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Last Writings of Ensign Toshirō Washimi

At 1425 on April 6, 1945, Ensign Toshirō Washimi took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero fighter carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 23. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 1st Shichishō Squadron from Genzan [1] Naval Air Group. He was from Hyōgo Prefecture, attended Ōsaka University of Commerce, and was a member of the 14th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final diary entries at Genzan Air Base in Korea:

March 16

Clear weather with strong wind. I had a dream that my false tooth was pulled out. Today I will be cautious.

We did squadron and regular training. All men got up together. From 6:00 to close to 5:00 at dusk, we enjoyed nonstop aircraft operations. I was tired.

March 18

In last night's dream, I let mother observe my Zero fighter, and I explained it to her. Also Akira was being scolded by Mother almost to the point of tears. I was really glad. I wonder if reaching the point where my plane is even in my dreams means only that I have been able to learn aviation skills. Today was the last leave from base.


Even now I cannot get rid of the taste that I experienced just after I joined the Navy. I recognize that it surely has a calming effect when I can ease my impatience or when I am tired and exhausted. Especially before flying my plane.


I enjoyed it for the first time since coming to Genzan. I cultivated self-discipline only to not show unwillingness when socializing, but after all there is sadness when a single small sake bottle is knocked over by accident.


Not yet known. However, that also is fine. If I adore my mother as my eternal sweetheart, it will not be possible to find an ideal woman like my mother.

March 20

There was a letter dated the 15th from Father. Ōsaka City's history of a thousand and several hundred years is in ashes [2]. He told me that Ikukunitama Shrine was destroyed, and I learned about our fate.

April 1

At 0730, there was a graduation ceremony for students who completed the training program.

At 0900, I now plan to make a sortie. Farewell Genzan.

A dust storm struck, so departure was postponed.

April 2

At 0400, I will make a sortie.

In April 1945, Washimi wrote the following last letter with several death poems in tanka form (31-syllable poem with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7):

For selected March cherry blossom, fine to fall
As I have inherited 3,000 years of history

A sure-kill attack with wings of divine wind
How enthusiastic to make taiatari (body-crashing) attack

Young cherry blossom will bloom for Emperor
To fall in storm on warrior's path

To Father and Mother

I cannot write anything to describe your very great kindness. I live for an eternal cause with unending pride for what I inherited from you. I only pray for your good health.

I who received Father's excellent spirit
Will break enemy ship into pieces

Inherited Mother's kind sincerity
Eternally in fragrant skies of Yamato [3]

I as oldest son also will die for Empire
Father, forgive my going and not returning

To Grandmother

As I pray for your health, my worthy work
I tell you of today's joy

To Older Brother Tamotsu

To you who I treated roughly and fought with
At Yasukuni Shrine I will tell you what happened

To Older Brother Tsutomu

Single character of "sincerity" [4] written large in the sky
I go to penetrate right into midst of battle

To Older Sister

Seeing you in dream enjoying yourself
From small remaining midnight moon

To Akira and Eiji

If you want to meet me, look up to skies
Place where I'll live to protect Empire

Writings translated by Bill Gordon
July 2020

The diary entries dated from March 16 to April 2, 1945, come from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (1966, 153-4). The last letter to his parents and the poems come from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (1995, 66-7). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (1966, 81; 1995, 66) and Osuo (2005, 199).


1. The Korean pronunciation of Genzan is Wonsan. It is located on the east coast of North Korea.

2. American B-29 bombers dropped incendiary bombs on Ōsaka City during the night of March 13, 1945.

3. Yamato is a poetic name for Japan.

4. This is a translation of the single kanji (Chinese character) of 誠 (makoto), which can be translated with such English words as sincerity, truth, faithfulness, or honesty.

Sources Cited

Kaigun Hikō Yobi Gakusei Dai 14 Ki Kai (Navy Flight Reserve Students 14th Class Association), ed. 1966. Ā dōki no sakura: Kaerazaru seishun no shuki (Ah, cherry blossoms of same class: Writings of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Mainichi Shinbunsha.

________. 1995. Zoku Ā dōki no sakura: Wakaki senbotsu gakusei no shuki (Continuation Ah, cherry blossoms of same class: Writings of young students who died in war). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.

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