Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letter of Ensign Yoshikage Hatabu to His Family
Sometime between 1535 and 1605 on April 28, 1945, Ensign Yoshikage Hatabu
took off from Kushira Air Base as navigator/observer in a Type 97 Carrier Attack
Bomber (Allied code name of Kate) carrying a 800-kg bomb and died in a special
(suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 22. He was a member of the Kamikaze
Special Attack Corps Hachiman  Shinchū Squadron from Usa Air Group. He
was from Fukuoka Prefecture, attended Kyōto Imperial University, and was a
member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi
He wrote the following final letter to his family:
Now I depart. I have no regrets. Father, Mother, Older Brother, and Older
Sister, I hope for your happiness.
I will go without my military uniform. Since there is a brand-new one in
the wicker suitcase, please take that for the family and send the old one to
Toshiko's place. I ask that you certainly do this. When you find out about
my death in battle, I think that it is fine if you call the family together
one time and pass around my last letter and other things. Grandmother,
Ryōchi, and Kazuko, everyone please take care. Japan certainly will win. I
am glad that I have obtained a place to die for the country's prosperity.
With a refreshed spirit like the sky, a little while remains for me to
feel this way. Farewell.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 169-70). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 169) and Osuo (2005, 219).
1. Hachiman is the Japanese god of military power.
Usa City in Ōita Prefecture has the first Hachiman Shrine, which was established
in the early 8th century.
Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps).
Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.