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:
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
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
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
Take good care of yourselves.
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 , 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
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,
1. Mibu was a Japanese Army airfield in Tochigi
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
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.