Last Letter of Sergeant Yasuzō Shimizu to His Younger Sister
On April 3, 1945, Sergeant Yasuzō Shimizu
took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack
west of Okinawa at the age of
23. He was a member of the 23rd Shinbu Squadron. He piloted a Type 99 Assault
Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He grew up in Shiga
Prefecture and was a non-commissioned officer who entered the Army in 1941.
He wrote the following final letter to his sister:
Dear Kiyoko, my only younger sister,
It has been decided that I will go as a member of the Special Attack
Corps in order to become a Pacific Ocean breakwater.
Please forgive me for not doing anything at all like an older brother
With great kindness and cheerfulness please follow closely the teachings
of mother and your older sister, and do your best even in my place to be
dutiful to our parents.
I will always be watching over you from the skies.
The best way to do your duty as a daughter is to have a healthy body. Be
very careful to not become sick.
I will be at Kudan  in the spring when the
cherry trees blossom.
Do not neglect your studies.
From your older brother
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 99, 189) and Osuo (2005, 195-6).
1. Kudan is a hill in Tokyo where Yasukuni Jinja
is located, and the beauty of Kudan's springtime cherry blossoms is well-known.
Yasukuni Jinja is Japan's national shrine to honor spirits of soldiers killed in
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.