Last Letters of Lieutenant Junior Grade Minoru Sueyoshi to His Parents
At 1610 on April 6, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Minoru Sueyoshi took off from Kanoya Air Base
as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special
(suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 25. He was a member of the
Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Tsukuba Squadron. After his death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to Lieutenant Commander. He was from Fukushima
Prefecture, attended Hamamatsu Higher Technical School (now Shizuoka University), and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve
Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following last letter. It appears to be to his parents based on
I think that this sudden notice is indeed surprising, but the time has
come for me also to face the national crisis with my own action. Now from my
squadron's location I see dear Nagoya to the right, and I have arrived at
Suzuka Air Base . I am writing this from
inside my plane (that is, my coffin).
When I think back, I did not repay you in any way for your love and
worries beyond description for 25 years, and I showed a lack of filial piety
in many ways. I truly apologize to you, and alone tears are welling up.
Thanks to you, I was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade ahead of the
others. Now as the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Tsukuba Squadron Leader
I have obtained the opportunity to lead cherry blossoms in the same class
and make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack against an enemy aircraft
carrier. There is nothing that surpasses this as the long-cherished desire
of a young man. I certainly have entered an undertaking for Older Brother's
revenge. Please wait for tomorrow's battle results.
A few days before my sortie, I found out about destruction of our house
by fire. I know that it is indeed discouraging with continuing air strikes,
but I ask that you please do not be discouraged and that you strive at
reconstruction with cooperation of the neighbors.
Since I seem to have all types of feelings, until the end I am praying
that you live long with steadfast feelings. Since steadily changing times
have come, with this I leave.
April 5, 2 p.m.
He also wrote the following final letter:
Now I will go on a hisshi hissatsu (certain-death, sure-kill)
attack. I have calmness of mind.
Like today's skies, a white-wooden box 
will be prepared.
Now I go to the southern skies.
My planned attack time is 1700 on April 6, 1945.
Die nobly, young cherry blossoms of Tsukuba.
Letters translated by Bill Gordon
June and November 2018
The letters come from Yasukuni Jinja (2004, 7-8). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(2014, 76), Osuo (2005, 197-8), and Yasukuni Jinja (2004, 7).
1. Suzuka was a Navy air base in Mie Prefecture
near Nagoya City.
2. Sueyoshi apparently got switched from the 2nd
to the 1st Tsukuba Squadron or the 2nd Tsukuba Squadron got combined with the
1st Tsukuba Squadron. The 2nd Tsukuba Squadron made a sortie from Kanoya Air
Base on April 14, 1945, whereas the 1st Tsukuba Squadron made its sortie on
April 6, 1945.
3. A white wooden box was how the Japanese
military usually delivered the remains of war dead to their families. In the
case of kamikaze pilots, the remains such as fingernails or hairs from the head
would often be prepared in advance. There are also cases where the white box
would arrive at the family's home with no remains.
Katabami, Masaaki. 2014. Mō hitotsu no "Eien no Zero":
Tsukuba Kaigun Kōkūtai (Another "Eternal Zero": Tsukuba
Naval Air Group). Tōkyō: Village Books.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2004. Eirei no koto no ha (8)
(Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 8). Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja