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Yokaren Monument
(Ami Town, Ibaraki Prefecture)

Last Letter of Flight Chief Petty Officer Masanori Kariya to His Parents

At 1500 on April 7, 1945, Flight Chief Petty Officer Masanori Kariya took off from Miyazaki Air Base as radio operator/gunner in a three-man Ginga bomber (Allied code name of Frances) carrying a 800-kg bomb. He died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Mitate Squadron from the 405th Attack Hikōtai of the 706th Naval Air Group . He was from Kumamoto Prefecture and was a member of the 10th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Parents,

In this general situation for the Empire, now I just have been selected for an important responsibility, and I will live for an eternal cause.

This honor for a Japanese man is more than I deserve. This is nothing that surpasses this as a military man's long-cherished desire.

I pray for prosperity for the Emperor and country and for certain victory. I will be born seven times, and I look forward to destruction of the enemy.

Although I will die ahead of Father and showed a lack of filial piety, by means of loyalty, that is filial piety, I will bloom contentedly at Yasukuni Shrine.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
November 2018

The letter comes from Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 18). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Osuo (2005, 228) and Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 18).

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.