Last Letter from Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Nobutaka Inoue to His
Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Nobutaka Inoue from Ōsaka died at
the age of 18 in a special (suicide) attack near Okinawa. On April 28, 1945 , he
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) as a member of the Navy's Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps. He graduated in the 13th Kō Class of the Yokaren (Naval Preparatory Flight
Training Program), and
he was a member of the 3rd Kusanagi
Squadron from Nagoya Air Group. He was from Ōsaka Prefecture.
He wrote the following last letter to his parents on the day before his final
Father and Mother,
Please excuse this hastily written letter. I sincerely thank you for taking
care of me until this, my 18th, year.
I also at last have joined the Special Attack Corps, an airman's highest
honor, and it has been decided that I will make a sortie. I am sorry that
recently I have not been able to send you news, but this also is unavoidable
for military reasons. However, I have not regretted this. My heart is full of
gratitude not only to you who have taken care of me until now but also to the
senior officers and my friends from whom I as an individual have received so
Please enjoy good health until the day when in the end the Greater East Asia
War is won. Even though my body disappears, my spirit only will remain. Please
let me have the honor of seeing your cheerful faces from the skies of Yasukuni .
The end is near. I want to write various things, but I do not know which ones
are best to write.
Tomorrow at last I will fly to Okinawa and carry out a taiatari
(body-crashing) attack. I will die for an eternal cause believing I
follow after my younger brothers and convinced of certain victory. If a white
wooden box arrives , please praise me without crying. I earnestly request this of
I could not do any acts of filial piety for you, but I ask my older brother
to do this. The enclosed photograph was taken just before my takeoff. I am in
high spirits. Please rest assured. They are dirty nail clippings, but I enclose
them with this letter.
I hope you live long and take good care of yourselves.
Please say hello from me to our neighbors and relatives.
April 27, 1945
Nobutaka visited twice with his friends to the home of Ritsu Tsurumaru, who
lived near Kokubu No. 2 Air Base. On April 28, 1945,
Tsurumaru wrote a letter to his
parents describing these two visits and his takeoff toward Okinawa.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
of Letter and Photo
The letter and photo are from Iwamoto and Tsutomu (1992, 90-1). Kiyoshi
Iwamoto kindly granted permission for their use.
1. The 4th Kikusui (Floating
Chrysanthemum) mass kamikaze attack during the Battle of Okinawa took place on
April 28, 1945.
2. Yasukuni Jinja in Tokyo is
Japan's national shrine to honor spirits of soldiers killed in battle.
3. A white wooden box was how the Japanese military
usually delivered the remains of war dead to their families. In the case of
kamikaze pilots, the remains such as fingernails or hairs from the head would
often be prepared in advance. There are also cases where the white box would
arrive at the family's home with no remains.
Iwamoto, Kiyoshi, and Tsutomu Mukaida, eds. 1992. Chinkon
-- shirakumo ni norete kimi kaerimase: Tokkō kichi daini kokubu no ki
(Repose of souls -- riding on the white clouds, come back to us: Record of
Special Attack Corps Kokubu No. 2 Air Base). Mizobe Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Jūsanzukabaru tokkōhi hozon iinkai (Committee to Preserve the
Jūsanzukabaru Special Attack Corps Monument).