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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Tōru Itakura to His Mother

On April 12, 1945, Second Lieutenant Tōru Itakura took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He was a member of the 103rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Kanasugi Village in Saitama Prefecture, attended Kokugakuin University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 2nd Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Mother,

You may imagine that I cannot do battle since I lack any courage at all, but there is no need to have that worry. Until now I truly have been self-centered and caused you many troubles and worries. I lacked filial piety to my parents.

For me there is no greater honor than carrying out my supreme mission now. Perhaps I should say that it is perhaps chance or good fortune that I can go more quickly than my friends to the place of the decisive battle. I certainly will sink instantly an enemy ship. Even if I do not sink an enemy warship, it was good that I risked my life and did my very best.

There is not life or death for me now. There is only security for the Empire.

Hisshi hissei (Certain death, certain accomplishment)


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
September 2018

The letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (1997, 49-50). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 167), Osuo (2005, 203), and Yasukuni Jinja (1997, 49).

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.

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 1997. Eirei no koto no ha (3) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 3. Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.