Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps: Collected last
letters of youth that
would not return (1983)
Last Letter of Ensign Tamotsu Watase to His Parents
At 1845 on May 27, 1945, Ensign Tamotsu Watase took off
from Kanoya Air Base as observer (included roles of navigator and bombardier) in a two-man Shiragiku trainer
carrying two 250-kg bombs. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit Shiragiku Squadron from
Kōchi Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the
age of 22. He was from Tōkyō Prefecture, attended Nihon University in Tōkyō, and
was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi
He wrote the following final letter:
Dear Father and Mother,
Have you been doing well? Have Masa and Chieko also been doing well?
Thanks to you, I am more and more enthusiastic. The decisive battle at
Okinawa has become increasingly intense. The day is near when I will carry
out my original intention. I will certainly do it.
It is inexcusable that I did not show any filial piety. Also, I have no
regrets. There is nothing above this as the long-cherished desire of young
Japanese man. I am very happy. Well then, I am going.
I pray that you will have long life and great happiness.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter on this page comes from Kitagawa
(1983, 211-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes Kitagawa
(1983, 211) and Osuo (2005, 241).
Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1983. Sōretsu kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho
shū (Heroic Kamikaze Special Attack Corps:
Collected last letters of youth that would be lost). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.