Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Chiezō Matsumoto to His
At 1455 on April 6, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Chiezō Matsumoto
took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb
and died in a special (suicide) attack east of Okinawa at the age of 22. He was
a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Tsukuba Squadron. He was from
Hiroshima Prefecture and was a member of the 10th Hei Class of the Navy's Yokaren
(Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter:
Dear Father and Mother,
I will crash dive in high spirits.
Like Mother's letter from Yuasa in Kōriyama, you cared for me for 23
years . I will crash dive splendidly.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 126). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 126) and Osuo (2005, 197).
1. The traditional Japanese method of counting
age, as in much of East Asia, regards a child as age one at birth and adds an
additional year on each New Year's day thereafter. This explains why the letter
indicates his age as 23 whereas the current way of counting age based on his
birth date in Matsugi (1971, 130) indicates that his age was 22 at time of
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.