Mito Winged Tower
Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture
A small park on the site of the Japanese Army's former Mito Airfield has a
10-foot memorial tower and several other relics. The Mito Winged Tower, erected in 1975,
is named for the shape of wings on top.
The park has a large stone hand basin with the mark
of the former Hitachi Training Air Division located at Mito Airfield. The mark
is inside a pair of wings carved on the side of the hand basin, which formerly
had been used at the Air Division's shrine. The entrance pillar for the former
Army Flight Communications School at Mito stands next to an engine and auxiliary
fuel tank of an Army Type 2 Toryu Fighter (Ki-45, Allied code name of Nick)
caught in a commercial fishing boat's net off the coast of Oarai Town in Ibaraki
A black plaque at the Mito Winged Tower base has inscribed the following
Nokoru sakura mo
The following is an English translation of this haiku poem:
Falling cherry blossoms
Remaining cherry blossoms too
Falling cherry blossoms
A stone plaque just to the right of the entrance to the park where Mito
Winged Tower is located gives the following history of Mito Airfield and the
In 1938, Mito Airfield was established on 1,200 hectares of land in front
of this place,
and the Mito Army Flight School opened. The school carried out education and
research for communications, combat, gunnery, anti-aircraft techniques,
scientific warfare, motorized vehicles, special cadet pilots, senior and junior
officers, and youth pilots. In the eastern part, the Army's Flight Investigation
Division Mito Testing Center was established.
In 1940, the Army Flight Communications School was opened at the Mito South
Airfield, and communications education and research were transferred here.
In August 1943, due to the demands of the war situation, the Akeno Army
Flight Branch School was established here, and the Mito School transferred to
In June 1944, the branch school was reorganized into the Hitachi Training Air
Division and was assigned responsibility for the air defense of the Japanese
mainland in addition to training and research for elite aerial combat pilots.
On February 16 and 17, 1945, when ambushed in attacks by carrier
fighters, more than 180 men gave their lives here in performance of duty and
also several men died in battle while sending telegraph messages from South
Airfield. Furthermore, after November 1944, over 70 heroes went forward from
here one after another from the Special Attack Corps Ichiu Squadron, Jungi
Squadron, 24th Shinbu Squadron, 53rd Shinbu Squadron, 68th Shinbu Squadron,
Hirai Squadron, and Makoto 35th Hikotai . They sacrificed their lives in a
national crisis as they pursued and dove into enemy warships off Leyte, Taiwan,
In April 1945, the division moved to Nitta Airfield in Gunma Prefecture until
the end of the war.
As we look forward here to the 30th anniversary of the end of the war,
persons related to the former base and other volunteers together erected
this tower to make known this war site to future generations, to commemorate
the great achievements of those men who died for our country, and to pray
for eternal peace for our homeland.
May 3, 1975
Mito Airfield Memorial Association
Although the 1975 plaque states over 70 men from Mito Airfield died in
special (suicide) attacks, Tokkotai Senbotsusha (1990, 349) explains that 101
men from Mito gave their lives as part of the Special Attack Corps.
1. Besides the special attack squadrons listed on the monument,
the 44th, 52nd, 56th, and 61st Shinbu Squadrons also were formed from airmen of
the Hitachi Training Air Division at Mito Airfield (Tokkotai Senbotsusha 1990,
Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai (Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kougekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tokyo: Tokkotai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai.