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Last Letter of Corporal Takao Adachi to His Grandmother and Father

On June 1, 1945, Corporal Takao Adachi took off from Giran Airfield in Taiwan and died in a special (suicide) attack at the age of 17. He was a member of the 20th Hikō Sentai (Flying Regiment) and piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He grew up in Tottori Prefecture and was in the 15th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) Program.

He wrote the following final letter to his grandmother and father. The letter starts with a poem.

Dear Grandmother and Father,

Decisive battle has come for me
Excitement also with instant enemy sinking

Living as a man in this divine country that faces an extreme emergency, in my heart I am absolutely satisfied that I have a good place to die as a member of the Special Attack Corps Makoto Hikōtai (Flying Unit).

I warmly thank each of the officers, instructors, and senior comrades when I was a flight cadet.

In response to your great kindness in raising me for more than 18 years [1] as a son in this divine land, I have not been able to do anything to repay your kindness. I imagine that my going before you must be painful above anything else.

Furthermore, I am determined that I certainly will carry out a certain-death, certain-kill (hisshi hissatsu) body-crashing (taiatari) attack and instantly sink an enemy ship.

Grandmother and Father, please be glad with the daybreak when I splendidly sink at once an enemy ship.

Finally, I will make a body-crashing attack while praying for still more prosperity of this divine country Japan.

On the eve of sortie, Takao

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 140, 198) and Osuo (2005, 213).


1. 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 most likely explains why the letter indicates his age as 18 whereas the background information in Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 140) indicates his age as 17.

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.