Only search Kamikaze Images


Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Matayuki Asakawa to His Mother, Older Brother, and Older Sister

On April 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Matayuki Asakawa took off from Chiran Air Base as a member of the 43rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 23. He piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Nagano Prefecture, attended Tōkyō Imperial College of Sericulture, and was a member of the 9th Class of the Army's Officer Cadet (Kanbu Kōhosei) training program.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Mother, Older Brother, Older Sister, and everyone else,

Take care. I will push on, aiming at "certain victory."

You have shown care to me for a long time.

I will go smiling.

Long live His Majesty the Emperor.

He also wrote the following the following death poem in tanka form (31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables):

Dear Older Brother,

Death poem

Falling as cherry blossom
Return to Kudan [1]
I dream
To destroy armored ship
I will go

Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter and poem come from Muranaga (1989, 46). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 103, 181) and Osuo (2005, 196). The image of the actual letter below is from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 103), and image of the actual poem below is from Muranaga (1989, 46).


1. Kudan is a hill in Tōkyō where Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine) is located. Yasukuni Jinja is Japan's national shrine to honor spirits of soldiers killed in battle.

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.

Muranaga, Kaoru, ed. 1989. Chiran tokubetsu kōgekitai (Chiran special attack forces). Kagoshima City: Japlan.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.

Matayuki Asakawa's Last Letter

Matayuki Asakawa's Death Poem