Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps (1983 cover)
(originally published as
Ah, Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps in 1970)
Last Letter of Ensign Cadet Shigeru Kano to His Family
At 1520 on April 28, 1945, Ensign Cadet Shigeru Kano took off from Kokubu No.
2 Air Base as gunner/radio operator 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 22. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps 3rd Kusanagi Squadron from Nagoya Naval Air Group. He was from Ibaraki
Prefecture, attended Chūō University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 1st Class
of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Seito).
He wrote the following final letter to his family:
April 11, morning
The sortie has been set for tomorrow. My name also appeared.
There is not enough time to do anything. I regret that I will make a
sortie without meeting you and with not even a furlough.
For the family members, in all likelihood this is all. However, this is a
Father, Mother, Older Brother, when writing up to here, I have been
Older Sister, Younger Sister, Younger Brother ,
everyone be well.
April 11, 8 a.m.
I think that afterward my trunk and suitcase will be delivered. Now I am
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kitagawa
(1970, 183-4). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1970, 183) and Osuo (2005, 226).
1. Kano has one or more older brother, older
sister, younger brother, and younger sister, but the letter does not indicate
the number of each.
Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1970. Ā kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho
shū (Ah, Kamikaze Special Attack Corps:
Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.