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Last Letter of Ensign Tamotsu Watase to His Parents

At 1845 on May 27, 1945, Ensign Tamotsu Watase took off from Kanoya Air Base as gunner/radio operator in a Shiragiku trainer with a two-man crew. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit Shiragiku Squadron from Kōchi Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 22. He was from Tōkyō Prefecture, attended Nihon University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Father and Mother,

Have you been doing well? Have Masa and Chieko also been doing well? Thanks to you, I am more and more enthusiastic. The decisive battle at Okinawa has become increasingly intense. The day is near when I will carry out my original intention. I will certainly do it.

It is inexcusable that I did not show any filial piety. Also, I have no regrets. There is nothing above this as the long-cherished desire of young Japanese man. I am very happy. Well then, I am going.

I pray that you will have long life and great happiness.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter on this page comes from Kitagawa (1983, 211-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes Kitagawa (1983, 211) and Osuo (2005, 241).

Sources Cited

Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1983. Sōretsu kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho shū (Heroic Kamikaze Special Attack Corps: Collected last letters of lost youth). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.

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