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.
Shinbu Squadron, Takayuki Yamamoto
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
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).
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).