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Kokoro no sakebi
(Cries of the heart)

 
Last Letter of Maintenance Petty Officer 1st Class Tadayoshi Kubo to His Mother and Older Brothers

At 0500 on May 25, 1945, Maintenance Petty Officer 1st Class Tadayoshi Kubo took off from Kanoya Air Base in a Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) carrying an ōka rocket-powered glider bomb. He was a member of the 9th Kamikaze Ōka Special Attack Squadron of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Unit). He had responsibility for on-board maintenance of the Betty bomber [1]. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 20. He grew up in Tokushima Prefecture, was a member of the 97th Class of the Navy's General Maintenance Training Program, and after completion of training became a member of the 708th Attack Hikōtai.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Mother and Older Brothers,

Thank you for the various care that you, in place of Father, willingly have provided to me for 20 years up until today.

I also, being born a man, today will participate in this great war. As a man there is not such a great honor as this. Even though I fall by bullets, please never mourn my death. Although I die, my two remaining Older Brothers will attack the enemy in my place

Being for the Emperor, I go smiling regardless of how dangerous the place. I leave behind not even one regret.

I go smiling as I pray for the happiness of everyone. Farewell.

Tadayoshi


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 65).

Note

1. Bungei Shunjū 2005, 577.

Sources Cited

Bungei Shunjū, ed. 2005. Ningen bakudan to yobarete: Shōgen - ōka tokkō (They were called human bombs: Testimony - ōka special attacks). Tōkyō: Bungei Shunjū.

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 Renraku Kyōgikai.