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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Hirohiko Ikoma to His Parents

On June 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Hirohiko Ikoma took off from Chiran Air Base as a member of the 113th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 23. He piloted an Army Type 97 Fighter (Allied nickname of Nate). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Shiga Prefecture, attended the Kyōto School of Pharmacy, and become a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training Program.

He wrote the following final letter to his parents:

Dear Father and Mother,

I who received the sortie order finally will go tomorrow. Being born in the Empire unparalleled in the world, I who have Japan's best parents have boundless joy in being able to do my service in the skies following after the resolve of my older brother Masayuki. I look towards an instant sinking tomorrow of a ship.

In accordance with Father's guidance and Mother's words, I am determined certainly to complete successfully my duty.

When news arrives of my daring feat, please be sure to raise the national flag and celebrate.

Regarding the distribution of items that I left behind, I ask that you take what you want and then other persons afterward.

Please take good care of yourselves and live out your natural span of life. Masatoshi and Michio, please become fine soldiers and follow Father's will.

It is regrettable that I could not see my older brother. I indeed will attack and sink the dreadful enemy. Older Sisters Sugako, Tatsue, and Fumiko, please take care of our parents in my place.

Everyone, be well. I am going.

On eve of sortie

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 143, 190) and Osuo (2005, 205).

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.

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