Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letters of Lieutenant Junior Grade Masamichi Fukuyama to His Mother and
At 1250 on January 6, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Masamichi Fukuyama took
off from Mabalacat Air Base in the Philippines as a member of the Kamikaze
Special Attack Corps 19th Kongō Squadron. He piloted a Zero fighter carrying a
250-kg bomb. He died in a special (suicide) attack at the age of 22. He grew up
in Nara Prefecture, graduated in the 72nd Class of the Naval Academy at Etajima,
and was a member of the 201st Air Group.
He wrote the following final letters to his Mother and Grandfather. He also
wrote two death poems in tanka form .
Tomorrow in the early morning I will set out on an attack. I ask only for
prosperity for the Empire with its glorious history of 2,600 years. I thank
you for my upbringing up to today while I was alive. Smiling, I will dive
into the enemy. Far away I pray for your health.
For the Emperor my dedicated life will spare no effort
Concerned for country, in the end going
To Yasukuni  where I will welcome
Father and Mother
Tomorrow I go to skies of southern seas
I am going on my long-awaited attack. Born seven times, I will protect
the Empire. With Father also absent and unknown whether he is dead or alive,
I rely on you for the family as you remain there. I will strike your
Night before sortie
Letters translated by Bill Gordon
The letters and poems come from Matsugi
(1971, 161-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 161) and Osuo (2005, 170).
1. A tanka poem has 31 syllables with a
syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7.
2. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the national Shintō
memorial for soldiers killed in battle.
Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps).
Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.