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Last letters, poems, and
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Flight Trainees (2)

Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Takeshi Kado to His Parents

At 1543 on April 6, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Takeshi Kado took off from Kushira Air Base as pilot of a Tenzan carrier attack bomber (Allied code name of Jill) carrying an 800-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 20. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit Tenzan Squadron from the 601st Naval Air Group. He was from Shimane Prefecture and was a member of the 15th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter to his parents:

I know that there has been great damage due to frequent air attacks on the Imperial capital, but we are striving to repay the enemy double that.

Finally this is the end. Father and Mother, be in high spirits. When the white wooden box [1] arrives, it was not a great achievement, but please praise me without crying.

Takeshi Kado

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
November 2018

The letter comes from Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Osuo (2005, 211) and Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 2).


1. A white wooden box was how the Japanese military usually delivered the remains of war dead to their families. In the case of kamikaze pilots, the remains such as fingernails or hairs from the head would often be prepared in advance. There are also cases where the white box would arrive at the family's home with no remains.

Sources Cited

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

Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (Unabarakai Editing Committee). 2006. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei isho • iei • ikōshū (2) (Last letters, poems, and writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (2)). Tōkyō: Unabarakai.