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Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory
Flight Trainees (1)

Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Masaharu Shimizu to His Parents

At 1120 on April 7, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Masaharu Shimizu took off from Kokubu No. 1 Air Base as pilot in a Suisei Dive Bomber (Allied code name of Judy) loaded with a 500-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Mitate Squadron from the 601st Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 18. He was from Nagano 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 to his parents:

Recently I received a special attack order, and it has come about that I will make a sortie.

There is nothing that surpasses this as the long-cherished desire of a young Japanese man, and I cannot contain my joy.

Father, when you hear about this, you surely will be satisfied.

Now I do not have anything to say, and I do not know how best to express my apology for not showing any filial piety to you Father, Mother, and Grandmother who raised me during my life of just twenty years [1].

Since I have not yet gone to war, there are some matters of uneasiness, but when the bomb hits the target, certainly I will sink instantly an enemy aircraft carrier.

I think that you surely are surprised at its suddenness, but I will accomplish splendidly a young man's long-cherished desire.

There is no time until my departure.

These are my last few words.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
September 2018

The letter comes from Kojima (2004, 54). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kojima (2004, 54) and Osuo (2005, 229).


1. The traditional Japanese method of counting age, as in much of East Asia, regards a child as age one at birth and adds an additional year on each New Year's day thereafter. This explains why the letter indicates his age as 20 whereas Kojima (2004, 52) gives his age at death as 18.

Sources Cited

Kojima, Keizō, ed. 2004. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei isho • iei • ikōshū (1) (Last letters, poems, and writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (1)). Tōkyō: Unabarakai.

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