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Last Letter of Corporal Yoshikatsu Matsuzaki to His Mother

On May 20, 1945, Corporal Yoshikatsu Matsuzaki took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack at Okinawa's Nakagusuku Bay at the age of 19. He was a member of the 50th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Niigata Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Class of the Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.

He wrote the following final letter to his mother:

Preliminaries omitted. Finally it has come. Mother, I will do it. Please look.

When this letter arrives, I already probably will have shared my fate with an enemy aircraft carrier and have turned into tiny tree leaf pieces.

When stationed at Fuchū Air Base [1], Mitsuo Yoshino (address at Mitajiri Marifu-chō, Hōfu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture) gave me remarkable care. For that reason, I ask that you please do something for him.

I do not have any last words. Please take good care of yourself. Farewell forever.

Yours sincerely

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
May 2018

The letter comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 128). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 128, 177) and Osuo (2005, 198).

On May 20, 1945, one of the 50th Shinbu Squadron Hayabusa Type 1 Fighters hit the American ship LST (landing ship, tank) 808, but only five men were on board when the plane hit. More details are found in the story Kamikaze, the Ultimate Sacrifice.


1. Fuchū was an Army air base in Tōkyō Prefecture.

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.