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Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps
(1971)

 
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Tsugio Take to His Parents

At 0618 on May 4, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Tsugio Take took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero Fighter Trainer carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack east of Okinawa at the age of 18. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 4th Shinken Squadron. He was from Kagoshima Prefecture and was a member of the 12th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program). After completion of training, he became a member of the Ōmura Naval Air Group.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Father and Mother,

I truly thank you for the many things that you did for me during the long period of 20 years [1]. Today when I was able to become an Imperial Navy fighter crewman is the crystallization of your love for me. I am sorry that I caused Mother to worry often about many things when I was young. I was a happy person when I graduated from elementary school and went to junior high school. I expected that Mother would dislike getting up early in the morning when I was in junior high school, but she did her very best for me. Mother, I thank you again for your care in getting me to and from school so that I was not late or absent even one time. Despite this, I was not able to show any filial piety to you. However, now I will die honorably for the Empire. In regards to having this good place to die, there is not anything that surpasses this as the long-cherished desire of a young man. Certainly I will attack and sink an enemy ship.

Please have peace of mind. Today I will depart and go as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shinken Squadron. When you get notification of my death in battle, please be glad and say, "Tsugio did well!" I trust that you will not be disappointed at all. Mother, please be glad. Do not weep at all. You also will be the mother of an Imperial Navy aircraft crewman.

Soon, please make Noriyuki a person who will serve the country. That is my final request. Noriyuki already is a person who has come of age. Like I chose to be a military man following your real hopes, please do what you and Noriyuki think best. I have no complaints. The war has been very long. Sometime Noriyuki also will go away to battle. Although we two both die in battle, there are still my older sister Shizu and my younger sister Sumi. In this world there still will be a family other than us that must be appreciated.

I arranged various things that I do not need. Please take care of yourselves and do your best until victory in the end. Please give my regards to my uncle and aunt and to all of the neighbors. Born as a man, without sparing anything I will go and fall like a young cherry blossom.

From Tsugio


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter comes from Matsugi (1971, 183-5). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 183) and Osuo (2005, 202).

Note

1. 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 explains why the letter indicates his age as 20 whereas the current way of counting age based on his birth date in Matsugi (1971, 183) indicates that his age was 18 at time of death.

Sources Cited

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

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