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Last letters, poems, and
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Flight Trainees (2)

Last Letters of Flight Chief Petty Officer Takao Uemura to His Mother and Older Brother

At 1230 on April 7, 1945, Flight Chief Petty Officer Takao Uemura took off from Miyazaki Air Base as radio operator/gunner in a Ginga bomber (Allied code name of Frances) loaded with an 800-kg bomb. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Mitate Squadron from the 706th Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He was from Kagawa Prefecture and was a member of the 16th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Mother,

How has your illness been lately?

In very high spirits, I am concentrated on my service to attack and destroy the enemy.

If soon my name is published, please consider it be of praiseworthy usefulness.

Since I entered the Navy four years ago, I had repeated training since I wanted this day to come.

I will carry out a splendid action.

When I depart, I am determined that I will not return again.

Please look in the newspaper for my achievement.

I have not done anything that can be called filial piety since I was born 21 years ago. I am a little worried that I will depart before you leaving you sick, but I think of this act for the Emperor as filial piety to you. I will depart smiling.

As for remaining matters, I request that you consult with Older Sister Komura and everyone.

Since there is not much time, I will end here.

Take good care of your health.

From the skies of faraway Kyūshū I pray for the happiness of you, Tomiko, and everyone.


Uemura also wrote the following last letter to his older brother with a death poem in tanka form (31-syllable poem with lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables) at the end:

Dear Older Brother Komura,

How is everyone doing? I am in high spirits.

Now I will depart as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps.

You have shown me care for a long time. After my death, I ask that you take care of Mother, who is sick, and matters concerning the family.

I do not have even one item to leave behind.

Perhaps I will send you my watch. I asked a woman who I did not know to send a small amount of money of about 300 yen.

If I do not send anything, please understand that I had nothing.

I request that you please watch over the house.

As for the matter of a wife, do not worry at all.

I eagerly wait to receive the order for a special attack.


Cherry blossoms are falling
Remaining blossoms also
Are going to fall
Moment of human bomb
A flower in the skies

Letter and poem translated by Bill Gordon
November 2018

The letter and poem come from Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 26-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Osuo (2005, 228) and Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (2006, 26-7).

Sources Cited

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

Unabarakai Henshū Iinkai (Unabarakai Editing Committee). 2006. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei isho • iei • ikōshū (2) (Last letters, poems, and writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (2)). Tōkyō: Unabarakai.