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Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps
(1971)

 
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Chiezō Matsumoto to His Parents

At 1455 on April 6, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Chiezō Matsumoto took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack east of Okinawa at the age of 22. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Tsukuba Squadron. He was from Hiroshima Prefecture and was a member of the 10th Hei Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Father and Mother,

I will crash dive in high spirits.

Like Mother's letter from Yuasa in Kōriyama, you cared for me for 23 years [1]. I will crash dive splendidly.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
August 2018

The letter comes from Matsugi (1971, 130). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 130) and Osuo (2005, 197).

Note

1. The traditional Japanese method of counting age, as in much of East Asia, regards a child as age one at birth and adds an additional year on each New Year's day thereafter. This explains why the letter indicates his age as 23 whereas the current way of counting age based on his birth date in Matsugi (1971, 130) indicates that his age was 22 at time of death.

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.