Last Letter of Corporal Fusao Ukegawa to His Parents
On April 28, 1945, Corporal Fusao Ukegawa took
off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 61st Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 18. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After
his death in a special attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He
was from Hokkaidō Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth
Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following final letter to his parents. The letter most likely
was written on March 29, 1945, the date when the 61st Shinbu
Special Attack Squadron was formed at Hitachi Airfield .
Today I received an order to join the Special Attack Corps. It is the highest
honor to be able to fall as a cornerstone of the Empire in defense of the
Emperor's land and to offer my life for His Majesty the Emperor. I
transferred between Tōkyō Aviation School, Kumagaya Aviation School,
Kakogawa, and Sagami. I was cared for by many local people, and I want you
also to thank them from your hearts.
Older Brother, Older Sister, Kazuyuki, and Tsuneko, please fight harder
and harder and do your best as persons of the Empire. Of course I am firmly
determined to have certain fulfillment of my mission, but I think that there
is a chance that I will not have fortune in battle and not be able to carry
out a taiatari (body-crashing) attack. However, by the will of
heaven, in the event that I am able to carry out a taiatari attack,
please give three cheers and be joyful. The special attack plane type is a
cutting-edge aircraft shown in four small photos. Please rest assured. I am
happy to be on the country's front lines and to be able to do my best.
Thank you for all of your care. If there is time, I will report to you
again. Please forgive my messy writing. Please pass along the enclosed
To everyone in neighborhood association,
I trust that you are doing well. I am serving in my military duties as
Recently I was appointed to the Special Attack Corps. I will depart
shortly. You cared for me in many ways, and I utterly do not know the words
of apology for only troubles that I caused you. Children in the neighborhood
association, please be cheerful and do your best. As in the Special Attack
Corps song, I will go and fall as a cherry blossom.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Terai (1977, 23-4). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 153) and Osuo (2005, 200).
1. Osuo 2005, 200.
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.
Terai, Shun'ichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate
Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit).