At 0645 on April 16, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Toshimune Hattori
took off from Kushira Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack off
Okinawa at the age of 19. He was from the 701st Naval Air Group and was a member
of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit Ten'ō Squadron. He flew
as radio operator/gunner in a Tenzan carrier attack bomber (Allied code name of
Jill) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was from Mie Prefecture and was a member of
the 12th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
At this time I was selected, and tomorrow I will participate in an attack
where I will not return as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd
There is nothing that surpasses this honor for a man by being able to
participate in the glorious attack. In the two years that passed quickly
since I joined the Naval Air Corps, I have been training until today and
have given thought solely as to how we can die honorably and how we can fall
splendidly as a shield for the Emperor. I appreciate that fortunately I have
found a glorious place to die usefully that is the best for a man.
When I reflect back, for twenty years since I was born into the current
world, I was raised with just the loving hands of my parents, and today I am
in the Navy. I cannot help but be very, very regretful for going to die
without having shown any filial piety at all as a son during that period of
time. I apologize over and over again for this lack of filial piety.
However, I will make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack against an
enemy ship together with my plane carrying a bomb, and I will fall
shattering as a jewel. With this battle result even though it is only a ten
thousandth of my lack of filial piety until now, if you forgive me, there is
nothing else that will surpass my joy.
Although I am thinking about when I fall tomorrow, there are not any strong
feelings about it. What comes to mind are my happenings from my youth until
today, and there are particularly deep emotions about them.
There were events at Taura, Yokosuka, Hiratsuka, and Ōizumi. There was
the story you told often about one day when I was very young and saw planes
flying in the sky. While you were bathing me in the washbasin, I was
surprised by their noise and made a large "bump" on my head. Even though now
it has come about that I will try to pierce an enemy ship with my plane, for
me it will be amusing. There are still many stories that I remember.
When you hear about my death in battle, please do not cry and praise me
that I died splendidly so that I do not get discouraged at all. Also, please
have Tadahiro  and Setsuko work hard without
getting discouraged and let them push forward strongly on their own paths to
Please send my warmest regards from you to Father who is on the
battlefield. I was not able to send any other letter.
Also, since there was time en route to my duty, I visited the home of
Uncle Okuno in Ōsaka. Aunt was on the way to Nabari ,
so regrettably I was not able to see her. However, Uncle made me exceedingly
From you please give him my kindest regards.
As for my younger brother Tadahiro's future, please decide after
consulting carefully with Uncle Owari and Uncle Okuno. The matter of
Tadahiro is my only regret. Please decide on the best path for him. I ask
this of you.
Like a cherry blossom that falls, I will fall splendidly into an enemy
ship and shatter as a jewel. If Father hears the circumstances of my fall, I
am assured that he certainly will gladly say, "Toshimune, you did well."
Mother, Father, Tadahiro, and Setsuko, at the same time that I will be
praying from a corner of the skies that you may live happily forever and
ever in good health, I will be watching over everyone's shining future. Now
I will depart.
Praying for happiness for the family's future, I will stop writing. Thank
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 104-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 104) and Osuo (2005, 211).