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Last Letter of Sergeant Major Ichidō Hara to His Mother

On May 3, 1945, Sergeant Major Ichidō [1] Hara took off from Karenkō Airfield in Taiwan and died in a special (suicide) attack off Kadena on the west coast of Okinawa at the age of 26. He was a member of the 17th Hikō Sentai (Flying Regiment) and piloted an Army Hien Type 3 Fighter (Allied code name of Tony). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Nagano Prefecture and was in the 91st Class of Non-Commissioned Officer Cadets for flight training.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Mother,

Finally I will fall as a member of the honored Special Attack Corps of the skies. Please forgive me for my lack of filial piety during my life. I gladly do it as I live for an eternal cause.

I think that seeking honor and giving one's life are a soldier's accomplishments. I will die honorably in battle as a man and as a soldier. Please admire this.

I have enclosed also some small things. I already requested that my personal effects and other items all be arranged and sent to you. After my death, all of the money and other things will be sent to you. Please give them to Older Brother Takeo, my other brothers and sisters, and Older Sister Isoe according to need.

After you who are young die, please have Older Brother Takeo take responsibility

Mother, please be well and give my regards to everyone. Mother, banzai.

April 24, 1945
Ichidō Hara

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 122, 181) and Osuo (2005, 213).


1. The given name of 一道 can be pronounced as either Ichidō or Kazumichi. It could not be determined what is the correct pronunciation of his name, so the more common one of Ichidō was selected for this translation.

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.