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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Shōji Wada to His Parents

On June 6, 1945, Second Lieutenant Shōji Wada took off from Chiran Air Base as a member of the 165th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 21. He piloted an Army Hien Type 3 Fighter (Allied nickname of Tony). After his death in a special attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Captain. He was from Nagano Prefecture, attended Ueda Imperial College of Sericulture and Silk Industry in Nagano Prefecture, and become a member of the 2nd Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training Program.

He wrote the following final letter on the same day as his sortie from Chiran Air Base:

Dear Father and Mother,

Are you doing well?

Today I will make a sortie as a Special Attack Corps member.

Here in Chiran, where I was last year from August to November, as might be expected everything including a single tree or blade of grass seems familiar. After the squadron members received the order, up to today we have had in mind only being able to carry out our mission successfully.

The sortie time has come. Now I am praying earnestly for divine aid.

In the midst of many persons who lead lives of loafing and idleness, I think that my life, which will end in the important final goal of surely sinking an enemy ship, has been blessed by the gods.

I have been truly happy to have been brought up since I was young in the midst of only abundant love from my relatives and family members. My life was happier and more fulfilling than anyone, since everyone granted my self-centered desires. It is really regrettable that in exchange for that as a child I am going without doing anything for you in return.

Since last July there has been no opportunity to see you. However, I never forgot that time when I enjoyed talking with everyone during the refreshing summer evening under the bright lanterns.

Even though I will not be there, everyone be well. Father will work outside. Mother will do the work at home. Kesae, Fukie, and Tomoe will grow up in good health and have a happy family. Also, all of you will help each other cheerfully and enjoyably, and you will lead a beautiful life. I am hoping and praying for this.

There is no more time before my sortie.

In my heart I earnestly hope that this daring deed be accomplished and that everyone have good health.

Be well. Farewell.

June 6

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 146, 183) and Osuo (2005, 206).

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.