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
He wrote the following final letter:
How have you been doing?
I will carry out an important responsibility as a member during the
I will break an enemy ship into pieces and bloom as a young cherry
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
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
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: