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Last Writing of Second Lieutenant Masayuki Tatara

On May 20, 1945, Second Lieutenant Masayuki Tatara took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He was a member of the 50th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from Hiroshima Prefecture and was a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai Shikan) Program.

He wrote the following two factual notes on the day before and the day of his final sortie:

May 19, 1945

I will take off at 1550 as a member of the 8th General Attack 5th Attack Unit (50th Shinbu Flying Squadron).

I will make a sortie with an order to make a hitchin (certain sinking) attack against the fleet off the east coast of Okinawa at Nakagusuku (Buckner) Bay.

The planned time of arrival at the target area is after 1830.

Due to poor weather it has been postponed for one day.

Written at 0943

May 20, 1945

With orders received for an independent attack of the 50th Shinbu Flying Squadron (Yamabuki Squadron), there will be six planes led by the squadron commander and six planes led by me as the second squadron commander. We will take off at 1610 on May 20 and will crash dive at Nakagusuku Bay in the southern part of Okinawa between 1830 and 1930.

Written at 1336

Army Special Attack Corps 50th Shinbu Squadron member
Second Lieutenant Tatara

On May 20, 1945, one of the 50th Shinbu Squadron Hayabusa Type 1 Fighters hit the American ship LST (landing ship, tank) 808, but only five men were on board when the plane hit. More details are found in the story Kamikaze, the Ultimate Sacrifice.

Tatara's last writing translated by Bill Gordon
July 2018

Tatara's last writing come from Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 81-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 201), Osuo (2005, 197), and Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 81).

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.

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

Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2001. Eirei no koto no ha (7) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 7). Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.