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Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps
(1971)

 
Last Letters of Lieutenant Junior Grade Masamichi Fukuyama to His Mother and Grandfather

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 [1]. 

Dear Mother,

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 [2] where I will welcome Father and Mother
Tomorrow I go to skies of southern seas

Dear Grandfather,

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 enemies.

Night before sortie


Letters translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letters and poems come from Matsugi (1971, 161-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 161) and Osuo (2005, 170).

Notes

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.

Sources Cited

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.