Last Letter of Captain Yoshio Itsui to His Son
On April 1, 1945, Captain Yoshio Itsui
took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack
south of Kerama Rettō at the age of
32. He was the Squadron Leader of the 23rd Shinbu Squadron and piloted an
Army Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied nickname of Sonia) . After his death in a special
attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. He grew up in Saitama
Prefecture and was in the 20th Class of the Army's Second Lieutenant Cadets.
Itsui wrote the following final letter to his son who was four months old:
I am leaving this letter for you, Yoshinori.
In the spring of the fifth year of the Greater East Asia War, I will die
as the 23rd Shinbu Squadron Commander of the honorable Special Attack Corps.
Even though it is regrettable that I will not see you grow up since I am
going away, I will watch over you as I live for an eternal cause.
Please obey your mother, study hard, and become a good Japanese man as a
child of the Emperor.
In the future when you grow up, it is fine to do whatever you desire.
Please as my child go forward so to not be dishonorable in any way.
Your mother has shown great concern for you. Not forgetting her
compassion, become a fine person and show devotion to her.
You should take care of yourself and be healthy in both spirit and body.
March 9, 1945
Yoshio Itsui's son Yoshinori died of malnutrition at the age of seven months.
Itsui also had two daughters who were four and two years old at the time of his
Although the above letter is dated more than three weeks prior to Itsui's
sortie on April 1, 1945, the 23rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron had been formed
at Shimoshizu Air Base in Chiba Prefecture on February 14, 1945.
Itsui also left the following short writing translated to English:
The final settlement of accounts of my life
There is nothing to say
"Nothing to say" is a literal translation that indicates that there is "no
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 97, 166), Hara (2004, 187), Kawatoko (2008, 35-8), and Osuo (2005,
1. Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 183)
indicates that Itsui piloted a Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of
Oscar), but Hara (2004, 187) and Osuo (2005, 50-1, 195) state that he piloted a
Type 99 Assault Plane.
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.
Hara, Katsuhiro. 2004. Shinsō kamikaze tokkō: Hisshi
hitchū no 300 nichi (Kamikaze special attack facts: 300 days of certain-death, sure-hit
attacks). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.
Kawatoko, Takeshi. 2008.
The Mind of the Kamikaze.
Minamikyūshū City, Kagoshima Prefecture: The Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.