Kamikaze
   Images


Only search Kamikaze Images

 
Osaka Gokoku Jinja Yokaren Monument
Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture

Osaka Gokoku Jinja is a Shinto shrine that honors persons from Osaka Prefecture who died to defend Japan. The area around the shrine has several monuments in memory of groups or individuals who died in battle including one erected in 1982 to honor Navy Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) graduates who gave their lives for their country. These Yokaren graduates who died in battle included many Special Attack Corps (tokkotai) members who carried out suicide attacks against Allied ships.

The monument has a propeller mounted on front. The plaque to the right of the propeller has engraved the characters for Yokaren, and the plaque on the left says "Kisama to ore to tsubasa" (You and I and wings). Kisama (you) and ore (I) are personal pronouns used in male speech. Men in the WWII Navy typically used these pronouns between themselves, and "kisama to ore" (you and I) is the phrase used to start  the famous Japanese Navy song titled "Douki no sakura" (Cherry blossoms of same class).

A plaque next to the monument gives the Yokaren history:

Kisama to ore to tsubasa (You and I and wings) Monument

In 1930, regarding training of accomplished aircraft crewmen, the Navy Hiko Yoka Renshusei (Preparatory Flight Training Program) system was established with the belief that it depended on early education of gifted individuals. In 1937, the Ko and Otsu, and afterward the Hei and Toku Otsu, courses of study were established. From throughout Japan youths who loved their country and who yearned for the skies, and from the beginning those also from far overseas, volunteered in high spirits.

Yokaren airmen, after a triumph in their first battle at the Japan-China Incident in August 1937, became the core of our aerial fighting power both in name and reality in the Pacific War. They attained distinguished achievements in war. When the war situation turned against them and the decisive battle for the homeland approached, they sacrificed themselves during the national crisis by laying down their lives as they believed in prosperity for the country of Japan. One after another they became aerial, surface, and underwater Special Attack Corps members and bravely died in battle in the skies and seas.

We former Yokaren trainees have deepened our bonds throughout our lives and add our names to this holy place. We erect this monument to convey to posterity that the spirits of the war dead of the rosy-cheeked forerunners called "Yokaren" of the Showa imperial reign should be honored publicly. We earnestly hope for world peace and for prosperity of our descendants.

December 5, 1982
Kansai Ko Yokaren Association

The stone posts surrounding the monument have names of various groups and individuals who contributed to the monument's erection. Besides the Kansai Ko Yokaren Association, other groups with names on posts around the monument include the Okazaki Naval Air Group, Mie Air Group 15th Ko Class, Miho Air Group 14th Ko Class, and Urato Air Group 16th Ko Class.

A statue of Ensign Toshio Kurii from Osaka Prefecture stands near the Yokaren Monument. On April 16, 1945, Kurii died as a member of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Tsukuba Squadron that took off from Kanoya Air Base with bomb-carrying Zero fighters. He was a member of the 14th class of Navy Flight Reserve Students (Kaigun Hiko Yobi Gakusei).


Ensign Toshio Kurii