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Last Letter of Corporal Takayuki Yamamoto

On May 11, 1945, Corporal Takayuki Yamamoto took off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 61st Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 19. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Hokkaidō Prefecture and was a member of the 15th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.

He wrote the following final letter:

I believe in victory for the Empire.

Now I will make a sortie.

I pray for fortune in battle.

I trust that others will follow after.

At Miyakonojō
Shinbu Squadron, Takayuki Yamamoto


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter comes from Terai (1977, 42). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 154) and Osuo (2005, 200).

Sources Cited

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.

Terai, Shunichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit). Tōkyō: Genshobō.