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Last Letters of Lieutenant Nobuo Miyatake to His Family

At 1355 on April 6, 1945, Lieutenant Nobuo Miyatake took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 24. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Shichisei Squadron from Genzan [1] Naval Air Group. After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Commander. He was from Kagawa Prefecture and graduated in the 71st Class of the Naval Academy at Etajima.

He wrote the following last letters to his family members:

Dear Mother,

I have not written in a long time. I am really full of vigor and pushing forward with my duty. Until the end being patient, I earnestly am praying to carry out my duty.

Give my regards to Father and Satoko. Farewell.

Seven lives
I pledge to fall
A cherry blossom


Older Sister Yasue Takahashi

When you put together an album, there will be material on my reputation as a member of the Special Attack Corps.

I will pray in the next world for peace, and Father will engrave my death poem on the tombstone.

You will rub my back when you wash the grave after climbing the hill where cherry blossoms have fallen.

When you read the article about Okinawa special attack operations, see my dazzling figure before the sortie.


Younger Sister Satoko Tamada

When the cherry blossoms start to bloom, I will fall in a special attack in the Okinawa Sea.

Like a gust of wind in the evening I will keep going to my place of duty, which is my farewell to this life.

My face will not appear at my 60th birthday, and there will only be my gallant figure at 20 years old.

This sea continues on to Okinawa Prefecture, and there is no way I can be kind and offer flowers there.


Older Sister Shinako Hirata

At dawn hiding tears from the public, Mother is crying when looking at my photo as she remembers me.

I will die as a warrior with Mother following after me, and in the Pure Land (Paradise) I will pray for peace.

Accompanied by Father when he returns from Siberia, visit Etajima where my spirit will be resting in peace.

When you search for my image at my 60th birthday if I were alive, there will also be my friends in the same class.


Letters translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letters come from Katabami (2014, 72, 74). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Katabami (2014, 72) and Osuo (2005, 199).

Note

1. The Korean pronunciation of Genzan is Wonsan. It is located on the east coast of North Korea.

Sources Cited

Katabami, Masaaki. 2014. Mō hitotsu no "Eien no Zero": Tsukuba Kaigun Kōkūtai (Another "Eternal Zero": Tsukuba Naval Air Group). Tōkyō: Village Books.

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