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Last Letter of Corporal Kōshirō Itō to His Parents

On June 8, 1945, Corporal Kōshirō Itō took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 20. He was a member of the 48th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He grew up in Akita Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.

He wrote the following final letter addressed to his parents:

Dear Father and Mother,

The time has come, and I received the imperial command for a sortie. Now I will make a sortie. There is no long-cherished desire of a young man of Yamato (Japan) that surpasses this.

Smiling, I will live for an eternal cause. It is truly inexcusable that I caused you many worries for a long time. Please forgive me.

I will live up to your expectations with hissatsu hitchū (certain-death, sure-hit).

I sincerely ask your upbringing of my younger brothers and sisters.

Please send letters of thanks to the persons who supported me.

Farewell forever.

Finally, I pray for your good health.

31st, at sortie [1]


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
February 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 147, 159) and Osuo (2005, 202).


1. Apparently Itō's sortie was delayed, since he did not take off from Chiran Air Base until June 8.

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.