Haranomachi Airfield Monument
Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture
Beginning in 1940, Haranomachi Airfield in Fukushima Prefecture served as a
branch school for Kumagaya Army Flight School (Saitama Prefecture). Haranomachi
Airfield then was used as a branch school in succession for the following Army flight schools: Akeno (Mie
Prefecture), Mito (Ibaraki Prefecture), and Hokota (Ibaraki Prefecture).
Haranomachi Airfield Monument, located on a hill in Jingasaki Park Cemetery,
honors men from this former Army airfield and also men
from the Haranomachi area who died in the Pacific War. The inscription in front of the bronze statue of a pilot waving mentions
special attack squadrons (tokkotai in Japanese)
 from the base. The following is a translation of this inscription:
The Army's Haranomachi Airfield was once here at this location. Many brave
men who trained here starting in 1940 bravely fought in various places in
order to confront our national crisis. Before long they faced a worsening war
situation, and they went forth in special attack squadrons, becoming widely
known for their bravery and striking terror into the enemy's heart. These
heroes, unfortunately frustrated in their ambitions, did not return again. In
addition, the airfield suffered air attacks, and eventually its appearance
completely changed. Now after 26 years have passed, supporters
looking back on the past without knowing these heroes' places of grief
planned together and erected this monument. Along with consoling the brave
spirits of the war dead, as a commemoration of the cooperation and harmony
once experienced between the military and civilians, we humbly pray for the
eternal glory of our homeland.
August 15, 1971
Seven hundred supporters nationwide
The model for the bronze pilot statue is a photo of First Lieutenant Hiroshi
Matsui, a flight instructor from Haranomachi Airfield, as he led the Tesshin (Iron
Will) Special Attack Squadron in single file past a group of persons sending
them off from Hokota Air Base on November 8, 1944. This special attack squadron
had been formed two days earlier at Haranomachi Airfield. 
Four bronze tablets stand a short distance left of the pilot statue. The
first tablet (from right to left) has engraved the names of 71 men from Haranomachi
Airfield who died as special attack corps members. These men belonged to 14
squadrons in total that fought in the Philippines (6 squadrons),
the Battle of Okinawa, (7 squadrons), and the Japanese mainland (1 squadron) .
The information at the monument site does not provide details on how
these different special attack squadron members were related to Haranomachi
Airfield, but most of the special attack squadrons listed probably were formed
at Haranomachi. A few of the individuals listed may have only received training
at Haranomachi Airfield.
The second to fourth bronze tablets (from right to left) to the left of the
pilot statue contain listings of
other men from Haranomachi Airfield who died during the war:
- second tablet - 65th Sentai (Air Group) during Battle of Okinawa, maintenance
crew members and other workers associated with base, and casualties during
aerial bombing of Haranomachi
- third tablet - associated with Akeno Branch School
- fourth tablet - associated with Hokota Branch School
The two bronze tablets to the right of the pilot statue list individuals from
the Haranomachi area who died in the Pacific War.
Each fall a memorial service is held at the monument. At the 2002 memorial
service, a small men's choir sang the following song. The lyrics were
written by First Lieutenant Eiju Kinoshita, a graduate of the 57th Class of the Army
Air Corps Academy. He trained at Haranomachi Airfield, and afterward he transferred
to a flight training squadron in Manchuria, where he died of sickness.
Haranomachi Special Attack Corps Song 
Farewell, take care
My parting forever will be tomorrow
Leaving behind dear Haranomachi
My dream, an explosion
Ah, I disappear
If we two cannot see each other again
The photo in my heart will be my charm
Glorious special attack squadron
Together with you
If I sink an enemy ship
Tell others I died smiling
When the formal commendation arrives
Come to meet me
If you hear I died in battle
Do not you weep over this
When the white box arrives
Hold it in your arms
The third stanza's mention of "Kudan" refers to the name of the hill
in Tokyo where Yasukuni Jinja is located. Yasukuni is Japan's national Shinto shrine to
honor the spirits of war dead, so many men in the military referred to this as the
place where the living could come to meet them after their death. The fourth
stanza refers to a "white box," in which the remains of dead soldiers
were delivered to their families.
Haranomachi Airfield Monument is located in Minamisoma City, which
formed on January 1, 2006, when three former cities, including Haramachi City,
merged. Haramachi City existed from 1954 to 2006. Before 1954, it was called
Haranomachi, but now only the main railroad station in the area has this name.
1. The Army's special attack squadrons are
generally referred to outside of Japan as Kamikaze squadrons. However, the name
"Kamikaze" has not been used on this web page since only the Japanese
Navy, not the Army, used the name of Kamikaze for its special attack squadrons.
2. The dates in this paragraph come from the
following web page:
Mine, Kazuo. 2004. Tesshin-tai (Dai-go Hakkou-tai) (Tesshin
Squadron (Fifth Hakkou Squadron)). <http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~un3k-mn/riku-tessin.htm>
(January 13, 2007).
3. As listed on the first tablet (closest to left
side of pilot statue), the special attack squadrons with the most individuals
who died in battle are the following ones: Kinnou (Loyalty to Emperor) Squadron (13 men
led by First Lieutenant Takumi Yamamoto), Tesshin (Iron Will) Squadron (12 men
led by First Lieutenant Hiroshi Matsui), 45th Shinbu Squadron (11 men led by
First Lieutenant Hajime Fujii), Koukon (Emperor's Spirit) Squadron (9 men led by
First Lieutenant Kyoichi Miura), 64th Shinbu Squadron (9 men led by First
Lieutenant Kenichi Shibuya), and 63rd Shinbu Squadron (6 men led by Warrant
Officer Shinsaku Nanba).
4. This song in Japanese and the information in
the preceding paragraph come from the following
Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association.
2002. Haranomachi Hikoujou Yukari no Ireisai (Haranomachi Airfield
Memorial Service). <http://www.tokkotai.or.jp/kikanshi/haranomati.htm>
(January 13, 2007).