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Last Letter of Warrant Officer Shinsaku Naniwa to His Parents

On June 7, 1945, Warrant Officer Shinsaku Naniwa took off from Bansei Air Base as a member of the 63rd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 26. He piloted an Army Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied nickname of Sonia). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to First Lieutenant. He was from Okayama Prefecture and was a non-commissioned officer who entered the Army in 1937.

He wrote the following last letter:

Dear Parents,

Recently I received an Imperial command, and I will go on a mission as a member of the grand Special Attack Corps. Tomorrow on June 6, at last I will take off from a front-line base and from our land of Yamato [1]. I am determined to go to the fierce decisive battleground and not to return again to this Japanese mainland. It is not in my mind at all that I will return. As indicated by the name of Special Attack Corps, I am determined certainly to crash dive into the enemy fleet and to sink instantly an enemy ship by my body.

Now this evening when I will make a sortie tomorrow as I think about being able to go to die for the country and for the Emperor, there truly is no way to express my thanks for enjoying your warm hearts for 26 years and as an adult without any inconvenience and also being brought up as a military man and air pilot. (portion omitted)

I with determination will carry out one-on-one combat with an enemy ship. I am resolved to do a work that will not be second to those of my ancestors. Please give my regards to Masamoto, Yamato, and all of the relatives.

There is very much that I want to write, but since there are preparations for tomorrow morning and for battle, here I will stop writing. I am praying from a faraway place that you take very good care of yourselves.

June 6, 24:00

I gratefully received the name Suketada when I recently stayed overnight.

Yours sincerely,

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
December 2018

The letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (2004, 83-4). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 200), Naemura (1993, 174), Osuo (2005, 200), and Yasukuni Jinja (2004, 83).


1. Yamato is an ancient name for Japan.

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.

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.

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2004. Eirei no koto no ha (8) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 8). Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.