Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Hiroyuki Fukuda to His Mother
At 1514 on April 28, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Hiroyuki Fukuda
took off from Kokubu No. 2 Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack near
Okinawa at the age of 18. He was from the Hyakurihara Naval Air Group and was a
member of the 2nd Seitō Special Attack Squadron. He flew a Type 99 Carrier
Bomber (Allied code name of Val). He was born and grew up in Mikuni Village (now
part of Ogōri City) in Fukuoka Prefecture. He was a member of the 12th Kō Class
of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter to his mother. The end of the letter has
a tanka poem (31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables).
Forgive me for not being in touch with you for so long. I hope that
everyone is doing fine. I have joined the longed-for Special Attack Corps
and will be able to fall as a cherry blossom. I will not forget your
kindness up to today even though I die.
My last act of filial piety to you will be to hit the target in an
attack. Surely I will carry out a taiatari (body-crashing) attack against an
Mother, please be well. Please take good care of my younger brothers and
sisters . Please give my thanks also to
everyone in the village.
Well, I apologize for going before you. Let's meet in the gardens at
Young cherry blossoms
Now at peak season
In full bloom
Together go to fall
In Ryūkyū  skies
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai
1. The word in Japanese (teimai) means that
he had at least one younger brother and at least one younger sister, but he does
not indicate in his letter the number of each.
2. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the place of
enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.
3. The Ryūkyū Islands include Okinawa.
Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Naval
Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries
of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan