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Last Letters of Second Lieutenant Tadaaki Abe to His Family

In the early evening of May 24, 1945, Second Lieutenant Tadaaki Abe took off from Kengun Airfield in Kumamoto Prefecture and died in a special (suicide) attack at the age of 22. He was a member of the Giretsu Airborne Unit that carried commandos in twelve Type 97 Heavy Bombers (Allied code name of Sally). Eight aircraft headed toward Okinawa's Yomitan (Yontan) Airfield, and the destination for four aircraft was Kadena Airfield. The entire operation included 136 commandos and 32 pilots and other aircraft crewmen from the 3rd Dokuritsu Hikōtai (Independent Air Squadron). Four aircraft had to return and make forced landings due to engine trouble or other reasons. Only five of the remaining planes reached Yomitan, and only one of these successfully landed with the others crashing. The commandos in this one plane destroyed American planes and supplies at Yomitan Airfield until they were killed. After Abe's death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Miyazaki Prefecture and was a member of the 10th Class of the Army's Officer Cadet (Shikan Kōhosei) training program.

Abe wrote the following final letter. It appears to be to his parents based on the contents.

1. My duty is heavy, and death is light.

2. Please forgive my improper lack of filial piety.

3. Give my best regards to Ritsu and Takabō.

4. Give my regards also to Grandfather and Grandmother.

5. Give my regards also to other persons.

Postscript

1. There are no personal money loans

2. There is no relation at all with a woman.

Please rest assured.

He wrote the following separate letter to his younger sister:

To Ritsu,

I ask that you give my best regards to Father, Mother, and Takabō.

Although I might say to you please be a wife as soon as possible.

I am sorry for not being able to do anything.

Take care of yourself, and work steadily.

Farewell.

From Older Brother


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
May 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 130, 216) and Osuo (2005, 209).

Sources Cited

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.