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Masami Hoshino

 
Last Letters from Lieutenant Junior Grade Masami Hoshino

On December 28, 1944, Lieutenant Junior Grade Masami Hoshino, leader of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 14th Kongō Squadron, and two other squadron members died in battle after they took off from Cebu Air Base in the Philippines in Zero fighters, each carrying a 250-kg bomb. Hoshino was born in 1923 and grew up in Nagano Prefecture [1], graduated from Musashi Higher Technical School in Tōkyō, and entered the Navy's Yobi Gakusei (Reserve Students) 13th Class. He received a promotion of two ranks to Lieutenant Commander for his death in a special (suicide) attack.

Hoshino was a Zero fighter pilot in the Tsukuba Naval Air Group in Ibaraki Prefecture. His younger sister Toyoko visited him at Tsukuba Air Base before he took off for the Philippines [2].

On November 21, 1944, Hoshino wrote three final letters to his family. The first one was to his parents.

Father and Mother,

You have taken care of me for a long time.

Recently I went to the battlefront. My (Navy) classmates also are fighting hard. I am glad that finally I can do something useful. Thanks to you Father and Mother, I do not have any worries.

Please give my regards to Kudō Sensei, Mitsui Sensei, Nishizawa Sensei, Ogiwara Sensei, and my other teachers.

I received many comfort letters from everyone at the national (elementary) school (kokumin gakkō).

Also, please give my warm thanks to everyone in town.

Father and Mother, I pray that you always will be in good health.

November 21, 1944

Masami

The next letter is to his younger brother Haruo. Curiously, it is addressed to his father and mother, so maybe his intention was that his parents give the letter to his younger brother.

Haruo-chan, please forgive me that I could do nothing whatsoever as an older brother.

Please serve Father and Mother nicely as you always have done.

Please do everything with feelings that you always have shown.

Afterward, please go forward as Father and Mother tell you.

I go gladly. Do not be sad even a little.

November 21, 1944

Masami

The next letter is to his two sisters, Wako and Toyoko. In a similar manner to the letter to Haruo, it is addressed to someone else, his brother. Probably his purpose was that his brother give the letter to his two sisters.

Wako, Toyoko,

Since you both help out nicely, I have peace of mind. I give you my deepest thanks.

I ask that you take my part in showing devotion to Father and Mother. At the same time, I am pleased that for your part you always work so hard.

Everyone, sisters and brother, please move forward with the feeling you have now.

November 21, 1944

From your older brother

A final note written by Masami Hoshino is undated but seems to be written soon before he took off from Cebu Air Base based on the first sentence.

Now I am making a sortie to attack.

I have no regrets left in my heart, and I am doing well. My men also are doing well.

Since I met Yoda-kun from the town next to ours (Komoro), I asked him (to deliver this).

Everyone, please take care.

Masami


Letters translated by Bill Gordon
August 2017

The four letters and photographs are from pages 48-55 of the following book:

Katabami, Masaaki. 2014. Mō hitotsu no "Eien no Zero": Tsukuba Kaigun Kōkūtai (Another "Eternal Zero": Tsukuba Naval Air Group). Tōkyō: Village Books.


Masami Hoshino polishing plane engine

Notes

1. Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1990, 141.

2. From Tsukuba Naval Air Group Museum's booklet entitled Tsukuba Kaigun Kōkūtai (Tsukuba Naval Air Group).

Source Cited

Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990. Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tokyo: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.