Last Letter of Corporal Toyoshi Takada to His Parents
On May 13, 1945, Corporal Toyoshi Takada took off from Giran Air Base in
Taiwan as a member of the Makoto 26th Hikōtai (Flying Squadron) and died in a
special attack southwest of Naha (Okinawa) at the age of 19. He
piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his
death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from
Toyama Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Class of the Army Youth Pilots
(Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents with five death poems in
tanka form (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7)
addressed to different individuals:
Now the time finally has come for my farewell. I think that it is the
greatest happiness to be able to die by being a bit useful, and I go to die
joyfully. Now my farewell poems are unskillful, but since I was able to
leave them as farewell tokens.
My parents' great kindness unmatched by seas and mountains
Now repaying this as I fall for country
Tears of my unforgettable mother like a dream
Aching I cross the Sanzu River 
Going before my gentle Grandmother
I will tell you about shallows of Sanzu River
Chanting Buddha's name, Grandmother's constant teaching
I go with walking stick on trip to other world
Grandmother in Koinzemi
Now I go with my greatest wish being that my two younger brothers will
follow after me and die together for the country.
Mother, please take care of your health.
Toyoshi, 21 years old 
A single petal filled with Yamato spirit of Shikishima 
A young cherry blossom will go and die
Letter and poems translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and poems come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 127). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 127, 178) and Osuo (2005, 214).
1. Sanzu River is the Japanese Buddhist equivalent of the River Styx.
2. The traditional Japanese method of counting
age, as in much of East Asia, regards a child as age one at birth and adds an
additional year on each New Year's day thereafter. This explains why the letter
indicates his age as 21 whereas the current way of counting age indicates that
his age was 19 (Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai 2005, 178) at time of death.
3. Yamato and Shikishima were both ancient names
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.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.