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Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryūzō Nomura to His Parents

At 0600 on May 4, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryūzō Nomura took off from Ibusuki Air Base as pilot in a two-man Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane (Allied code name of Alf) carrying a 500-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kotohira Suishin Squadron from Takuma Naval Air Group in Kagawa Prefecture. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 18. After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Ensign. He was from Aichi Prefecture and was a member of the 13th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter with a death poem:

Dear Parents,

At this time when the country faces its greatest crisis, which is unprecedented in history, I will go forward for the destruction of the enemy around Okinawa.

I apologize for not having done anything for you since being born 18 years ago and for repeatedly not showing filial piety.

However, now I offer this young body as a shield for His Majesty. This glory of being able to do this is because of you.

Death Poem

Yamato [1] spirit burning strongly inside men
Bodies will fall as flowers of Imperial palace

Now I have been able to be decorated in an unsurpassed honor of being able to die with my Special Attack Corps plane as a crewman. The divine land of Japan certainly will win.

I pray that you will fight bravely until the day of victory.

Even if you say a word it will be good, so please say that I did well.

April 28, 1945
One hour before sortie [2]

Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

The letter and poem come from Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 105-6). The biographical information on this page comes from Osuo (2005, 239) and Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 105).


1. Yamato is an ancient name for Japan.

2. His sortie was delayed until May 4, 1945.

Sources Cited

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

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2001. Eirei no koto no ha (7) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 7). Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.