Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps (1983 cover)
(originally published as
Ah, Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps in 1970)
Last Letter of Ensign Sōji Horie
At 0515 on May 12, 1945, Ensign Sōji Horie took off
from Kushira Air Base as navigator/observer in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber
(Allied code name of Kate) carrying an 800-kg bomb
and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 23. He was a member
of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Seiki Squadron  from Hyakurihara Naval
Air Group. He was from Nara Prefecture , attended Tōkyō University of Agriculture, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students
(Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter:
Everyone departed from the second squadron formation, and I alone have
been left behind. They say that remaining cherry blossoms also will fall,
but I truly do not regret this.
I could not do anything to separate myself from Yokoyama, who shared a
room with me since my days at Atsugi, no, actually since Tsuchiura. However,
at 8 a.m. this past April 5, he was sent off by everyone under the
commander. He went directly south and gathered with others at a special
attack base in Kagoshima. At 1300 on April 12, he took off from the base and
headed toward the enemy task force for an attack .
This day the enemy had a powerful force with a core of a group of
battleships, but the special attack squadrons bravely opened up strikes
against it and achieved brilliant results in battle by thunderous attacks
that sank or damaged one battleship and four cruisers or other ships.
However, among these Yokoyama's aircraft had poor radio telegraph contact,
and his definite battle results are unknown. However, since it was
confirmed that he arrived at the battle area, probably he was included among
those great battle results. It is extremely regrettable that nothing
concrete was confirmed.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kitagawa
(1970, 208). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1970, 208) and Osuo (2005, 224).
1. Kitagawa (1970, 208) indicates that Horie was a
member of the 2nd Seiki Squadron, but Osuo (2005, 224) states that he was a
member of the 3rd Seiki Squadron.
2. Osuo (2005, 224) states that Horie was from
Nara Prefecture, but Kitagawa (1970, 208) indicates that he was from Ōsaka City.
3. On April 12, 1945, Ensign Tamotsu Yokoyama took
off from Kushira Air Base as navigator/observer in a Type 97 Carrier Attack
Bomber (Allied code name of Kate) carrying a 800-kg bomb
and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa. He was a member
of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Tokiwa Chūka Squadron from Hyakurihara
Naval Air Group. He was from Miyagi Prefecture, attended Meiji University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students
(Hikō Yobi Gakusei). (Osuo 2005, 222-3)
Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1970. Ā kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho
shū (Ah, Kamikaze Special Attack Corps:
Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.