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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 [1] 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:

Dear Parents,

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
September 2018

The letter comes from Kojima (2004, 39). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kojima (2004, 39) and Osuo (2005, 216).

Note

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.

Sources Cited

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.