Last Letter of Sergeant Tetsurō Koya to His Parents
On April 6, 1945, Sergeant Tetsurō Koya took off from Nyūtabaru Air Base in Miyazaki Prefecture and died in a special (suicide) attack
west of Okinawa at the age of 27. He was a member of the Makoto 37th Hikōtai
(Flying Squadron). He flew in a Type 98 Direct Cooperation Reconnaissance Aircraft (Allied code name of
Ida). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He
Prefecture and was a non-commissioned officer who entered the Army in 1939.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents. The end has a haiku
a 5-7-5 syllable pattern.
Dear Father and Mother,
I welcome April with cherry blossoms in full bloom. A young cherry
blossom of 27 years also will fall as these cherry blossoms.
Now with vigor I will make a sortie and a taiatari (body-crashing)
attack. On April 6, I must give my life to the Emperor on that fortunate
I know that I should have sent letters individually to my younger
brothers and sisters, but now I received the order. Please forgive me for
being busy. I ask only that in the future you please encourage them with my
I will crash and receive sweet dharma 
rain. If you do not receive news of my death in battle, I will carry out the
taiatari attack at 1800 on April 6. I desire to be given a shower of
dharma before the Buddha.
Please take care.
I do my service a short time before you. I will be waiting for the coming of everyone.
Father, please report this letter to Grandfather.
When tomorrow I fall
With no expectations
A cherry blossom
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 103, 217) and Osuo (2005, 211).
1. Dharma refers to the basic principles of cosmic
or individual existence in
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack
Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu
kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special
Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.