Kagoshima Gokoku Jinja Yokaren Monument
Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Kagoshima Prefecture Gokoku Jinja is a Shinto shrine to remember those
persons from Kagoshima Prefecture who died to protect Japan. The shrine has
various monuments in memory of those who died in wars, including the Yokaren
Monument (at right) and Special Attack Corps Monument.
The Japanese Navy established the Yokaren in 1930 as a preparatory flight
training program. The Ko program of study started in 1937 for graduates of
junior high school. The Navy Yokaren also had Otsu, Hei, and Toku Otsu courses
The left-hand plaque behind the monument provides the following history:
Navy Ko Hiko Yoka Renshusei
(Navy Ko Preparatory Flight Training Program Trainees)
Monument for War Dead from Kagoshima Prefecture
Even now we think of you who left us the words "I go before you, take
care of the rest," resolutely made sorties with pure smiles, and never
From the Sino-Japanese War (1937) through the Pacific War (1945), the
Navy carefully selected trainees from volunteers throughout the country who
had graduated from junior high school under the old system in order to train
them in a short period to be Navy flight officers and crewmen. These
superior young men became Ko Yokaren trainees.
They entered various air groups such as those at Yokosuka, Tsuchiura, and
Kagoshima in Classes 1 to 16. The young men who received rigorous training
as pilots and navigators cultivated their sea eagle spirits, flew to the
skies, raced across the ocean, dove into the seas, or become members of the
Special Attack Forces. They sacrificed their own precious lives for the
country's peace and security.
We must never repeat again that tragic war.
Ko Yokaren trainee survivors, who are remaining cherry blossoms, and
bereaved family members, with kind cooperation from supporters, erect a
monument here with the desire to have eternal world peace and to pass on
to future generations the history of the Ko Yokaren and with prayers that
the more than 240 men from Kagoshima Prefecture may rest in peace.
November 1, 1995
Kagoshima Prefecture Ko Yokaren Trainee Survivors
and Bereaved Family Members
The left-hand plaque continues on with the following explanation of meanings
for the monument's shape and colors:
The entire main monument is shaped like an egg divided in half, and it
can be supposed that half is buried in the ground. The egg shape indicates birth and resurrection of life, harmony and
stability, and eternal peace.
The granite with a cherry blossom color signifies our young comrades who
fell like cherry blossoms. The white-colored granite denotes surviving Ko
Yokaren trainees who console their spirits by embracing our fallen comrades
with both arms.
In the pink color are their young lives, filled with courage and
kindness, that perished so early. In the white are our true feelings,
thinking of the dignity of their deaths, as we are eternally bound together
with our unchanging comrades.
Also, we Yokaren trainees shed tears as we look up to the places with no
name called the "sky" where we fought, were wounded, lost our lives, or
survived. The front of the pink granite faces up as if always looking up
toward the sky.
Kagoshima Ko Yokaren Association
The right-hand plaque behind the monument lists the names of donors for erection of the
Kamikaze pilot of Kagoshima
Special Attack Corps Monument
In 2007, the Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association and the
Association to Pass On the Japanese Spirit (Nihonjin no kokoro o tsutaeru kai)
erected a Special Attack Corps Monument next to the Yokaren Monument in order to
honor the young men who died in special (suicide) attacks during WWII. The
monument has a bronze figure of the front half of a kamikaze pilot standing on a
The large characters on the plaque on the monument pedestal say "Aa tokkou"
(Ah, Special Attacks). The plaque on front also has in small characters the
following statement: "We certainly will never forget you."
Similar monuments have also been erected at Ehime Gokoku Jinja, Fukui Gokoku
Jinja, and Setagaya Kannon Temple in Tokyo.
Kagoshima Prefecture Gokoku Jinja