Ibusuki Naval Air Base Remembrance Monument
Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Due to lack of regular bombers and fighters, the Japanese Navy resorted to even seaplanes
for kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Okinawa from April to June 1945. These seaplanes sortied from
the base in Ibusuki in the far south of the island of Kyushu.
War survivors and local citizens provided funds to build a monument in 1971 to
honor the young men who died from Ibusuki Naval Air Base. The monument has the
following inscription (translated to English):
Can you believe it? This bright, calm Tara Beach was once the southernmost
air base in mainland Japan. Young men full of emotion in obsolete seaplanes
loaded with bomb and fuel for one way took off day after day from this sea with
nobody to see them off in order to confront the American fleet off the Ryukyu
Islands. Eventually the number of special attack corps members who did not
return reached 82, and over 100 other men at the base died in enemy attacks . We
devote this monument in prayer for repose of their souls.
The word "seaplanes" in the above inscription is literally
"seaplanes wearing geta (wooden clogs)," a poetic reference to
the plane's floats. The phrase "with nobody to see them off" refers to
the base's extreme secrecy, so people other than base personnel did not see the
kamikaze pilots off on their final mission.
Three types of Navy seaplanes were used in kamikaze sorties
from Ibusuki: Kawanishi E7K Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane (24 planes, 51 men),
Aichi E13A Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane (4 planes, 11 men), and Mitsubishi F1M
Type 0 Observation Seaplane (16 planes, 25 men) .
The first two types normally had a crew of three men, but most of these planes
flew with only two men on their kamikaze missions. The last type had a usual
crew of two, but several of these planes flew with a single pilot.
Three airmen on
right side of monument
The Ibusuki Naval Air Base Remembrance Monument, located beneath the
towering rocky cliffs of Uomidake, faces Nishikie Bay. The monument stands on a
small hill directly above a concrete tunnel used as an air-raid shelter during the
Among special attack force monuments located throughout Japan, this monument
not only has one of the most beautiful locations but also excels in the
presentation of historical information. At the beginning of the path leading
from the main road to the monument, a map shows a layout of the air base during the
war. A glass-covered display board near the monument provides photos and
explanations of six types of seaplanes used at Ibusuki Naval Air Base. The
inside of an outdoor storage cabinet to the right of the monument contains several historical photos of the
base and a free 12-page color brochure explaining the history of the air base and the
An annual memorial service is held on May 27 to remember the young men of
Ibusuki Naval Air Base who died in World War II.
1. Many of these deaths occurred when twelve American B-29s bombed
Ibusuki Naval Air Base on May 5, 1945.
2. This information comes from a table on the first page of a
brochure available at the monument. However, the table's total of 82 men who
died in special attacks is inconsistent with the table's line items, which
indicate a total of 87 men.
Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum has an exhibit that indicates 75 men
who sortied from Ibusuki died in special attacks.
The following sources were used for this web page:
Brochure available at monument site.
Francillon, René J. 1979. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific
War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.