Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Toshihiro Watanabe to His Mother
On April 22, 1945, Second Lieutenant Toshihiro Watanabe
took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of
Okinawa at the age of 24. He was a member of the 105th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted an
Army Type 97 Fighter (Allied code name of Nate). After his death in a special
attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Captain. He grew up in
Tottori Prefecture and attended Kansai University. He was a member of the 1st Class
of the Army Special Cadet Pilot Training Program.
The following is an excerpt of a note that Watanabe wrote to his mother:
I came to the final base at Chiran Airfield. The barracks are damaged due
With a great sense of nostalgia, I walked around the place where I once
slept. I remember piloting at Chiran. It will be the end when I take off
from Chiran as tomorrow finally is the sortie.
I will fight splendidly. Surely, surely I will destroy an enemy ship by
Everyone, please rest assured. My heart now is cheerful.
Mother, Grandmother, Father, Grandfather, and Everyone, farewell.
April 20, 2130
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 116, 198) and Osuo (2005, 204).
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack
Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu
kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special
Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.