Letter of Lieutenant Junior Grade Takeshi Ichikawa to His Parents
At 1557 on January 5, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Takeshi Ichikawa took off from
Mabalacat Air Base in the Philippines as
pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special
(suicide) attack west of Lubang Island at the age of 23. He was a
member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 18th Kongō Squadron. He was from
Aichi Prefecture, attended Hamamatsu Higher Technical School in Shizuoka
Prefecture, and was a member of the 13th Class of the
Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following letter to his parents. Based on its contents, it most
likely was written prior to Ichikawa's assignment to the Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps. It probably was written just before his departure from an
air base in mainland Japan to the Philippines.
Dear Father and Mother,
I think of the kind blessings from heaven, but today's scheduled sortie
was postponed until tomorrow due to poor weather.
I received the thoughtful senninbari (thousand-stitch belt worn
for good luck) from you. Happily wearing it, I
will go to the place of the decisive battle in the south. Thinking that the
senninbari probably would not arrive in time, I had given up wearing it, but
finally I got it a few hours before my sortie.
There were also plenty of my favorite foods, and I am filled with
gratitude. My charming trainees who I have taught ate them together with me
I will go to my mission with the protective charm from Mother against my
My brief flight work means combat.
It is a role of salvation. It is the greatest loyalty.
Today also I am devoted to making it the best day.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (1999, 57-8). The biographical
information in the first paragraph comes from Osuo (2005,
170) and Yasukuni Jinja (1999, 57).
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 1999. Eirei
no koto no ha (5) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 5).
Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.