Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Yoshio Nagai to His Parents
On June 8, 1945, Second Lieutenant Yoshio Nagai
took off from Bansei Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack
west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He was a member of the 141st Shinbu Squadron, which also had the name of 1st
Tsurugi Squadron . He 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 Miyagi Prefecture and graduated
from the Imperial Japanese Army Air Academy in the 57th Class.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents with a note at the end to
his two older brothers. He also included five poems at the end.
I will go in good spirits. Please forgive me for my great lack of filial
piety that was my own responsibility.
I am happy to be able to serve for the first time at this critical moment
for the Empire.
I only go to fall honorably for the Emperor. I think that it goes without
saying, but I just do what I need to do without there being any boasting or
Please conduct yourselves worthily as a family of a nation at war.
When the name of Tsurugi Squadron comes out in print, please think that I
I am praying that you will stay healthy to finish a long life.
To Teruo and Kunio,
Forgive me for going a short time before you. Please do everything
steadily in the name of the Nagai Family.
Advance the family name.
Something for the Emperor, sparing nothing for the Emperor
I will fall honorably for the Emperor
Both coming year and following year will bloom again
My appearance will be like a flower that falls nobly
Far from the bright Yashima  skies I
Japanese spirit that will crush the enemy
Given the name of tsurugi (sword), a hideous ship
I will destroy by simply cutting it in two equal parts
Far away where white clouds do not reach Mt. Fuji's peak
My father and mother, be at peace forever
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 148, 158) and Osuo (2005, 205).
1. The 141st Shinbu Squadron also had the name of
1st Tsurugi Squadron (Naemura 1993, 178). Tsurugi means "sword" in Japanese.
2. Yashima is a poetic name for Japan.
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.