Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letter of Ensign Cadet Toshio Kurimura to His Family
On April 16, 1945, Ensign Cadet Toshio Kurimura took off
from Kushira Air Base as navigator/observer in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of
Kate) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Goō Hakuro  Squadron
from Himeji Naval Air Group. He died in
a special (suicide) attack off Kadena on the west coast of Okinawa at the age of 22. He
Prefecture, attended Waseda University in Tōkyō, and was a member of
the 1st Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Seito).
He wrote the following final letter to his family:
I will write a short letter.
Tomorrow I will make a sortie. Finally the time has come for me also to
be useful, and there is nothing that gives me such joy.
Father, Mother, causing you worry, I will go ahead before you. Please
forgive me. When you hear the news that I died, please praise me for
certainly sinking at once a ship.
Older Brother, Older Sister, I ask that you show filial piety in place of
Older Sister, even I do not know the time that I will go. I earnestly ask
that you care for our parents and Younger Sister. I truly was comforted when
I was able to see you the other day.
Even you, Fumiko, know the seriousness of the war situation. As a
Japanese person, please strive more and more and give first priority to your
duties. Do not forget me. Whatever may happen, do not lose your feminine
cheerful spirit and your gentle beautiful heart. Your duties as a woman are
about to expand when it becomes urgent, and you must be strong to not be
Sada-chan and Aya-chan, take care. You are studying hard.
Give my regards also to Older Sister Shizuko. Give my regards also to our
relatives and neighbors.
Everybody, please take care of yourselves. Until we win, you have
precious bodies. I also, until the day that we win, dying several times I
will be born again in order to attack and destroy the enemy.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 180-1). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 180) and Osuo (2005, 221).
1. The word Goō means "protecting the Emperor."
Hakuro (白鷺), also pronounced as shirasagi, means white egret. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th
century, has the name of Shirasagi Castle or Hakuro Castle. The squadron's
pronunciation of Hakuro comes from several Japanese sources including the
following article from Sankei News dated May 23, 2017: "Hakuro-tai no tokkō
ni shiryō de semaru: Himeji-shi heiwa shiryōkan de ihin nado 200-ten tenji"
(Approaching the special attacks of Hakuro Squadrons through source material:
200 objects displayed at Himeji City Peace Museum) <https://www.sankei.com/region/news/170523/rgn1705230024-n1.html>
(January 13, 2020).
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.