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Deep Blue: From Chiran
Special Attack Air Base

Last Writings of Second Lieutenant Kunihiko Suzuki

On May 28, 1945, Second Lieutenant Kunihiko Suzuki took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 20. He was a member of the 45th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted an Army Ki-45 Army Type 2 Toryū Fighter (Allied nickname of Nick). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Aichi Prefecture and graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Air Academy in the 57th Class.

Suzuki wrote the following final letters and other writings, including letters to persons living in Haramachi (Fukushima Prefecture) where he had been stationed at Haramachi Air Base for some time. The several poems in his last writings have been indented, and separate writings have been separated with an asterisk (*).

My Thoughts

Greater Asia, hear wind blowing
Pacific Ocean, see waves drawing near

Ah, dark clouds in our path
Plane wings at last in high spirits

It truly is a time of crisis for the Empire. Many seniors and classmates have given their blood for their country and have died gloriously.

On February 8, 1945, I received an Imperial command and was chosen to be a member of the Special Attack Corps. There is nothing greater than this as an honor for a warrior, and I only am glad that I have been blessed with the fortune of war.

I absolutely will strive to complete my mission.

Kukimoto [1] and Umehara, who with short-lived indignation first died gloriously in the southern seas and entrusted to us what would happen afterward, I earnestly pray that you guide me.


Dear Parents and Grandmother,

Thank you for bringing me up for a long time. Now I have obtained a splendid place to die and will fall as a shield for the Emperor. It is the supreme honor for a military man. I will decay happily at the sea's bottom.

Finally, I pray that you will have long lives of 100 years.


To my siblings,

I as the mainstay of the children was only selfish. Now when I think about it, I cannot bear the shame of intimidating you. However, I was such an older or younger brother, but since I offered myself to the skies, I obtained the opportunity for a noble and splendid death. Please be glad.

Older Sister, there are no words for me to express properly my appreciation to you. I rely on you for things afterward.

When wind blows
Prepared in advance
A cherry tree


To my former teachers and seniors to whom I owe a debt of gratitude,

For a long time you have given me various guidance and teaching, and thanks to you it will be for the country with the supreme honor for a warrior. Thank you.

True heart of warrior
Bow of azusa (catalpa) wood to serve


To my classmates,

I always appreciate your friendship.

Long live the fighting birds of the 57th class. The war is now. I rely on you to take care of matters afterward.

How the young officers of the 57th class will be blessed to be in time for the greatest decisive battle for the country's fate and what is more will serve as the core.


To Matsuura, Itakura, Furuhashi, and persons in Haramachi,

I, who did not yet know any kindness after having just graduated from the Academy, do not know how to best express my appreciation for your kindness that you always pleasantly after graduation let me and my classmates forget the loneliness of a far-off place, showed us kind care in a family-like atmosphere, let us forget our mental exhaustion from rigorous flight training, and saw us off to the front line in the skies while we had warm memories and pure human emotions in our hearts.

Many Haramachi classmates already have given their lives for an eternal cause. In that other world they surely must fondly remember their time at Haramachi.

Now I also have received an Imperial command. I will depart for a hisshi hissatsu (certain-death, sure-kill) attack, the supreme honor for a warrior. I believe that this is the path to be able to repay great kindness that I received during my life. I am fortunate to be able to repay this kindness in such a way.

I attach a lock of hair for my grave in Haramachi, which has been my second hometown in my life of 20 years.

Enemy waves to erase white beaches of Shikishima [2]
Will be destroyed in great numbers on rocky shore

The road to victory in the war is faraway, but I believe that it surely will be obtained. Everyone, please make strenuous efforts.

Finally, I am praying for everyone to succeed.


Dear Hide Matsuura,

At last I came. I am at the front line of Kyūshū. I am full of energy to do it, and I am in high spirits. In the end Nakata was not in time and did not come.

In any case, please rest assured since I am in high spirits.

When I go to blue skies
And cross sea to its end
I'll destroy enemy

Everyone, I pray that you will be in good health forever and ever.


(Sent to Seiju Matsuura)

To everyone in my Haramachi family,

I received your letter that brought back fond memories.

Actually, today all planes arrived here safely.

I felt calm at the station when you came to the place where I finally had to come.

I will start life in the triangular barrack. It seems that I will suffer from fleas and lice, but in what way? In any case I will bear them since it will only be for about two days.

I would have liked to have received a letter here, but there is not enough time for it to arrive after coming to Chiran. The mission tomorrow or the day after tomorrow is drawing near. About the time that this letter arrives, I will be a cherry blossom at Kudan [3]. Won't it be a joy?

