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Hyakurihara Naval Air Group Monument (Hyakuri Air Base)
Ogawa Town, Ibaraki Prefecture

Hyakuri Air Base, a Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) base located about 80 km northeast of Tokyo, has a small park just inside the main entrance. The park features five jet planes (F-104J, F-86D, F-86F, T-33, and T-3) previously used by the JASDF. This area also has several monuments, including one to honor the base's watchdogs and a small stone monument to honor the men of the Hyakurihara Naval Air Group who died in battle during World War II. Hyakurihara Air Base is the former name of Hyakuri Air Base.

Jinichi Gotoh, commander of the Type 97 carrier attack bombers that made kamikaze attacks in 1945, called for volunteers to join him in planting cherry trees at the former Hyakurihara Air Base and erecting a commemorative monument in 1976. The monument plaque reads:

Here walked the Hyakurihara Naval Air Group
In remembrance we plant these cherry trees
To make known their honor

March 1976
Supporters of Hyakurihara Naval Air Group

The Hyakurihara Air Group, established in 1938, played a key role in defense of the Japanese mainland from the summer of 1944 to the summer of 1945. In addition, when the Battle of Okinawa started, several kamikaze special attack units led by flight instructors were formed at Hyakurihara Air Base with Type 97 carrier attack bombers and Type 99 carrier dive bombers that had been used for training flights. The carrier dive bombers advanced to Kokubu No. 1 Air Base, and the carrier attack bombers proceeded to Kushira Air Base.

A total of 85 men from the Hyakurihara Air Group died in kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. This total included 45 men in 15 Type 97 carrier attack bombers with the following sortie dates from Kushira Air Base:

  • April 12 - 18 men in 6 planes
  • April 16 - 12 men in 4 planes
  • April 28 - 6 men in 2 planes
  • May 4 - 6 men in 2 planes
  • May 12 - 3 men in 1 plane

The Hyakurihara Air Group also had 40 men in 20 Type 99 carrier dive bombers who died in kamikaze attacks after sorties from Kokubu No. 1 Air Base:

  • April 6 - 20 men in 10 planes
  • April 28 - 12 men in 6 planes
  • May 25 - 2 men in 1 plane
  • June 3 - 6 men in 3 planes

During the last week of World War II, several [1] Suisei (Judy) dive bombers sortied from Hyakurihara Air Base as part of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 4th Mitate Unit.

Notes

Some information on this web page comes from the following source:

Senri, Nagasue. 2005. Hyakurihara Kaigun Koukuutai (Hyakurihara Naval Air Group). <http://senri.warbirds.jp/05hiyakuri/hiyakuri.html> (September 23, 2005).

1. Sources provide conflicting numbers of planes and sortie dates. There appears to be at least seven Suisei dive bombers that departed from Hyakurihara on August 9 and did not return.