On April 12, 1945, Second Lieutenant Toshio Anazawa took off from Chiran Air Base
and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 23. He was
a member of the 20th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted a Hayabusa
Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack,
he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Fukushima Prefecture, attended
Chūō University, and was a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet
Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.
The 3rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron, which included Anazawa and 11 other
men, was formed at Taishō Airfield in Ōsaka Prefecture on December 8, 1944. On
January 29, 1945, it was renamed the 20th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron.
Anazawa wrote the following last letter addressed to the older brother of his
Anazawa wrote the following to Chieko at the end of a final letter written at
Miyakonojō Base and addressed to his uncle and aunt:
March 8, 1945
At 8:30, I stood at the train station of my hometown  covered in snow.
Standing before the station with powdery snowdrifts, I continued filled
with emotion for a short while.
Miraculously in the evening of the same month and same day last year when
I returned home in the same way, I thought that I would not return again,
and now I see my hometown here once again.
When I think back, last year during the last part of March, with thoughts
about remote southern seas, I said my final goodbyes and left the mainland.
In a land of epidemics but picturesque, I obtained a place to train in
Chaozhou. Intense training continued for four months. Whether by persons
praying for me or by gods who protected me, I fortunately completed the
course in good health and returned to the mainland. For four months I spent
many pleasant days in Kashiwara in the Kawachi Area. I was selected for the
Shinbu Unit. Not expecting to give my life here, I diligently carried out
training for death. I transferred to Kita Ise, where the wind blows down
strongly from the Suzuka Mountains.
I thought several times about death. I was saved several times by an
accidental god. And now, my death certainly will be this year.
If I do not now offer my life, that opportunity will not come again. The
opportunity when I will decide is approaching.
In these troubled times, for me there is still a god, and being able to
see my parents and siblings was the greatest happiness.
Father, Mother, without trying to cry out, there was no voice. Looking at
your kindly faces, I cried in my heart.
My responsibility is not light. It is not that I must do it tomorrow.
Will my mind thinking of hisshi (certain death) not change?
Father, Mother, as normal parents in this world, your hoping that I will
return alive by some small chance is truly good.
When I think of that, a heartrending feeling rises up all the more. I
only just pray for your health and for your living a very long life.
I welcome a peaceful evening.
March 16, 1945
I departed from Kita Ise.
What send-off for departure
March 18, 1945
From the day before yesterday on the 16th, we have been at Ōita
Navy Airfield for training.
There was a warning at dawn today. The task force attacked.
In the afternoon there was a bombing attack. There was repeated bombing
of attached facilities for about 40 minutes. In a single blow they vanished.
It seems that there was hardly any damage to the airfield. The concrete
of the dispersed concrete hangars was damaged here and there because of the
There were several dozen attacking aircraft. Even though the base did not
lack planes to take action, they did not have a single interceptor aircraft.
Wishing for this, I regretted the conditions that I had no choice but to
leave to them.
If the base had at least two aircraft, even though they would be
insufficient, they would have been able to interfere with the attack. It is
regrettable that they returned again and again.
It was supposed that the dropped bombs were both 50-kg and 250-kg types.
At about 16:00, five or six Grumman fighters came and strafed the area.
Several large aircraft were bombed and went up in flames.
At 17:40, I took off from Ōita and evacuated to Hōfu. There were
only six planes. I finished dispersing and waited to assemble with everyone.
It was already twilight, and the new moon shone dimly on the airfield. The
stars also were twinkling.
When I quietly recite poems, I immediately leave the real world. Is it a
dream with misery during the day?
March 19, 1945
There was a warning. B-29 bombers and carrier-based aircraft attacked the
Chūgoku and Kinki Regions.
During the afternoon, they entered and passed by nearby villages.
Two planes came (Ei Yamamoto, Takimura).
Plums blossoms are fragrant
When I go along lane
With fragrance of plum blossoms
When I travel along lane
Seto Inland Sea
Seen from afar
Plum blossoms are fragrant
Fine weather for plum blossoms
Seen from afar
Seto Inland Sea
March 20, 1945
There is nothing to do. I returned from Kumagaya and Hiroshima. I hear
that Miss Fujii is in good health.
After dinner, I left for Hōfu Town, got a haircut, and returned.
March 22, 1945
Ever since morning it was hazy with a gentle rain. The surrounding
mountains were covered entirely with a light snow.
Three planes under the squadron commander came at about noon.
Even though in the afternoon there were preparations for maneuvers, they
were cancelled due to rain.
Later in the day we took a bus to Hōfu City and stayed at Ishidaya Ryokan
in front of the train station. Our group was five men under the squadron
commander including Kazu Yoshida, Yamamoto, Takimura, and me.
When I opened the window, it was near a hill, and I got wet from the
The town's row of houses has a special charm that makes one think just of
an onsen (hot springs) town. The five of us, looking at this while
sipping tea, are encouraged for the miraculous deed of our sorties in a
little while, and we wonder only about falling as flowers.
At 19:00, we left the inn and went into a movie theater. A movie titled
Utau tanuki goten (Palace of singing raccoon dogs) was playing. It
was an incomprehensible movie. I had expected to have the ability to know
where was the true meaning.
