Last Letter of Corporal Toshio Nagata to His Parents
On May 4, 1945, Corporal Toshio Nagata took
off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 60th Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of
19. 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 Second Lieutenant. He
was from Kagoshima Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth
Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents:
Sorry to not have written for a while. I trust that you are getting along
I also am in very high spirits. Since I feel that the time has
come, please rest assured. The situation has become more and more critical.
I earnestly am praying that you will be well and that you work hard to
increase production. I sincerely request that you please give my regards to
close relatives and people in the village.
With this short letter I pray for the health of the family.
The time to fall has come for a young cherry blossom of Yamato 
Nobly, beautifully, I will fall
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Terai (1977, 51). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 218) and Osuo (2005, 199). The photo below is from
Osuo (2005, 109).
Members of 60th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron.
Toshio Nagata is sitting second from the left on the front row.
1. Yamato is an ancient 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.
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).