Last Letter from Lieutenant Junior Grade Seiji Kōno to His Parents
At 0625 on March 21, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Seiji Kōno took off
from Izumi Air Base as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui
Unit Ginga Squadron from the 406th Attack Hikōtai. He died in a special (suicide) attack to the southeast of Kyūshū at the age of
22. He was from Ishikawa Prefecture, attended Kanazawa Higher Technical School, and was a member of the 13th Class of
Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei). He was pilot in a Ginga bomber
(Allied code name of Frances) with a crew of three.
Kōno wrote the following last letter to his parents:
Finally I received the order for a sortie. Father, I go happily. There is
no greater desire than this for a man. When I remember the time when I was
working and was weak, I never dreamed of having this honor of receiving such
an important mission.
Father and Mother, I warmly thank you for caring for me and for raising
me here for the long period of 22 years.
After me you have my older brother, Ryōzō, Shirō, and Shōgo, so I think
that there will be no worries. Moreover, please give my regards also to my
older sister, Tomi , and other persons. (Please
tell nobody about my sortie.)
In my hikōtai (flying unit) there are two friends who graduated
from the same high school in Kanazawa, so it would be good to contact their
Yosoji Yamamura, Ensign Yamamura
7-20 Zaimoku-chō, Kanazawa City
Kōjirō Takagi, Ensign Takagi
81 Takaoka-chō, Kanazawa City
It is inexcusable that I have not written in such a long time.
I moved from Toyohashi  to Izumi in
Kagoshima and there engaged in rigorous training each day. Now finally the
time has come to make a sortie to Clark  in
the Philippines in the south. Waiting before the sortie, now I have no
I will put forth every effort to fight the enemy and will do my best
until the end.
Now finally the special winter of the north country is coming, so take
care of yourselves. I am going to a warm southern country.
Father, receiving only kindness from you for a long time, please forgive
me for not being able to show filial piety to you.
I will work bravely for the country.
Please give my regards also to my older sister, Kimi, Ryōzō, Shirō,
Shōgo, and Wajirō.
November 16, 1944
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter on this page comes from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai
(2003, 29). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 29) and Osuo
It is not mentioned what happened to Seiji Kōno between the date of
his letter (November 16, 1944) and the date of his final sortie (March 21,
1. The kanji character that has been
translated as Tomi has other readings that may be the correct name.
2. The Japanese Navy had an air base in Toyohashi
in Aichi Prefecture.
3. According to an exhibit at Kanoya Air
Base Museum, there were 29 men who died in special attacks after they took off
from Clark Air Base in the Philippines.
Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya
Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries
of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.