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Heroic Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps
(1983 cover)
(originally published as
Ah, Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps
in 1970)

Last Letter of Ensign Tamotsu Watase to His Parents

At 1845 on May 27, 1945, Ensign Tamotsu Watase took off from Kanoya Air Base as observer (included roles of navigator and bombardier) in a two-man Shiragiku trainer carrying two 250-kg bombs. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kikusui Unit 1st Shiragiku Squadron from Kōchi Naval Air Group. He died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 22. He was from Tōkyō Prefecture, attended Nihon University in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 13th Class of the Navy's Flight Reserve Students (Hikō Yobi Gakusei).

He wrote the following final letter:

Dear Father and Mother,

Have you been doing well? Have Masa and Chieko also been doing well? Thanks to you, I am more and more enthusiastic. The decisive battle at Okinawa has become increasingly intense. The day is near when I will carry out my original intention. I will certainly do it.

It is inexcusable that I did not show any filial piety. Also, I have no regrets. There is nothing above this as the long-cherished desire of young Japanese man. I am very happy. Well then, I am going.

I pray that you will have long life and great happiness.

Letter translated by Bill Gordon
April 2018

The letter on this page comes from Kitagawa (1970, 211-2). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes Kitagawa (1970, 211) and Osuo (2005, 241).

Sources Cited

Kitagawa, Mamoru, ed. 1970. Ā kamikaze tokkōtai: Kaerazaru seishun no isho shū (Ah, Kamikaze Special Attack Corps: Collected last letters of youth that would not return). Tōkyō: Nihon Bungeisha.

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