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Kodama Airfield Monument
Kamisato Town, Saitama Prefecture

Kodama Airfield was completed in 1943, and it started to be used in October by the Kodama Training Group of Kumagaya Army Flight School. In April 1944, 200 Army Special Cadet Pilots from the student mobilization started training at Kodama and completed their flight training in just three months as they were assigned to the front lines. [1]

The monument face has inscribed "Site of Kodama Airfield," and the monument's back gives the following history:

In October 1944, the airfield was renamed Kodama Base, and the 144th Airfield Battalion was stationed here. It became a key base for various types of flight squadrons and for special attack squadrons. It had responsibility for important air operations such as defense of the Tokyo capital area, attacks on Iwo Jima, and attacks on the enemy task force near the Pacific coast. On August 15, 1945, orders were received from the Emperor to end the war.

Kodama Base was made known to all Japanese people through the film The Longest Day in which the base fought and took responsibility for the glory of the Japanese homeland. Even though Kodama Airfield was acclaimed, the war also left behind immeasurably sad lessons. Only those memories remain of the relationship between the inhabitants and military. It closed a history of more than three years in which the base shared its fate with Japan. Even with our people bearing the ordeals of history with endless cries, in the autumn of the same year, more than 110 people settled on the base and converted it into farmland. One part of the base was cleared as an industrial area and remains that way up to now.

Thirty-five years have passed since the end of the war. When we recall the spirits and figures of those times and when we recollect alone in quiet our complex feelings about those days, a heartfelt desire to erect a monument steadily rose up in volunteers in this place connected to the base. Fortunately we received generous material and moral support from local volunteers and generous cooperation from all local inhabitants concerning the erection of the monument. We appreciate this together with assistance of heaven and the gods. Through the help of persons related to Kumagaya Army Flight School and the 144th Airfield Battalion and through local volunteers, we erect here this monument to the many officers and men who took off from Kodama Airfield and died on behalf of their country and to those comrades who died during training. As we ask that war will never be repeated and as we desire world peace and Japan's prosperity, we pray that they may forever rest in peace.

November 15, 1980
Kodama Airfield Monument Erection Committee

A tall Kannon (Buddhist goddess of mercy) statue stands to the right of the monument. A small monument at the same site remembers the formation here of the 15th Flight Transport Company. The site also has two red granite plaques, one to remember the 4th Kyoiku Hikotai (Flight Training Unit) and the other to list contributors for the Kodama Airfield Monument and the Kannon statue.

Note

1. The history in the first paragraph is from Tokkotai Senbotsusha (1990, 364).

Source Cited

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