Last Letters of Lieutenant Mitsuo Kodama to His Parents
At 1020 on April 6, 1945, Lieutenant Mitsuo Kodama took off from Kokubu No. 1
Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack southeast of Amami Ōshima and
Tokunoshima at the age of 22. He was a member of the 210th Naval Air Group
Suisei Unit. He flew in a Suisei dive bomber (Allied code name of Judy).
He grew up in Kagoshima Prefecture and graduated in the 71st Class of the Naval
Academy at Etajima.
Mitsuo Kodama wrote the following final letter to his parents:
Enemy aircraft carrier to be sunk at once
Going to hit target with body-crashing attack
This a mountain cherry blossom of Yamato 
Attacking, an abiding achievement
It is a time when the sacred land of the Empire, here for three thousand
years in the Imperial Era, is being desecrated by enemy Americans and their
despicable leaders. Finally I was selected for the next great remarkable
deed. There is no honor for a warrior that exceeds this, and I am very
joyful. From now, I will ride calmly to my place of death with a smile.
There is a lack of discussion about life or death and success or failure.
Now I do not have any regrets. Feeling elated, my mission will proceed
immediately. I only hope to make known a small part of the Emperor's
kindness. The poem at the top of this letter is exhilarating. I am pleased
to offer this letter to you, my parents. Thank you for your tender care and
your great kindnesses for more than 22 years.
Based on the contents of the next letter, it appears to be written before
Kodama was assigned to a special attack unit. The above letter dated March 28
was written in extremely formal language, whereas the one below dated February
15 is quite informal and deals with practical matters.
Forgive me for skipping the preliminaries.
There must still be intense cold, but I hope everyone is doing well.
Since I no longer need money, I will send to you what I have. I sent 200 yen
yesterday by money order and 1,000 yen today by telegraphic transfer. I
asked an orderly to send 800 yen to you tomorrow by telegraphic transfer.
Enclosed is the receipt from the 1,000-yen telegraphic transfer, so please
use it to request money if it does not arrive. Since I do not have any good
photos, I am sending some available ones of friends. The three small photos
were taken after they returned to the mainland.
I think that enemy air attacks in Kyūshū will become more frequent.
Please take sufficient care. It must be the time when barley is growing a
little larger and taller. You are doing a lot.
February 15, 1945
Letters translated by Bill Gordon
The letters and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai
1. Yamato is a poetic name for Japan.
Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Naval
Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries
of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan