Last Letter of Lieutenant Junior Grade Mitsuo Kumakura to His Parents
At 1035 on January 7, 1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade Mitsuo Kumakura took off from
Echague Airfield in the Philippines as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps 28th Kongō Squadron from the 201st Air Group. He piloted a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb. He
died in a special (suicide) attack at Lingayen Gulf at the age of 25. He was from
Prefecture, attended Yokohama Higher Technical School, and was a member of the
13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter:
If I go away to skies
Burning with flames
To perfect truth's
Not looking back
A humble shield
I rise up and leave
Finally realizing my desire, it has come about that I will make a sortie
to the front line.
Resolved for some time, I have no regrets and no words to leave. Only
please forgive me for my lack of filial piety in going before you without
repaying anything for your great kindness up to now that is incomparable to
even the seas and mountains.
In ten cases out of ten, I will not set foot again alive on the homeland.
Even though my body shatters and falls as a jewel, please believe that I
certainly will live forever. Certainly without grieving please celebrate my
ambitious undertaking. I will go calmly with a relaxed feeling.
Give my regards to Older Brother Kazuo, Older Brother Yoshiharu, and my
other siblings, and give my regards to everyone in the neighborhood and all
of the relatives.
Finally, I earnestly pray for Father's recovery and for the health of
Mother first and everyone.
I read your letter dated November 27. I am happy and appreciate Mother's
unchanged warm heart. Please take sufficient care of your dear selves
I think that Older Brother Kazuo's entering the military is really
Please tell Older Brother Yoshiharu that he must find a wife soon.
I was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on December 1. Please be glad.
Letter and poems translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and poems come from Hakuō Izokukai (1995, 60-1). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Hakuō Izokukai (1995,
60) and Osuo (2005, 172).
Hakuō Izokukai (Hakuō Bereaved Families Association),
ed. 1995. Kumo nagaruru hate ni: Senbotsu kaigun hikō yobi gakusei no shuki
(To the end of the flowing clouds: Writings of Navy reserve students who
died in war). Expanded edition. Tōkyō: Kawade Shinbō Shinsha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.