attack unit (2000)
Last Letter from Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Masanori Anami to His Friend
At 0910 on March 11, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Masanori Anami took
off from Kanoya Air Base as navigator/observer in a three-man Ginga
bomber (Allied code name of Frances) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Azusa Special Attack Unit. He died in a
special (suicide) attack at the age of 19 . He was
from Miyazaki Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Hei Class of the Navy's
Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
The name of Azusa Special
Attack Unit came from the death poem of Kusunoki Masatsura, who was a general in
the Nanbokuchō Period (1336-1392) and the heir of Kusunoki Masashige. The Azusa
Special Attack Unit, which would not return again, was formed with 24 land-based
Ginga bombers (Allied code name of Frances) and 72 men. With fuel for only one
way, they flew 1,600 nautical miles (about 2,930 kilometers) to Ulithi, which took more
than ten hours. It was a special attack unit that clearly indicated that they
would carry out taiatari (body-crashing) attacks.
Anami wrote the following last letter to a friend:
Thank you for your letter. I am so glad that you are doing well.
I am glad to tell you that I also am well working hard with my military
duties. The war situation has become more and more serious. There are surely
matters of great importance that are the responsibility of Japanese men like
us. No, everyone has this responsibility.
Today the Japanese mainland is a battleground. We will certainly win if
we carry out taiatari (body-crashing) attacks as our duty.
Please take care of yourself as you work. As a favor to me, please be
friends with Masashi and the others until they return home in May.
My burning in flames from the air attack will be successful.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Jinno (2000, 147). The biographical information in the
first paragraph comes from Jinno (2000, 147) and Osuo (2005, 180). The
background information in the second paragraph comes from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi
Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 19).
1. Computed based on birth year of 1925 given in Tokkōtai
Senbotsusha 1990, 148.
Jinno, Masami. 2000. Azusa tokubetsu kōgekitai: Bakugekiki "Ginga" sanzen kiro no kōseki (Azusa special attack
unit: "Ginga" bombers' 3,000-km flight path). Tōkyō:
Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya
Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries
of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.