Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory
Flight Trainees (2) (2006)
Last Letter of Flight Leading Seaman Shōzō Taniguchi to His Parents
At 1500 on April 7, 1945, Flight Leading Seaman Shōzō Taniguchi took
off from Miyazaki Air Base as pilot of a three-man Ginga bomber (Allied code
name of Frances) carrying a 800-kg bomb. He died in a special (suicide) attack
west of Okinawa at the age of
20. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Mitate Squadron from the
405th Attack Hikōtai of the 706th
Naval Air Group. He was from Kōchi Prefecture and was a
member of the 2nd Toku Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training
He wrote the following final letter to his parents with a death poem in tanka form
(31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables) at the end:
Nothing surpasses this as the long-cherished desire of a military man.
When I complete my flight to the skies, I am resolved to make my fate
together with a dear torpedo.
Parents, please take care of yourselves and live in high spirits.
I am going to the place of the decisive battle in the skies in order to
destroy completely the Americans and British.
Not sparing anything
Young cherry blossom
When I fall
Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and poem come from Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai
(2006, 28). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Osuo (2005, 228) and Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (Unabarakai Editing
Committee). 2006. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei
isho • iei • ikōshū (2) (Last letters, poems,
and writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (2)). Tōkyō: