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Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps: Collected last
letters of youth that
would not return
(1983)

 
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 fighting figure.

Father, Mother, Older Brother, when writing up to here, I have been weeping.

Older Sister, Younger Sister, Younger Brother [1], everyone be well.

April 11, 8 a.m.

I think that afterward my trunk and suitcase will be delivered. Now I am packing them.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
May 2018

The letter comes from Kitagawa (1983, 183-4). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kitagawa (1983, 183) and Osuo (2005, 226).

Note

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.

Sources Cited

Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1983. Sōretsu kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho shū (Heroic 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.