Only search Kamikaze Images

Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps
(1983 cover)
(originally published as
Ah, Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps
in 1970)

Last Letter of Flight Warrant Officer Takeshi Kogusuri to His Parents and Older Sister

At 1530 on April 11, 1945, Flight Warrant Officer Takeshi Kogusuri took off from Miyazaki Air Base as radioman/gunner in a Ginga bomber (Allied code name of Frances) loaded with an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 5th Ginga Squadron from the 762nd Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack south of Kikaijima at the age of 23. He was from Tochigi Prefecture and was a member of the 8th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Father, Mother, and Older Sister (second Mother) [1],

Finally the time of the decisive battle has come. Now I received an order for a special attack. As I have lived to be more than twenty years of age, even though I have survived many air battles, the time of the end has come at last when even I must raise the kikusui banner [2] and live for an eternal cause. I fought with the expectations of the hundred million [3] resting on my shoulders. Even though I did some service in the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, India, and the Philippines where I carried out over a hundred search-and-destroy flights, this met slightly the expectations of the hundred million. Thinking that this did not meet even a ten-thousandth, at ease I head for my place to die.

The ancients say that death is the easiest. However, we after a while will be one hundred million. If I die, I will end my life. However, what regrets will there be? In the current situation, there is no anxiety about the future. Not understanding a person's fate, a person's life is like the morning dew. There are persons who can pass away in their bed on a tatami mat. In comparison to these, I have selected a place to die in a planned manner, and I am happy that I have obtained a chosen place to die.

Riding over the waves far from here in the southern seas, I always thought that my corpse would be buried in the faraway southern seas at the Equator. It is the dream of an air force man. I longed for this since my youth. It is my long-cherished desire when my body shatters together with my plane under the Southern Cross constellation that I have been familiar with for a number of years.

Father, Mother, if you want to meet me, please visit me in the southern seas. If you want to talk with me, please look up at the Southern Cross constellation that appears over the southern seas. There will be my spirit when the Southern Cross twinkles. As this body decays, my spirit will be there in the stars protecting the country. Fortunately I will die as a young person. I apologize that I loved incomparable amounts of liquor. However, I am glad that I have not the slightest worry about my being untainted.

I will die following after many comrades who fell during the fiercest fighting in Rabaul and the Philippines. I will die believing that I follow after many comrades of the skies. When I die, I truly will be purified. Father, Mother, friends, do not cry out my name when I die. I will hit the target with three cheers of "banzai" [4] for the Emperor's life.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
May 2018

The letter comes from Kitagawa (1970, 135-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kitagawa (1970, 135) and Osuo (2005, 235).


1. Matsugi (1971, 148-50) includes "Older Sister (second Mother)," but Kitagawa (1970, 135-7) does not have this.

2. The kikusui (floating chrysanthemum) flower was the symbol of the family of Kusunoki Masashige, a 14th century samurai warrior who symbolized courage and devotion to the Emperor.

3. The term "one hundred million" refers to the estimated population of the Japanese Empire.

4. The Japanese word banzai literally means "ten thousand years."

Sources Cited

Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1970. Ā kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho shū (Ah, Kamikaze Special Attack Corps: Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.

Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.

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