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Last Letters from Corporal Morio Kishida to His Parents and Former Teacher

On June 11, 1945, Army Corporal Morio Kishida took off from Bansei Air Base as a member of the 64th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron (also known as Kokka Squadron) and died in battle west of Okinawa at the age of 20. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special (suicide) attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Kyōto Prefecture and was in the 13th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) Program.

Kishida wrote the following last letter to his parents with a death poem in tanka form (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7) at the end. There are two other poems after that.

Now for the Emperor I head towards an attack searching for an enemy convoy. I cannot help but appreciate your care for a long period. Father, Mother, during the decisive battle please all the more take care of yourselves and work hard to increase production.

Older Sister, it was a short time for you to be an older sister, but thank you for what you did. Give my regards to Uncle in Mineyama [1]. I hope that Older Sister Harue and Masayo-chan [2] in Hisatsugi [3] are looked after. Even though I die, they will live in the midst of the country's prosperity. Please work hard to increase production.

Suzu-chan, Mutsu-chan, Wa-chan, Nori-chan, and Older Brother, now I depart to attack for His Majesty the Emperor. Please take care and study hard. Even though you do not send a letter to me, I vow to protect you.

You should not be sad as I will live forever in the country's prosperity.

Joyfully and bravely, I depart in high spirits. Farewell.

Though young cherry blossom comes to end in faraway skies
Will not stop protecting country of Yamato [4]

O

Things I remember from very young age
My mother's back, light blue stars

Fireflies fly and fly near paths on ridges between rice fields
Flutes and taiko drums of faraway festival

Morio Kishida

Kishida wrote in blood the following tanka poem for his former teacher Ume Izaki. The poem and a final letter (translated below after poem) were addressed to him at Mineyama Girls High School in Kyōto.

To Izaki-sensei

I will go as a shield for the Emperor
A young cherry blossom that will go to the skies and fall

The letter sent by Kishida to his former teacher Ume Izaki is translated below:

Sensei,

Thank you for the many ways that you cared for me during the several years that have passed.

Now I have received a command to be a Special Attack Corps member, which is the honor of a man's life. Now I will make a sortie. I feel full of joy and appreciation. More than anything else, being born as a man in this world makes me overflow with joy.

The second and third grades that I spent at the elementary school come around vividly before my eyes.

In second grade I hated it when I was told to do a play. There are many various memories together with you such as times I practiced snow skiing, days I ran around the playground full of energy, outing days, and occasions when we did mountain climbing. Here is the figure of a young Yamato man who will go to fall bravely as a cherry blossom that has bloomed splendidly.

I will carry out a splendid taiatari (body-crashing) attack on an enemy ship. I will go and take together with me to the other world the ship's fiendish men. My greatest enjoyment above all else was when I returned home on April 16 as a final farewell. I was thinking that I should visit to see and thank you. However, while keeping a visit in mind for later, due to my being away from home, the time came to an end with my obligations. I wanted to see you once before I died so that you could see my figure that has grown and so you could be assured. Tomio Tanaka was the only person among my classmates who remained.

Even though now our bodies will be destroyed, our lives will live on eternally. I will go living together with OO [5] who protected the Empire. I will go defending the ever-glorious Empire.

Please take good care of your health and concentrate on teaching.

Night before sortie, Shinbu Squadron

Army Special Attack Corps Shibuya [6] Squadron
Army Corporal Morio Kishida

The following comment written by Morio Kishida refers to his younger brother who was in the Navy Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) and died in battle in the Pacific in December 1944:

My younger brother will be waiting for me at Yasukuni Shrine [7]. I will ask him to guide me on the paths. Perhaps I will feel envious.


Letters and poems translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letters, poems, and other information on this page come from Naemura (1993, 190-1, 474).

Notes

1. Mineyama is a former town in the northern part of Kyōto Prefecture that was merged with several other towns in 2004 to form Kyōtango City.

2. The suffix -chan is often added to children's names when calling them by their given names.

3. Hisatsugi is a neighborhood in former Mineyama Town.

4. Yamato is an ancient name for Japan.

5. The source of this letter indicates that this part is unknown.

6. Captain Kenichi Shibuya was the 64th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron Commander.

7. Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine) in Tōkyō is the place of enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.

Source Cited

Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō Shuppan.