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Last Letter of Corporal Tsuneaki Fujiyama to His Parents

On May 25, 1945, Corporal Tsuneaki Fujiyama took off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 58th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 18. 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 was from Nagasaki Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Parents,

For the Emperor and the country, I go to fall as a Special Attack Corps member. From the beginning I have been determined to do this. Not sparing one's life for the Emperor and the country is the long-cherished desire of a young Japanese man. I am a person who has great joy in my heart. Even after I fall I will not forget your great kindness in raising me with love for 18 years. I regret that until now I could not show any filial piety. However, for the moment there is nothing in my mind other than my assigned mission. I bravely will sacrifice myself to kill the enemy with my cutting-edge aircraft.

Even though you hear that I have fallen, please definitely do not mourn. Please say only that our son fell admirably. Feeling assured when I think that even after I have fallen there will be young cherry blossoms that will follow after me, I can go and die. Please bring up my younger brothers [1] also for the country. I go while trusting in certain victory for the Emperor and the country.

Finally, I pray for the health of you and others.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter comes from Terai (1977, 94). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 218) and Osuo (2005, 199).

Note

1. The letter does not specify the number of younger brothers. Fujiyama could have had one or more younger brothers.

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.

Terai, Shunichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit). Tōkyō: Genshobō.