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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 Gakusei).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Parents,

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 neighborhood association.

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.

Farewell.

Miyoko was Tadayoshi Kawahara's younger sister. Kazuhito, Takumi, and Shigeru were his younger brothers.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter comes from Matsugi (1971, 170-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 170) and Osuo (2005, 213).

Sources Cited

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.