Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Itsuo Minetoma to His Parents
At 0223 on April 1, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Itsuo Minetoma took
off in a Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) from Kanoya Air
Base and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 21. He was
an ōka rocket-powered glider bomb pilot  in the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods
Corps) 2nd Ōka Squadron. He grew up in Kagoshima Prefecture and was a member of
the 16th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
After completion of training, he became a member of the 721st Naval Air Group.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents:
Dear Parents and everyone in the family,
How have you been getting along?
Please forgive the worry that I have caused you for a long time. Now it
is regrettable that I was not able to do any acts of filial piety for you. I
think that now devoting myself to the country is the best filial piety. I
will do my public duty like the 100 million .
Gisuke Ōtsuka in Ibaraki Prefecture
Seikichi Shimada in Ejima,
Yanagigaura Town, Usa District (Ōita Prefecture)
Hideko Komura of 2nd
Neighborhood Group in Yamanaka, Kanoya City (Kagoshima Prefecture)
Sakaguchi in Yamashita, Nozato Town, Kanoya City
Please give my thanks to each one of the following persons listed above.
Give my kind regards also to our relatives. I will be praying for good
health for everyone also in the neighborhood.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai
1. Katō 2009, 491.
2. The figure of 100 million refers to the entire
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
Katō, Hiroshi. 2009. Jinrai butai shimatsu ki: Ningen
bakudan "ōka" tokkō zen kiroku (Thunder gods unit record of events:
Complete history of "ōka" human bomb special attacks). Tōkyō: Gakken