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Letter of Ensign Seiichi Koyama to His Parents

At 0619 on May 14, 1945, Ensign Seiichi Koyama took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack east of Tanegashima at the age of 25. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 6th Tsukuba Squadron. After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Lieutenant. He was from Tōkyō Prefecture, studied in the Commerce Department at Chūō University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following letter to his parents and individual notes to other family members. He wrote this letter when he entered the Navy in December 1943.

When I read the Imperial command for the student mobilization, I received the honor to go forth as a shield for the Emperor. This truly is the long-cherished desire of a young Japanese man, and there is nothing that surpasses this as an honor for the family.

Obtaining this joy today, still more I want to mention the gift of your troubles for me. Now here I warmly thank you for your deep kindness for more than 20 years.

Because I will go as an Imperial Japanese Navy man, from the beginning I do not expect to return alive. I only will live for an eternal cause. I do not have any words to state in a will, but I will record ideas and items.

— I leave to Father the matter about a successor to leadership of the family.
— For a long time I was left the honor of a military family.
— The family's honor always is together with the country's prosperity.
— As for the family, always be like spring.
— The source of everything is harmony between people.
— Please contact my teachers, elders, and friends.
— There is nothing related to money loans.
— There is no relation with a woman.
— There is no particular wish regarding the arrangement and disposal of my personal belongings.

Dear Father,

I ask that you please handle the above items. As a Japanese person and as the Koyama Family heir, I will carry out actions that will not be dishonorable. Please take care of yourself and manage the matters of Toyoko and Ryōsuke.

Dear Mother,

"Like a shrine when the thick pillars are constructed with praise, now my mother's image does not change." Until the last moment I will fight while keeping your image deep inside.

Dear Grandmother,

I pray that you will have a long life of a hundred, a thousand years. My spirit surely will return to your side.

Dear Older Sister,

I pray for Fujio's fortune in battle.

Dear Toyoko,

Please think well about the talk with Murata. He is a man who I as your older brother want to recommend unconditionally.

Dear Ryōsuke,

I earnestly ask you to take care of things after I am gone. Death is easy, but obtaining a place to die is difficult. A person's completion is obtaining a place to die.

I go in high spirits. I am praying for the eternal existence of the country of Japan and for prosperity of the Koyama Family.

December 8, 1943, day of student mobilization

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter comes from Katabami (2014, 100, 102-3). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Katabami (2014, 100) and Osuo (2005, 199).

Sources Cited

Katabami, Masaaki. 2014. Mō hitotsu no "Eien no Zero": Tsukuba Kaigun Kōkūtai (Another "Eternal Zero": Tsukuba Naval Air Group). Tōkyō: Village Books.

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