Last Writings of Second Lieutenant Fukujirō Nagashima
On June 21, 1945, Second Lieutenant Fukujirō Nagashima took
off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 26th Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of
23. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank).
After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was
from Tochigi Prefecture, attended Tochigi Teachers College, and was a member of
the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū
Minarai Shikan) Program.
The 26th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron was formed at Akeno Air Base in Mie
Prefecture on February 14, 1945. Nagashima wrote down his thoughts below in May
Words Left Behind
– I believe that Japan is as eternal as heaven and earth.
– I believe in certain victory in the decisive battle at Okinawa
(Greater East Asia War).
– I believe that special attack squadrons will continue one after
Born as a warrior in a divine country, today I am at the place with most
honor. I believe in the eternity of Shinshū .
I will make a sortie to the place of the decisive battle, and I expect
certainly to sink a warship. I am the embodiment of the Army Special Attack
I am a young cherry blossom that can bloom at Yasukuni Shrine
May 8, 1945, at Beijing
Nagashima wrote the following final letter with four death poems. The last
one is a haiku (17-syllable poem with 5-7-5 syllable pattern), and the
next to the last one is a tanka (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern
Day by day I am in very high spirits. I am waiting for the sortie with
each moment seeming like an eternity. Five unit members have already died
for an eternal cause.
We who remain will follow after these divine eagles. As soon as we
completed preparations of the aircraft, we moved to fondly-remembered
Miyakonojō. To Okinawa equipped with bombs……
We will not meet again.
Some day we will meet at Yasukuni .
A young cherry blossom who is 23 years old goes to fall in a raging storm during
the country's crisis.
In green muffler keeping thoughts to myself
Tomorrow I make a sortie and will not return
Ah, to Okinawa where is decisive battle
A warrior will fall like a flower
Our Seii  Squadron will make a sortie to
Okinawa where is the decisive battle. Kobayashi and Kaizu already made
taiatari (body-crashing) attacks. Our comrades have gone, and we who
remain could know what was in their hearts.
I will fall with images of my dead comrades
Delayed in protecting until I fall as a flower
At OO  Kikuchi ,
today also O planes will make a sortie. Okinawa is the place where Yamato 
men will fall.
I also certainly will do it. There is still a large aircraft carrier.
That name of my plane Hayate also is strong .
Now I go
Writings and poems translated by Bill Gordon
The writings and poems come from Terai (1977, 103-4). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 164), Osuo (2005, 196), and Terai (1977, 102).
1. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means
2. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the place of
enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.
3. The name Seii means "warring against
barbarians." This was another name for the 26th Shinbu Squadron.
4. OO and O indicate information that was a
military secret and could not be included in the letter.
5. This refers to Kikuchi Airfield in Kumamoto
6. Yamato is an ancient name for Japan.
7. Hayate means strong wind in Japanese.
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.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Terai, Shunichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate
Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit).