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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Shunzō Takashima

On June 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Shunzō Takashima took off from Chiran Army Air Base as 159th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron Leader and died in a special attack west of Kerama Rettō at the age of 20. He piloted an Army Hien Type 3 Fighter (Allied code name of Tony). After his death in a special attack, he received a special two rank promotion to Army Captain. He was from Okayama Prefecture and was a member of the 57th Class of the Army Air Academy.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Parents and Everyone,

Everyone, excuse me for my hasty writing.

Now I will make a sortie as the OOO [1] Shinbu Squadron Commander. I am going cheerfully in order to protect Japan [2].

Please forgive me for not showing much filial piety since I started school in my youth, as you only pushed yourselves for me.

I feel that already I have abandoned my affairs, and please forgive my lack of filial piety in going before you. I will display my real ability as a rambunctious youth who, as often was said, ran riot to my heart's content from my childhood.

Please take good care of your health and live long with my portion.

Give my regards to the kindergarten principal, Miki-sensei, and Harada Rice Shop.

I am going.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The writing and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 144, 200) and Osuo (2005, 206).


1. OOO indicates a number (i.e., 159th) not included in the letter.

2. The word for Japan used here is Shinshū (literally "divine land").

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.