Last Writings of Corporal Takamasa Senda
On May 27, 1945, Army Corporal Takamasa Senda took off from Bansei Air Base
as a member of the 72nd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special (suicide) attack
off Okinawa at the age of 18, he received a
four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Fusō Town in Aichi Prefecture and was a
member of the 15th Class of the Army's Youth Pilot (Shōhi) Program.
He wrote the following final letter:
This is written on May 18, 1945.
Tomorrow I finally will go into battle. It is scheduled that I will crash
into a carrier at 7:30. I will make a sortie smiling.
It is already 23:00. Tomorrow I must wake up at O 
o'clock and depart. Since I cannot read clearly the characters that I am
writing in the moonlight, it is like this.
I wish for everyone's success. Please go to Fukuyama's place 
because there are things that I left behind there.
In the moonlight, early tomorrow morning I will make a sortie for a
There is nothing that surpasses this as my long-cherished desire.
I expect a certain sinking. Since tomorrow will be my sortie, I apologize
for tonight being early. Give my regards to my older brothers.
Look at my skill.
Please send a photo to Reiko at Hiryūsō .
He also wrote the following before his death:
Certain sinking, instant sinking, and again, instant sinking.
My request, only sake.
Certain sinking that I will cause is definite.
I who am delighted will make taiatari (body-crashing) attack.
For my posthumous Buddhist name, I ask that you not forget the kanji
(Chinese character) of jun (meaning "pure"), and there is no need to say
things like, "ah, how sad." I do not have one sad thing. I am only full of
I will have no remains. Nothing of my body will be left behind. I do not
need something like a cemetery. Rather than a cemetery, I would like
applause. Perhaps the kamisamadana (household shrine) is better than
the butsudan (Buddhist household altar) for my mortuary tablet.
Next I'll talk of the past. Why did I quit technical school in the second
year of high school? Why did I join Kawasaki Aircraft Industries? Above all
I wanted to be a pilot. I was overjoyed. My apologies to my parents.
Bullets are mine
Waiting anxiously to set out on farewell
Smile my friends, tonight's food
Please eat even my portion
Carrying huge torpedo on wing
My specialty is taiatari (body crashing)
What a joy, ships to attack
Columns of fire and water will rise up
If man falls, it is as cherry blossom
After falling, it will bloom again at Kudan 
Going to fall, torpedo attack spirit
Smiling and blooming, Yamato  spirit
The following 72nd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron poems were written by Senda:
Shining circle of sun on wings
See in eyes, fervent fighting spirit
Carrying a heavy bomb
To fall will be instant sinking of enemy ship
Ah, we the 72nd Squadron
Leaving nest from Pyongyang
We twelve young cherry blossoms
Image of mother hidden in heart
To fall will be taiatari (body-crashing) attack
Ah, flowers of 72nd Squadron
Targeted prey, enemy aircraft carrier
What, carrier-based fighters seen
Charging in for instant sinking
Great battle results with rising columns of smoke
Ah, 72nd Squadron for special attacks
Ah, 72nd Squadron for special attacks
72nd Shinbu Squadron, Takamasa Senda
Writings translated by Bill Gordon
The writings on this page come from Naemura
(1993, 148-9). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 187), Naemura (1993, 147), and Osuo (2005,
1. The "O" indicates that the time was crossed out
in the letter. This could mean that the information was a military secret
and could not be included in the letter. It may have been censored by a superior
2. Fukuyama was a person who provided lodging and
meals while Senda and the rest of the 72nd Shinbu Squadron were at Metabaru Air
Base in Saga Prefecture (Naemura 1991, 148, Note 1).
3. Reiko Yamashita was the daughter of the owners
of Hiryūsō Inn in Kaseda City where Army Special Attack Corps pilots sometimes
stayed and ate (Naemura 1991, 148, Note 2).
4. Kudan is a hill in Tōkyō where Yasukuni Jinja
(Shrine) is located. Yasukuni Jinja is Japan's national shrine to honor spirits
of soldiers killed in battle.
5. Yamato is a poetic name for Japan.
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
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.