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Kokubu Special Attack Base Monument

The Japanese Navy used Kokubu, Kanoya, and Kushira in Kagoshima Prefecture as its main kamikaze sortie bases during the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. The area of Kokubu actually had two airfields, referred to as Kokubu No. 1 Air Base and Kokubu No. 2 Air Base. The planes used in kamikaze attacks from Kokubu included Zero fighters, Type 99 (Val) dive bombers, and Suisei (Judy) dive bombers. 

The Kokubu Special Attack Base Monument, erected in 1964, honors the young men who died in special (suicide) attacks after departing Kokubu. This monument, located at the former Kokubu No. 1 Air Base, honors those who died in kamikaze attacks from both bases in Kokubu. The monument stands on a low mound in a small park across the street from the Kokubu Base of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force.

The inscription on the stone monument reads: "Departure Point for Special Attack Planes." The bronze plaque below the inscription reads:

In this place the Izumi Naval Air Corps was established in 1943 during the Greater East Asia War, and the Kokubu Naval Air Corps was formed the next year on August 15, 1944. This was the place where Corps members spent day after day in training, but it was used as a Naval Special Attack Corps base when the enemy force was closing in on Okinawa in early 1945. More than 400 brave young men smilingly departed from this world, going far away to the end of the drifting clouds. This ground has deep memories of those who gave their lives at the time of their country's crisis.

This monument has been established through donations from Kokubu City, the Self Defense Force, and interested individuals, and through the efforts of members of the Ground Self Defense Force at Kokubu Base. The monument's purpose is to promote the restoration of peace in our homeland by praying that the spirits of these young men who gave their lives for the peace and security of our country may rest in peace forever.

August 15, 1964

 

 

The number of men who died in kamikaze attacks from Kokubu varies according to the source. The bronze plaque on the front of the monument mentions more than 400 men, but the back of the monument has another plaque that lists only 367 names. The Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum has an exhibit that indicates 354 men died in sorties from Kokubu on kamikaze missions, including 168 from Kokubu No. 1 Air Base and 186 from Kokubu No. 2 Air Base. The Kokubu City web site (2005) has apparently incorrect information that 427 men died in special attacks from only Kokubu No. 1 Air Base. Iwamoto and Mukaida (1992, 8, 26-27) state that the records for the earliest three sortie dates (March 18, 19, and 20, 1945) do not clearly indicate whether planes sortied from Kokubu No. 1 Air Base or No. 2 Air Base. Their total of 217 men who died in kamikaze attacks from Kokubu No. 2 Air Base includes the men who sortied on these three dates.

The annual memorial ceremony at Kokubu Special Attack Base Monument is held on April 22.

Sources Cited

Iwamoto, Kiyoshi, and Tsutomu Mukaida, eds. 1992. Chinkon -- shirakumo ni norete kimi kaerimase: Tokkou kichi daini kokubu no ki (Repose of souls -- riders of the white clouds, come back to us: Record of Special Attack Corps Kokubu No. 2 Air Base). Mizobe Town, Kagoshima Prefecture: Jusanzukabaru tokkouhi hozon iinkai (Committee to Preserve the Jusanzukabaru Special Attack Corps Monument).

Kokubu City. 2005. Tokkou ireisai (Special attack memorial ceremony). <http://www.city.kokubu.kagoshima.jp/city/genre/soumu/ireisai/> (October 21, 2005), link no longer available.