Last Letter of Ensign Takashi Wakaomi
At 1300 on April 6, 1945, Ensign Takashi Wakaomi took off from Kushira Air
Base as pilot in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Kate)
carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps
1st Hachiman Gokō  Squadron from Usa Air Group. He
died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 23. He was from
Nagano Prefecture, attended Taishō University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the
13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei). In
1965, a book titled Seishun fumetsu (Eternal youth), which includes
Wakaomi's letters and other writings, was published.
He wrote the following final letter about an hour before his departure toward
I am busy with preparations for my sortie, so I am wring this short note at
the side of my plane.
My path has continued from my hometown in the distant past of more
than twenty years ago until now with not only these roses but also soft
spring young grass in the corners of the fields. And here it ends.
Please forgive me for not giving you anything. But I think it is good
that a man has pride for the country.
Feeling against my skin the ashes of one of my former students that are knit
into my hachimaki (headband) with a red circle, his praying spirit
will appear not knowing when.
The sortie order has been received. My squadron leader says to fall flat
and hug the earth. I also taught this to students. I will pass under the
gate of hell carrying under my arm an aircraft carrier and two or three
I pray for everybody's success.
Noon on April 6, 1945
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Hakuō Izokukai (1952, 126-7). The biographical information on this page comes from
Yasukuni Jinja (1994, 61-2) and Osuo (2005, 214).
1. Hachiman is the Japanese god of military power.
Usa City in Ōita Prefecture has the first Hachiman Shrine, which was established
in the early 8th century. Gokō means "protecting the Emperor" in Japanese.
Hakuō Izokukai (Hakuō Bereaved Families Association), ed.
1952. Kumo nagaruru hate ni: Senbotsu kaigun hikō yobi gakusei no shuki
(To the end of the flowing clouds: Writings of Navy reserve students who died
in war). Tōkyō: Nihon Shuppan Kyōdō.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 1994. Iza saraba ware wa mikuni no
(Farewell, we are our country's mountain cherry blossoms). Tōkyō: