Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory
Flight Trainees (2) (2006)
Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Yasuyoshi Ōtani to His Parents
At 0600 on April 16, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Yasuyoshi Ōtani
took off from Kushira Air Base as radio operator/gunner in a Type 97 Carrier
Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Kate) carrying a 800-kg bomb. He was a member
of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Goō Hakuro 
Squadron from Himeji Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off
Kadena on the west coast of Okinawa at the age of 19. He was from Kagawa
Prefecture and was a member of the 18th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren
(Preparatory Flight Training Program).
He wrote the following final letter:
To Father and Mother as well as my siblings,
I appreciate the kindness of many teachers.
I go to die without showing any filial piety at all to you Father and
I am determined to make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack on an enemy
I will protect Shinshū  always.
Now I have wrapped tightly around my stomach the senninbari
(thousand-stitch belt worn for good luck) that was sent to me by Keiko.
Moreover, I will make a taiatari attack on an enemy aircraft carrier with
Keiko's handmade French doll also riding in my plane.
The other day I passed through the skies above Ichinomiya.
While praying for everyone's good health, I came to this place.
Now I have no regrets.
When I die, please forgive my lack of filial piety until now.
Give my regards to Grandfather and Grandmother, Father and Mother, Older
Sister, and Younger Sister.
There is a person named Kurinaga from Ikenishi in my division. I was able
to ask this person many things.
April 5, 1945
Himeji Air Group Shirasagi Unit
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai
(2006, 35). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Osuo (2005, 221) and Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai
1. The word Goō means "protecting the Emperor."
Hakuro (白鷺), also pronounced as shirasagi, means white egret. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th
century, has the name of Shirasagi Castle or Hakuro Castle. The squadron's
pronunciation of Hakuro comes from several Japanese sources including the
following article from Sankei News dated May 23, 2017: "Hakuro-tai no tokkō
ni shiryō de semaru: Himeji-shi heiwa shiryōkan de ihin nado 200-ten tenji"
(Approaching the special attacks of Hakuro Squadrons through source material:
200 objects displayed at Himeji City Peace Museum) <https://www.sankei.com/region/news/170523/rgn1705230024-n1.html>
(January 13, 2020).
2. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (Unabarakai Editing
Committee). 2006. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei
isho • iei • ikōshū (2) (Last letters, poems,
and writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (2)). Tōkyō: