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Last Letter of Corporal Kazuki Kamitsu to His Parents

On April 6, 1945, Corporal Kazuki Kamitsu took off from Miyakonojō West Airfield and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 20. He was a member of the 1st Special Shinbu Squadron. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Kagoshima Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Class of the Army Youth Pilots (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.

He wrote the following final letter to his parents. The beginning of the letter has a death poem in tanka form (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7).

Long live His Majesty the Emperor

Young cherry blossom willing to do for Him
When its life has worth in dying

Dear Parents,

My heart's desire from my youth now will be fulfilled. I will go smiling to the southern skies. Always, always with might.

Asae, Kazue, Mijoko [1], Mariko, Sadaomi, Mitsuo, and Kyōko, my brothers and sisters, do not resent me for going and dying without doing anything as an older brother. Please live your life joyfully. Please show devotion to Father and Mother also for my part. I feel calm and will go to die as a shield for the Emperor.

I pray for your health. Grandmother, please take care of yourself.

Kazuki Kamitsu
22 years of age [2]

Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and poem come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 101). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 101, 213) and Osuo (2005, 207).


1. The kanji characters in the name Mijoko have other readings that may be the correct name of Kamitsu's sister.

2. The traditional Japanese method of counting age, as in much of East Asia, regards a child as age one at birth and adds an additional year on each New Year's day thereafter. This most likely explains why the letter indicates his age as 22 whereas the background information in Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 101) indicates his age as 20.

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.

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