Last letters of youth: Writings
of "Yokaren" war dead (1968)
Last Letters of Flight Chief Petty Officer Shūzō Satō to His Family
At 1208 on December 7, 1944, Flight Chief Petty Officer Shūzō Satō took off
from Clark Air Base in the Philippines as pilot in a three-man Ginga bomber
(Allied code name of Frances) loaded with an 800-kg bomb. He died in a special (suicide) attack
at Ormoc Bay, an extension of the Camotes Sea, at the age of 22. He was a member
of the 5th Kamikaze Special Attack Unit Gufū Squadron. He was from Fukushima Prefecture and was a member of the 3rd Hei Class
of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
Satō wrote the following six separate short letters to different family
How are you doing? I enthusiastically am doing my best.
Finally I received the order. I will fight like a man. I am praying for
Dear Older Brother,
I go one step before you.
I am praying for your health.
How is the girls school?
The time finally has come for me. I can fight excellently.
Please do well in helping the family.
I have caused troubles for you for a long time, haven't I?
I appreciate from the bottom of my heart that thanks to you up to now I
was able to serve and have had no worries concerning household matters.
Finally I also will depart. Please be glad.
It is inevitable death for the enemy. It is the final trump card. Now I
Are you studying hard? How about helping the family?
Please quickly become a man among men.
Follow after me.
Dear Older Sister,
I earnestly request your assistance with family matters.
Letters translated by Bill Gordon
The letters come from Mainichi Shinbunsha
(1968, 77-8). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1968, 77) and Osuo (2005, 166).
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.