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Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps: Collected last
letters of youth that
would not return
(1983)

 
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Tatsuzō Suzuki to His Parents

At 1400 on February 21, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Tatsuzō Suzuki took off from Hachijōjima Airfield as radio operator/gunner in a Tenzan carrier attack bomber (Allied code name of Jill) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Mitate Squadron. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Iwo Jima (Iōtō) at the age of 19. He was from Tōkyō Prefecture and was a member of the 17th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following last letter:

Dear Father and Mother,

I think that you must have hardships in your daily work as you approach old age. I am full of high spirits up to today and have been working hard at my military duties with burning energy. Recently it has come about that I will hasten to the grand battleground as a selected member of the Special Attack Corps. Now my heart is full of joy to have been born as a man. The day that had to come at last has come. Of course, there is no expectation at all of returning alive. However, as is usual for a human being, my heart is full of many emotions. (portion omitted)

This is my final hair. It is dirty, but please keep it.

P.S. - Please tell Tomoharu [1] Inoue that I was not able to write a last letter to him. Furthermore, I am sending my money since I do not need it. From this please take a small amount of 50 yen and deliver teaching materials to the national school.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
December 2018

The letter on this page comes from Kitagawa (1983, 81-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes Kitagawa (1983, 81) and Osuo (2005, 227).

Note

1. The pronunciation of his given name of 友治 is not certain. Both Tomoharu and Yūji are common pronunciations.

Sources Cited

Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1983. Sōretsu kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho shū (Heroic Kamikaze Special Attack Corps: Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.

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