Deep Blue: From Chiran
Special Attack Air Base (1996)
Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Satoshi Yagyū to His Parents
On April 12, 1945, Second Lieutenant Satoshi Yagyū took off from Chiran Air Base
and died in a special (suicide) attack west of Okinawa at the age of 22. He was
a member of the 69th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and piloted an Army Type 97
Fighter (Allied nickname of Nate). After his death in a special attack, he
received a promotion to Captain. He was from Gifu Prefecture, attended Shibaura
Higher Technical School in Tōkyō, and was a member of the 9th Class of the
Army's Officer Cadet (Kanbu Kōhosei) training program.
He wrote the following final letter:
Going to fight during the country's crisis is a young man's
long-cherished desire surpassed by nothing else. My longtime desire is to
live purely and beautifully as Mt. Fuji until the end.
The very young and the young, and also the elderly and the women, all of
the people will cast away their own personal work at this time of great
national crisis. While I have lived with poor fortunes in battle from when I
joined the Army until today, I have been very sad and ashamed. I have spent
very anguished days of guilt when considering the spirits of young men who
left the village, took up arms in distant battlefields, fought in numerous
battles, and finally became spirits to protect the country.
While passing days in this way, finally war has flown to the mainland.
When the crisis approaches, young men's blood is agitated. Please understand
my heartbreaking feeling.
Even as it is difficult for me as a military man to not be able to go the
battlefield, it makes me sad so that I only choke back tears that by poor
skill I have not yet reached that level before in my life
Because of this I have caused you to feel ashamed in some way. Certainly
this also is extremely painful to me, and I feel truly ashamed even facing
Even though Older Brother is fighting on the battlefield, it is pleasing
that I have not been slightly wounded, but for our family it is truly
However, not having been quick in either military exploits or death, it
is my one long-cherished desire that I have an absolutely splendid end to
fulfill the longtime aspiration of a young Japanese man and live for an
Fortunately, the day has come to be truly a man. I leave on the path that
I must go as a man. There is one last joy in my short life
Being able finally to accomplish a magnificent work is a great joy. My
Parents also, you together please be glad.
I intend to take off cheerfully not sparing my life for the Emperor and
At this time when a turbulent situation has reached Shinshū ,
there is no greater joy and honor than to offer up myself who you raised for
more than 20 years.
Finally, I pray for your health and happiness.
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (1996, 102-4). The
biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko
Kai (1996, 97), Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 183), and Osuo (2005,
1. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means
Chiran Kōjo Nadeshiko Kai (Chiran Girls High School Nadeshiko
Association), ed. 1996. Gunjō: Chiran tokkō kichi yori
(Deep blue: From Chiran special attack air base). Originally
published in 1979. Kagoshima City: Takishobō.
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.