On May 28, 1945, Second Lieutenant Kunihiko Suzuki took off from Chiran Air Base
and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 20. He was
a member of the 45th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted an Army Ki-45
Army Type 2 Toryū Fighter (Allied nickname of Nick). After his death in a special attack, he
received a promotion to Captain. He was from Aichi Prefecture and graduated from
the Imperial Japanese Army Air Academy in the 57th Class.
Suzuki wrote the following final letters and other writings, including
letters to persons living in Haramachi (Fukushima Prefecture) where he had been
stationed at Haramachi Air Base for some time. The several poems in his last
writings have been indented, and separate writings have been separated with an
Greater Asia, hear wind blowing
Pacific Ocean, see waves drawing near
Ah, dark clouds in our path
Plane wings at last in high spirits
It truly is a time of crisis for the Empire. Many seniors and classmates
have given their blood for their country and have died gloriously.
On February 8, 1945, I received an Imperial command and was chosen to be
a member of the Special Attack Corps. There is nothing greater than this as
an honor for a warrior, and I only am glad that I have been blessed with the
fortune of war.
I absolutely will strive to complete my mission.
Kukimoto  and Umehara, who with short-lived
indignation first died gloriously in the southern seas and entrusted
to us what would happen afterward, I earnestly pray that you guide me.
Dear Parents and Grandmother,
Thank you for bringing me up for a long time. Now I have obtained a
splendid place to die and will fall as a shield for the Emperor. It is the
supreme honor for a military man. I will decay happily at the sea's bottom.
Finally, I pray that you will have long lives of 100 years.
To my siblings,
I as the mainstay of the children was only selfish. Now when I think
about it, I cannot bear the shame of intimidating you. However, I was such
an older or younger brother, but since I offered myself to the skies, I
obtained the opportunity for a noble and splendid death. Please be glad.
Older Sister, there are no words for me to express properly my
appreciation to you. I rely on you for things afterward.
When wind blows
Prepared in advance
A cherry tree
To my former teachers and seniors to whom I owe a debt of gratitude,
For a long time you have given me various guidance and teaching, and
thanks to you it will be for the country with the supreme honor for a
warrior. Thank you.
True heart of warrior
Bow of azusa (catalpa) wood to serve
To my classmates,
I always appreciate your friendship.
Long live the fighting birds of the 57th class. The war is now. I rely on
you to take care of matters afterward.
How the young officers of the 57th class will be blessed to be in time
for the greatest decisive battle for the country's fate and what is more
will serve as the core.
To Matsuura, Itakura, Furuhashi, and persons in Haramachi,
I, who did not yet know any kindness after having just graduated from the
Academy, do not know how to best express my appreciation for your kindness
that you always pleasantly after graduation let me and my classmates forget
the loneliness of a far-off place, showed us kind care in a family-like
atmosphere, let us forget our mental exhaustion from rigorous flight
training, and saw us off to the front line in the skies while we had warm
memories and pure human emotions in our hearts.
Many Haramachi classmates already have given their lives for an eternal
cause. In that other world they surely must fondly remember their time at
Now I also have received an Imperial command. I will depart for a
hisshi hissatsu (certain-death, sure-kill) attack, the supreme honor for
a warrior. I believe that this is the path to be able to repay great
kindness that I received during my life. I am fortunate to be able to repay
this kindness in such a way.
I attach a lock of hair for my grave in Haramachi, which has been my
second hometown in my life of 20 years.
Enemy waves to erase white beaches of Shikishima 
Will be destroyed in great numbers on rocky shore
The road to victory in the war is faraway, but I believe that it surely
will be obtained. Everyone, please make strenuous efforts.
Finally, I am praying for everyone to succeed.
Dear Hide Matsuura,
At last I came. I am at the front line of Kyūshū. I am full of energy to
do it, and I am in high spirits. In the end Nakata was not in time and did
In any case, please rest assured since I am in high spirits.
When I go to blue skies
And cross sea to its end
I'll destroy enemy
Everyone, I pray that you will be in good health forever and ever.
(Sent to Seiju Matsuura)
To everyone in my Haramachi family,
I received your letter that brought back fond memories.
Actually, today all planes arrived here safely.
