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
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 made sorties 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 made sorties on these three dates.
The annual memorial ceremony at Kokubu Special Attack Base
Monument is held on April 22.
Iwamoto, Kiyoshi, and Tsutomu Mukaida, eds. 1992. Chinkon
-- shirakumo ni norete kimi kaerimase: Tokkō kichi daini kokubu no ki
(Repose of souls -- riding on the white clouds, come back to us: Record of
Special Attack Corps Kokubu No. 2 Air Base). Mizobe Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Jūsanzukabaru tokkōhi hozon iinkai (Committee to Preserve the
Jūsanzukabaru Special Attack Corps Monument).
Kokubu City. 2005. Tokkō ireisai (Special attack memorial
(October 21, 2005), link no longer available.