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Continuation • Ah, Cherry
Blossoms of Same Class
(1995)

 
Last Letter of Ensign Eiji Itō to His Parents

Sometime between 0630 and 0650 on April 16, 1945, Ensign Eiji Itō took off from Kokubu No. 2 Air Base as pilot in a 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 23. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Hachiman Gokō [1] Squadron from Usa Air Group. He was from Tōkyō Prefecture, attended Keiō Gijuku University in Tōkyō to study law, and was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Parents,

Finally I will write my last letter.

I have received an order to make an attack on an enemy warship or cruiser tomorrow morning between 9:30 and 10:00.

I recall many daily teachings.

I think that probably I will make a fine crash.

By hitting our targets, I believe that our country certainly will be led to victory. By our attacks, it is scheduled that next our military will make a landing against the enemy. I know that the significance of our duty is more honor than I deserve.

Even though I have not been able until now to return your kindness of raising me, since I went to fall for our country Japan, I think that surely you will forgive me. For the country, for my fellow countrymen, and for the persons who did for me some kind of favor, I intend to strive to the utmost.

Although simple, I write my last letter.

Everyone, please be well. Farewell.

Evening of April 15 at Kokubu Base
Eiji

Give my regards to the persons in Kanazawa, persons in Sakurai, and other persons.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter comes from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (1995, 16-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (1995, 16) and Osuo (2005, 219).

Note

1. Hachiman is the Japanese god of military power. Usa City in Ōita Prefecture has the first Hachiman Shrine, which was established in the early 8th century. Gokō means "protecting the Emperor" in Japanese.

Sources Cited

Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (Navy Flight Reserve Students 14th Class Association), ed. 1995. Zoku Ā dōki no sakura (Continuation Ah, cherry blossoms of same class). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.