Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory
Flight Trainees (1) (2004)
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Masanobu Nagazawa to His Father
At 0556 on May 11, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Masanobu Nagazawa took off
from Kanoya Air Base as chief pilot of a Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) carrying
an ōka rocket-powered glider bomb. He died in a special (suicide) attack
off Okinawa at the age of 20. He was a member
of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 8th Ōka Squadron from the 721st
Naval Air Group. He was from Yamanashi Prefecture and was a member of the 17th
Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter with a two death poems in haiku
form at the end. The first haiku has the normal syllable pattern of
5-7-5, and the second poem has a 7-3-5 syllable pattern.
I did not have words in particular to leave for you when you departed
this morning, but my only comment as I talked about last night also is that
from the beginning we just do not want to die in vain if for the Emperor we
sacrifice our lives, which we do not know whether is today.
With repeated days of training I expect that it will be today, but for me
who has lived long until now there is no life and death at all.
I am thinking only of making a taiatari (body-crashing) attack on
an American aircraft carrier or warship.
I pray for everyone's health.
In East Asian skies
Though now I go to fall
It is usual
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kojima
(2004, 24). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(2004, 24) and Osuo (2005, 191).
Kojima, Keizō, ed. 2004. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei isho
• iei • ikōshū (1) (Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (1)). Tōkyō: Unabarakai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.