Last Letter of Corporal Takayuki Yamashita to His Mother
On May 25, 1945, Corporal Takayuki Yamashita
took off from Miyakonojō East Airfield and died in a special (suicide) attack
west of Okinawa at the age of
19. He was a member of the 57th Shinbu Squadron. He piloted an Army Hayate
Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After his death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He grew up in Kumamoto
Prefecture. He was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi)
He wrote the following final letter to his mother:
Now I am waiting for the time when full of vigor I will make a sortie.
Finally it is my farewell to this world. Mother, I surely will make a
splendid taiatari (body-crashing) attack.
0800 on May 25, 1945. This is the time when I will dive into an aircraft
carrier. Today also people from faraway came to the airfield in order to
provide comfort to us in the Special Attack Corps. Mother, they were persons
just like you. They watched our departure until they could no longer see us.
At 0730 on the 24th, I passed through the skies above our hometown when
we turned in the skies over Yatsushiro .
Mother, I will go smiling in good spirits.
Thank you for the care that you have given me for a long time. My older
sisters Taeko and Midori, please be brave and take care.
Please take good care of yourself. I will dive into an aircraft
carrier while chanting in remembrance of the Buddha as you always say. Praise to Amida Buddha.
May 25, 1945
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 133, 213) and Osuo (2005, 199).
1. Yatsushiro is a city in Kumamoto Prefecture.
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.