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Hijirigaura Shinyo Monument
Minamikyushu City, Kagoshima Prefecture

The former town of Chiran, now part of Minamikyushu City, is best known for its kamikaze museum visited by many Japanese tour groups. Chiran Town also established a small park at the site of a former Navy shinyo explosive motorboat base, where the shinyo squadron members stationed there prepared to make suicide ramming attacks against American ships if they invaded the Japanese homeland. The shinyo base at Hijirigaura Inlet was located about halfway between Ibusuki and Makurazaki along the southern coast of Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The monument site includes a stone shinyo motorboat replica having minimum details erected in 1996. The monument that stands to the left of the shinyo motorboat shows a boat in the waves in the top half a circular stone slab. The plaque on the monument base gives the following history:

As the situation worsened toward the end of World War II, preparations were made in 1945 for the decisive battle for the homeland, and the Navy's 125th Shinyo Squadron was stationed here at Hijirigaura. It is said that the word shinyo is derived from the phrase "shake the Pacific Ocean." The war ended just before they were to carry out attacks, and fortunately about 180 men departed safely from this place.

The shinyo boat was constructed by loading a truck engine on a plywood boat and placing explosive charges in the boat's front tip. Its speed was about 42 km/hour. It was a human weapon when aimed at another ship and then exploding with its crewmembers. Bases were constructed at 114 places in Japan and in a total of 146 places when China, Taiwan, and the Philippines are included [1]. Kagoshima Prefecture had 18 bases, including ones at Bonotsu, Kataura, Nomaike, Nagasakibana, and Kiire.

The funds to construct the monument were donated by 55 former members of the Yokaren (Flight Preparatory Training Program) 21st Class, whose names are listed on a plaque on the right side of the stone shinyo replica. Although the Navy established Yokaren for flight training, at the end of the war many Yokaren graduates were assigned to other suicide units, such as those for shinyo explosive motorboats and kaiten human torpedoes.


Hijirigaura Inlet

Note

1. This statement is incorrect. 56th Shinyo (2004, 7, 162-71) explains that there was a total of 114 squadrons and bases in Japan and other places. The mistake on the monument plaque most likely occurred because the highest numbered squadron was the 146th Shinyo Squadron, but 32 numbers (from 69 to 100) were never used for any shinyo squadron.

Source Cited

56th Shinyo Squadron Member Volunteers, Reiko Kimura, and Enosuke Kamida. 2004. Kaigun suijou tokkoutai: Shinyou (Navy surface special attack corps: Shinyo). Tokyo: Gensyu Publishing.