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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Tadao Nishimiya

On June 21, 1945, Second Lieutenant Tadao Nishimiya took off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 26th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 22. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Ibaraki Prefecture, attended Senshū University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.

He wrote the following final letter with a death poem in tanka form (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7) at the end:

I truly have no excuse for not being able to show you anything like filial piety in the twenty plus years since I received life and instead causing you only worries.

Recently I have been developing with nothing like any illness. I am only extremely grateful at this time when now I am able to accomplish a man's long-cherished desire as a member of the air force.

What I like very much is "liquor."

A dedicated child of warrior of Japan
Expecting only to hit enemy ship

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
May 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 149, 163) and Osuo (2005, 196).

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.

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