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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Yoshio Shimizu to His Older Brother

On April 16, 1945, Second Lieutenant Yoshio Shimizu took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 22. He was a member of the 79th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted an Army Type 98 Direct Cooperation Reconnaissance Plane (Allied code name of Ida). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Shiga Prefecture, attended Hikone College of Commerce, and was a member of the 9th Class of the Army's Officer Cadet (Kanbu Kōhosei) training program.

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Older Brother,

The war situation is more and more severe. I trust that you are fighting hard in high spirits. I am doing well thanks to you. I continue to advance forward. Having been selected for the honorable OO [1] Squadron, I am praying that I will make a hitchū hitchin (sure hit, sure sinking) attack.

Today when I was advancing to another base, I passed through the skies over our hometown and clearly was able to see on our house's roof the flag that Father flies. Even now I see everyone's figures before my eyes. From the skies I bid farewell also to our hometown where I was brought up from birth until now.

Now without any regrets I only pray for hitting the target.

I pray from the shadows for your success as you fight hard as long as life endures. Before my eyes you appear just like your noble figure when I said farewell at Yokohama.

Based on a belief in the absolute truth of Japan's indestructibility, I will charge in straightaway and certainly hit the target.

Please have peace of mind. I wish you success, and now I will stop writing forever.

However, your sincere spirit always is within me. When you are fighting hard devoting yourself body and soul, I will not forget that you are always with me.

Evening of April 5
At time of sleep before advancing tomorrow

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
June 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 112, 190) and Osuo (2005, 202).


1. OO indicates information that was a military secret and could not be included in the letter.

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.

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