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
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 , our old home,
which has turned into a battlefield.
I believe in victory, and I wish you good luck.
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
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
Bravely will fall
A cherry blossom
Translated by Bill Gordon
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.
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.