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Last letters, poems, and
writings of Navy Preparatory
Flight Trainees (1)

Last Letter of Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitsuo Yoshinaga to His Parents

At 1424 on April 29, 1945, Flight Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitsuo Yoshinaga took off from Kanoya Air Base as pilot in a Zero Fighter Trainer carrying a 250-kg bomb and died in a special (suicide) attack off Okinawa at the age of 19. He was a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 5th Shōwa Squadron from Yatabe Naval Air Group in Ibaraki Prefecture. He was from Kagoshima Prefecture and was a member of the 18th Otsu Class of the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program).

He wrote the following final letter with a death poem at the end:

Dear Father and Mother,

Spring has visited us in the country of Shinshū [1].

I felt assured when the other day I saw your healthy faces. I think that I will be able to make a sortie. With more than two years of training, I of course today am prepared for things as they are now, and I imagine that you also are prepared.

I had also older brothers, and I volunteered for the Special Attack Corps as I happily thought of being a younger brother. However, Itsuo certainly will be attacking for me the enemies of my two older brothers who are with me always in secret. Since I will become Lieutenant Commander Yokoyama, I request that you be the parents of the second Lieutenant Commander Yokoyama [2].

I certainly will work just as much as the people in our hometown, so please rest assured on just that point.

From you give my regards to the many families who took the trouble to care for me when I returned.

Other than this I have no regrets.

Please let Hisae and Renko grow up peacefully.

Please forgive me for the many ways until now of not showing filial piety to you.

Everyone, please live in good health.

I will be waiting for you.

Today I will go soaring
Now to fall with cherry blossoms in full bloom


Letter translated by Bill Gordon
September 2018

The letter comes from Kojima (2004, 27). The biographical information in the first paragraph comes from Kojima (2004, 27) and Osuo (2005, 204).


1. Shinshū refers to Japan and literally means "divine land."

2. Lieutenant Junior Grade Masaharu Yokoyama, who was from Yoshinaga's home prefecture of Kagoshima, was one of nine midget submarine crewmembers who died in special attacks at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He received a two-grade promotion to Lieutenant Commander because of his death in a special attack.

Sources Cited

Kojima, Keizō, ed. 2004. Kaigun hikō yoka renshūsei isho • iei • ikōshū (1) (Last letters, poems, and writings of Navy Preparatory Flight Trainees (1)). Tōkyō: Unabarakai.

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