Last Letter of Second Lieutenant Masafumi Yasuhara
On March 29, 1945, Second Lieutenant Masafumi Yasuhara
took off from Shiraho Airfield on Ishigaki Island toward Okinawa and died in a special (suicide) attack at the age of
24. He was a member of the Makoto 17th Hikōtai (Flying Unit). He piloted a
Type 99 Assault Plane (Allied code name of Sonia). After his death in a special
attack, he received a two-rank promotion to Captain. He was from Kōchi
Prefecture and was a member of the 9th Class of the Army's Officer Cadet (Kanbu Kōhosei) training program.
Masafumi Yasuhara wrote the following final letter to Chizuko, the 6th-grade
daughter of a family living in Taiwan who had him and a comrade at their home
for a few days and who held a farewell party from them (Kawatoko 2008, 43):
To Chizuko-chan ,
I carry in my pocket all of the many letters that I received from you. I
do not forget to bring also the good-luck charm pouch (doll is sleeping).
I can no longer play the Corinth game  with
you. In the days ahead I will join the stars. I will watch over you from
above as you become a fine person.
Please smile cheerfully and do not cry, and pray for success in my daring
Please obey your father and mother and become a fine person.
He also wrote the following note addressed to the items that he had received
while at Karenkō in Taiwan:
Doll, wind chime, crane,
Thank you for coming to a faraway island and every day giving everyone
comfort. I say my thanks.
When there is nobody here, please return to your mother at Karenkō and
always treat her with affection forever.
A total of 31 Special Attack Corps members died in battle after taking off
from Shiraho Airfield on Ishigaki Island. The
Ishadō Monument at the former
Shiraho Airfield honors Captain Yōkyū Ishadō, a native of Ishigaki Island, and
the other 30 men who died in special attacks.
Translated by Bill Gordon
Note to presents - July 2018
The letter comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005, 95). The note to
the presents that he had received comes from Yasukuni Jinja (1999, 112). The biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 95, 206) and Osuo (2005, 210).
1. The suffix -chan in Japanese is used
with a name as a term of endearment or familiarity.
2. The Corinth game was a Japanese children's game
that later developed into the adult game of pachinko.
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.
Kawatoko, Takeshi. 2008.
The Mind of the Kamikaze.
Minamikyūshū City, Kagoshima Prefecture: The Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 1999. Eirei
no koto no ha (5) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 5), pp. 105-6.
Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.