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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Minoru Nakamura to His Mother

On April 7, 1945, Second Lieutenant Minoru Nakamura took off from Chiran Army Air Base as a member of the 29th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special attack at Okinawa's Nakagusuku (Buckner) Bay at the age of 20. 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 Ishikawa Prefecture and graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Air Academy in the 57th Class.

He wrote the following final letter to his mother:

Kudan [1] Squadron, Squadron Leader Minoru Nakamura

• Please make aircraft.
• We depend on you all.
• I live with the spirit of Dai-Nankō (Kusunoki Masashige [2]).
• Mother, Mother, now I go. When I call Mother, you come quickly whether over mountains or from faraway clouds.

• Mother, you are good. There is nobody who I appreciate more than you. Mother! Mother!

Nakamura also wrote the following death poem:

Believing Shinshū [3] Japan will continue forever
Now I go smiling


Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
July and December 2018

The letter comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 105), and the poem comes from Kitagawa (1983, 131-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 105, 179) and Osuo (2005, 196).

Notes

1. This was another name for the 29th Shinbu Squadron. Kudan is a hill in Tōkyō where Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine) is located. Yasukuni Jinja is Japan's national shrine to honor spirits of soldiers killed in battle.

2. Kusunoki Masashige was a 14th century samurai warrior who symbolized courage and devotion to the Emperor. Dai-Nankō (or Nankō) is the honorary title given to Kusunoki Masashige.

3. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means "divine land."

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.

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 (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.