Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Ichirō Yahagi to His Brother
On April 2, 1945, Second Lieutenant Ichirō Yahagi
took off from Miyako Airfield and died in a special (suicide) attack
west of Kerama Rettō at the age of
23. He was a member of the Makoto 114th Hikōtai (Flying Squadron). He
piloted an Army Type 2 Toryū Fighter (Ki-45, Allied code name of Nick). After his death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Tōkyō
Prefecture and a member of the 2nd Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot
Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.
He wrote the following final letter to his brother with a death poem in haiku
form (17-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5 syllables) at the end:
I will go a step ahead of you.
I ask that you take care of our parents' matters.
What a pleasure it is for me to fight devoting my efforts and skills as
best I can.
I decided my bride will be an aircraft carrier.
I want to welcome the
best bride for you in all the world.
Please live with everyone happily in good health.
I earnestly ask that you handle everything.
Divide the clouds
Crush the captured territory
End of service term
With appreciation for goodwill of country, parents, and teachers,
Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
The letter, poem, and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 98, 170) and Osuo (2005, 212).
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.