's dreams I will return from time to time.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Katabami
(2014, 82). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(2014, 82) and Osuo (2005, 197-8). The photo below is from Katabami (2014, 83).
Ensign Masaji Fukushima and Mother
1. The age at death is not given in any of the
sources. Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990, 173) indicates his birth year as 1921,
so he would have been either 23 or 24 years old at his death.
Katabami, Masaaki. 2014. Mō hitotsu no "Eien no Zero":
Tsukuba Kaigun Kōkūtai (Another "Eternal Zero": Tsukuba
Naval Air Group). Tōkyō: Village Books.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.