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Izumi Special Attack Monument
Izumi City, Kagoshima Prefecture

A sign at the entrance to Izumi Special Attack Monument Park indicates that about 200 Special Attack Corps members took off from this place and died in southern skies. However, actually only 41 Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members from Izumi Naval Air Base died in suicide attacks in March and April 1945 [1]. An older sign in the park incorrectly states that Izumi Naval Air Group was formed in 1941 even though the other sign correctly indicates 1943. The older sign includes an English translation, but it does not accurately reflect the meaning of the Japanese section of the sign. For example, the English translation indicates the Special Attack Corps operated from here since 1941, whereas actually kamikaze special attacks from Izumi only took place in 1945.

Izumi Air Base opened in April 1943 as a training base. The base was used during the war by a wide variety of plane types including Zero fighters, Ginga (Frances) bombers, Suisei (Judy) dive bombers, Type 1 (Betty) bombers, and Shiden (George) fighters. The 210th, 701st, 762nd, 763rd, 951st, Yatabe, and Tsukuba Air Groups, the 401st Attack Hikotai, and other units made use of the base [2]. Numerous kamikaze special attack squadrons made up of Ginga bombers took off from Izumi, Miyazaki, and Kanoya Air Bases toward Okinawa during March and April 1945. The following table summarizes Ginga kamikaze operations from Izumi [3]:

Date Aircraft Men Who Died
March 19, 1945 4 12
March 21, 1945 5 15
April 16, 1945 4 12
April 17, 1945 1 2
Total 14 41

Izumi Special Attack Monument Park has several monuments and war remains. The inscription on the main monument, erected in 1960, comes from the 1956 novel entitled Kumo no Bohyo (Burial in the Clouds) by Hiroyuki Agawa. Jiro Yoshino, the novel's main character, trained at Izumi for four months in 1944 and later died in a kamikaze mission from Kisarazu Air Base in July 1945. The following poem inscribed on the front of Izumi Special Attack Monument comes from the beginning of a farewell letter that Yoshino wrote to his friend:

Clouds mark their graves
The setting sun adorns their epitaphs

Below the poem is a list with 62 names of Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members who took off from Izumi Base. There is no explanation of the difference between this total and the number of 200 indicated on the signs in the park. Also, the number is not consistent with other sources that indicate only 41 Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members died after sorties from Izumi Air Base.

A separate black stone tablet marks the takeoff site for the Ginga squadrons.


Izumi Naval Air Group Base
Land-based Bomber Unit Ginga Squadrons
Takeoff Site

The back of the tablet gives the following history of the Ginga squadrons:

In October 1944 during WWII, the Ginga land-based bomber 405th Attack Hikotai and 406th Attack Hikotai formed the 763rd Air Group at this spot. These men who gave their lives carried out much rigorous training. Many of these men died in battle through April 1945 as they were transferred to Taiwan, the Philippines, and Okinawa and as special attacks were carried out repeatedly from especially the Philippines and Izumi.

In April 1945, Type 1 and Type 96 land-based attack bombers from the Matsushima Air Group and the Toyohashi Air Group immediately advanced to this base in response to the American landing on Okinawa. The land-based bomber squadrons from the Izumi Unit repeatedly made daring nighttime attacks against American ships around Okinawa and against American airfields. By as soon as June, over half of these aircraft had been lost.

After the formation of the Izumi Naval Air Group in 1943, Izumi citizens supported the young airmen and even worked to repair the base after bombing attacks. It is most regrettable to them that there were so many victims.

Fifty years after the end of the war, we erect a monument here to remember all of these war dead.

April 16, 1995

Izumi City Special Attack Monument Association
Matsushima Air Group - Toyohashi Air Group Remembrance Association
Persons associated with 405th and 406th Attack Hikotai

Izumi Special Attack Monument Park, located about two kilometers west from Izumi Station, also has a monument with 632 engraved names to recognize heroes from Izumi Base who died for their country and a separate small monument to the unknown war dead from Izumi Naval Air Group. Another monument has the following poem inscribed on front:

For their country born as flowers of Japan
Sleeping eternally in their home of Izumi

The park contains the command bunker, which has information on the base's history, and the remains of a guardhouse at the former entrance to the base. There is a piece of the main wing of a Type 96 land-based attack bomber belonging to the Matsushima Air Group. The plane was shot down in a dogfight in the skies above Izumi Air Base. The park also has an aircraft propeller caught after the war in a fishing net off the coast of Izumi. A detailed historical map shows the layout of Izumi Air Base during the war.

An annual memorial service is held at the park on April 16, and each spring the Izumi Cherry Blossom Festival is held in the park.

Notes

1. Osuo 2005, 207-8, 236; Tokkotai Senbotsusha 1990, 153-4, 186; and an exhibit at Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum each indicate a total of 41 deaths of Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members from Izumi Naval Air Base.

2. The historical background in the first two sentences in this paragraph come from exhibits inside the remains of the command bunker at Izumi Special Attack Monument Park.

3. The information in the table is from Osuo 2005, 207-8, 236 and Tokkotai Senbotsusha 1990, 153-4, 186.

Sources Cited

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kougekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tokyo: Kojinsha.

Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai (Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990. Tokubetsu Kougekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tokyo: Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai.