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Last Letters from Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Toshimitsu Kawamura

On April 6, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Toshimitsu Kawamura took off from Kanoya Air Base as a member of the 1st Shinken Special Attack Squadron and died in battle near Okinawa at the age of 20. April 6 was the day of Japan's first and largest of ten mass kamikaze attacks called Kikusui (Floating Chrysanthemum).

He was from Saga Prefecture and became a member of the Navy's Hikō Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) 1st Toku Otsu Class. After completion of training, he then was assigned to Ōmura Naval Air Group in Nagasaki Prefecture. He piloted a bomb-carrying Zero fighter from Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Kawamura wrote the following separate short notes to his family and comrades just before his sortie from Kanoya:

(Shinken Unit) Toshimitsu Kawamura

Dear Father,

At 30 minutes before my sortie, I must be going soon from here.

April 6, 1945, 1500

Dear Mother,

I am feeling well and will splendidly sink a ship at once by blowing it up.

Toshimitsu Kawamura

Dear Older Sister,

Please take good care of father and mother. Please give my greeting to my brother-in-law also.

Toshimitsu Kawamura

Dear Kazutoshi,

As for your older brother, today a flower to defend the country will fall. Study hard with preparation for death rather than books. Don't get beaten by your older brother.

To my battlefield brothers,

I am going before you to Yasukuni Shrine [1]. We will be blooming together in tree branches in gardens at the flower capital, Yasukuni Shrine.

Toshimitsu Kawamura

Letters translated by Bill Gordon
December 2017

The letters and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 45).


1. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the place of enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.

Source Cited

Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai.