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Himeji Naval Air Group Monument
Kasai City, Hyogo Prefecture

The Himeji Naval Air Group was formed in October 1943 and used Uzurano Airfield as its base. The Air Group mainly had responsibility for flight training on the Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Kate), which had a three-man crew. The airfield also was used to test Shiden and Shiden-kai fighters produced by the Kawanishi Aircraft factory next to the airfield. The runway, no longer in use, remains in much the same condition as during the war.

This monument erected in 1999 has two stone tablets. The stone tablet related to the Kamikaze Corps stands on the left. The taller center part of this tablet has the following inscription:

Himeji Naval Air Group
Site of Uzurano Airfield

The right side of the tablet has the following poem:

Meeting their end in the beautiful skies
The clouds of Uzurano at sunset
May they drift on forever

The left side of the tablet gives the history of the kamikaze squadrons from Himeji Air Group:

The Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shirasagi [1] (White Egret) Squadrons were formed from Himeji Naval Air Group members, and they spent day and night training here at Uzurano Airfield.

The 63 men led by Lieutenant Kiyoshi Goto had 21 carrier attack bombers that sortied five times starting April 6, 1945, from Kushira Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture. The men met heroic deaths in battle action as they carried out taiatari (body-crashing) attacks together with their aircraft against American ships around Okinawa.

The fighting finally started for the defense of the mainland. To counter the attacks by American forces with their massive material resources, the Kikusui Operation was set in motion with the fighting strength of our Okinawan defense forces, and special attack squadrons made up of air group aircraft were expanded. An all-out attack began by sea and air.

The Himeji Air Group Shirasagi Squadrons joined this as had been decided. These men sortied as they communicated their farewells to their beloved families in faraway hometowns. They performed their duty as soldiers by giving their young lives in special attacks from which they did not return again.

We erect this stone monument here now at Uzurano to communicate to future generations these historical facts, to console the spirits of these brave men who gave their lives for their country, and to sincerely pray for the realization of eternal peace with divine help.

The back of the tablet lists the names of the men who died along with the sortie dates of the kamikaze squadrons from Himeji Air Group:

April 6, 1945 - 39 men
April 12, 1945 - 12 men
April 16, 1945 - 6 men
April 28, 1945 - 3 men
May 4, 1945 - 3 men

The back and front of the stone tablet on the right gives information about the construction of Uzurano Airfield, the history of Himeji Air Group, and the Kawanishi Aircraft factory. The sign on the left of the two stone tablets provides data about Himeji Air Group and the Kawanishi Aircraft factory.

Note

1. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, has the name of Shirasagi (White Egret) Castle. An alternate reading of the Japanese characters for Shirasagi is Hakuro.