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Last Writings of Corporal Takamasa Senda

On May 27, 1945, Army Corporal Takamasa Senda took off from Bansei Air Base as a member of the 72nd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted a Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 18, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. He was from Fusō Town in Aichi Prefecture and was a member of the 15th Class of the Army's Youth Pilot (Shōhi) Program.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Parents,

This is written on May 18, 1945.

Tomorrow I finally will go into battle. It is scheduled that I will crash into a carrier at 7:30. I will make a sortie smiling.

It is already 23:00. Tomorrow I must wake up at O [1] o'clock and depart. Since I cannot read clearly the characters that I am writing in the moonlight, it is like this.

I wish for everyone's success. Please go to Fukuyama's place [2] because there are things that I left behind there.

In the moonlight, early tomorrow morning I will make a sortie for a certain sinking.

There is nothing that surpasses this as my long-cherished desire.

I expect a certain sinking. Since tomorrow will be my sortie, I apologize for tonight being early. Give my regards to my older brothers.

Look at my skill.

Please send a photo to Reiko at Hiryūsō [3].

Takamasa Senda

He also wrote the following before his death:

Certain sinking, instant sinking, and again, instant sinking.

My request, only sake.

Certain sinking that I will cause is definite.

I who am delighted will make taiatari (body-crashing) attack.

For my posthumous Buddhist name, I ask that you not forget the kanji (Chinese character) of jun (meaning "pure"), and there is no need to say things like, "ah, how sad." I do not have one sad thing. I am only full of joy.

I will have no remains. Nothing of my body will be left behind. I do not need something like a cemetery. Rather than a cemetery, I would like applause. Perhaps the kamisamadana (household shrine) is better than the butsudan (Buddhist household altar) for my mortuary tablet.

Next I'll talk of the past. Why did I quit technical school in the second year of high school? Why did I join Kawasaki Aircraft Industries? Above all I wanted to be a pilot. I was overjoyed. My apologies to my parents.


Bullets are mine
Waiting anxiously to set out on farewell
Smile my friends, tonight's food
Please eat even my portion


Carrying huge torpedo on wing
My specialty is taiatari (body crashing)
What a joy, ships to attack
Columns of fire and water will rise up


If man falls, it is as cherry blossom
After falling, it will bloom again at Kudan [4]
Going to fall, torpedo attack spirit
Smiling and blooming, Yamato [5] spirit

The following 72nd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron poems were written by Senda:


Shining circle of sun on wings
See in eyes, fervent fighting spirit
Carrying a heavy bomb
To fall will be instant sinking of enemy ship
Ah, we the 72nd Squadron


Leaving nest from Pyongyang
We twelve young cherry blossoms
Image of mother hidden in heart
To fall will be taiatari (body-crashing) attack
Ah, flowers of 72nd Squadron


Targeted prey, enemy aircraft carrier
What, carrier-based fighters seen
Charging in for instant sinking
Great battle results with rising columns of smoke
Ah, 72nd Squadron for special attacks
Ah, 72nd Squadron for special attacks
Instant sinking

72nd Shinbu Squadron, Takamasa Senda

Writings translated by Bill Gordon
August 2020

The writings on this page come from Naemura (1993, 148-9). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 187), Naemura (1993, 147), and Osuo (2005, 201).


1. The "O" indicates that the time was crossed out in the letter. This could mean that the information was a military secret and could not be included in the letter. It may have been censored by a superior officer.

2. Fukuyama was a person who provided lodging and meals while Senda and the rest of the 72nd Shinbu Squadron were at Metabaru Air Base in Saga Prefecture (Naemura 1991, 148, Note 1).

3. Reiko Yamashita was the daughter of the owners of Hiryūsō Inn in Kaseda City where Army Special Attack Corps pilots sometimes stayed and ate (Naemura 1991, 148, Note 2).

4. Kudan is a hill in Tōkyō where Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine) is located. Yasukuni Jinja is Japan's national shrine to honor spirits of soldiers killed in battle.

5. Yamato is a poetic name for Japan.

Sources Cited

Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.

Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō Shuppan.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.