Last Letter from Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Takao Motokariya to His Older Brother
On March 18, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Takao Motokariya took off
from Tsuiki Air Base as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui
Unit Ginga Squadron and died in battle to the southeast of Kyūshū at the age of
Motokariya grew up in Kagoshima Prefecture and became a member of the Navy's Hikō Yokaren
(Preparatory Flight Training Program) 17th Otsu Class. After completion of
training, he was assigned
to the 262nd Attack Hikōtai. He was a navigator/observer in a Ginga bomber
(Allied code name of Frances) with a crew of three.
Motokariya wrote the following last letter to his older brother. The end of
the letter includes two poems.
Dear Older Brother, please be glad.
Now I have been selected as a Special Attack Corps member, and finally
tomorrow I will make a sortie. The time has come for this body that I
received from our parents to do something useful for the Emperor. For a
young man there is no cherished desire that surpasses this. I am
resolved to go smiling and crash into a ship. Flying over surging waves for
a thousand miles, the bull's-eye unit will launch an attack on the enemy
position. There is nothing that brings such delight. I think that you also
will be glad about this. We are a suicide attack unit who will not return
I am grateful for what you did for me when I was in Izumi. I very deeply
appreciate it. Even though I die, I will not forget your kindness. Please
give my regards also to my older sister.
As there is a song with the line of "Born a man, when I go to the skies,
I have no regrets if I turn into a corpse that dyes the clouds," our
long-cherished desire is to die honorably at the end of the skies.
Cherry blossoms are loved and respected by people in the world because
sadly they fall. For people also who fall, it is good when they are missed
by others in the world. A fine end cannot be achieved if the place of one's
death is missed. Even though I die, please do not be sad and praise me for
my admirable end when I died for the Emperor.
From the grave I pray for the health of you, Older Sister, Ken-chan
, and Kei-chan.
A cherry tree blossom riding a dive bomber
Does not spare its young life
Even though a flower bud of twenty falls
For the Emperor it has no regrets
Since I will not come back alive
I will fall not waiting for spring when flowers bloom
On March 11, 1945, Motokariya took off from Kanoya Air Base toward Ulithi in
one of 24 Ginga bombers in the Azusa Special Attack Unit. His Ginga bomber made a forced landing on Minamidaitōjima, a small island about 400 kilometers east of the Okinawan
mainland . One week later he took off from Tsuiki
Air Base in Fukuoka Prefecture. The above letter is not dated. Most probably it
was written before he departed from Kanoya on his first special attack mission.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai
1. The suffix chan is often added to
children's names when calling them by their given names.
2. Jinno 2000, 300.
Jinno, Masami. 2000. Azusa tokubetsu kōgekitai: Bakugekiki "Ginga" sanzen kiro no kōseki (Azusa special attack
unit: "Ginga" bombers' 3,000-km flight path). Tōkyō:
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