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Ryūsei Monument
Tone Town, Ibaraki Prefecture

Ryūsei, which means "shooting star" in Japanese, was a Navy carrier-based torpedo-dive bomber with a crew of two used in the Pacific War. Grace was the Allied code name for the Ryūsei torpedo-dive bomber. This aircraft was used from July 25 to August 15, 1945, by the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th Mitate Squadron in sorties from Kisarazu Air Base in Chiba Prefecture.

Hideaki Sekiguchi, the brother of Hiroshi Sekiguchi who died in a special (suicide) attack on July 25, 1945, erected a monument in memory of the 7th Mitate Squadron at a Buddhist temple named Enmyōji in Tone Town, Ibaraki Prefecture. Mitate means "emperor's shield," and the name was used by other Navy special attack squadrons.

The top of the monument has the word Ryūsei (流星). The monument has engraved the following history with a poem written by Hiroshi Sekiguchi:

Ryūsei

In the Greater East Asia War it was decided frequently to have special attack operations when a person was not expected to return alive. Especially, from July 25 to August 15, 1945, in order to destroy the enemy task force making repeated attacks as it approached the mainland from the southeast, crewmen of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th Mitate Squadron Ryūsei Units boarded their Ryūsei torpedo-dive bombers, took off in high spirits from Kisarazu Base, and carried out certain-death, certain-kill (hisshi hissatsu) body-crashing (taiatari) attacks. They set ablaze one large aircraft carrier and two cruisers. Following is the farewell poem of Flight Chief Petty Officer Hiroshi Sekiguchi, who died for an eternal cause:

Falling petals for the country unsparingly
Scattering the enemy, Yamato cherry blossoms

Yamato is a poetic name for Japan. The last part of the engraving on the front has not been translated on this web page.

The back of the monument lists the names of the 30 men of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 7th Mitate Squadron who died in battle. The names are grouped by the four Ryūsei Units that made sorties on different dates from Kisarazu Air Base, but the dates are not indicated on the monument. The following listing gives the number of men who died in battle by unit and adds sortie dates and number of planes from Osuo (2005, 232-3):

1st Ryūsei Unit - 8 men died in battle in 4 Ryūsei torpedo-dive bombers on July 25, 1945
2nd Ryūsei Unit - 12 men died in battle in 6 Ryūsei torpedo-dive bombers on August 9, 1945
3rd Ryūsei Unit - 8 men died in battle in 4 Ryūsei torpedo-dive bombers on August 13, 1945
4th Ryūsei Unit - 2 men died in battle in 1 Ryūsei torpedo-dive bomber on August 15, 1945


Back of Ryūsei Monument with list of
7th Mitate Squadron members who died in battle


Main hall of Buddhist temple of Enmyōji
(Tone Town, Ibaraki Prefecture)

Source Cited

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kojinsha.