Last Letters of Sergeant Yoshitsugu Sunaga to His Family
On November 15, 1944, Sergeant Yoshitsugu Sunaga
took off from Marcot Airfield in the Philippines in a Type 4 Heavy Bomber
(Allied code name of Peggy) and died
east of Luzon in a special (suicide) attack at the age of
25 . He was a member of the Fugaku  Squadron. After
his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. He
was from Tochigi Prefecture and was a non-commissioned officer who entered the Army in 1939.
Sunaga wrote the following final letter to his parents:
Dear Father and Mother,
Tomorrow morning I will carry out an attack.
As this has been a young man's long-cherished desire from the beginning,
I will become a bomb and make a taiatari (body-crashing) attack
against an American aircraft carrier. Two men  will share their fate with an
aircraft carrier, about 2,000 enemy troops, and more than 100 planes. Isn't
this truly thrilling?
Please be glad. Please listen to the radio news, read the newspaper
articles, and praise me.
My only regret is that I go while leaving behind my frail parents.
Please think of me when you see the Arawashi (Wild Eagles) decorative
object, which was presented at the village shrine when I joined the Army, and
the memorial tree planted in the yard.
With this I give my farewell to this life.
November 12, Clark Air Base
He wrote the following last letter to his siblings:
Dear Older Brother, Younger Sisters, and Younger Brothers ,
In the future without me, please render filial piety to our parents for my part.
Older Brother, please set our parents at ease by taking a bride soon.
Younger Brothers and Sisters, please forgive me for causing you much
When I returned home, I believe that I said what I wanted to say.
Everyone, do as I said. Please cooperate as siblings to protects our
parents, family, and country.
There is no longer time. There truly is no excuse for my messy writing.
Please forgive me.
There is not time for me to write to all of the town hall workers,
relatives, and neighbors. Please give them my regards.
November 12, at Clark
Translated by Bill Gordon
The letters come from Kōchiyama (1990, 218-9, 227-8). The biographical information on this page comes from
Kōchiyama (1990, 248), Osuo (2005, 189) and Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990, 254).
1. Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990, 254) only indicates
that he was born in 1919, so he could have been either 24 or 25 at the date of
his death on November 15, 1944. Kōchiyama (1990, 248) gives his age at death as
26, but it is not known how this was calculated.
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, so this could be the reason why Kōchiyama
gives an age of 26.
2. Fugaku means Mount Fuji.
3. Sunaga's Army Type 4 Heavy Bomber, which
carried out a special attack, had a crew of two men.
The number of younger brothers and sisters is not specified in the letter. He
may have had one or more younger brothers and one or more younger sisters.
Kōchiyama, Yuzuru. 1990. On'ai no kizuna tachigatashi: Tokkō
taichō Nishio Tsunesaburō no shōgai (Unbreakable bonds of kindness and
affection: Life of special attack squadron leader Tsunesaburō Nishio). Tōkyō:
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). 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.