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Yatabe Naval Air Group Monument
(Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture)

Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Akira Saragai

At 0645 on May 11, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Akira Saragai 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 18. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th Shōwa Squadron from Yatabe Naval Air Group in Ibaraki Prefecture. He was from Hiroshima 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:

Dear All,

How have you been doing?

I will carry out an important responsibility as a member during the Empire's crisis.

I will break an enemy ship into pieces and bloom as a young cherry blossom.

Thank you for the many things that you did for me up to today.

By doing something with my one-second life and death, I will offer it for the Emperor's grace.

Everyone, be in high spirits.

I will fall smiling.


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
November 2018

The letter comes from Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 40). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Osuo (2005, 204) and Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 40).

Sources Cited

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: Unabarakai.