Last Writings of Corporal Akihiko Nagasoe
On May 28, 1945, Corporal Akihiko Nagasoe took
off from Miyakonojō East Airfield as a member of the 59th Shinbu Special Attack
Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of
19. He piloted an Army Hayate Type 4 Fighter (Allied code name of Frank). After
his death in a special attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He
was from Nobeoka City in Miyazaki Prefecture and was a member of the 14th Class of the Army Youth
Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) training program.
He wrote the following. The separate writings are indicated with an asterisk
(*) between them. They include three death poems in tanka form (31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7
syllables), which have been indented below.
Young cherry blossom to fall for Emperor
Time when must fall finally has come
I will cause a thunderous wave on an enemy aircraft carrier.
May 14, 1945
59th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron
Army Corporal Nagasoe
I will die smiling. I have no regrets. Father, Mother, Brothers, and
When fall for Emperor, a young cherry blossom will fall
Now is time that must fall
Remains exposed in skies of whole world
A Japanese man's honor
Certain victory Sure hit on target
Fighting bravely Seven lives to serve country
Cheerful I will die smiling Take
May 16, 1945, 2400 at night
69th Shinbu Squadron
Army Corporal Akihiko Nagasoe
Writings translated by Bill Gordon
The writings come from Terai (1977, 100-1). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō
Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 216), Osuo (2005, 199), and Terai (1977, 100).
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.
Terai, Shun'ichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate
Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit).