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Kanoya Ōka Monument
Kanoya City, Kagoshima Prefecture

This monument is located near Kanoya Air Base at the spot where departing men in the Jinrai (Thunder Gods) Special Attack Corps drank their farewell toasts. These men flew the ōka weapons, which were piloted glider bombs propelled by three rocket engines.

The following words on the stone tablet next to this monument were written by Sōhachi Okamura, a naval correspondent in Kanoya at the time the ōka pilots departed.

The men of the special attack corps who volunteered from Kōnoike Air Base and other bases gathered at Nozato Elementary School in Kanoya, in Kyūshū at the southern tip of Japan. From March 21 to June 22, 1945, these men died in battle in continuing attacks. Following the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps), there were the ōka, fighter, and bomber units of the Tatsumaki Butai (Tornado Corps). At this time I lived in a farmhouse in Nozato Village as a naval press corps member, and I met in person Commander Motoharu Okamura, the leader who trained corps members who stayed in nearby homes. I remember vividly the change in the war situation, and there are painful memories of saying farewell with tears day after day to rosy-cheeked men departing never to return. Filled with the emotion of all Japanese people, I write these words praying for the repose of the souls of these young soldiers.

This monument was erected in 1978 through the efforts of a former ōka corps member and his wife.