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Metabaru Airfield Monument
Yoshinogari Town, Saga Prefecture

In 1943, the Army's Tachiarai Flight School established a flight training branch school at Metabaru Airfield in Saga Prefecture. In Gekkou no Natsu (Summer of the Moonlight Sonata), a popular 1993 movie based on a novel by Tsuneyuki Mori, two kamikaze pilots from Metabaru Airfield walk several miles to Tosu Elementary School in order to play music one last time on their grand piano. One of the pilots plays Beethoven's Sonata No. 14, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata. Although the movie is fictional, it is based on the true story of two kamikaze pilots, one who survived and was interviewed by Mori in the research for his book.

The gatepost of Metabaru Airfield still remains, and the town erected a monument in 1992 at the site of the former air base. A plaque directly in front of the gatepost has the following inscription:

Remains of Former Metabaru Airfield Main Gate

Metabaru Airfield was established in 1943 as Army Tachiarai Flight School Metabaru Branch School. Afterward, numerous young eagles were trained here.

In 1944 and after, as the war situation worsened, this was a place with a distinguished history where members of the Special Attack 273rd Shinbu Squadron, with the motto of "young men, follow in our footsteps," took off one after another to search for enemy ships in order to bravely die for their country.

In 1954, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Kyushu Region Logistics Depot was established here. Afterward, the Western Region Helicopter Unit, the 4th Flight Squadron, and other units also have been stationed here. Even now a part of the former runway is used as a heliport.

July 1992
Mitagawa Town [1]

Two stone plaques have poems in remembrance of men from Metabaru Airfield who died in battle. The plaque at right has the following poem:

Falling with flowers
In southern seas
Remembering spirits
Of those heroes
Base's summer grass

The plaque at left, nearest to the former airfield's gatepost, has the following poem:

Cherry blossoms bloom
Taking off from base
Young eagles falling
In southern seas
Gatepost remembers them

Note

1. Mitagawa Town merged with another village in 2006 to become Yoshinogari Town.