Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Tadao Nishimiya
On June 21, 1945, Second Lieutenant Tadao Nishimiya 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 22. 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 Ibaraki Prefecture,
attended Senshū University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 1st Class of the
Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan)
He wrote the following final letter with a death poem in tanka form
(31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7) at the end:
I truly have no excuse for not being able to show you anything like
filial piety in the twenty plus years since I received life and instead
causing you only worries.
Recently I have been developing with nothing like any illness. I am only
extremely grateful at this time when now I am able to accomplish a man's
long-cherished desire as a member of the air force.
What I like very much is "liquor."
A dedicated child of warrior of Japan
Expecting only to hit enemy ship
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 149, 163) and Osuo (2005, 196).
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.