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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 and departed.

I will go to my mission with the protective charm from Mother against my skin.

From Takeshi


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
August 2018

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).

Sources Cited

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.