Last Letter of Corporal Shōichi Yasui to His Family
On April 7, 1945, Corporal Shōichi Yasui took off from Bansei Air Base as a member of the 74th Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack at Okinawa's Nakagusuku Bay at
the age of 19. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia).
After his death in a special attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second
Lieutenant. Yasui was from Kyōto
Prefecture and was a member of the 15th Class of the Army Youth Pilots
(Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following final letter addressed to Michitarō Yasui, who probably
was his father based on the letter's contents:
It has become warm. I trust that you are doing well. I also am in high
spirits, and finally my mission has arrived. I am absolutely determined to
accomplish it splendidly. Please rest assured.
Take care of yourselves. A reply is unnecessary. Farewell.
Regards to my teachers.
Regards to the villagers.
Older Sister, show filial piety to our parents.
Matsuo, become a soldier pilot soon.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Naemura (1993,
120). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 190), Naemura (1993, 120, 474), and Osuo (2005, 201).
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.
Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last
letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.