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Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps
(1971)

 
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Takeshi Takeda to His Father

At 1232 on April 12, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Takeshi Takeda took off from Kanoya Air Base as radio telegraph operator in a Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) carrying an ōka rocket-powered glider bomb. He was a member in the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 3rd Ōka Squadron. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 18 one day before his 19th birthday. He was from Nagano Prefecture and was a member of the 12th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Father,

I also am in the splendid Special Attack Corps. Next spring is coming quickly. It is planned that we will have a leave from base at New Year's. Therefore, I want to eat my favorite food. That is mochi (pounded sticky rice).

Today there is a special rest leave. At New Year's I definitely can get a leave. However, it is not possible to meet you. Therefore, I will eat mochi and bravely die with my comrade Tanaka.

Father, I think that you also already are prepared. Definitely please send your plan by New Year's Day. My lodging (tentatively decided) is with a woman, man, and one child.

I will eat mochi and knock down an enemy aircraft carrier, like Jōji [1], ha ha ha.

Finally, I pray that you will have great health and happiness. Give my regards to everyone. Also to Aunt in Yotsuya and Mother in Hosono.

I, a man who will not return, will go. Farewell.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter comes from Matsugi (1971, 175-6). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Matsugi (1971, 175) and Osuo (2005, 187).

Note

1. The meaning of this reference is not known.

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.