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Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps
(1971)

 
Last Letters of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Tsuyoshi Takase to His Parents and Younger Sisters

At 1442 on April 29, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Tsuyoshi Takase took off from Kanoya Air Base in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack east of Okinawa at the age of 19. He was a member of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 9th Kenmu Squadron from the 721st Naval Air Group. He was from Kushiro City in Hokkaidō Prefecture and was a member of the 12th Hei Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter:

Gracious Father and Mother,

I write to you before I board my plane to participate in the divine war. For ten and many more years since being born in this world, both in summer and in winter with affection and determination you raised me to be a Japanese man.

Father and Mother, I did not repay in any way your kindness to me, but please say to me that I am a person with filial piety as I give my life for the Emperor and go to fall for the Empire as an Imperial Japanese military man. Absolutely please do not grieve. Also, I will be able to go before my ancestors with a cheerful feeling. My only regret is to not be able to repay your great benevolence.

Father and Mother, Father and Mother, I secretly keep images of your figures inside me, and I will fall while in my heart I cry out your names.

Father and Mother, farewell, farewell.

Tsuyoshi Takase

Postscript

— I have no money loans.
— I have no relation with a woman.
— I have committed no crimes.

Takase wrote the following final letters separately to his mother and younger sisters on day of his sortie to make a special attack:

Dear Mother,

Finally I will make a sortie. I have no regrets, but I am sorry that I will go without repaying the kindness of my kind and beloved Mother. Only please praise me that I am giving my life for the Empire.

Mother, even though I die, still my spirit will stay and will serve the Empire. Do not mourn. I am happy to be able to participate in this daring undertaking. It is the long-cherished desire of a military man.

Mother, please live happily for a long, long time.

Holding to my chest a photograph of you, I am absolutely determined to die honorably.

On day of sortie

Tsuyoshi


Dear Younger Sisters,

Now having a place to die, I will go bravely as the long-cherished desire of a military man. I surely will die in an honorable way.

Younger Sisters, even though I will die, do not mourn. Even though five bodies die, my spirit always will be living at your side for an eternal cause. Without grieving, please do your best for the country.

Younger Sisters, you will become younger sisters of an Imperial Sea Eagle. Do not be ashamed of my way of dying. Do your best in anything. I relied on Father and Mother. The last words that I leave with you are only that you show filial piety to Father and Mother and show loyalty to the Emperor.

Younger Sisters, I ask that you do this. I bravely will go and die. Younger Sisters, please take care of yourselves and live happily for a long, long time. I will go thinking of your images.

On day of sortie

Tsuyoshi


Translated by Bill Gordon
First letter - August 2018
Second and third letters - March 2018

The first letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (1997, 55-6), and the second and third letters come from Matsugi (1971, 109-10). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 109), Osuo (2005, 196), and Yasukuni Jinja (1997, 55).

Sources Cited

Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.

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

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 1997. Eirei no koto no ha (3) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 3. Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.