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Last Letter of Corporal Matsuo Masubuchi to His Parents

On May 25, 1945, Corporal Matsuo Masubuchi took off from Bansei Air Base as a member of the 432nd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He piloted a Type 2 Advanced Trainer. After his death in a special attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Tochigi Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Koga Pilot Training School in Ibaraki Prefecture.

He wrote the following final letter to his parents:

I think that this letter will be the last. There is nothing to write. Be in good health.

Army Corporal Matsuo Masubuchi

He also wrote the following death poems in tanka form (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7). Based on the poems' contents, the first two may have been written prior to his assignment to the Special Attack Corps.

For the Emperor I value my life
Happy to live for a great cause

Not having regrets in this world
I under the sun a fifth son

Takashi, I definitely rely on you!

With sincerity at drinking party with young ladies
I will retaliate and instantly sink a ship

Blizzard of flowers that fall bravely for Emperor
Fragrantly blooming when shatter in strike

The following was a final note written to fellow 432nd Shinbu Squadron member Corporal Hisanari Matsumoto, who died in a special attack on May 28, 1945, three days after Masubuchi's death:

Meet and part, part and meet
Together in Divine Eagles Special Attack Corps

When I think back about you, at Koga we improved our skills together in the same glider unit, and at Sendai in the same section we shared together joys and sorrows. At Ping'an (in Manchuria) we parted. As inseparably bound comrades, we were selected together for the Special Attack Corps, and we will be together even when we fall. Together let's do our best.

Corporal Masubuchi


Letters and poems translated by Bill Gordon
October 2018

The letters and poems come from Naemura (1993, 158). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 164), Naemura (1993, 158), and Osuo (2005, 207).

Sources Cited

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.

Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō Shuppan.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.