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Last Letters of Sergeant Major Haruo Ōhashi

On April 1, 1945, Sergeant Major Haruo Ōhashi took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack south of Kerama Rettō at the age of 26. He was a member of the 23rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted an Army Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied nickname of Sonia) [1]. After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He grew up in Gifu Prefecture and was a non-commissioned officer who entered the Army in 1938.

Ōhashi wrote one final letter to his Father and a separate one to his Mother on March 21, 1945. He expresses concern in both of them for his wife Ayako.

Dear Father,

Thank you for taking care of me for a long time. My memories will never end.

My 28 years [2], short or long, were just like a ball of thread.

Today when the decisive battle for the mainland has arrived, one hundred million persons all will attack, and everyone is a Special Attack Corps member.

I will go with this vanguard. Ah, I am delighted. Even so I fear that I will die in vain.

Father, I really hate the American fiends. The outrages in Tōkyō, Nagoya, and Ōsaka happened one after another [3]. This enemy surely, surely

We and I likewise are determined to work worthily as members of this Corps. Ayako also has become determined, but I ask that you take care of her as a woman.

She always was telling me that she wanted to go one time together to home, but this could not be realized. I also regret it, but I think Ayako does so more than I.

I believe that all of my younger brothers and sisters will strive together with one mind. Instead of you, it is regrettable that I cannot look after my younger brothers and sisters.

I pray that in all seasons more and more you will be mindful of your health and will fight for our country. In the current circumstances, I imagine your pains in dealing with rationing.

On the day just when nirvana is reached, soon a cherry blossom also will bloom and fall.

Please give my regards to all of our neighbors.

March 21, 1945


Dear Mother,

I trust that you are in good health as usual.

My 28 years were like a dream.

You hard work and patience on my behalf for these 28 years are engraved on my heart.

Today also I will go bravely.

You together with Father have provided excellent care to Ayako. You have made it peaceful and decent for her up to today. Also, I thank you deeply and warmly for the gift of your strength, Father and Mother.

Mother, from now on, please look after Ayako still more. Also, not being able to give her a formal wedding ceremony, she always told me that she wanted to return home together with me one time, but that could not happen. Since she is not yet close with the neighbors, I think that her being alone suddenly will be a great hardship.

Mother, as a woman with a woman, please take good care of Ayako. Finally, I pray for your health. I must be going now.

March 21, 1945


Ōhashi wrote the following letter to his three younger sisters:

Sanae, Shizue, and Yasue,

You three all are getting older.

Now I am going to carry out a useful act.

All of you, be well. When you three become adults, all of you be fine persons.

Never look at outward appearances. Even though there is a limit to what is underneath, there is not a limit to what is above. Even so, do not spare your individual efforts.

I am relying on you for young Kimie. Take the place of me for my younger brothers. Since now I cannot possibly look after you all as an older brother, please do not feel badly.

If you see my classmates, please give them my regards.

Pardon me for leaving now. I pray for your success.


He wrote the following letter to his three younger brothers:

Shirō, Toshi, and Yasuhiko,

Finally the day of the sortie has come.

I will die smiling for my country, for my family, and for my hometown.

Now it seems that the enemy is waiting eagerly around Okinawa. Believing in final victory, I will fight bravely.

I pray for your success.

From your older brother

Letters translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letters and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 49-56), Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 97, 183), Hara (2004, 187), and Osuo (2005, 195).


1. Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 183) indicates that Ōhashi piloted a Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar), but Hara (2004, 187) and Osuo (2005, 50-1, 195) state that he piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane.

2. The traditional Japanese method of counting age, as in much of East Asia, regards a child as age one at birth and adds an additional year on each New Year's day thereafter. This most likely explains why the letter indicates his age as 28 whereas the background information in Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 97) gives his age at death as 26.

3. American B-29 Superfortress Bombers carried out massive nighttime fire bombing raids on Tōkyō during on March 9-10, on Nagoya on March 11-2, and on Ōsaka on March 13-4.

Sources Cited

Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (Chiran Girls' High School Nadeshiko Association), ed. 1996. Gunjō: Chiran tokkō kichi yori (Deep blue: From Chiran special attack forces air base). Originally published in 1979. Kagoshima City: Takisyobō.

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.

Hara, Katsuhiro. 2004. Shinsō kamikaze tokkō: Hisshi hitchū no 300 nichi (Kamikaze special attack facts: 300 days of certain-death, sure-hit attacks). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.

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