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:
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
Hisshi hissei (Certain death, certain accomplishment)
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
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).
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.