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Last Letter of Ensign Takashi Wakaomi

At 1300 on April 6, 1945, Ensign Takashi Wakaomi took off from Kushira Air Base as pilot in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Kate) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Hachiman Gokō [1] Squadron from Usa Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 23. He was from Nagano Prefecture, attended Taishō University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei). In 1965, a book titled Seishun fumetsu (Eternal youth), which includes Wakaomi's letters and other writings, was published.

He wrote the following final letter about an hour before his departure toward Okinawa:

I am busy with preparations for my sortie, so I am wring this short note at the side of my plane.

My path has continued from my hometown in the distant past of more than twenty years ago until now with not only these roses but also soft spring young grass in the corners of the fields. And here it ends.

Please forgive me for not giving you anything. But I think it is good that a man has pride for the country.

Feeling against my skin the ashes of one of my former students that are knit into my hachimaki (headband) with a red circle, his praying spirit will appear not knowing when.

The sortie order has been received. My squadron leader says to fall flat and hug the earth. I also taught this to students. I will pass under the gate of hell carrying under my arm an aircraft carrier and two or three thousand crewmen.

I pray for everybody's success.

Noon on April 6, 1945

Takashi


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter comes from Hakuō Izokukai (1952, 126-7). The biographical information on this page comes from Yasukuni Jinja (1994, 61-2) and Osuo (2005, 214).

Note

1. Hachiman is the Japanese god of military power. Usa City in Ōita Prefecture has the first Hachiman Shrine, which was established in the early 8th century. Gokō means "protecting the Emperor" in Japanese.

Sources Cited

Hakuō Izokukai (Hakuō Bereaved Families Association), ed. 1952. Kumo nagaruru hate ni: Senbotsu kaigun hikō yobi gakusei no shuki (To the end of the flowing clouds: Writings of Navy reserve students who died in war). Tōkyō: Nihon Shuppan Kyōdō.

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

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 1994.  Iza saraba ware wa mikuni no yamazakura (Farewell, we are our country's mountain cherry blossoms). Tōkyō: Tentensha.