Last Letter of Corporal Nariaki Yoshimizu to His Parents
On May 4, 1945, Corporal Nariaki Yoshimizu took
off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 60th Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of
19. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After
his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He
was from Kagoshima Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth
Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents:
I want to give my thanks at the occasion of my going.
It has finally come about that I can report on behalf of the Emperor. I
deeply thank you and everyone for your assistance. Even though from the
beginning offering my life for the Emperor was the long-cherished desire of
a young Japanese man that nothing can surpass, I think that piloting a
cutting-edge aircraft and making a taiatari (body-crashing) attack
against an enemy ship is the greatest honor. It is loyalty and filial piety
together as one. I will not stop believing in my hope that you certainly
will be satisfied.
Finally, praying for your health, I will stop writing.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Terai (1977, 52). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 218) and Osuo (2005, 199).
Members of 60th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron.
Nariaki Yoshimizu is on the far right.
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack
Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu
kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special
Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Terai, Shun'ichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate
Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit).