Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps (1983 cover)
(originally published as
Ah, Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps in 1970)
Last Letter of Flight Chief Petty Officer Hiroshi Sekiguchi
At 1733 on July 25, 1945, Flight Chief Petty Officer Hiroshi Sekiguchi took off
from Kisarazu Air Base in Chiba Prefecture as pilot in a Ryūsei torpedo dive
bomber (Allied code name of Grace) carrying an 800-kg bomb
and died in a special (suicide) attack off Daiōsaki in Mie Prefecture at the age of 21. He was a member
of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th Mitate 
Squadron 1st Ryūsei Unit from the 752nd Naval Air Group. He was from Ōita Prefecture and was a member of the
9th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter that includes a haiku (poem with
5-7-5 syllable pattern) by Ryōkan (1758-1831):
The egg of a large bird begins to fly. Please forgive my selfishness
Cherry blossoms are falling
Remaining blossoms also
Are going to fall
I live strongly for the Emperor. Throwing away personal gain, I live for
Him. I will spare nothing in falling for my country, but a Yamato 
cherry blossom will not fall to the enemy.
To everyone in our hometown, take care.
Hideaki Sekiguchi, the brother of Hiroshi Sekiguchi, erected a
monument in memory of the 7th Mitate
Squadron at a Buddhist temple named Enmyōji in Tone Town, Ibaraki
Prefecture. The monument inscription includes the death poem of Hiroshi
Falling petals for the country unsparingly
Scattering the enemy, Yamato cherry blossoms
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kitagawa
(1970, 211). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1970, 211) and Osuo (2005, 232).
1. Mitate means shield.
2. Yamato is a poetic name for Japan.
Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1970. Ā kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho
shū (Ah, Kamikaze Special Attack Corps:
Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.