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Last Letters of Lieutenant Yukio Seki to His Wife's Parents and Wife

Lieutenant Yukio Seki died in a special (suicide) attack on October 25, 1944, at the age of 23 as leader of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shikishima Squadron from the 201st Naval Air Group. He led five Zero fighters carrying 250-kg bombs that took off from Mabalacat Airfield in the Philippines, and he is credited officially with carrying out the first organized Kamikaze Corps attack.

The first Kamikaze Unit, which included 23 Zero fighter pilots and Yukio Seki as the commander, was formed in the early morning of October 20, 1944. The Shikishima Squadron made its first sortie from Mabalacat Airfield on October 21, but the five pilots returned to base when no enemy ships could be located. The same thing happened for three more days, until on October 25 enemy ships were located.

Seki was from Saijō City in Ehime Prefecture and graduated in the 70th Class of the Naval Academy at Etajima. He was promoted two ranks to Commander after his death in a special attack.

He wrote the following final letter addressed to the parents of his wife Mariko who was from Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture. Seki's mother lived alone in Saijō City in Ehime Prefecture, and his father passed away in 1941.

Dear Father and Mother,

To Mother in Saijō, please forgive me for causing you hardships since I was very young and for my lack of filial piety.

Now standing at the crossroads of victory or defeat for the Empire, I am determined to repay the Emperor's grace with my own body. There is nothing that surpasses this as the long-cherished desire of a military man.

As for my Parents in Kamakura, please forgive me for going without being able to repay your kindness of truly loving me from the heart.

I am determined to repay the Emperor's grace by carrying out a taiatari (body-crashing) attack on an aircraft carrier with my own body for the Empire of Japan.

Yukio

Seki also wrote the following final letter to his wife who he married in the spring of 1944:

Dear Mariko,

I am truly sorry for going to fall without being able to do anything for you.

Even without words, I think that you, with readiness as the wife of a military man, are sufficiently able. Please keep in mind to show filial piety to your Parents. I write now before my departure while many memories come to me.

I hope that Emi and her young boy also will be in high spirits.

Emi was Mariko's younger sister.

He also wrote the following to his students in the 42nd Class of Flight Students at Kasumigaura Naval Air Group where he was an instructor from January to June 1944:

My students, fall like mountain cherry blossoms.


Letters translated by Bill Gordon
December 2018

The letters comes from Nemoto (2003, 53-4). The biographical information comes from Kamikaze Tokkō Shikishima-tai (1975, 18, 20-1), Matsugi (1971, 45), Nemoto (2003, 51-5), and Osuo (2005, 158).

Sources Cited

Kamikaze Tokkō Shikishima-tai Go Gunshin Hōsankai (Kamikaze Special Attack Shikishima Squadron Five War Heroes Support Association). 1975. Shikishima-tai go gunshin no shirube (Guide to Shikishima Squadron five war heroes). Privately published by Naramoto Jinja.

Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.

Nemoto, Junzen. 2003. Shikishima-tai shi e no itsukakan: Shinpū tokkōtaichō Seki Yukio to yonin no wakamono no saigo (Shikishima Squadron's five days to death: End of Shinpū special attack squadron leader Yukio Seki and four young men). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.

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