His name was Yasuto Nitta, and he was a highly regarded night fighter pilot, flying the excellent Nakajima J1N1 Gekko; his squadron commander's wingman. On November 3rd, 1944, he penned a last letter home to his parents in Japan, as he was about to fly his last mission against Allied naval targets off of Leyte Gulf.
It read, as translated by Dan King:
"November 3, 1944. Yasuto Nitta (possibly thumb prints under his name) His first name 保人can be pronounced three different ways, we can't be sure which is correct. But, Yasuto is the most common of the three. (Yasuto, Yasuhito, Tamohito) Night Fighter, 2nd Aircraft (means the leader's wingman) 1st Koku Kantai 321st Kokutai At a hot tropical airfield (The pilot couldn't write the name of the airfield, not permitted. So he used the expression "Shakunetsu" to tell his parents that he died in the tropics. Shakunetsu means VERY hot and steamy...they would know that he didn't die in Japan, but in the south) CENTER INSCRIPTION "TOJOIN SEIRETSU" This refers to the line-up we see of the pilots being briefed before their mission. RIGHT SIDE "To my parents far away in the father land, I leave this final message. 'The cherry blossoms that fall, and those that don't fall, are both cherry blossoms.'"
My painting depicts Yasuto's last mission, flying his Gekko night fighter, using all of the known information from both the letter and records from that time.
Each print is signed and numbered, and includes additional 11x17 artwork depicting the letter and the above translation. It may be nicely framed with the painting.
I'd heard about these night missions many years ago, from one of my Japanese veteran friends who has long since passed away, and I'd always wanted to paint the scene...
North American XB-70 AV-2, by Ron Cole Signed and numbered.