Miyakonojō Air Base
Hayate Special Attack
Shinbu Unit (1977)
Last Letter of Corporal Takeo Kakehashi to His Parents
On May 25, 1945, Corporal Takeo Kakehashi took
off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 57th Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of
19. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After
his death in a special attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He
was from Okayama City and was a member of the 15th Class of the Army Youth
Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following final letter:
Thank you for the care that you have shown to me for a long time. I
finally will go and fall for the Emperor and country.
It is certainly natural for a living person to die. Still more, to what
can I compare the joy of carrying out an important mission to protect the
Empire and being able to live for an eternal cause?
Even though I fall, I will not forget your great kindness in raising me
with your love for 19 years. It is inexcusable that I was not able to show
you any filial piety and to ask for your peace of mind. However, I think
that my final loyalty will be filial piety, so please forgive me. There is
nothing more to focus on when a military man has received once an order for
a mission. Today I am full of vigor and have only an attack spirit where I
will not stop until I with my Hayate fighter polished to a shine will
take aim at an aircraft carrier, make a crash dive, and instantly sink it.
Parents, please do not grieve at all even though I have fallen. Please
say bravo, our child did well. Until the Empire wins, I believe that there
will be no end of persons who will follow after us. There is no joy for me
other than your being able to be happy. Please take very good care of
yourselves and strive as long as possible for the country. I will not stop
praying to the gods in my hope for only this.
April 18, 1945 
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Terai (1977, 82). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 200), Osuo (2005, 199), and Terai (1977, 82).
1. On March 29, 1945, three weeks before the
letter's date, the 57th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron was formed at Akeno Air
Base in Ibaraki Prefecture (Osuo 2005, 199).
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, Shun'ichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate
Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit).