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Last Letter of Sergeant Major Yoshinori Kaminari to His Parents

On April 22, 1945, Sergeant Major Yoshinori Kaminari took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 25. He was a member of the 80th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted an Army Type 99 Advanced Trainer (Ki-55, Allied code name of Ida). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Kagoshima Prefecture and was a non-commissioned officer who entered the Army in 1937.

He wrote the following final letter addressed to his parents:

Dear Father and Mother,

I deeply appreciate your kindness for more than twenty years.

I only regret my lack of filial piety.

The feelings of a father and mother are understood by a child, and the child's feelings are understood by the father and mother.

Now I will participate in my long-cherished desire of the Special Attack Corps. I will fall in the desired place of the Nansei Islands [1], our old home, which has turned into a battlefield.

I believe in victory, and I wish you good luck.

April 4


He also wrote separately the following death poem in tanka form (31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables):

Special attack way, Sergeant Major Kaminari

For Emperor
A shield
I will go
Falling in Nansei
My heart is happy

In this crisis for the country, without returning to see my parents, I will go to the sea at Nansei.

He also wrote the following death poem in haiku form (17-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5 syllables):

Night before sortie

For Emperor
Bravely will fall
A cherry blossom

Translated by Bill Gordon
Letter - May 2018
Poems - July 2018

The letter comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 115). The poems come from Muranaga (1989, 63). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 115, 217) and Osuo (2005, 202-3).


1. The Nansei Islands include Okinawa. They also are called the Ryūkyū Islands.

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.

Muranaga, Kaoru, ed. 1989. Chiran tokubetsu kōgekitai (Chiran special attack forces). Kagoshima City: Japlan.

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