I heard that Nakata stopped by. Since you will not see him again, he saw my letter from everyone.

Tonight a twin-engine fighter unexpectedly came, and we wondered who it might be. Since it was Nakata, there was a great shout of joy in the barrack. The joy of the squadron commander was extraordinary. In the southernmost part of Japan, I could not have imagined in a dream tasting dried persimmons from my hometown in the north. Here there are many classmates, and nearly all of them are squadron commanders. We really should not be in such high spirits.

On May 5, precisely the day that I returned to Haramachi, Second Lieutenant Kawaguchi entered the number of those who did not return.

Two of three classmates who were at "Uokin" died in battle. Now Second Lieutenant Hoshino made a sortie today. Second Lieutenant Kawahara of "Marukawa" is living. I by chance met him. It seems that we two already are old-timers at this airfield.

In comparison to Ozuki [4], there seems to be here a strong feeling of a southern land. The cicadas singing in chorus do not stop, and butterflies are flying about. Even in a single short-sleeved shirt, it is stuffy inside the triangular barrack probably because the roof is low.

Since I am living entirely in the woods, I have not been able to experience local customs and human kindness, but strong sunshine has added to the darkness of my face. Now my smile is like an advertisement for Sumoka toothpaste. If I did not have my smile, you would not know where is my mouth.

The home of Kukimoto is nearby, but I cannot go in this situation like the home of Shimura. The reason is that I do not know when I will go.

At any rate, we saw Nakata off, and he will do perfectly in battle formation. Please wait for him with great expectations.

I requested Sasa and also sent baggage (military uniform and shirts), so please take care of this.

By a curious turn of fate, although at this late hour, I surprisingly recognize that while at the same time the human course is complex and wide-ranging, there is an exceedingly simple single "love." This is my final, truly my final letter.

Everyone, please live long and in every way fight to the end to win.

I give regards to my brothers and sisters in my hometown. They will lose an older brother. Please fight bravely in your work by certainly turning the sadness of mourning for the first time toward hostility against the enemy.

I again will go to dance in a white yukata ((light cotton kimono) at this year's Bon Festival dance.

My grave will be in Haramachi, my second hometown. Well, please excuse me for ending here.

Since I recognize that the facilities here are not arranged well, please laugh at my poor writing.

On certain day in May


Last Testament

To everyone,

Long live the Emperor.

Spirit of justice between heaven and earth gathers in Shinshū [5]

As a person who was born in the Empire and who was raised in Shinshū, I pray for its prosperity and believe in its permanence.

Look at raging waves of Pacific and low dark clouds under Kunlun mountaintops [6].

Now the world is in the midst of its greatest upheaval. Even though it is the natural way of things that the proud will not stay long and the powerful inevitably will decline, as for the many difficulties and problems, a secure and proper future lies ahead.

As an airman, now in high spirits I certainly will hasten to join the decisive battle of the skies. There truly is no greater happiness than this.

Now what regrets are there
If I can thrive even covered with dirt and mud


Dear Parents,

Thank you for my upbringing for 20 years. Please forgive me for many unhappy incidents that I caused during this time.

Now I also as an Imperial military man will die in a way that will not make you ashamed.

Dying will make you happier than any other great act of filial piety while I am alive.

As the oldest child, I repeatedly apologize that during my life I performed no act of filial piety at all.


Dear Younger Brothers and Sisters,

When you remember that you had an older brother such as I, it is sufficient, but please offer a cup of water on my plain-wood memorial tablet when you have that feeling.

If you wish to follow after me, you need to consider first your bodies.

If one always values one's parents
One will give up life for Emperor

Azumao Sakura [7]

Pay attention to your health. I expect that your bodies will not be bitten by even insects.

Here finally I will achieve self-transcendence.

Writings translated by Bill Gordon
June 2020

The letters and other writings come from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 58-66). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 58) and Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 188).


1. On December 30, 1944, Nobuhide Kukimoto died in a special attack in the 12th Hakkō Squadron.

2. Shikishima is an ancient name for Japan.

3. Kudan is a hill in Tōkyō where Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine) is located. Yasukuni Jinja is Japan's national shrine to honor spirits of soldiers killed in battle.

4. Ozuki was an Army airfield located in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

5. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means "divine land."

6. Kunlun is a mountain range in Chinese mythology.

7. Azumao Sakura (1811-1860) was a Japanese classical scholar and poet in the late Edo Period.

Sources Cited

Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (Chiran Girls' High School Nadeshiko Association), ed. 1996. Gunjō: Chiran tokkō kichi yori (Deep blue: From Chiran special attack air base). Originally published in 1979. Kagoshima City: Takishobō.

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.