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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 go bravely.

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 sinking.

At that time, everyone in the family, please show your happy and smiling face.

  1. And then, this is a small matter, but when I have died since I obtained a 10,000-yen life insurance policy……
  2. [crossed out]
  3. 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 [1])."

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 [2], 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:

Dear Father,

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 long-cherished desire.

Father, please take good care of your health.

Though countless persons, this spring
I will fall for Emperor

Letters translated by Bill Gordon
September 2020

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, 200).


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.

Sources Cited

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 Shuppan.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.