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Last Letter from Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Isao Itō to His Parents

Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Isao Itō from Kokonoe Town in Ōita Prefecture [1] died at age 20 in a special (suicide) attack near Okinawa. On May 11, 1945, he took off from Miyazaki Air Base as one of three crewmembers in a Ginga (Allied code name of Frances) bomber as a member of the Navy's Kamikaze Special Attack Corps. He graduated in the 18th Class of the Otsu Flight Training Program, and he was a member of the 9th Ginga Squadron. A total of six Ginga bombers with eighteen crewmen took off that day from Miyazaki Air Base and did not return [2].

Isao Itō's last letter written to his parents on the eve of his final mission is inscribed on a monument in an area next to the Miyazaki Special Attack Base Monument:

Last Letter

May 10, 1945, 5:48 p.m.
Navy Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Isao Itō

Dear Parents,

I have nothing to write. Only that I pray for your and Kumiko's health. I surely will keep pace with the others. I simply will die bravely. The objective is an aircraft carrier. In about ten days please send a letter to Isao [3] Ueno of the Tokushima Air Group 14th Squadron (buntai) 5th Section (han). When you receive the photos, please admire them without crying. I pray for your great happiness, and say hello to all of our relatives. Kumiko, I ask you to show filial piety to Father and Mother. Yasu [4], do your best.

At Miyazaki Air Base, finished at 6:30

Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit
Died at 20 years old

He also wrote the following death poem [5]:

If in southern sea where storm rages
I do not fall as corpse that colors clouds
My fragrance when blooming will end

Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
July 2017 and November 2018


1. Hometown found on following page of Yokaren Shiryōkan (Museum) web site:
    https://www.yokaren.net/letter (April 12, 2021).

2. Osuo 2005, 236-7.

3. The Japanese kanji for this name also could be Isamu.

4. According to Takashi Yano (personal correspondence dated March 6, 2020), Yasu was the nickname for Isao Itō's younger brother Yasushi who at the time was training for the Navy's Fukuryū Special Attack Corps. The fukuryū were frogmen who trained to destroy landing craft with an explosive charge mounted on top of a wooden pole.

5. Yasukuni Jinja 2009, 21-2.

Sources Cited

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

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2009. Eirei no koto no ha (9) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 9. Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.