The Last Letter Home

April 27, 2024

The Last Letter Home

This work of art and poetry was created on fragile rice paper by a young Japanese named Yasuto Nitta on November 3, 1944. He was an experienced pilot in the Navy; the wingman of his unit's commander - the 321st Kokutai, equipped with the 'Gekko' night fighter. It was sent from his base to his parents in Japan the day before his final Shimpu (Kamikaze) flight against the American carrier fleet. All of the writing and imagery was drawn using the tiny characters for 'Namu Ami Da Butsu' (May my spirit be accepted into heaven). His thumbprints and handprints signify the importance and reverence he was bestowing upon the document - the last correspondence of his life.
Of particular significance is his poem (far right), which reads:
"To my parents far away in the homeland, I leave this final message: The cherry blossoms that fall, and those that do not fall - are all cherry blossoms."
It was a somewhat rebellious thing for the young airman to leave as his last words. He was saying that, in a war where one's duty was to die for his country (to fall like a cherry blossom), one did not have to fall to be of equal value and beauty. One did not have to die in order to be a hero.
Yasuto Nitta was killed in action on November 4, 1944. The results of the mission remain unknown.

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