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Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps
(1971)

 
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Tamao Murata to His Mother

At 1500 on April 3, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Tamao Murata took off from Kanoya Air Base in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack south of Amami Ōshima at the age of 19. He was a member of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 2nd Kenmu Squadron. He grew up in Kyōto Prefecture and was a member of the 1st Toku Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program). After completion of training, he became a member of the 721st Naval Air Group.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Mother,

This must make you surprised. You have carefully watched over and taught me up to today, but I regret that I never repaid any of your kindness. When I remember you who did this for so long, my kind older brother, and my older and younger sisters [1], my resolve wavers. However, no matter how many my concerns, the number is not that great when compared to the heart of the Emperor who has had a countless number of children snatched away in this sacred war.

Even though this body will end up in a foreign sea, please commend me and do not cry.

When you remember me, see me in the skies. There certainly you can view my figure in the shadow of my plane flying through the skies. Finally, as a request to you, have a long life by not straining yourself. Older Brother and Sisters, I ask that you show filial piety to our aged mother to take the place of my share.

(I will not be dead. Although my figure will not be before everybody, certainly I will be in the home of all of you. Along with Father who died and Older Brother at Yasukuni, I will be watching over our happy home.)


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter comes from Matsugi (1971, 187-8). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 187) and Osuo (2005, 194).

Note

1. The Japanese word (shimai) can indicate either one or more older sisters and one or more younger sisters.

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.