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Last Poems of Second Lieutenant Toshio Kobayashi

On April 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Toshio Kobayashi took off from Nyūtabaru Air Base in Miyazaki Prefecture as a member of the Makoto 37th Hikōtai (Flying Squadron) and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 23. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Ibaraki Prefecture and was a member of the 7th Class of the Army's Officer Cadet (Kanbu Kōhosei) training program [1].

He wrote the following poems before death:

Journey to other world

Loitering while gazing at hometown's plum blossoms
At last this will be my final time

Though I know of journey to other world, smiling Mother
Cannot see me off on day I leave country

Standing on wide, wide platform to see me off
Only two persons, Mother and Younger Sister

Even though I offer my life, still
In the end I cherish it and cannot master my thoughts

It is easy to offer up life but
Ah, how to do it so can save country

Poems translated by Bill Gordon
June 2020

The poems come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 102). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 102, 161) and and Osuo (2005, 211).


1. Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 161) states that Kobayashi was in the 7th Class of the Army's Officer Cadet (Kanbu Kōhosei) training program, but Osuo (2005, 211) indicates that he was in the 8th class.

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.