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Last Letter of Lieutenant Junior Grade Korekiyo Otsuji to His Parents

At 1645 on November 12, 1944, Lieutenant Junior Grade Korekiyo Otsuji took off from Cebu Air Base in the Philippines and died in a special (suicide) attack at Tacloban (San Juanico) Strait at the age of 23. He was a member of the Baika Squadron of the 3rd Kamikaze Special Attack Unit. He flew a Zero fighter carrying a bomb. He was from Kagoshima Prefecture and graduated in the 71st Class of the Naval Academy at Etajima.

Korekiyo Otsuji wrote the following final letter to his parents. The middle of the letter has a tanka poem (31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables).

Dear Parents,

At this time with winter coming, I hope that Father and everyone else have been well.

When I go to battle, I will fight hard to the end to destroy the American military with the utmost enthusiasm that I have had for some time. At this time there is news of ceremonies to form Kamikaze Special Attack units. With delight, I requested that they let me participate in this.

Facing now a grave situation with incomparably extreme difficulties, I along with a bomb became part of the Kamikaze vanguard and will try to destroy an enemy ship. This exceptionally daring undertaking is truly a warrior's most cherished desire that nothing else surpasses. There is nothing more inspiring than the expectation of success.

Even though
In waters off the Philippines
I will fall
Eternally my spirit
Will defend the country

All human beings have a fate of life or death. Even though there is a lack of discussion on this, I am confident of living with the permanence of the Empire of 3,000 years through the honor of its people as our spirits never end. However, even in the hereafter, being reborn as a human seven times, I look forward to striking the enemy trying to vanquish the Empire.

Looking back on who I am today, I truly appreciate more than anything with all my heart your unspeakably huge amount of kindnesses and the caring guidance and education from various teachers from my elementary school and junior high school days and especially from various officers and seniors after I entered the Navy.

I have not been able to show even anything like filial piety to you, Father and Mother. Please forgive me for my lack of filial piety.

Please give my regards to Mōri, Kukimoto in Shimizu, Sakurai, Hiroshimaya, and those in the lotus flower club.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
February 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (2003, 13).

Source Cited

Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai (Kanoya Air Base Museum Coordinating Committee). 2003. Kokoro no sakebi (Cries of the heart). Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture: Kanoya Kōkū Kichi Shiryōkan Renraku Kyōgikai.