Last Letters of Corporal Megumu Takano to His Parents
On May 25, 1945, Corporal Megumu Takano took
off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 57th Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of
19. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After
his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He
was from Chiba Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth
Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following three final letters to his parents in chronological
order with the first one written five days before his sortie from Miyakonojō
Thank you for the care that you have given to me for a long time. It is
truly inexcusable that I was not able to ask for your peace of mind once
until now. Please forgive me.
I absolutely will not forget your love and profound kindness. I certainly
will carry out this honorable important mission. Please rest assured. I am
praying for your health and that you take good care of yourselves. Please
give my regards to Older Brother, Older Sister ,
and all of the neighbors.
May 20, 1945
At last there will be my departure. Thank you for the care that you have
given to me for a long time. It is inexcusable that I was not able to ask
for your peace of mind even once. I want to thank you by certainly
completing my mission. As for a young person like I, there is not anything
that I am attached to, so I am sending the things that I have acquired until
now. They cared for me while I was lodging at Sakaiya Inn. They loved me in
the same way as their own child. I expect that they will send a package from
Both Kunio and Ayako, please quickly become individuals who stand on your
own and be useful persons.
Father, Mother, thank you. Please carefully watch your health.
Give my regards also to Older Brother and Older Sister. Give my regards
also to the neighbors
The day of my sortie finally has come. At the time when we truly are at
the crossroads of the Empire's destiny with the decisive battle at Okinawa,
I bear this important responsibility and will depart flying a cutting-edge
Hayate fighter. There is nothing on my mind other than my mission of
destroying an enemy ship. Having been able to be part of a Special Attack
Corps squadron, which surpasses all else in honor, is truly due to the
support of you and various superiors who took care of me since I entered
Tōkyō Aviation School. From my heart I deeply appreciate this. Today there
is extremely beautiful weather. My mood is the same as this weather where I
have a refreshing feeling. Pease rest assured that I certainly will
accomplish my mission. Well then, with my poor writing.
I pray for your health.
Letters translated by Bill Gordon
The letters come from Terai (1977, 72-3). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 169) and Osuo (2005, 199).
1. The letter does not specify the number of older
brothers and older sisters. There could have been one or more of each.
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.
Terai, Shunichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate
Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit).