Deep Blue: From Chiran
Special Attack Air Base (1996)
Last Letters of Second Lieutenant Tōru Ikeda to His Parents
On April 12, 1945, Second Lieutenant Tōru Ikeda took off from Chiran Air Base
and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 22. He was
a member of the 69th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted an Army Type 97
Fighter (Allied nickname of Nate). After his death in a special attack, he
received a promotion to Captain. He was from Shizuoka Prefecture and graduated
from the Imperial Japanese Army Air Academy in the 57th Class.
The following final letter to his parents was sent to his father Kumahei
Ikeda, who lived in Hatsukura Village in Shizuoka Prefecture:
Finally I received the long-awaited Imperial command. I was deployed to
Kumamoto in Kyūshū, and on the way to this different location I stopped at
fondly-remembered Takamatsu due to bad weather.
There are eleven squadron members, and all of them are officers.
My mission truly is important and great. I was raised by you for 22
years. I am determined to carry out the mission with my whole body and soul
to repay the kindness of receiving this upbringing. I hope to meet your
I will provide more details in the next letter.
Kawaroku Inn, Takamatsu, Shikoku
He also sent the following last letter to his parents:
Misfortunes had been repeating naturally, but at last the time when I
will receive joy has come. When I think, it has been a favorable and happy
life. This being because of you, I want to express my warm thanks. I have
been given an important mission, and it is the greatest joy to be able to
live for an eternal cause. I pray that you will be able to live long
and fight bravely.
Please give my regards to the persons who showed care to me.
He wrote the following death poem in tanka form (31-syllable poem with
lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables):
I want to follow
As shield for country
Kikusui means water chrysanthemum, and it was the name that was given to the
Japanese mass air attacks carried out during the Battle of Okinawa.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 82-3). The
biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko
Kai (1996, 81), Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 184), and Osuo (2005,
Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (Chiran Girls High School Nadeshiko
Association), ed. 1996. Gunjō: Chiran tokkō kichi yori
(Deep blue: From Chiran special attack air base). Originally
published in 1979. Kagoshima City: Takishobō.
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack
Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu
kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special
Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.