Another "Eternal Zero":
Tsukuba Naval Air Group (2014)
Last Letter of Ensign Makoto Yoshida to His Older Sister
At 0656 on May 11, 1945, Ensign Makoto Yoshida took off from Kanoya Air Base
as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died in a special
(suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 22 . He was a member of the
Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 5th Tsukuba Squadron. After his death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to Lieutenant. He was from Hyōgo
Prefecture, attended Tōkyō Imperial University, and was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve
Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter to his older sister:
Evening of May 10, 1945
The sortie is on May 11. The line-up is at daybreak at 4:30, and I head
straight south from Kanoya at 5:30. The target is the enemy task force just
south of the main island of Okinawa. I vow to make a sure hit, instant
sinking (hitchū gōchin). I pray to achieve a great battle result that
will shine throughout the whole country.
Dear Older Sister Tokuko, I deeply appreciate your showing affection to
me and caring for me in many ways. This letter is my last gift. It probably
is hard to read with my sloppy writing, but it is fine to make "copies" if
you are able to make it out, and please pass it on also to Father, Mother,
and our brothers and younger sisters .
Well then, I will go and surely do it. I will bring along that doll.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Katabami
(2014, 86). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(2014, 86) and Osuo (2005, 198).
1. Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990, 202) gives his year
of birth as 1922, so Yoshida could have been 22 or 23 years of age at death.
Other sources do not specify a birth date or provide his age at death. By using
a mid-year birth date of July 1, his age at death is assumed to be 22.
2. The letter does not specify the number of older
brothers, younger brothers, and younger sisters. There could have been one or
more of each.
Katabami, Masaaki. 2014. Mō hitotsu no "Eien no Zero":
Tsukuba Kaigun Kōkūtai (Another "Eternal Zero": Tsukuba
Naval Air Group). Tōkyō: Village Books.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.