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Last Letters of Sergeant Tadashi Miyake to His Parents

On April 6, 1945, Sergeant Tadashi Miyake took off from Bansei Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 20. He was a member of the 62nd Shinbu Squadron, also known the Shiraume (White Plum Blossom) Squadron, which was formed at Shimoshizu Air Base in Chiba Prefecture on March 23, 1945. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special attack, he received a three-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Gifu Prefecture and was a member of the 12th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.

He wrote the following last letter:

Dear Mother,

I have been doing well. I trust that everyone is in good health and is striving more and more in farming work. I recently obtained a 10,000-yen life insurance policy with a maturity of 25 years. Since I entered into the agreement based on my decision without getting everyone's permission, everybody should not worry about anything. I am prepared to pay the premium every half year, and this will not cause any trouble to anyone in the family. I earnestly request everyone to not shorten your life by worrying about money. The payment to be provided is 200 yen for a half year. I paid the first one. While I am living, I have the responsibility. When I die in battle, Father will receive the money.

In any case we must win the Greater East Asia War by dying. I also meanwhile surely will become a war hero. I think that it will be the time when cherry trees are blooming. Please wait looking forward to it.

When the news is published in the newspapers, I request everyone in the family to celebrate.

Some time ago I received your letter. I could not suppress my joy when I heard that everyone is in high spirits. I found out that the plum trees had bloomed. Father and Mother, I earnestly ask that you do not overwork your aged bodies.

Tomo, please listen well to what Mother says and study as hard as you can. Torao and Takashi, take care of yourselves sufficiently.

I want to send to you my savings account passbook and watch. Since the watch is extremely accurate, you can use it with assurance. Since now we are moving to a forward base, do not send correspondence. I will enclose the insurance receipt.

Take good care of yourselves.

March 29

Tadashi

On April 4, 1945, he wrote the following final letter to his parents from Ozuki Airfield in Yamaguchi Prefecture:

I trust that you are striving more and more. Please be assured that I am preparing uneventfully for the day that must come. When I departed the other day from Mibu [1], I sent my savings account passbook, but has it been delivered? It is a small amount, but please receive and use it as spending money or a donation. I will be satisfied if you donate part of it to Tsushima Shrine. I trust that you will agree with the matter of getting life insurance.

Since after this there is not free time to send letters, I request that you send ones to our close relatives. My aim was to have lived for an eternal cause. When you get the news, everyone please be glad. Finally, I pray that you will have long lives.


Letters translated by Bill Gordon
September 2018

The letters come from Naemura (1993, 103-4). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 183), Naemura (1993, 103), and Osuo (2005, 200).

Note

1. Mibu was a Japanese Army airfield in Tochigi Prefecture.

Sources Cited

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.

Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō Shuppan.

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