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Yokaren monument
in front of museum

 

Yokaren refers to the Japanese Naval Preparatory Flight Training Program started in 1930. About 80 percent of Yokaren graduates died in battle during World II [1], and many graduates participated in kamikaze operations near the end of the war.

Kiichi Kawano, who entered the Yokaren in 1942 and become a Kamikaze Special Attack Corps member near the end of the war, established the Yokaren Museum in Oita City in 1988. Kawano's son Kōji, who lives in the Tokyo area, created a museum web site in 1996 with history and details of the Yokaren. The web site was redesigned in 2006, and some new information has been added.

This web site not only features the museum's exhibits but also includes additional information about the Yokaren, wartime experiences, and kamikaze operations. The site has photos of museum exhibits, several last letters of kamikaze pilots, and comments from museum visitors.  

All information on the site is in Japanese. One web site section has several essays on wartime experiences written by men trained in the Yokaren. These essays come from a book published by Kiichi Kawano with the title of Yokaren no gunzō: Moto shōnen kōkūhei no kiroku (Yokaren group: Record of former Navy youth pilots) (1995). Visitors to the web site can post messages or send an e-mail with a question if an answer has not already been posted on the page for Frequently Asked Questions, many of which deal with topics related to the Japanese Navy's kamikaze operations.

The yard outside the museum has a monument dedicated to men of the Yokaren. The web site's top page contains a small image of this same monument.

This focused web site effectively complements the exhibits at the Yokaren Museum in Oita City by including not only an introduction to the museum's holdings but also much related material.

Note

1. From inscription on Yokaren Monument in Ami Town, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Source Cited

Oita-ken Yūhikai, ed. 1995. Yokaren no gunzō: Moto shōnen kōkūhei no kiroku (Yokaren group: Record of former Navy youth pilots). Oita City: Kiichi Kawano.