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

Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Hiroshi Shioda to His Parents

At 1230 on October 26, 1944, Flight Petty Officer 1st Class Hiroshi Shioda took off from Cebu Air Base in the Philippines as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Yamato Squadron from the 201st Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack east of Surigao at the age of 18. He was from Tochigi Prefecture and was a member of the 10th Kō Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter to his parents:

Day by day the fighting has become more intense.

Father and Mother, thank you for taking care of me for a long time.

At a young age of only 19 years [1], I am deeply pleased to be able to participate in this decisive battle of the skies.

I go to die bravely.

The color of today's sea is a beautiful thing. Please by no means grieve.

When I set my aims on grand Naval aviation, wasn't it you who at the very beginning gave me your permission and encouraged me?

I am already more than prepared for today. I joined the Yokaren just to offer my life to the skies as a humble shield. I have carried out rigorous training until today.

Now that can be a repayment. As a young Japanese man, the time has come for a man truly to flower.

If I compare these 19 years to a life of 50 years, it is short, but I truly felt that it was long.

Many memories are running through my mind like a revolving lantern. That mountain in our hometown where we tracked rabbits, that river where we fished for small carp, all only fond memories.

However, when I parted from you, I wanted to have shown more filial piety. My regret is only that. Even now I regret that I annoyed you by being quite a troublemaker.

Take good care of yourselves. I request only that.

I fondly remember all the times when I was coddled by you and when I was scolded by you. As for Ikuko and Masako, it is sad when I think that they may not be able to coddled and scolded by Mother like she did for me.

Please always live together happily.

I gladly go to the skies to fall.

Since as usual I have neglected writing to several persons, please give them my regards.

I have a request. Take good care of yourselves.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
September 2018

The letter comes from Kojima (2004, 47-8). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kojima (2004, 47) and Osuo (2005, 158).


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 19 whereas Kojima (2004, 47) gives his age 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.