Bansei Special Attack Monument
Minamisatsuma City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Bansei Air Base, constructed from the summer of 1943 to the end of 1944, served
as the sortie base for 121 kamikaze pilots during the Battle of Okinawa. The
Bansei Special Attack Monument, erected in 1972, stands in front of the Bansei
Tokkō Peace Museum in Minamisatsuma City, Kagoshima Prefecture.
The monument has a bronze image of a pilot on its upper half. The
bottom half has the inscription "yorozuyo ni," which means
"forever." The name "Bansei" has the same kanji (Chinese
characters) as can be used for "yorozuyo." Although popularly
called the Special Attack Monument, it was erected not only to honor the young
men who died in suicide attacks but also the airmen based at Bansei who died in
conventional attacks (Naemura 1993, 384).
Hichirō Naemura, who served as an Army flight instructor in
1945 and spent much time at Bansei Air Base, led the efforts to construct the
Bansei Special Attack Monument and to open the Bansei Tokkō Peace Museum. For many years after the end of the war people thought kamikaze pilots had
departed from Chiran Air Base, about 12 miles to the southeast of Bansei Air
Base, but actually some of them sortied from Bansei (Naemura 1993, 3). Since
the end of the war, Naemura has tried to make the public aware of the young men from
Bansei who died in the war.
A plaque near the monument gives the following history:
In 1944, the Pacific War situation suddenly worsened, and we were already
facing the decisive stage. Here at Fukiage Dunes in Kaseda City ,
Bansei Airfield was constructed by local students and others through united
cooperation of the military and civilians as a base for defense of the
homeland and the decisive battle at Okinawa.
From March 29, 1945, until the
end of the war, brave young men in various Army Special Attack Squadrons,
the 66th Hikō Sentai (Flying Regiment), and the 55th Hikō Sentai took off
from here in plane after plane far off above the clouds desiring to be the
foundation for our country's defense. Many left and never returned as they
died heroically but tragically in battles in the sky or in crash attacks.
Our spirits also cry out when considering their devotion in dying for their
Many years after the end of the war, here in our country we have
attained a glorious revival. We survivors and other considerate persons
erect this monument here in order to pacify the spirits of the war dead and
to extol their great deeds.
March 29, 1972
Each year in April a memorial service is held at the site of the Bansei
Special Attack Monument and the Bansei Tokkō Peace Museum.
1. Kaseda City merged in 2005 with nearby small
towns to form Minamisatsuma City.
Naemura, Hichirō. 1993. Rikugun saigo no tokkō kichi: Bansei tokkōtaiin no isho to isatsu (Army's last special attack base: Last
letters and photographs of Bansei special attack corps members). Ōsaka: Tōhō