Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letter of Ensign Katsuyoshi Takuma
At 0640 on April 16, 1945, Ensign Katsuyoshi Takuma
took off from Kushira Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack off
Okinawa at the age of 26. He was from the 701st Naval Air Group and was a member
of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit Ten'ō Squadron. He flew
as pilot in a Tenzan carrier attack bomber (Allied code name of
Jill) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was from Yamaguchi Prefecture, attended Ryojun
University of Technology (in southern Manchuria at important port formerly known
as Port Arthur), and was a member of the 13th
Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter with a death poem in tanka form
(31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables) at the end:
Spring has come. With a pure-white silk muffler wrapped around my neck, I
became sweaty. Even though one says that it is spring, now for Japan that is
out of the question. The fighting has become only more intense. There is no
longer a day to live and be able to see you. I consider flying an airplane
to be my long-cherished desire. I pray for your health.
I will send a bad photo of me. I am the nearest person.
Do not rest my wings
In Yasukuni  forest
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 198-9). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 198) and Osuo (2005, 211).
1. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the place of
enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.
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.