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Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory
Flight Trainees (1)

Last Letter of Flight Chief Petty Officer Shigezō Kanno

At 2008 on June 25, 1945, Flight Chief Petty Officer Shigezō Kanno took off from Kushira Air Base as pilot in a two-man Shiragiku trainer carrying two 250-kg bombs. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 5th Tokushima Shiragiku Squadron from Tokushima Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 22. He was from Fukushima Prefecture and was a member of the 17th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter:

It already has been one week since I left Tokushima Air Group. Due to the rainy weather at Kushira Air Base, we mainly have been fading, but at 1715 on June 21 plane after plane from the 1st Attack Squadron took off in the face of bad weather [1].

Good news came that all planes made hits on targets. With an aircraft carrier, battleship, or transport ship, my comrades did well.

June 25. We in the 2nd Attack Squadron who have been waiting eagerly will depart for battle.

The engine condition is excellent. It is in better and better condition.

The weather is not very good, but it is neither here nor there.

Currently I am resting after finishing lunch.

Now I will take a bath and nap. Until the sortie at 1900 I will go slowly and rest myself.

In the end, I have no regrets at all.

I am full of vigor.

I pray for the country's peace and security. I will fall smiling.

For us being able to die in an airplane is our long-cherished desire. We are not afraid of anything. I go believing that others will follow after.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
September 2018

The letter comes from Kojima (2004, 52). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kojima (2004, 52) and Osuo (2005, 242).


1. Osuo (2005, 242) indicates that three Shiragiku trainers took off from Kushira Air Base on June 21, 1945.

Sources Cited

Kojima, Keizō, ed. 2004. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei isho • iei • ikōshū (1) (Last letters, poems, and writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (1)). Tōkyō: Unabarakai.

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