Last letters of youth: Writings
of "Yokaren" war dead (1968)
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Kiichi Hasegawa to His Parents
Sometime between 1300 and 1345 on April 6, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd
Class Kiichi Hasegawa took off from Kokubu No. 2 Air Base as gunner/radio
operator in a two-man Type 99 Carrier Dive Bomber (Allied code name of Val) carrying a
250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 19.
He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Kusanagi Squadron from
Nagoya Naval Air Group. He was from Gunma Prefecture and was a member of the
18th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter:
Dear Father and Mother,
Are you in good health? I have a question for you. I am getting along
fine as usual.
Father, Mother, please be glad. The time that must come is here for me.
I will not express to you again my going, but this person of 20 years 
has not shown filial piety that can be called filial piety. Please forgive
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Mainichi Shinbunsha
(1968, 123). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1968, 123) and Osuo (2005, 225).
1. The traditional Japanese method of counting
age, as in much of East Asia, regards a child as age one at birth and adds an
additional year on each New Year's day thereafter. This most likely explains why
the letter indicates his age as 20 whereas Mainichi Shinbunsha (1968, 121) gives
his age as 19.
Mainichi Shinbunsha, ed. 1968. Seishun on isho: "Yokaren"
senbotsusha no shuki (Last letters of youth: Writings of "Yokaren" war
dead). Tōkyō: Mainichi Shinbunsha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.