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
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
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).
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.