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Last Letter of Chief Petty Officer Iwatarō Tadano to His Parents

At 0704 on April 16, 1945, Chief Petty Officer Iwatarō Tadano took off from Kushira Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack near Okinawa at the age of 21. He was from the 901st Naval Air Group and was a member of the Ten'ō Special Attack Squadron. He flew a Tenzan carrier attack bomber (Allied code name of Jill). He grew up in Kagawa Prefecture and was a member of the 12th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following last letter to his parents:

Dear Father and Mother,

My letter from Ōmura [1] probably surprised you and the others at home. I also am finally at the last. Today or tomorrow I will carry a No. 80 (800-kg bomb) and execute a taiatari (body-crashing) attack as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Ten'ō Squadron.

Please forgive my lack of filial piety to you for a long time. At the end I sincerely apologize to you. Now I go forgetting everything.

I am at Kushira Air Base in Kyūshū. Each day I am drinking and not thinking about anything.

Please give my regards also to my older sister Miyauchi. Please send my greetings to her home so there is in no way anything improper at all. Please send my regards also to my older sister Nishimura.

Now there is nothing further that I must say in this letter. I will be sending a package along with it. The muffler inside it was sent to me by Nishihata. I wore this until the end. If Nishihata returns to our home and says that he wants to burn incense in my memory, please feel comfortable and let him do this. Also, please show him this muffler at that time. Passing through the skies, which are a battlefield and place of death, the memories are uncountable, and I departed with a pleasant feeling about his matter. I am happy that laying it on your knees you can pray with your hands.

Please smile and do not be distraught. Until now, it was my dearest wish that I would want to die seeing your faces one time. Those ten hours were the final day.

Being chosen for the Special Attack Corps is an honor for a young man. Please remember my figure leaving bravely with cherry blossoms stuck into my flight cap and with a red sun, the mark of special attacks, on my white hachimaki (headband). I will die smiling.

Give my greetings also to the neighbors.

Farewell.

Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Ten'ō Squadron
Chief Petty Officer Iwatarō Tadano


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
December 2017

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 49).

Note

1. Ōmura was a naval air base in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Source Cited

Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai.