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Last Letter of Ensign Isamu Saitō to His Parents

At 1455 on April 6, 1945, Ensign Isamu Saitō took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 25. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Tsukuba Squadron. After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Lieutenant. He was from Hokkaidō Prefecture, graduated from Waseda University, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Father, Mother, and everyone else,

Preliminaries omitted. I have not written for a while. I trust that everyone is getting along fine without changes. I as usual am serving in high spirits.

(portion omitted)

I have been waiting anxiously since about two months ago when I was named as section leader of a special attack squadron. Now I am engaged in rigorous training. Actually, although there were three times that volunteers were requested, I always wrote "eagerly desire."

Finally in a few days I will depart and advance from here at Tsukuba to the south. When I think, I very deeply thank Father, Mother, Older Brother, Older Brother's wife, and Older Sisters [1] who have cared for me in many ways and who I have caused worries for during the 25 years since I was born. I very deeply believe that now I can repay this kindness along with being loyal.

Now just before the sortie, there is no thinking calmly. The only thing in my mind is how to be able to crash into the enemy.

Finally, after I die please give my regards to Suzuki, who has shown care beyond even a parent from my university days until now. I ponder frequently that there was such a kind person in Tōkyō where there are sharp practices. (portion omitted) Also, after the war's end, please call Suzuki and listen to his stories.

When you read this, I earlier will have crashed splendidly into an enemy ship. No matter how much I write, there is no end, so here I will stop my final, final writing.

To Father and Mother first and to everyone, in addition to your health and taking good care of yourselves, please press on for the country to strengthen and increase production to support the war.

From Isamu

P.S. My dear Masako, Kazunari, Hiroshi, Reiko, Yōko, and Kiyoka, please make your bodies strong, listen well to what Father and Mother say, study hard, and become fine Japanese persons. Farewell.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
January 2019

The letter comes from Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 19-20). The biographical information on this page comes from Osuo (2005, 197) and Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 19).


1. The letter does not specify the number of older sisters. There could have been one or more.

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.