Continuation • Ah, Cherry
Blossoms of Same Class (1995)
Last Letter of Ensign Kenji Satō to His Parents
At 0600 on May 4, 1945, Ensign Kenji Satō took off from Ibusuki Air Base
as pilot in a Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane (Allied code name of Alf) carrying
a 500-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Sakigake
Squadron from Kitaura Naval Air Group in Ibaraki Prefecture. He died in a
special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 21. He was from Miyagi
Prefecture, attended Tōkyō University of Agriculture, and was a member of the
14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).
He wrote the following final letter to his parents with a death poem at the end:
I know that it is the duty of a military man to offer himself once as a
defending warrior for the country and for the Emperor, but I want to put
down a few words before my sortie.
Now the Empire directly faces an unprecedented national crisis. Regarding
the opportunity to carry out my commitment as a military man, I choose to do
the most honorable deed even with my young life, and today I devote myself,
body and soul, to become a shield for the Emperor and to live for an eternal
Father and Mother, you raised me for many years with kind affection, and
I was guided well until today by lessons of various teachers and those older
than me. In the more than a year and a half since I entered the military in
September 1943, I have considered it best to return alive at the time of an
ambitious mission, but everything is fate even when there is only a
ten-thousandth chance of living.
Encountering good fortune, now I have the opportunity for a sortie. My
duty is heavy, and my body is light. Whether I can or cannot carry out my
mission depends on nothing other than divine protection. I pray that the
enemy ship and I together will have the same fate.
I pray for prosperity for the Empire and long life for the Emperor.
When going forth as a humble shield, a sea eagle not sparing his life
Ah, a heart that vows to serve the Emperor, a young cherry blossom
My name of one who fell honorably will be remembered at Yasukuni 
Written before sortie
At OO  Air Base
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei
(1995, 53-4). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei
(1995, 53) and Osuo (2005, 238).
1. Yasukuni Shrine in Tōkyō is the place of
enshrinement for spirits of Japan's war dead.
2. The OO indicates that the information could not
be provided in correspondence to civilians, since it was considered a military
Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (Navy Flight
Reserve Students 14th Class Association), ed. 1995. Zoku
• Ā dōki no sakura (Continuation
• Ah, cherry blossoms of same class). Tōkyō:
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.