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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Genrō Hayashi to Brothers, Sisters, and Former Teacher

On April 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Genrō Hayashi took off from Miyakonojō West Airfield and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 25. He was a member of the 1st Special Shinbu Squadron. 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 Captain. He was from Okayama Prefecture and was a member of the 8th Class of the Army's Officer Cadet (Kanbu Kōhosei) training program.

He wrote the following final letter to his brothers, sisters, and former teacher:

Special attack, putting my life on the line in certain death

Older Brother Eisai

I will go smiling.

Older Brother Takaaki

Because of you, I have obtained what I have today. I was not able to repay any of your kindness, but I think that this is the best repayment of your kindness. Smiling until the end, I am determined to attack expecting success. Give my warm regards to Older Sister.

Older Brother Eisai

There is nothing to say. I ask you to take care of things afterwards. I was not able to do anything for my brothers and sisters. It is inexcusable that I caused you only worries. Please do your service in high spirits.

Older Sister Sachiko

I am going. With joy and courage, there is nothing to say. You took care of me along with my older brothers. There is no way to thank you for this. I pray for your good health and happiness forever. I certainly will sink a ship.

Older Sister Yoshiko

It has come about that I will give my life as a member of the honored Special Attack Corps. Please truly be glad. Please report it to our parents. I ask you to do the cleaning of their gravesite. I caused many troubles for you. I request again a favor to take care of our brothers and sisters. Please be in high spirits and always do your best. Please give my regards to the village head and others in the village and to our neighbors. Also give my regards to all of the representatives, especially Chūda, Miwa, and Akagi in Niimi.

Shigeru

I have nothing to say. Please follow what I have told you up to now. Enter the military, and do not be second to others. You are a man. Do not cry. Do your best to the end.

Tomoko

Please be in high spirits and do your best. Do not bother your older sisters. I happily will make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack into an American ship. Work with a taiatari spirit. Carefully look after things concerning Tomiko and Noriko. Be in good health.

Tomiko

Study and work in high spirits. Do not be lazy. Do not bother your older sisters. Smiling I will fall together with my airplane.

Kanaoka-sensei

I have been selected for the honored special attack. I joyfully will go. Today I deeply appreciate your great affection and care. But I believe this repayment of your care will make you the happiest. Please forgive me if it does not turn out well. I go believing deeply in success. Even though unfortunately it ends unsuccessfully, my spirit has this feeling. I will die smiling. No, I will absolutely do it. I will do it. Give my regards to Ono. Give my regards to Ichirō and everyone at the school. Please forgive my sloppy writing. I will grieve if my one plane does not hit a thousand ships. Even if the Emperor's land becomes burnt, please do your best. I expect certain future victory.

I will sink a ship instantly.

April 5, 1500 [1]

Long live His Majesty the Emperor.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter comes from Terai (1977, 9-11). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 199) and Osuo (2005, 207).

Note

1. 1500 is 3 p.m. in military time.

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.