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Last letters of youth: Writings
of "Yokaren" war dead

Last Writing of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Yukio Saitō

At 0505 on May 11, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Yukio Saitō took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 18. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 6th Shinken Squadron from Ōmura Naval Air Group. He was from Miyagi Prefecture and was a member of the 18th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

Saitō left the following last writing:

I have no regrets. There only will be banzai cheers.

Mother, certainly please come to Yasukuni Shrine [1] when the cherry trees are blooming.

Please enjoy good health always.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
May 2018

The letter comes from Mainichi Shinbunsha (1968, 77-8). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Mainichi Shinbunsha (1968, 77) and Osuo (2005, 166).


1. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the place of enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.

Sources Cited

Mainichi Shinbunsha, ed. 1968. Seishun on isho: "Yokaren" senbotsusha no shuki (Last letters of youth: Writings of "Yokaren" war dead). Tōkyō: Mainichi Shinbunsha.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.