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Last Letter of Corporal Yasuo Fukushima to His Parents

On April 7, 1945, Corporal Yasuo Fukushima took off from Bansei Air Base as a member of the 75th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack at Okinawa's Nakagusuku Bay at the age of 18. 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. He was from Saitama Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth Pilots (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.

He wrote the following final letter to his parents with a death poem in haiku form (17-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5 syllables) at the end:

At this time of the decisive battle to raise up the country, there is no long-cherished desire for me that surpasses being born for an eternal cause as a member of the Shinbu Special Attack Corps.

Parents, please be glad.

I pray that you take care of yourselves and make strenuous efforts.

Please tell Mother Sawada certainly to raise up Chikayo well and to protect the Horie Family.

Time that I must fall
Can be seen

Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
December 2018

The letter and poem come from Naemura (1993, 124). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 166), Naemura (1993, 124, 474), and Osuo (2005, 202).

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.

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 Shuppan.

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