Hachijōjima is a small island almost 300 km south of Tōkyō with a population
of less than 10,000 people. It is one of the Izu Islands, which are administered
by Tōkyō Prefecture. In 1945 during WWII, a shin'yō explosive motorboat squadron
was sent to Hachijōjima to a base with tunnels dug into cliffs by the shore to hide the boats on the southern
side of the island. However, the squadron ended the war without having to make a sortie
and crash into Allied warships.
In March 1945 when the Pacific War situation became critical, here
directly below this observation point in the area of Sueyoshi Borazawa and
Ishizumi, preparations were made for the defense of Hachijōjima with the
construction of a Navy base for the 16th Shin'yō Special Attack Squadron.
This included 50 shin'yō boats that were special attack weapons and 189
squadron members under the command of Lieutenant Yoshihiko Yoshida who
individually volunteered and pledged that they would be the foundation for
the country. They lodged in different civilian homes. Sueyoshi area
residents and base workers provided them with fervent support. They were resolved to
carry out taiatari (body-crashing) nikudan (human bullet)
attacks of one boat into one warship.
The 16th Shin'yō Special Attack Squadron was formed in September 1944 at
the Yokosuka Naval Torpedo School. The 53 crewmen were elite members
from the Naval Academy, Navy Reserve Students (Yobi Gakusei), Special Attack
Warrant Officers, and Hiko Yokaren (Preparatory Flight
Training Program) graduates at young ages of 17 and 18 years old. There also were
provided 136 maintenance unit members and base unit members who were war
The shin'yō boat was a 5-meter long motorboat in which 250 kg of
explosives were loaded in the bow. It was a special attack weapon that
crashed at high speed into an enemy warship causing the death of the pilot
in the explosion. The Navy at that time placed unlimited hopes in the
Special Attack Corps.
In November 1944, the order was given to the 16th Shin'yō Special Attack
Squadron to sortie to Hahajima Island in the Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands. The
base preparation unit members made sorties immediately, but their transport ship,
Jusan Maru, was sunk when hit in a torpedo attack from an enemy
submarine off the coast of Chichijima Island. Tragically, 57 members of the
advance party died in battle.
After the squadron was reorganized, this time orders were received to
sortie to Iwo Jima. However, this was abandoned when soon it became the
scene of a very fierce battle during enemy landing operations. So in March
1945, the squadron was deployed to Hachijōjima as the first foundation in the
final battle for the mainland.
However, the announcement from the Emperor of the war's end came on
August 15, 1945. Here the hot, long Pacific War came to an end. Since that time, 41 years have
passed. Japan now is prospering as a democratic country that has achieved
amazing economic growth and is filled with freedom and peace.
The Kuroshio Current flows as a river in the sea that runs from the
Equator along the Pacific coasts of the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan. It
flows by below this observation point to America. When our thoughts turn to
that Kuroshio Current, we clearly remember the many military men who gave
their lives for their country and the other casualties of the war.
We engrave on this monument the war history of those days and remember
the spirits of our friends who died in battle. This monument serves to
express our sincere wish for eternal peace.
Erected by Shin'yō Hachijō Association
The monument is located at Nako Observation Point, a 5-minute walk from Mikonoo bus stop.