Last Letter of Lieutenant Junior Grade Katsutomo Murakami to His Family
On November 19, 1944, Lieutenant Junior Grade Katsutomo Murakami died at the age of 20 when submarine I-37
was sunk by depth charges dropped from two American destroyers at Kossol Passage in the Palau Islands. On November 8, 1944, submarine I-37 made
a sortie from Ōtsushima Kaiten Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture with 112
crewmen and four kaiten
pilots, including Murakami, who were members of the Kaiten Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit.
All men on board died when the submarine was attacked. Murakami was
from Yamaguchi Prefecture and graduated in the 53rd Class of the Naval
Engineering College. He received a promotion of two ranks to Lieutenant Commander after his
death, which was recognized as being in a special (suicide) attack.
He wrote the following final letter to his family:
I live for a great cause to protect Shinshū .
There is nothing at all to say.
I deeply appreciate the gift of guidance from my teachers, seniors, and
I pray for the health of my Parents, Grandmother, and younger brothers
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (2004, 21-2). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Konada and Kataoka (2006, 74-6, 96-9, 379), Mediasion (2006,
44, 78), Ōtsushima Kaiten Monument, and Yasukuni Jinja (2004, 21).
1. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means
Konada, Toshiharu, and Noriaki Kataoka. 2006. Tokkō
kaiten sen: Kaiten tokkōtai taichō no kaisō (Special attack kaiten
battles: Kaiten special attack corps leader's reminiscences). Tōkyō:
The Mediasion Co. 2006. Ningen gyorai kaiten (Kaiten
human torpedo). Hiroshima: The Mediasion Co.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2004. Eirei no koto no ha (8)
(Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 8). Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja