Dear Ichizo

On December 7th, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. They used special planes called Zero Planes that were fast and could out-maneuver any other plane in its time. These planes were crashed purposely into enemy vessels by pilots who vowed their lives to heir country and honor. They had not earned the title yet, but later, in the years at around 1945, these pilots were called Kamikaze. They were all mainly college students who volunteered; some were drafted. Ichizo Hayashi was a famous Kamikaze pilot. This letter is addressed to him in his early years in Kyoto University. He has befriended a third year student, Tomoyuki Kitamura who has been drafted to become a pilot to attack Pearl Harbor. The letter is from Tomoyuki himself, his last words to Ichizo before takeoff.
Translated
Date Written: 6 Dec. 1941
Time: Unknown
Dear Ichizo,

I received my orders as a Special Attack Force pilot a little over a year ago. At first, I was only a flight instructor, but my knowledge of aircrafts grew useless. After the military used up all I could teach, hey automatically drafted me as a pilot who would fly one of the fighter planes. The realization slowly sank in and eventually began to me alive. I had little more than a year to live.

When I came home with the news, my family, who had once been very content, looked to me with pain in their eyes. Through their glassy, hurt eyes, I could see their broken hearts. Everyone embraced me and wept silently. Since then, I have not shed one tear.

From then on, time began to race me. Sadly, I let it go and waited for the day I took off. I was originally meant to leave on November 26th, but my fleet’s takeoff was canceled. I had said my goodbyes to my family only to wait a few more weeks. I didn’t want to have to go through that pain again, so I did not go back. I stayed in own dorm at Kyoto University.

The one truly heartbroken was my brother Keichi. Only nine years old, and he had to watch his older brother walk out the door in awareness that he would never return. As a defense mechanism to keep from going crazy, Keichi went into denial.

On that note, I have a favor to ask you. Due to me permanent absence, I need you to be there for my little brother. Replace me if you can. He needs someone to look up to, and I trust only you for this task. Watch over Keichi, please.

I trust you, Ichizo. You’ve made my last few days worth something more than just those seven days we spent together. I was skeptical about you at first, but you’ve proven yourself to me in such a short period of time…

Thank you.

If I could, I would provide you all he honor I had left in my will…

So much to say, but such a small and limited amount of paper. It is not enough, but maybe I might be able to meet with you and tell you everything someday.

Tell my family I’m sorry.
Your Short Lived Friend,
Tomoyuki Kitamura
Third year student
First year pilot





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