Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps (1983 cover)
(originally published as
Ah, Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps in 1970)
Last Letter of Ensign Cadet Jun Nomoto to His Parents
At 1151 on April 12, 1945, Ensign Cadet Jun Nomoto took off
from Kushira Air Base as pilot in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of
Kate) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Goō Hakuro  Squadron
from Himeji Naval Air Group. He died in
a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 23. He was from Nagasaki
Prefecture, attended Tōkyō University of Commerce, and was a member of the 1st
Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Seito).
He wrote the following final letter with a death poem in tanka form
(31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables) at the end:
I advanced to OO  based on an urgent order.
Hearing about tomorrow's sortie renewed my feelings. In order for me to
come, Cadet OO was excluded from the attack members. It is much to be
regretted. I have mixed feelings of sadness and joy. Humans die at some
time. Choosing one's time to die is more than fate. With confidence in my
ability, tomorrow with all my might I will dive into an enemy ship and carry
out my important mission to protect the country. Finally the time has come
to depart from my good friend Nakanishi. Those who meet must part, and there
are no regrets.
Since the special attack unit was formed at the end of February, we have
had intensive training. Finally we have a sortie opportunity. Regarding the
sortie, we have received frequent instructions like, "do not be quick to
die," but everything is fate.
I will charge toward the path that I believe in. You truly showed care to
me in various ways for the long time of more than 20 years. I thank you from
the bottom of my heart. My 15 years of school life now will bear fruit. I
deeply feel thankfulness to the Empire of Japan. With this feeling that I as
a crewman truly believe will accompany me, I look forward to tomorrow's
success. Since it was sudden, I was not able to write departure letters to
all of the relatives, teachers, and good friends. Therefore, I ask when you
have a chance that you please give my greetings in departure letters to
Since there is not time, excuse me for writing messily. There is nothing
to say, but, having been selected, until the very end in high spirits I will
make a sortie. My unit's other aircraft already have departed. I am writing
this on top of my plane's fuselage. As there are not regrets, there are also
not things to rejoice about. I am calm and nothing has changed. I am
determined to attack with a calm and relaxed feeling. I do not know how to
express my thanks to you. As for your kindness higher than the mountains and
deeper than the sea, I certainly believe that the attack will be able to
serve as repayment.
I earnestly request that you handle the studies of Kōzō and Shigeo. It is
certain that nothing remains if study is omitted in life. Please educate
them so that they have as little time as possible when they are idle. My
older sisters  have nothing to worry about. I can go feeling truly
assured. Everything is from your support. I will be satisfied if through the
attack it somewhat will repay my ancestors.
Thinking of country
It is same
Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and poem come from Kitagawa
(1970, 139-41). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1970, 139) and Osuo (2005, 221).
1. The word Goō means "protecting the Emperor."
Hakuro (白鷺), also pronounced as shirasagi, means white egret. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th
century, has the name of Shirasagi Castle or Hakuro Castle. The squadron's
pronunciation of Hakuro comes from several Japanese sources including the
following article from Sankei News dated May 23, 2017: "Hakuro-tai no tokkō
ni shiryō de semaru: Himeji-shi heiwa shiryōkan de ihin nado 200-ten tenji"
(Approaching the special attacks of Hakuro Squadrons through source material:
200 objects displayed at Himeji City Peace Museum) <https://www.sankei.com/region/news/170523/rgn1705230024-n1.html>
(January 13, 2020).
2. OO indicates information that was a military
secret and could not be included in the letter.
3. The number of older sisters is not specified in
the letter. He may have had one or more older sisters.
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.