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Deep Blue: From Chiran
Special Attack Air Base
(1996)

 
Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Takeichi Minoshima to His Parents

On April 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Takeichi Minoshima took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He was a member of the 43rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Gifu Prefecture, attended Gifu Teachers College, and was a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Parents,

Thank you for what you have done for me for a long time.

At a front line base, with poor handwriting I am writing what I think will be my final letter.

I returned again to good old Chiran Town. Here the cherry trees are in full bloom, the seven spring flower types are blossoming in full glory, and the butterflies and small birds gather together to enjoy themselves. It is the landscape of a southern land with early summer on display.

The base exhibits liveliness as both those who go and those who send them off put their lives on the line. They truly are brave persons.

It is a touching scene where young cherry blossoms go to fall for the Empire.

At sundown it is a peaceful, pure scene without being able to think of my figure tomorrow as one plane after another will go to the skies above the base.

I was raised by the pure stream of my hometown. Now with righteous wings I go out into the world.

Well then, I will go. Without tears please check the battle results. Parents and Younger Brothers and Sisters [1], please understand my feelings.

The image of the skies of my hometown, where probably soon the warm spring will visit, is unforgettable and hard to leave.

A Japanese warrior who will go bravely.

I am praying for everyone's health.

April 3

Takeichi


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
June 2018

The letter comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 56-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 56), Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 183), and Osuo (2005, 196-7).

Note

1. The number of younger brothers and sisters is not specified in the letter. He may have had one or more younger brothers and one or more younger sisters.

Sources Cited

Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (Chiran Girls High School Nadeshiko Association), ed. 1996. Gunjō: Chiran tokkō kichi yori (Deep blue: From Chiran special attack air base). Originally published in 1979. Kagoshima City: Takishobō.

Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.

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