Ōi Naval Air Group Monument
Makinohara City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Shiragiku (means "white chrysanthemum") training planes were used
during the Battle of Okinawa by the Navy's Kamikaze Special Attack Corps to make
suicide attacks. The Naval Air Groups at Tokushima, Kōchi, Ōi, and Suzuka
formed special attack squadrons from Shiragiku trainers, but only those
from Tokushima and Kōchi made sorties toward Okinawa from Kushira and Kanoya Air
Base respectively. During May and June 1945, a total of 108 airmen (56 from
Tokushima Air Group and 52 from Kōchi Air Group) lost their lives in special
attacks by Shiragiku trainers. The Yashima Special Attack Squadron with
Shiragiku trainers was formed at Ōi Air Base in April 1945, but the war
ended before this squadron could carry out any attacks against the enemy fleet.
A monument was erected in May 1982 at the site of the former Ōi Air Base,
which was established in 1942 to provide training for navigators. The
sign to the left of the monument gives the following history:
The former Ōi Naval Air Group was located here at Nunohikihara on a site
with a total area of about 300 hectares. This monument is part of the Air
Group's gate. There was another gate column about 12 meters from this front
part, and it was used as an entrance and exit to the air base.
In April 1940 it was communicated that an elementary school building and 200
houses would be cleared from this area, and construction proceeded. The Air
Group formed in April 1942. Many airmen were trained here, and special
(suicide) attack training started from April 1945. It is recorded that there
were about 3,000 Air Group members in total who were here. In this area
there are underground shelters and tunnels that remain.
In addition, a jishō (time bell) that
indicated the time in those days and a Shiragiku trainer engine
that was pulled up from the sea off Miho Coast in Shimizu City are on display at the
Makinohara Community Center. Inside there are also photographs and records
from that time. Please stop by.
Ōi Air Group Association
Haibara Town, Makinohara Region
Haibara Town merged into Makinohara City in October 2005.
The sign behind the Shiragiku engine on display at Makinohara
Community Center, a short distance away from the Ōi Naval Air Base Monument,
provides a history of the engine type and its technical specifications.
The jishō (time bell) now on display at
the Makinohara Community Center stood in front of the Ōi Naval Air Group
Headquarters from April 1942 until the war's end.
Shiragiku engine on display
at Makinohara Community Center
There are four wheels on display in an exhibit next to the Shiragiku
engine. They probably belong to a Shiragiku trainer, but there is no
explanatory sign to confirm this. In the same area as the wheels there is a
Naval "spirit stick," which was a club used by Navy officers to beat men to
instill "spirit" in them.
Jishō (time bell) that stood in front of
Ōi Naval Air Group Headquarters during WWII