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Last Letter of Captain Yoshio Itsui to His Son

On April 1, 1945, Captain Yoshio Itsui took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack south of Kerama Rettō at the age of 32. He was the Squadron Leader of the 23rd Shinbu Squadron and piloted an Army Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied nickname of Sonia) [1]. After his death in a special attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. He grew up in Saitama Prefecture and was in the 20th Class of the Army's Second Lieutenant Cadets.

Itsui wrote the following final letter to his son who was four months old:

Dear Yoshinori,

I am leaving this letter for you, Yoshinori.

In the spring of the fifth year of the Greater East Asia War, I will die as the 23rd Shinbu Squadron Commander of the honorable Special Attack Corps.

Even though it is regrettable that I will not see you grow up since I am going away, I will watch over you as I live for an eternal cause.

Please obey your mother, study hard, and become a good Japanese man as a child of the Emperor.

In the future when you grow up, it is fine to do whatever you desire. Please as my child go forward so to not be dishonorable in any way.

Your mother has shown great concern for you. Not forgetting her compassion, become a fine person and show devotion to her.

You should take care of yourself and be healthy in both spirit and body.

From Father
March 9, 1945

Yoshio Itsui's son Yoshinori died of malnutrition at the age of seven months. Itsui also had two daughters who were four and two years old at the time of his death.

Although the above letter is dated more than three weeks prior to Itsui's sortie on April 1, 1945, the 23rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron had been formed at Shimoshizu Air Base in Chiba Prefecture on February 14, 1945.

Itsui also left the following short writing translated to English:

The final settlement of accounts of my life
There is nothing to say

Captain Itsui

"Nothing to say" is a literal translation that indicates that there is "no complaint."


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 97, 166), Hara (2004, 187), Kawatoko (2008, 35-8), and Osuo (2005, 50-1, 195).


1. Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 183) indicates that Itsui piloted a Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar), but Hara (2004, 187) and Osuo (2005, 50-1, 195) state that he piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane.

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.

Hara, Katsuhiro. 2004. Shinsō kamikaze tokkō: Hisshi hitchū no 300 nichi (Kamikaze special attack facts: 300 days of certain-death, sure-hit attacks). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.

Kawatoko, Takeshi. 2008. The Mind of the Kamikaze. Minamikyūshū City, Kagoshima Prefecture: The Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.