Only search Kamikaze Images

Continuation • Ah, Cherry
Blossoms of Same Class

Last Letter of Ensign Hiroshi Nemoto

At 0519 on May 11, 1945, Ensign Hiroshi Nemoto took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 500-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 23. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 6th Shōwa Squadron from Yatabe Naval Air Group in Ibaraki Prefecture. He was from Ibaraki Prefecture, attended Chūō University in Tōkyō to study law, and was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final letter to his family:

When admiring Mount Kirishima above the clouds and viewing Sakurajima from Ariake Bay, I arrived at a naval base at the tip of Kyūshū during the afternoon of April 12. During the day or night my special attack squadron will make a sortie.

This day there was also a ceremony to name the Yatabe Air Group special attack units. I was delayed since my plane had mechanical problems. Even though I held back tears of regret, on the next morning on the 13th, I received a sake cup as an Imperial gift and shed tears of gratitude to die honorably before the Emperor.

I am really in high spirits with the special attack unit that will cover the Okinawan area to sink enemy ships. I also from now will live for an eternal cause. When I look back over the 23 years since I was born, you showed kindness by raising me with love and you troubled yourselves for my benefit to the present. However, up to today I have not repaid anything to you, so please forgive me for my lack of filial piety. However, now I will accomplish an important mission to defend the country by attacking the enemy task force at a single blow and breaking my five-foot body to pieces. Please imagine my smiling face.

I pray that everyone will be in good health. Sakiko, please take care of our parents on my behalf and raise our younger sisters excellently. Makoto, go to the battlefront after me.

April 13, 1945

While I am waiting for the order for a general attack, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and I will complete my hasty last writing. All the best to you.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter comes from Kaigun Hikō (1995, 74-5). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kaigun Hikō (1995, 74) and Osuo (2005, 204).

Sources Cited

Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (Navy Flight Reserve Students 14th Class Association), ed. 1995. Zoku Ā dōki no sakura (Continuation Ah, cherry blossoms of same class). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.

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