Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory
Flight Trainees (1) (2004)
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Keishi Hirama to His Parents
At 1124 on April 12, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Keishi Hirama took
off from Kushira Air Base as navigator/observer in a Type 97 Carrier Attack
Bomber (Allied code name of Kate) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Hachiman Gokō 
Squadron from Usa Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa
at the age of 18. He was from Miyagi Prefecture and was a member of the 12th Kō
Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter just five hours before his sortie:
The decisive battle is just about to run with blood.
I suppose that you are fervent in your work that keeps you very busy.
Please forgive me for not having free time to write since I have been
very busy with my military duties.
This morning I received an order for a special attack. Now I happily ride
my roaring plane to support the Imperial fortunes.
Older Brother Hikoshi, you are probably not waiting for me and fighting
with underwater attacks.
Younger Sister Setsuko, please obey the instructions of our parents and
work hard at your studies.
Parents, take good care of yourselves.
Well then, I am going.
April 12, 1945, 6:12 a.m.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kojima
(2004, 39). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(2004, 39) and Osuo (2005, 216).
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. Gokō means "protecting the Emperor" in Japanese.
Kojima, Keizō, ed. 2004. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei isho
• iei • ikōshū (1) (Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (1)). Tōkyō: Unabarakai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.