March 23, 1945
I did training for ship attacks. I did not complete the training since
the target ship was not in the prearranged location.
I carried out a compulsory steep dive attack against a warship similar to
a cruiser that was in Tokuyama Bay.
I took off again and searched for the target. Visibility was extremely
bad, and I could not find it.
Perhaps they changed the set location. It was not in Beppu Bay.
March 25, 1945
At 13:30, I departed from Hōfu and headed toward Miyakonojō.
Since there was a haze up to about 2,500 meters altitude, visibility was
about two kilometers. It extended until Beppu Bay.
At 14:30, I arrived at Miyakonojō East Airfield. The 101st Flying
Regiment already was there, and we received a welcome from them. The
barracks are half underground, and it is a pleasant setting surrounded by
My friend said, "If we live in this kind of place, we should live long."
March 26, 1945
In the morning, I saw a little frost. As the sun rose, it rapidly became
warm. It was as expected in the southern part of Kyūshū.
In the morning I made a reconnaissance flight. The Type 1 fighter is
Inside the officers' room, there was the fragrance of lily magnolias,
camellias, and peach blossoms. A slight breeze came and shook the treetops
of the mountain forest.
I feel that the sortie will be soon. I burned my letters. What remained
were entirely ones from Chieko. As the flames blazed up, my feelings and
heart were shaken immeasurably.
I selected the below poems that I saw in her letters, and I felt that
there remained a lingering fragrance.
Last night of my life in hometown
Person who knows this will wait for me
Even though I leave it seems we should meet again
My heart is filled with sadness for our love
When I think of you who parted as if that easy
I look back to the street corner
Having a letter filled with a warm heart
A nightingale sings when I think of the person
When this night passes and I slip out of house
Being utterly not decided can't be endured
Appears as typically
A moon in the window Hakugetsu
Two crossed eggplants
Circles in water with ducks swimming
Plum blossoms bloom Shūōshi
Water with ducks
Near drawing room
Perfect day for plum blossoms
Drawing room hearth
Nice kettle hanging
Ideal weather for plum blossoms
White plum blossoms
Light in humble abode
Does not reach them Shūōshi
While looking at plum blossoms
When I go, smoking
Charcoal burns Shūōshi
We received an order to change tomorrow to Chiran Airfield. Isn't it that
probably the sortie will be right away? In the evening we went by truck to
Miyakonojō City. We stayed the night at Kaikōsha Inn. I arranged my personal
March 27, 1945
Finally we departed. I requested Yukitaka to send three books to Chieko
at the office.
We said farewell to the maintenance unit men who we shared joys and
sorrows for four months. At 15:00, we were aboard our aircraft.
Among those in the maintenance unit, there were many men who cast their
eyes downward as their tears flowed. We who were departing also felt
We took off. We crossed Kagoshima Bay and to the right was Sakurajima
emitting smoke. There was drizzle and low clouds.
We moved into a single-column formation and proceeded to Chiran Airfield.
Even though it was scheduled for us to advance further immediately this
evening, it was postponed due to bad weather.
The Air Brigade Commander, 103rd Flying Regiment Commander, and 56th
Flying Regiment Commander attended our dinner.
Afterward we went out to Chiran Town and stayed the night at an inn. A
drizzle still continued.
March 28, 1945
Even though the planned sortie was 16:00, it was cancelled.
Evening arrived, and it was decided that the sortie would be tomorrow at
3:00 in the early dawn.
The squadron members passed a sake cup around, had a small meal,
and went to the airfield for preparations.
The branch maintenance workers cannot be relied on strongly enough.
Preparations for the most part were not ready, and in the end the sortie
was again cancelled.
March 29 1945
Ah, I was left behind.
Seven men under the squadron commander already departed.
I am a miserable figure who saw them off.
March 30, 1945
At 16:00, Second Lieutenant Yoshida, Second Lieutenant Itō, Second
Lieutenant Takimura, and I departed in high spirits toward Tokunoshima.
The weather up to near Nakanoshima worsened moment by moment, and we got
into a single-column formation and continued until we encountered clouds.
We went down to an altitude of 50 meters. Going ahead was dark like
spilled black ink.
One hour and 45 minutes into the flight, the four planes together entered
into the clouds. In an instant I banked sharply to the right and even though
I came out from the clouds, I got rid of the map that I strongly relied on.
For unavoidable reasons, my plane alone returned to base. What was the fate
of the other three planes?
March 31, 1945
Ah, has the weather betrayed my squadron?
I do not know the whereabouts of the other three planes.
I am dispirited.
April 1, 1945
I welcomed April, and it is warm. The temperature is near 25 degrees
Centigrade, and I have a feeling of early summer.
April 2, 1945
At 9:00, Sergeant Terasawa returned from Tokunoshima.
When he landed on the 29th, his plane was damaged seriously when the
landing gear hit a bomb hole.
In the end will the fighting strength of our elite squadron be cut in
I asked him about the situation on Tokunoshima.
He said that Second Lieutenant Akihiko Yamamoto made a sortie yesterday
on the 1st. He hit a large transport ship and sunk it instantly.
