Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Hiroo Nobumoto to His Parents
At 0624 on May 11, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Hiroo Nobumoto took off from Miyazaki Air Base
as radio operator/gunner in a Ginga bomber (Allied code name of Frances) with a crew of three.
He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 9th Ginga Squadron from the
406th Attack Hikōtai of the 762nd Air Group. He died
in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 20. He was from
Hiroshima Prefecture and was a member of the 1st Toku Otsu Class of the Navy's
Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter:
Dear Father and Mother,
Have there been no changes lately? I received only kindness from you
first and from everyone. Now I have not even begun to say anything in
response to this to everyone.
Without showing any filial piety to you, it seems I did not even think of
you as my parents. However, now what I am thinking is that if I can complete
the objective, this will be the greatest service to the country. Also, I am
thinking that it will repay my parents and brothers and sisters 
for their kindness to me.
The things that I am thinking now are busting out. The many thoughts in
my heart certainly will be cleared away tomorrow morning. And with a feeling
like the new spring, I will go following after everyone. Both of you
understand that well, so please simply accept it. Please take care of
yourselves and work hard until the end. Both Toki-chan and Kei-chan
, you must listen well to what Father and
Mother say, and do everything entirely. Since you are Japanese persons, you
will not be ashamed wherever you go. Since you are Japanese persons, you
must not become American and British. Follow after me to not be second to me.
Please give my regards to everyone in the neighborhood.
Everyone, be well. There are only three hours remaining until the sortie.
When three hours have passed, I will become a person in the other world.
Please accept this. Please do not cry. Father, Mother, Toki-chan,
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 217-9). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 217) and Osuo (2005, 237).
1. The Japanese wording does not specify the
number of brothers and sisters, so there could have been one or more of each.
2. The suffix -chan is often added to
children's names when calling them by their given names.
Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps).
Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.