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Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Toshihiro Watanabe to His Mother

On April 22, 1945, Second Lieutenant Toshihiro Watanabe took off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 24. He was a member of the 105th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron. He piloted an Army Type 97 Fighter (Allied code name of Nate). After his death in a special attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Captain. He was from Tottori Prefecture and attended Kansai University. He was a member of the 1st Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training Program.

The following is an excerpt of a note that Watanabe wrote to his mother:

April 20

I came to the final base at Chiran Airfield. The barracks are damaged due to bombing.

With a great sense of nostalgia, I walked around the place where I once slept. I remember piloting at Chiran. It will be the end when I take off from Chiran as tomorrow finally is the sortie.

I will fight splendidly. Surely, surely I will destroy an enemy ship by fighting splendidly.

Everyone, please rest assured. My heart now is cheerful.

Mother, Grandmother, Father, Grandfather, and Everyone, farewell.

April 20, 2130

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
February 2018

The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 116, 198) and Osuo (2005, 204).

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.