Last Letter from Corporal Toshio Chizaki to His Mother
On May 27, 1945, Army Corporal Toshio Chizaki took off from Bansei Air Base
as a member of the 72nd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special (suicide) attack
off Okinawa at the age of 19, he received a
four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant.
He was from Aichi Prefecture. In October 1942, he joined the 10th Class of
the Tōkyō Army Aviation School Ōtsu Branch in Shiga Prefecture. In April 1943, he entered the 15th Class of the Army's Youth Pilot (Shōhi) Program.
He wrote the following final letter with three death poems in tanka form
(31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7) at the end:
It has become the season of abundant green.
Mother, have you been doing well? Having received an important
responsibility to protect the Empire, I will go to the battle front smiling.
You cared for me during the long period of 20 years. I truly have no
excuse for not showing filial piety to you as your child.
I will demonstrate filial piety to you by this departure for the front.
The Empire now faces a critical situation, and its destiny depends on this
battle at Okinawa.
Obtaining a place to die when I go to this decisive battle for the
Empire, I think of a warrior's true honor. There is nothing that surpasses
this and compares to this as the long-cherished desire of a man.
I deeply apologize that I often caused trouble for you by my unruliness
when I was young.
Father was lost to us from an early time. You strongly and properly
raised five sons and daughters as the foundation of the family. Older Sister
has got married, and here I now will go to the place of the decisive battle
as a foundation stone for the Empire.
It is fine that Shin'ichi changes the family register to Chita-gun .
Wherever is best. It depends on the relationship with Sekita.
As the new house is flourishing, the main house is declining. In contrast
to this, as a rule the new house is constructed on the rubble of the main
house. Therefore, upon deliberation with the relatives, if the inheritance
does not include the main home, it is acceptable for Shin'ichi to inherit it.
Akiko, I ask that you take good care of Mother. This is the filial piety
that I properly should have shown. At this decisive battle I will do my
utmost to demonstrate filial piety, that is loyalty, for the country. Akiko,
Mother, I ask that you understand. Also, you must have good attendance at
the town hall.
Shuichi perhaps will be the family heir, and that will depend on
Because of this, please raise Shuichi firmly and properly as the one boy
in the family. I ask Akiko to do this.
Shuichi, please grow big quickly, become a fine person, and show filial
piety to your mother. Also, please follow your teachers' instructions and
become a fine person.
Please make friends with the people in Nagoya. Do not be on bad terms
with the relatives. As for the wall map and the kimono decorated with the
family crest, absolutely do not bargain them to Nagoya.
What will there be if the country perishes? I desire only to push forward
bravely to the decisive battle.
Give my regards also to your uncle and aunt. Finally, I pray for
For His Majesty, not thinking about either family or parents
For my country this body will no longer be
Now I will go riding above smoke of guns and rain of bullets
Aimed at a large enemy aircraft carrier
Waiting for decisive battle at Okinawa where I will go
This body with my plane will break into pieces
May 21, 1945
Chizaki sent a postcard addressed to Yoshi Fukuyama in Kanzaki Town in Saga
Prefecture. Kanzaki is near Metabaru Air Base, where members of the 72nd Shinbu
Special Attack Squadron arrived on May 17, 1945, to
await further orders (Mōri 2004, 149). On May 25, the 72nd Shinbu Squadron flew
from Metabaru to Bansei Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture (Mōri 2004, 165). While
at Metabaru, Fukuyama appears to have provided meals and lodging for some 72nd
Shinbu Squadron members including Chizaki. The original postcard is on display
at the Bansei Tokkō Peace Museum, and a copy is at the Chiran Peace Museum for
Kamikaze Pilots. The postcard's words are translated below:
You took care of us for a long time. I arrived today at 9 o'clock. Please
be at ease.
With the sortie at 5 o'clock tomorrow, I think that it will be about 8
A lifetime 50, a military man half that, a pilot 20 years. Passing time
pleasantly at Metabaru will be a story in the other world. Please remember
The reference to "the monkey" seems to be explained by Chizaki's enjoyment in
making everyone laugh by imitating a monkey.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and other information on this page come from Naemura
(1993, 150-1, 474).
1. Chita-gun is a district in Chizaki's home
prefecture of Aichi.
2. This is a reference to the expected time of his
death, since the flight to Okinawa from Bansei Air Base took about three hours.
Mōri, Tsuneyuki. 2004.
Yuki wa jūnanasai tokkō de shinda: Koinu
yo saraba, itoshiki inochi (Yuki died at 17 in a kamikaze attack: Goodbye puppy, dear life).
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