Continuation • Ah, Cherry
Blossoms of Same Class (1995)
Last Writings of Ensign Yūji Toyama
At 1420 on April 29, 1945, Ensign Yūji Toyama took off
from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack
off Okinawa at the age of 22. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps 5th Shōwa Squadron from Yatabe Naval Air Group in Ibaraki
Prefecture. He was from Hokkaidō Prefecture, attended Meiji University in the
Faculty of Law in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve
Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter to the father of his close friend Ensign Hiroshi
Nemoto, who also was in the Shōwa Special Attack Unit at Yatabe Naval Air
Group. He wrote the letter thinking that Nemoto had died in battle, but he must of
survived his original sortie, since Japanese military records indicate that he
died in a special attack on May 11, 1945 , which
was 23 days after Toyama wrote this letter to Nemoto's father that his son had
died. He sent the letter from Yatabe Air Base. Toyama uses the Japanese term of
endearment "Older Brother" to refer to his friend Hiroshi Nemoto.
Dear Denshirō Nemoto,
Preliminaries omitted. Because today the last letter of Ensign Nemoto
arrived, I am delivering it to you.
Since my time with intermediate trainer aircraft, I had a deep friendship
with Ensign Nemoto. Even on the occasion when he received a sortie order, we
wept together that we would not be able to go together. I truly feel
heartbreaking grief that Older Brother, who was always saying that "even
though we were born at different times, the time of our deaths would be
together," departed before me.
The presence during the lifetime of Older Brother, who was in our Shōwa
Unit, was a model to me as a military man since he coupled together an
amicable character with superior skills, and he had a great reputation among
both those above and below him. Even though it is regrettable to lose a
promising youth like Older Brother, from the beginning it was for the
country, and it is an honor to your esteemed family. The deed that he had to
carry out will shine in history, and to us who remain it is the target of
We soon will follow after Older Brother and offer our bodies to die in
the southern sea. I am determined to carry out surely a hisshi hitchū
(certain-death, sure-hit) taiatari (body-crashing) attack to follow
Older Brother's wishes.
I finish writing as I pray for the health of everyone in your esteemed
Due to my naturally poor handwriting, please understand my feelings in
addition to reading the letter.
April 18, 1945
Kamikaze Special Attack Corp Shōwa Unit
Postscript - Today I also received the long-awaited sortie order, and in high spirits
I will follow after Ensign Nemoto. So as surely to not fail to meet
everyone's expectations, with calmness until the end I will hit an enemy
Hiroshi Nemoto wrote a final letter to his
family dated April 13, 1945.
Toyama wrote the following after selection as a Special Attack Corps member.
The piece was published in the Taiwan Shinpō newspaper on July 30, 1945:
The long-awaited sortie order was received. Finally I will set off on an
ambitious undertaking. My comrades, who I always exchanged words of "we'll
be together at the time of death," have made sorties one after another and
carried out taiatari (body-crashing) attacks. In the midst of these,
I have been passing several days on stand-by, and several times I gnashed my
teeth and wept. As for my attitude of saying things like "after you is fine
as I can die for the country" and "only dying is different than public
service," my obstinacy was not forgiven. I live for the great cause of
loyalty by a taiatari (body-crashing) attack. Since the time when I
was not in the Navy, I pushed forward on the path that I should advance on
with the belief that learning and knowledge were second or third and no
match for being filled with a spirit of reverence for the Emperor. Hoping for several days that I would be selected for the Special Attack
Corps, I waited for the day of the announcement. Perhaps my intention was
known by the Commander and the Squad Leader, and fortunately I was selected
as a little Corps member. Ah, what deep emotion, what joy. (portion omitted)
As a child who has parents overflowing with love, is there someone other
Writings translated by Bill Gordon
The writings come from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (1995, 69-71). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai
(1995, 69) and Osuo (2005, 204).
1. Osuo 2005, 204.
Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (Navy Flight
Reserve Students 14th Class Association), ed. 1995. Zoku
• Ā dōki no sakura (Continuation
• Ah, cherry blossoms of same class). Tōkyō:
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.