Last Letters of Navy
Special Attack Corps (1971)
Last Letter of Ensign Cadet Mikio Sugata to His Family
At 1151 on April 12, 1945, Ensign Cadet Mikio Sugata took off
from Kushira Air Base as navigator/observer in a Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of
Kate) carrying an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of
the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Goō Hakuro  Squadron
from Himeji Naval Air Group. He died in
a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 21 .
He was born in 1925 in Iwate Prefecture, attended Tōyō University in Tōkyō,
and was a member of the 1st Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō
He wrote the following final letter to his family:
At my sortie, I will write a short letter. At a time when the war
situation has become more and more critical to the highest degree, I have
been selected as a Special Attack Corps member. This is nothing that
surpasses this as a young man's long-cherished desire. I only will push
The other day I asked a comrade to send to you a little bit of money and
a watch, so please accept them.
- I have no private concern.
- I have nothing with a woman.
- I have no borrowed item or money.
Mother, Older Brother, and Younger Sister, I only devote myself for the
Empire. I am just overflowing with feelings to be a foundation for
prosperity in the Empire. Mother, when you recover from your illness, take
good care of your health.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Matsugi
(1971, 142). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from
(1971, 142), Osuo (2005, 221), and Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990, 179).
1. The word Goō means "protecting the Emperor."
Hakuro (白鷺), also pronounced as shirasagi, means white egret. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th
century, has the name of Shirasagi Castle or Hakuro Castle. The squadron's
pronunciation of Hakuro comes from several Japanese sources including the
following article from Sankei News dated May 23, 2017: "Hakuro-tai no tokkō
ni shiryō de semaru: Himeji-shi heiwa shiryōkan de ihin nado 200-ten tenji"
(Approaching the special attacks of Hakuro Squadrons through source material:
200 objects displayed at Himeji City Peace Museum) <https://www.sankei.com/region/news/170523/rgn1705230024-n1.html>
(January 13, 2020).
2. Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990, 179) gives his year
of birth as 1923, so Yoshida could have been 21 or 22 years of age at death.
Other sources do not specify a birth date or provide his age at death. By using
a mid-year birth date of July 1, his age at death is assumed to be 21.
Matsugi, Fujio, ed. 1971. Kaigun tokubetsu kōgekitai no isho (Last letters of Navy Special Attack Corps).
Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.