Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Jūjirō Kitamura to His Aunt
On June 27, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Jūjirō
Kitamura died at the age of 21 when submarine I-165, which was carrying two
kaiten manned torpedoes, was sunk by a US Navy patrol plane east of Saipan. On June 15,
1945, submarine I-165 made a sortie from Hikari Kaiten Base in Yamaguchi
Prefecture with 104 crewmen and two kaiten pilots who were members of the Kaiten
Special Attack Corps Todoroki Unit. All men on board died when the submarine
was attacked. Kitamura was from Nagano Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Kō Class
of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program). He received a
promotion to Ensign after his death, which was recognized by the Navy as part of
a special (suicide) attack.
Kitamura wrote the following final letter to his aunt:
Since soon will be farewell to life, I really want to see my parents,
brothers, and sisters , but from the beginning this ended.
I want to go to our old home in Nagano and to see Grandfather and
Grandmother, but there is no free time.
Aunt, now there is only one request for you. Tell my parents in Taiwan,
"Above and beyond a child's thinking of his parents, I am thinking of the
country." If you give only this message to them, I have no other regrets.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Mainichi Shinbunsha
(1968, 172). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Konada and Kataoka (2006, 272-5, 374-5), Mainichi Shinbunsha
(1968, 172), and Mediasion (2006, 62-4, 85).
1. The number of brothers and sisters is not
specified in the letter. He may have had one or more brothers and one or more
Photo taken at time of sortie of submarine I-165.
Jūjirō Kitamura (front row on far left) is carrying a white
box with ashes of Yoshihito Yazaki, who died during
training at Hikari Kaiten Base on March 16, 1945.
Konada, Toshiharu, and Noriaki Kataoka. 2006. Tokkō
kaiten sen: Kaiten tokkōtai taichō no kaisō (Special attack kaiten
battles: Kaiten special attack corps leader's reminiscences). Tōkyō:
Mainichi Shinbunsha, ed. 1968. Seishun on isho: "Yokaren"
senbotsusha no shuki (Last letters of youth: Writings of "Yokaren" war
dead). Tōkyō: Mainichi Shinbunsha.
The Mediasion Co. 2006. Ningen gyorai kaiten (Kaiten
human torpedo). Hiroshima: The Mediasion Co.