I felt calm at the station when you came to the place where I finally had
I will start life in the triangular barrack. It seems that I will suffer
from fleas and lice, but in what way? In any case I will bear them since it
will only be for about two days.
I would have liked to have received a letter here, but there is not
enough time for it to arrive after coming to Chiran. The mission tomorrow or
the day after tomorrow is drawing near. About the time that this letter
arrives, I will be a cherry blossom at Kudan .
Won't it be a joy?
I heard that Nakata stopped by. Since you will not see him again, he saw
my letter from everyone.
Tonight a twin-engine fighter unexpectedly came, and we wondered who it
might be. Since it was Nakata, there was a great shout of joy in the
barrack. The joy of the squadron commander was extraordinary. In the
southernmost part of Japan, I could not have imagined in a dream tasting
dried persimmons from my hometown in the north. Here there are many
classmates, and nearly all of them are squadron commanders. We really should
not be in such high spirits.
On May 5, precisely the day that I returned to Haramachi, Second
Lieutenant Kawaguchi entered the number of those who did not return.
Two of three classmates who were at "Uokin" died in battle. Now Second
Lieutenant Hoshino made a sortie today. Second Lieutenant Kawahara of
"Marukawa" is living. I by chance met him. It seems that we two already are
old-timers at this airfield.
In comparison to Ozuki , there seems to be
here a strong feeling of a southern land. The cicadas singing in chorus do
not stop, and butterflies are flying about. Even in a single short-sleeved
shirt, it is stuffy inside the triangular barrack probably because the roof
Since I am living entirely in the woods, I have not been able to
experience local customs and human kindness, but strong sunshine has added
to the darkness of my face. Now my smile is like an advertisement for Sumoka
toothpaste. If I did not have my smile, you would not know where is my
The home of Kukimoto is nearby, but I cannot go in this situation like
the home of Shimura. The reason is that I do not know when I will go.
At any rate, we saw Nakata off, and he will do perfectly in battle
formation. Please wait for him with great expectations.
I requested Sasa and also sent baggage (military uniform and shirts), so
please take care of this.
By a curious turn of fate, although at this late hour, I surprisingly
recognize that while at the same time the human course is complex and
wide-ranging, there is an exceedingly simple single "love." This is my
final, truly my final letter.
Everyone, please live long and in every way fight to the end to win.
I give regards to my brothers and sisters in my hometown. They will lose
an older brother. Please fight bravely in your work by certainly turning the
sadness of mourning for the first time toward hostility against the enemy.
I again will go to dance in a white yukata ((light cotton kimono)
at this year's Bon Festival dance.
My grave will be in Haramachi, my second hometown. Well, please excuse me
for ending here.
Since I recognize that the facilities here are not arranged well, please
laugh at my poor writing.
On certain day in May
Long live the Emperor.
Spirit of justice between heaven and earth gathers in Shinshū 
As a person who was born in the Empire and who was raised in Shinshū, I
pray for its prosperity and believe in its permanence.
Look at raging waves of Pacific and low dark clouds under Kunlun
Now the world is in the midst of its greatest upheaval. Even though it is
the natural way of things that the proud will not stay long and the powerful
inevitably will decline, as for the many difficulties and problems, a secure
and proper future lies ahead.
As an airman, now in high spirits I certainly will hasten to join the
decisive battle of the skies. There truly is no greater happiness than this.
Now what regrets are there
If I can thrive even covered with dirt and mud
Thank you for my upbringing for 20 years. Please forgive me for many
unhappy incidents that I caused during this time.
Now I also as an Imperial military man will die in a way that will not
make you ashamed.
Dying will make you happier than any other great act of filial piety
while I am alive.
As the oldest child, I repeatedly apologize that during my life I
performed no act of filial piety at all.
Dear Younger Brothers and Sisters,
When you remember that you had an older brother such as I, it is
sufficient, but please offer a cup of water on my plain-wood memorial tablet
when you have that feeling.
If you wish to follow after me, you need to consider first your bodies.
If one always values one's parents
One will give up life for Emperor
Azumao Sakura 
Pay attention to your health. I expect that your bodies will not be
bitten by even insects.
Here finally I will achieve self-transcendence.
The letters and other writings come from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 58-66). The
biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko
Kai (1996, 58) and Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 188).