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Last Letters of Corporal Renzō Yanai to His Father and Mother

On May 25, 1945, Corporal Renzō Yanai took off from Bansei Air Base as a member of the 432nd Shinbu Special Attack Squadron and died in a special (suicide) attack at the age of 21. He piloted a Type 2 Advanced Trainer. After his death in a special attack, he received a four-rank promotion to Second Lieutenant. Yanai was from Fukushima Prefecture [1]. In October 1943, he joined the 14th Class of the Sendai Pilot Training School. In July 1944, he transferred to the Sendai Army Flight School, and one month later he was assigned to the 24th Kyōiku Hikōtai (Flight Training Unit) in Manchuria.

He wrote the following final letters:

Dear Father,

I have no complaint. However, I regret that I will go without doing any filial piety. Moreover, there is no excuse for this, and please forgive me for my lack of filial piety.

Following my military orders, there was nothing for me to concern myself about in the past, but sometimes I remember times from long ago. Although it is too late, there is no excuse for my lack of filial piety in those days. You had much patience, and at the time I did not appreciate your teaching me.

Since your body usually is weak, I am praying from the skies that you will take good care of yourself so that you may live long.

Praying for the happiness of you, Mother, and other family members, I gladly offer myself to the country in order to protect it.

Farewell, take care.

Dear Mother,

Please forgive me for my lack of filial piety. Regardless of your supporting me kindly when I was selfish during those days when I was young, there is no excuse for my not being able to do anything for you. Although it is too late, I am sorry for the way that I acted.

At this time countless men have been selected to go. I will go gladly. I am singing "if the country is destroyed, there will be no mountains and rivers" [2].

I am sincerely praying for the happiness of Father and you.

Please see with your own eyes my battle results.



Letters translated by Bill Gordon
March 2018

The letters and other information on this page come from Naemura (1993, 157, 474).


1. Chiran Tokkō 2005, 160-1.

2. These are part of the lyrics in "Song of Young Cherry Blossoms."

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.

Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō Shuppan.