Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Hirotsugu Ōide to His Parents
On April 11, 1945, Second Lieutenant Hirotsugu Ōide took off from Giran Airfield in
Taiwan and died in a special (suicide) attack off Naha on the west coast
of Okinawa at the age of 22. He was a member of the 19th Hikō Sentai (Flying
Regiment) and piloted an Army Hien Type 3 Fighter (Allied code name of Tony). After his death in a
special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Ōsaka
Prefecture, attended Nihon University in Tōkyō, and was in the 1st Class
of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training Program.
He wrote the following final letter:
I have not written to you for a long time.
Being such a long time, truly I think that you may have thought that I
had died already. Please rest assured since during that time I was living in
At the time that the letter that I wrote before arrived, the truth is
that I expected to fall as a Special Attack Corps member, but without being
blessed with the opportunity I have survived until now. Now I again have
been blessed with an opportunity to go out. Among the battle results there
will be my flesh and blood stuck together. Praying for peace and eternal
glory for the Empire, please forgive my fault of lack of filial piety up to
now. Younger Brothers and Sisters , please
forgive my fault of not attaining my role as older brother.
Please be assured on this point that I certainly must show a way of dying
where other people will not laugh at it.
At the occasion of my sortie, I am praying for peace in the Empire and
that you may be able to keep your health for a long time to make strenuous
efforts needed to preserve this glory unmatched in all countries.
As I end writing, if there is an opportunity I want to communicate
something. To the teachers who taught me from elementary school when I was
young up to middle school and technical school, please tell them, "I have
been able to follow your teachings."
And, to the strong youths of Takadono 
At this time of the country's crisis, you all must go forward in some
way. You do not need to be talkative. My word to you is that I hope that you
will fall nobly and bravely.
Takadono School Teachers
You gave guidance and encouragement to me for a long time. My end seems
that it somehow will be carried out second to none. I earnestly hope that
you take care of yourselves and strive hard.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 107). The biographical information in the first
paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 107, 192) and Osuo (2005, 213).
Second Lieutenant Kuniomi
Watanabe (Army Air Corps Academy, 57th Class), who flew in an escort fighter
with Ōide, gave the following account of his death in a letter sent to his
parents . On April 22, 1945, Watanabe also died in a special attack.
On April 11, we took off from Giran Base in high spirits as many people saw
us off, and we advanced straight toward Okinawa. During the attack, Ōide
reached my escort plane and calmly set off on a course of no return. As we
advanced, he stuck tightly to the escort plane positions and raised
his hand with a smile. When it turned to dusk, in a while we found the enemy
task force and could clearly see the white wake it left as it advanced
forward. Anti-aircraft fire in an instant enveloped two aircraft just
downward to the right. At this time when I signaled by waving my wings, Ōide
approached me and was waving with a smile. He turned around and dove
directly into the largest cruiser. In an instant black smoke rose up into
the air, and the ship was enveloped in pitch black smoke. During the attack
we fortunately did not encounter any enemy fighters, and this was the reason
that his attack succeeded. I cannot put into words my feeling of loneliness. We
also will soon follow after him. Our mission draws near. Please excuse my
Second Lieutenant Kuniomi Watanabe
The southern end of Okinawa has the
19th Hikō Sentai Special Attack Monument
to remember the 16 men, including Hirotsugu Ōide, who died in special attacks.
1. The letter does not specify the number of
younger brothers and sisters. There could have been one or more of each.
2. Takadono is a neighborhood in Ōsaka City.
3. Tanaka 2018.
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.
Tanaka, Kenichi. Okinawa junpai ki (Record of Okinawa pilgrimage
(July 28, 2018).