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Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps: Collected last
letters of lost youth
(1983)

 
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 a 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 [1] Squadron 1st Ryūsei Unit from the 752nd Naval Air Group. He grew up in 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 until now.

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 [2] 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 Sekiguchi:

Falling petals for the country unsparingly
Scattering the enemy, Yamato cherry blossoms


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter comes from Kitagawa (1983, 211). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kitagawa (1983, 211) and Osuo (2005, 232).

Notes

1. Mitate means "emperor's shield."

2. Yamato is a poetic name for Japan.

Sources Cited

Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1983. Sōretsu kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho shū (Heroic Kamikaze Special Attack Corps: Collected last letters of lost youth). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.

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