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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 [1]. 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.

Dear Parents,

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 pride.

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 did it.

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 [2] skies I will go
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

June 3
Yoshio


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 148, 158) and Osuo (2005, 205).

Note

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.

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.