Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letter of Ensign Tadayoshi Kawahara to His Parents
At 1245 on April 11, 1945, Ensign Tadayoshi Kawahara took off from Kokubu No.
1 Air Base as pilot of a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a
special (suicide) attack east of Okinawa at the age of 21. He was a member of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 210th Butai Zero Fighter Squadron from the
210th Naval Air Group. He
was from Fukuoka Prefecture, attended Fukuoka 1st Teachers College, and was a
member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi
He wrote the following final letter:
I now will make a sortie. I want to depart with a calm state of mind. I
have no regrets. There is not anything else other than appreciation for your
great kindness for more than 20 years. It is regrettable that there was not
something that I did for you. I pray with much sincerity for the prosperity of
the Kawahara Family. Give my regards to Fujita and also to everyone in the
To Miyoko: Strive to refine your feminine virtues to not be ashamed as
Japanese woman. You have a determined spirit. Please cultivate this even
more as your strong point, and be a harmonious person. Please live happily.
To Kazuhito: How are you doing now? After we met at Mie Air Group, I
wanted to see you again, but in the end it did not work out. Please work
without causing too many worries for our parents. I ask that you also take
care of my part. Go forward with strong determination.
To Takumi and Shigeru: Please get along well together and study. If you
argue, you will cause worries for Mother and Father. I will make a taiatari
(body-crashing) attack into an enemy ship. When you both become big, please
take your revenge.
Miyoko was Tadayoshi Kawahara's younger sister. Kazuhito,
Takumi, and Shigeru were his younger brothers.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 166-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 166) and Osuo (2005, 213).
Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps).
Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.