Continuation • Ah, Cherry
Blossoms of Same Class (1995)
Last Letter of Ensign Shigeru Masaki to His Parents
At 1523 on April 28, 1945, Ensign Shigeru Masaki took off
from Kokubu No. 2 Air Base as pilot in a Type 99 Carrier Dive Bomber (Allied
code name of Val) carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack
off Okinawa at the age of 22. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps 3rd Kusanagi Squadron from Nagoya Naval Air Group.
He was from Ehime Prefecture, attended Meiji University in Tōkyō to study
economics, and was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve
Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter at Kokubu No. 2 Air Base:
Dear Father and Mother,
On OO , we were sent off by everyone at
Nagoya Air Group, and we started off in our aircraft. At 1300, all of the
aircraft arrived safely at OO Air Base in Kyūshū. Truly full of energy, I
admire the volcano at OO  that is nearby. On
the day of OO I was on standby as I took a nap at the corner of the airfield
with a light southern breeze. Being born was the beginning, and the sortie
will be the end, and finally today it was decided. I will not return alive,
and there only will be a sure-hit taiatari (body-crashing) attack.
Since there will not be an aircraft to confirm battle results, the details
probably will not be known. However, if you receive official notification
of my death in battle, please think that I certainly sunk instantly an enemy
ship in a splendid attack.
After coming here, letters from Etsujirō Tsuyuguchi and Older Sister
Yasuko arrived after they were forwarded from Nagoya, but I apologize that I
have not been able to reply, so please communicate my regards to them. With
regards to the oshibana (pressed flowers) made from the cherry
blossoms at Zenpukuji-chō that I received from Older Sister, I will place it
inside my flight helmet when I board my aircraft. I will wrap around my
stomach the senninbari (thousand-stitch belt) received from everyone,
and I will wear the thousand-stitch hachimaki (headband) that says "isshoku
gōchin" (instant sinking in single blow) received from Principal
Shimomuro. Throwing all into my task, I will carry out the best taiatari
While there are only a few hours until I go and fall, not having such a
feeling, it now seems like I will go on a pleasant trip through the skies. I
am waiting for the time of the assembly while sharing jokes with my comrades.
Among my subordinates, there is one person who was a Yokaren (Preparatory
Flight Training Program) trainee in the Air Group at Uwajima .
In particular, he told me that there was lodging at the home of Genzō
Makimoto for up to two people. We exchanged stories about our fond memories of
Soon I am going to look at the maintenance condition of my aircraft. I
have no regrets. Since there is nothing more for me to write, now I will
part from you. Please give a message to Noriaki  that he serve so as to not
lose to me. I am praying that you will be in good health for many years. Please give
my very warmest regards to everyone.
Kusanagi Special Attack Squadron Member
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei (1995, 103-5). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei (1995, 103) and Osuo (2005, 226).
1. The OO indicates that the information could not
be provided in correspondence to civilians, since it was considered a military
2. Sakurajima Volcano is visible from Kokubu.
3. Uwajima is a city in Masaki's home prefecture
4. The given name of 猷章 is rare with
pronunciations of either Noriaki or Michiaki. The correct pronunciation of this
name in the letter could not be determined, so Noriaki was selected arbitrarily.
Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (Navy Flight
Reserve Students 14th Class Association), ed. 1995. Zoku
• Ā dōki no sakura (Continuation
• Ah, cherry blossoms of same class). Tōkyō:
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.