Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Minoru Nakamura to His Mother
On April 7, 1945, Second Lieutenant Minoru Nakamura took off from Chiran Army
Air Base as a member of the 29th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a
special attack at Okinawa's Nakagusuku (Buckner) Bay at the age of 20. 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 Captain. He was from
Ishikawa Prefecture and graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Air Academy in
the 57th Class.
He wrote the following final letter to his mother:
Kudan  Squadron, Squadron Leader Minoru
• Please make aircraft.
• We depend on you all.
• I live with the spirit of Dai-Nankō (Kusunoki Masashige ).
• Mother, Mother, now I go. When I call Mother, you come quickly whether
over mountains or from faraway clouds.
• Mother, you are good. There is nobody who I appreciate more than you.
Nakamura also wrote the following death poem:
Believing Shinshū  Japan will continue
Now I go smiling
Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
July and December 2018
The letter comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 105), and
the poem comes from Kitagawa (1970, 131-2). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 105, 179) and Osuo (2005, 196).
1. This was another name for the 29th Shinbu
Squadron. Kudan is a hill in Tōkyō where Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine) is located.
Yasukuni Jinja is Japan's national shrine to honor spirits of soldiers killed in
2. Kusunoki Masashige was a 14th century samurai
warrior who symbolized courage and devotion to the Emperor. Dai-Nankō (or Nankō)
is the honorary title given to Kusunoki Masashige.
3. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means
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.
Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1970. Ā kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho
shū (Ah, Kamikaze Special Attack Corps:
Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.