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Last Letter of Lieutenant Junior Grade Fumitada Okiyama to His Father

On May 15, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Fumitada Okiyama took off from Shinchiku Airfield in Taiwan as radio operator/gunner in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Kate) with a crew of three and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 25. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shinten Squadron. After his death in a special attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Lieutenant Commander. He was from Tōkyō Prefecture's Hachijōjima, an island about 300 kilometers south of Tōkyō, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final letter to his father Tokusaburō:

Preliminaries omitted.

Now I am on stand-by at a base near the battle area where the enemy American and British fleet is in its death throes, and I am waiting to carry out a hisshi hitchū (certain-death, sure-hit) attack today or tomorrow.

Now I have no regrets. During the 20-some-odd years since I was born in unshakable Shinshū [1] with its 3,000-year history, I received infinitely great kindness as I was raised with love higher than the mountains and deeper than the seas by my Father and Mother and with guidance from teachers. I have reached today without serious mistakes as a citizen of the Empire that is the leader of Greater East Asia. Now also as a subject of the Emperor and as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps, believing in the indestructibility of Shinshū, I will live for an eternal cause. Even though this body dies in the Pacific Ocean with an American ship, being born a Japanese man, nothing else surpasses this as my long-cherished desire.

(portion omitted)

In this major time of transition when the Empire's destiny is at stake, I truly am happy to go and fall as a shield for the Emperor. As I face the end, what I would like to say is that I am praying to God for security of the Imperial Family and for healthy development of Greater East Asia.

Please forgive me that I did not do anything other than cause anxieties to, of course, Mother who has passed away, you, and all of the relatives and that I will leave and go without doing anything like acts of filial piety. Everyone, have lasting happiness.

May 6, 1945

Fumitada Okiyama


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
February 2020

The letter and biographical information come from Yasukuni Jinja (2019, 57-8).

Note

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

Source Cited

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2019. Eirei no koto no ha (11) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 11). Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.