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Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Yasuo Tanaka

At 0556 on May 11, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Yasuo Tanaka took off from Kanoya Air Base in a Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 16. He was a member in the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 8th Ōka Squadron. He grew up in Wakayama Prefecture and trained to be an aircraft radio operator. After completion of training, he became a member of the 708th Attack Hikōtai.

Yasuo Tanaka, 16 years old at the time of his death, was the youngest Special Attack Corps member to die. He wrote the following last letter:

As the honor of my life, now the time to strike has come.

Now this work is the greatest devotion to the country. I will attack in high spirits, keeping in mind that it is an act of filial piety to you. Father and Mother, please be glad.

My only hope is that after my death the destruction of the Americans and British will continue until the end. With loyalty, there is nothing else that we can do.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
January 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 81).

Source Cited

Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai.