Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Hirohiko Ikoma to His Parents
On June 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Hirohiko Ikoma took off from Chiran Air
Base as a member of the 113th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a
special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 23. He 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 Shiga Prefecture, attended the
Kyōto School of Pharmacy, and become a member of the 1st Class of the Army
Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training Program.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents:
Dear Father and Mother,
I who received the sortie order finally will go tomorrow. Being born in
the Empire unparalleled in the world, I who have Japan's best parents have
boundless joy in being able to do my service in the skies following after
the resolve of my older brother Masayuki. I look towards tomorrow's instant
sinking of a ship.
In accordance with Father's guidance and Mother's words, I am determined
certainly to complete successfully my duty.
When news arrives of my daring feat, please be sure to raise the national
flag and celebrate.
Regarding the distribution of items that I left behind, I ask that you
take what you want and then other persons afterward.
Please take good care of yourselves and live out your natural span of
life. Masatoshi and Michio, please become fine soldiers and follow in the
footsteps of Father.
It is regrettable that I could not see my older brother. I indeed will
attack and sink the dreadful enemy. Older Sisters Sugako, Tatsue, and
Fumiko, please take care of our parents in my place.
Everyone, be well. I am going.
On eve of sortie
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 143, 190) and Osuo (2005, 205).
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.