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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


Certain victory

59th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron
Army Corporal Nagasoe


I will die smiling. I have no regrets. Father, Mother, Brothers, and Sisters, farewell.

From Akihiko


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 care, farewell

May 16, 1945, 2400 at night
69th Shinbu Squadron
Army Corporal Akihiko Nagasoe

Writings translated by Bill Gordon
November 2020

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).

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.

Terai, Shun'ichi, ed. 1977. Kōkū Kichi Miyakonojō Hayate Tokkō Shinbutai (Miyakonojō Air Base Hayate Special Attack Shinbu Unit). Tōkyō: Genshobō.