Last Letters of Second Lieutenant Naofumi Takiguchi
On April 12, 1945, Second Lieutenant Naofumi Takiguchi
took off from Bansei Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack
west of Okinawa at the age of
23. He was a member of the 62nd Shinbu Squadron, also known the Shiraume (White
Plum Blossom) Squadron, which was formed at Shimoshizu Air Base in Chiba
Prefecture on March 23, 1945. He piloted a Type 99 Assault
Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special
attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Captain. He was from
Miyagi Prefecture and was a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet
Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.
Although he addressed the following last letter to his father, the contents
indicate that it was for both his father and mother. He also wrote brief
messages to his two younger brothers and one younger sister.
I trust that Father, Mother, and everyone are in high spirits. Basking in
honor of recently having become a Special Attack Corps member, I will soon
Now after such a long time, I apologize for my silence in the past. In
addition, this will be my final letter to you.
Now at this time I have only appreciation for your raising me in an
extraordinary way for more than 20 years.
Well done. As a man, I am extremely happy. It seems that I can see your
smiling faces when you hear that I hit an enemy ship and caused an instant
At that time, everyone in the family, please show your happy and smiling
- And then, this is a small matter, but when I have died since I
obtained a 10,000-yen life insurance policy……
- [crossed out]
- Since I intend to send many photos to you, please send several of
the best ones among these to Ushijima.
"For six years from when I went to Tōkyō until today, Ushijima has shown
me kindness that words truly are not adequate to describe. She gave me all
of her kindness whether in Tōkyō or Chōshi, and at the end on the verge of
leaving she showed her benevolence to me. From you also, please tell her
your thanks in a good way. If I had lived, I absolutely would have been able
to show kindness to her in return. I did not inform you in six years, but
this is my final request. Please notify her before anyone of my battle
results (Hiroko Ushijima, Kōbaisō, 4-1 Surugadai, Kanda-ku, Tōkyō-to
My squadron leader is Army First Lieutenant Kazuhiko Ishikawa. I will
enclose a photo.
I certainly will not die. I live for an eternal cause. There is nothing
that surpasses this in honor.
Tokuo and Hiroshi, please follow closely after your brother. From the
Sanzu River , I
will be praying that you may die splendidly.
Takiko, please be devoted to showing excellent filial piety.
Love live His Majesty the Emperor.
Long live the Empire of Japan.
Army Second Lieutenant Naofumi Takiguchi
He wrote the following final letter with a death poem in tanka form
(31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7) at the end:
Are you doing well? I appreciate your upbringing for more than 20 years.
I will demonstrate loyalty to the Emperor. It is a young man's
Father, please take good care of your health.
Though countless persons, this spring
I will fall for Emperor
Letters translated by Bill Gordon
The letters come from Naemura (1993, 106-8). The biographical information in
the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 157),
Naemura (1993, 106), and Osuo (2005,
1. According to a footnote (Naemura 1993, 107),
Takiguchi's parents worked as construction engineers in Korea. He commuted to
school from this lodging in Tōkyō.
2. Sanzu River is the Japanese Buddhist equivalent
of the River Styx.
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.
Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last
letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.