Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps: Collected last
letters of youth that
would not return (1983)
Last Letter of Lieutenant Junior Grade Masao Nagatomi to His Parents
At 1250 on January 6, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Masao Nagatomi took off
from Mabalacat Air Base in the Philippines as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a
250-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 19th Kongō Squadron. He died in
a special (suicide) attack at the age of 24. He was from Ōita
Prefecture, attended Kwansai Gijuku University, and was a member of the 13th
Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students.
He wrote the following final letter:
With blessings of heaven and earth and with kindnesses from you, my
teachers, and my friends, I truly had 24 happy years. Among the things to
appreciate, being able to fall truly makes me happy. My feeling is only to
die in an honorable way for the country.
While looking at flying fireflies even though it is the new year, I will
take off smiling. I believe that others will follow after me. A firefly will
fly though the skies of the southern seas this new year.
My life is entrusted to my aircraft that will color the skies. I will
show my determination while smiling.
Father and Mother, please come to Yasukuni .
Please smile. I will be waiting with a smile.
At base on front line in Philippines during evening before sortie
Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Masao Nagatomi
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kitagawa
(1983, 71). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1983, 71) and Osuo (2005, 170).
1. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the place of
enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.
Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1983. Sōretsu kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho
shū (Heroic Kamikaze Special Attack Corps:
Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.