Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Zenji Yokoyama to His Parents
On August 13, 1945, Second Lieutenant Zenji Yokoyama
took off from Kuroiso Airfield in Tochigi Prefecture as pilot of a Army Ki-45
Army Type 2 Toryū Fighter (Allied nickname of Nick) and died in a special
(suicide) attack east of Cape Inubō in Chiba Prefecture at the age of 22. He
was a member of the Special Attack Corps 201st Kamiwashi Squadron. He was from
Ibaraki Prefecture, attended Meiji University in Tōkyō ,
and was a member of the 2nd Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot
Training Program. After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion
He wrote the following final letter to his parents:
Suddenly it has come about that I will go and attack. I have nothing to
say to leave behind. Just please work hard until the war is over. Take
sufficient care of your health.
Surely I splendidly will attain the objective. Up to now I truly have
been taken care of by you. Please forgive me for the many troubles that I
caused you. Until now I have wanted to let you somehow have a peaceful life.
I was not able to do even that. It was a fool's fantasy.
It is just a little, but the articles put into this trunk are ones that I
saved as much as I could. I saved items that I wanted to eat but without
The sake and other items in the large box were ones received only by men
who will make a sortie. They were given at the same time as the order to
prepare for a sortie. I wanted to eat the food with everyone, but I could
not do even that. These truly are only trifling things, but they are items
from the bottom of my heart at the first and last. Alongside my photograph,
please eat the items inside the box. (portion omitted)
Everyone, please take sufficient care of your health and do your best
until the end. I will do it splendidly.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (2009, 15-6). The biographical
information in the first paragraph comes from Osuo (2005,
216) and Yasukuni Jinja (2009, 15).
1. From inscription on monument in honor of Zenji
Yokoyama at Kezōin Temple in Hitachinaka City <http://burari2161.fc2web.com/rikugunkoukuutoxtukoutai.htm>
(November 6, 2018).
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2009. Eirei
no koto no ha (9) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 9.
Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.