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Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps
(1971)

 
Last Letter of Ensign Cadet Toshio Kurimura to His Family

On April 16, 1945, Ensign Cadet Toshio Kurimura took off from Kushira Air Base as navigator/observer in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Kate) carrying a 800-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Gokō Shirasagi [1] Squadron from Himeji Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Kadena on the west coast of Okinawa at the age of 22. He was from Hiroshima Prefecture, attended Waseda University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 1st Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Seito).

He wrote the following final letter to his family:

I will write a short letter.

Tomorrow I will make a sortie. Finally the time has come for me also to be useful, and there is nothing that gives me such joy.

Father, Mother, causing you worry, I will go ahead before you. Please forgive me. When you hear the news that I died, please praise me for certainly sinking at once a ship.

Older Brother, Older Sister, I ask that you show filial piety in place of me.

Older Sister, even I do not know the time that I will go. I earnestly ask that you care for our parents and Younger Sister. I truly was comforted when I was able to see you the other day.

Even you, Fumiko, know the seriousness of the war situation. As a Japanese person, please strive more and more and give first priority to your duties. Do not forget me. Whatever may happen, do not lose your feminine cheerful spirit and your gentle beautiful heart. Your duties as a woman are about to expand when it becomes urgent, and you must be strong to not be defeated.

Sada-chan and Aya-chan, take care. You are studying hard.

Give my regards also to Older Sister Shizuko. Give my regards also to our relatives and neighbors.

Everybody, please take care of yourselves. Until we win, you have precious bodies. I also, until the day that we win, dying several times I will be born again in order to attack and destroy the enemy.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter comes from Matsugi (1971, 185-6). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 185) and Osuo (2005, 221).

Note

1. The word Gokō means protecting the Empire. Shirasagi means white egret. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, has the name of Shirasagi Castle.

Sources Cited

Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.