Today on the 2nd at daybreak, the squadron commander and Corporal Kojima
made a sortie, and battle results are not yet known.
Furthermore, it is still not known what happened to Second Lieutenant
Takimura who flew with me on the 30th. It may be that his fuel ran out and
he disappeared into the sea. Ah……
At 16:00, even though I went in my single plane together with the 30th
Shinbu Squadron, I returned again due to the lead plane's engine trouble.
To the end I am not blessed with fortune in battle.
I am planning for tomorrow's sortie together with the 30th Shinbu
I who share fate with flowers that fall
Happiness realized that I requested
April 4, 1945
Sergeant Terasawa obtained a replacement plane.
In addition to waiting for completion of the repairs, we informed the
staff officer that we had planned to depart with three planes. The staff
Six maintenance men from our squadron came. They all are excellent
persons. I expect flawlessness in the repairs.
Sergeant Shibata, who arrived the day before yesterday, was added to the
squadron. There are seven men in total.
April 5, 1945
The maintenance workers have been working hard at maintenance since early
There are no words that can express appreciation to these men who are busy at their
work without even eating breakfast.
April 6, 1945
At nightfall today, we received a sortie order.
I wonder if we will go now. With a flash of the sword, there will be no
Today the 2nd Buntai (Squad), made up of Second Lieutenant Ōhira in the
lead plane, Sergeant Terasawa in the escort plane, and my plane, departed,
but we returned when the lead plane misunderstood a signal made by a Type 3
fighter (Allied code name of Tony) in the skies above the coastline.
April 7, 1945
Even though an afternoon departure has risk with low clouds, the sortie
has been decided.
Rain began to fall in the afternoon, and the approximate departure time
We took off at 15:10, and visibility was bad due to low clouds over the
We took no chances and again turned back.
I saw the newspaper from the day before yesterday. I found out that the
squadron commander and Second Lieutenant Yamamoto hit large transport ships
and sunk them instantly.
Did the planes attack all together? Or did the achieve the above battle
results by dropping only bombs? It was not clear from only the article.
When I think of our 20th Shinbu Squadron that diligently carried out much
training with the objective of a task force attack, I earnestly wish to have
been the latter pilot.
My hope sure enough will be realized.
April 8, 1945
In the evening I met Ōhira and Terasawa at Tsukimitei Restaurant.
I remembered "Song in Praise of Alcohol" by Okura. It is a good one once
in a while.
Just because spring rain falls there is no need to be sappy
You do not be sentimental now
Isn't there life tomorrow and the next day?
Put away thinking foolish things
No matter how many times I hear such voices in the corner of my heart, I
am still a sentimental boy.
When I walk alone down a road with young leaves wet from a gentle rain,
my innate character raises up my head with inside of my heart.
In regards to forgetting, there are so many precious memories that pop
into my mind one by one due to my innate nature.
For a man without a past, if there is such a man in this world, even the
spring rain will not fall. Even the young leaves do not mean spring in a
Times passes with past, present, and future and gives history to a
While having longings for eternal things, a person enjoys limitless time,
establishes the present, and possesses past and future.
Do not laugh at the contradictions.
Even in unending time, it is because a person in the world will not be
able to cut and measure the same length of life that I have of 50 years.
Even I as a person in the world, besides a life that was so short, has a
past and has a present.
Eternal things must not be cut off by a human's circumstances and
Even though a human's life can be divided, there is no need to write in
The noncommissioned maintenance officers of the 30th Shinbu Squadron are
cutting bamboo and making flutes.
They are heating up long metal chopsticks until red hot and making holes
one by one. When I picture in my mind when they are completed soon, now and
again they will be placed happily up to lips.
They put long metal chopsticks into the fire to make holes. As they
waited for them to heat up until red, while I watched from the side, they
were smiling as they put their fingers up to their lips as if they were
blowing. I suddenly remembered that Chieko once wrote this that she sent to
me, "While reading poetry, a Japanese man who is fighting is happy, believe
it or not."
The officers and men in our unit are writing poems or enjoying the
comfortable sound. Humans who have a quiet side certainly are rich persons
April 9, 1945
It was raining and windy all day.
I started to read Shizen to tomo ni (Together with nature) by
I was reading aloud the Manyōshū (oldest compilation of
waka poems). I was reading aloud the poems.
Books I want to read
- Manyōshū, Kushū (collection of haiku poems by
- Dōtei (Journey) by Kōtarō Takamura
- Ittenshō (One Bell) by Tatsuji Miyoshi
- Kokyō (Hometown) by Minoru Ōki
Things I want to see
Madonna and Child by Raphael
Hibō Kannon (Merciful Mother Kannon) by Hōgai
Things I want to hear
- Collection of Strauss waltzes
- Voices of fondly-remembered people
April 11, 1945
The sortie has been set for tomorrow on the 12th.
Fortunately, the weather also has improved.
My life only tonight in my hometown
Person I know likely is waiting for me
The writings come from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 10-26). The
biographical information in the first two paragraphs comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko
Kai (1996, 10), Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 160), and Osuo (2005,
52, 81, 195).