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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 East Airfield:

Dear Parents,

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 [1], 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 the inn.

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


Dear Parents,

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
July 2018

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).

Note

1. The letter does not specify the number of older brothers and older sisters. There could have been one or more of each.

Sources Cited

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). Tōkyō: Genshobō.