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Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Itsuo Minetoma to His Parents

At 0223 on April 1, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Itsuo Minetoma took off in a Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) from Kanoya Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 21. He was an ōka rocket-powered glider bomb pilot [1] in the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) 2nd Ōka Squadron from the 721st Naval Air Group. He was from Kagoshima Prefecture and was a member of the 16th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter to his parents:

Dear Parents and everyone in the family,

How have you been getting along?

Please forgive the worry that I have caused you for a long time. Now it is regrettable that I was not able to do any acts of filial piety for you. I think that now devoting myself to the country is the best filial piety. I will do my public duty like the 100 million [2].

Gisuke Ōtsuka in Ibaraki Prefecture
Seikichi Shimada in Ejima, Yanagigaura Town, Usa District (Ōita Prefecture)
Hideko Komura of 2nd Neighborhood Group in Yamanaka, Kanoya City (Kagoshima Prefecture)
Itsumi Sakaguchi in Yamashita, Nozato Town, Kanoya City
Saemon Sendō

Please give my thanks to each one of the following persons listed above.

Give my kind regards also to our relatives. I will be praying for good health for everyone also in the neighborhood.

Itsuo Minetoma

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
February 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 37).


1. Katō 2009, 491.

2. The figure of 100 million refers to the entire Japanese population.

Source Cited

Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai.

Katō, Hiroshi. 2009. Jinrai butai shimatsu ki: Ningen bakudan "ōka" tokkō zen kiroku (Thunder gods unit record of events: Complete history of "ōka" human bomb special attacks). Tōkyō: Gakken Publishing.