Last Letter of Warrant Officer Shinsaku Naniwa to His Parents
On June 7, 1945, Warrant Officer Shinsaku Naniwa took off from Bansei Air
Base as a member of the 63rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a
special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 26. He piloted an Army
Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied nickname of Sonia). After his death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to First Lieutenant. He was from Okayama
Prefecture and was a non-commissioned officer who entered the Army in 1937.
He wrote the following last letter:
Recently I received an Imperial command, and I will go on a mission as a
member of the grand Special Attack Corps. Tomorrow on June 6, at last I will
take off from a front-line base and from our land of Yamato .
I am determined to go to the fierce decisive battleground and not to return
again to this Japanese mainland. It is not in my mind at all that I will
return. As indicated by the name of Special Attack Corps, I am determined
certainly to crash dive into the enemy fleet and to sink instantly an enemy
ship by my body.
Now this evening when I will make a sortie tomorrow as I think about
being able to go to die for the country and for the Emperor, there truly is
no way to express my thanks for enjoying your warm hearts for 26 years and
as an adult without any inconvenience and also being brought up as a
military man and air pilot. (portion omitted)
I with determination will carry out one-on-one combat with an enemy ship.
I am resolved to do a work that will not be second to those of my ancestors.
Please give my regards to Masamoto, Yamato, and all of the relatives.
There is very much that I want to write, but since there are preparations
for tomorrow morning and for battle, here I will stop writing. I am praying
from a faraway place that you take very good care of yourselves.
June 6, 24:00
I gratefully received the name Suketada when I recently stayed overnight.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (2004, 83-4). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 200), Naemura (1993, 174), Osuo (2005,
200), and Yasukuni Jinja (2004,
1. Yamato is an ancient name for Japan.
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.
Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last
letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2004. Eirei no koto no ha (8)
(Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 8). Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja