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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Yasaburō Nagamine to His Mother

On April 13, 1945, Second Lieutenant Yasaburō Nagamine took off from Bansei Air Base as 104th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron Leader and died in a special (suicide) attack at the age of 22. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Captain.

He was from Tōkyō Prefecture, graduated from Meiji University in Tōkyō, and in 1943 become a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training Program at Utsunomiya Flight School, where he later became an assistant instructor. In 1944, he transferred to Manchuria and became a Second Lieutenant.

He wrote the following final letter to his mother:

My comrade Second Lieutenant Watanabe, who I have known since Jinzhou (in Manchuria), accompanied other pilots and made a sortie this morning [1].

Tomorrow I along with my men will go. By evening we certainly will achieve military results.

Among the enclosed photographs, I will take one of you Mother and another when I entered the Army.

Mother, whatever happens to you, please take care of yourself.

Shinbu Unit 3rd Gōma [2] Squadron
Army Second Lieutenant Yasaburō Nagamine

Evening of April 12, 1945

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Naemura (1993, 141, 474).


1. Second Lieutenant Watanabe, also a member of the 104th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron, took off with four other squadron pilots from Bansei Air Base on April 12, 1945, the day before Nagamine's sortie (Osuo 2005, 203).

2. Gōma means "conquering the devil."

Sources Cited

Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō Shuppan.

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