Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Kenji Tomizawa
Kenji Tomizawa was born in March 1922 and grew up in Tōkyō Prefecture. After
accelerated graduation in September 1943 from Tokyo's Chūō University Commerce
Department, he entered the 1st Class of the Army's Special Cadet Pilot program.
In October 1944, he graduated from Kumagaya Army Flight School Atsugi
Training Unit and was promoted to Second Lieutenant. In November, he was
assigned to the Tachiarai Flight School Kiwaki Training Unit in Miyazaki
Prefecture. In January 1945, he transferred to Shimoshizu Airfield in Chiba
On March 23, 1945, he become a member of the 62nd Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron when it was formed at Shimoshizu Airfield. On April 6, 1945, he died in
a suicide attack when his squadron's Type 99 Assault Planes (Allied nickname of
Sonia) took off from Bansei Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture. He was 23 years of
age at the time of his death.
Tomizawa wrote the following last letter to his family:
I trust that everyone has been doing well recently.
I am dearly grateful that you went to all the trouble to come visit me the
other day in such a busy time. Since my injury is already healed, do not worry.
At last for me also the time of final service has arrived. I very deeply
appreciate my special upbringing until now. I am one who lacked courage, but
please do speak well of me.
In order to destroy our enemy, I will summon courage with all my might and
will go to strike. We are the ones to deliver the country from the current
crisis. Taking pride in this, I will surely do it. My comrades have already done
it. Even right now my comrades, believing in those who will follow after them,
are striking the enemy. Shall I keep silent? Shall I try to be quiet about this? Father, Mother, please do congratulate me.
Brother, sister, please take care of Father and Mother.
I surely will be protecting everybody from the eternal faraway skies in
Nansei Shotō (Okinawa and other islands in archipelago that stretch south of
Kyushu and toward Taiwan). Even though my body dies, I will certainly defend
Please give my kindest regards to the neighbors. I hope you will always keep
in contact with Mr. Ebihara of Honjō. Since I have been busy, I have not been
able to write a letter to him for a long time. Please give my greetings to Mr.
With this I give you my final farewell. Thank you for everything. Goodbye,
Second Lieutenant Tomizawa
Shiraume (White Plum Blossom) Squadron was the nickname for the 62nd Shinbu
Special Attack Squadron. Five members, including Tomizawa, died in special
(suicide) attacks on April 6, 1945, after they sortied from Bansei Air Base. In
addition, one squadron member died in a special attack
on April 3, and another two squadron members died in special attacks on April
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
Source of Letter and Photo
The letter and photo are from Naemura (1993, 101-2).
1. Osuo 2005, 54, 200.
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)). Tokyo: Kōjinsha.