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Seki Monument and Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shikishima Squadron Five War Heroes Monument
Saijō City, Ehime Prefecture

Navy Lieutenant Yukio Seki commanded the first unit of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps and died in battle on October 25, 1944. In March 1975, a monument to remember Yukio Seki was erected at Naramoto Jinja in his hometown of Saijō City in Ehime Prefecture. In October 1981, around the original monument were placed five concrete replicas of 250-kg bombs carried by the Zero fighters of Yukio Seki and the other four members of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shikishima Squadron. Hence this monument is really two monuments, the Yukio Seki Monument and the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shikishima Squadron Five War Heroes Monument.

The five 250-kg bomb replicas have the following information inscribed on them in addition to Kamikaze Special Attack Shikishima Squadron:

  • No. 1 Aircraft, Navy Commander Yukio Seki Monument
    From Saijō City, Ehime Prefecture, died at age 23
  • No. 2 Aircraft, Navy Lieutenant Iwao Nakano Monument
    From Haramachi Town, Fukushima Prefecture, died at age 19
  • No. 3 Aircraft, Navy Lieutenant Nobuo Tani Monument
    From Maizuru City, Kyōto Prefecture, died at age 20
  • No. 4 Aircraft, Navy Flight Warrant Officer Hajime Nagamine Monument
    From Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture, died at age 19
  • No. 5 Aircraft, Navy Lieutenant Flight Warrant Officer Shigeo Ōguro Monument
    From Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture, died at age 20

The ranks shown above for the five Shikishima Squadron members are after the two rank promotions that they received after death by special (suicide) attack.

On the left and right sides of the monument there are metal replicas of the 250-kg bombs carried by the five aircraft of the Shikishima Squadron. These are parallel to the ground whereas the five concrete replicas of the 250-kg bombs are perpendicular to the ground.

The back of the monument has a plaque with the following written by Minoru Genda, former Navy Chief of Staff:

In humanity's 6,000 years of history, there is nothing that touched people's hearts like the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps. The saying of "we weep for heroic spirits" expresses exactly the sentiment. Carrying out this type of attack cannot be found except for our Japanese people. Even in the history of the Japanese people, with respect to organized special attacks, there is nothing except those that took place in the final stages of the Greater East Asia War as the country approached the brink of extinction. Several thousand young men who burned with intense patriotic fervor voluntarily proceeded to make attacks where they had absolutely no chance of returning alive. This act is the true essence of our bushidō (way of the samurai) and brilliantly shows their great loyalty.

On October 20, 1944, the vanguard of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps was formed with the Shikishima Squadron, Yamato Squadron, Asahi Squadron, and Yamazakura Squadron by the order of Vice Admiral Takijirō Ōnishi, Commander in Chief of the 1st Air Fleet (committed suicide at war's end). Navy Lieutenant Yukio Seki was commander of this unit. On October 25, this attack unit made a sortie with 18 aircraft (including half escorts). Six aircraft hit escort carriers, and three aircraft exploded near enemy ships causing damage. Among these, Lieutenant Yukio Seki achieved a great feat when he struck the enemy escort carrier St. Lo (10,400 tons) and caused detonation of the powder magazine, which sank the ship instantly as it split in two.

Lieutenant Yukio Seki left the following farewell poem to his students:

Students, fall like mountain cherry blossoms

Written by Minoru Genda
Former Navy Chief of Staff and House of Councilors Member

October 25, 1944
Died in battle in Philippines off Suluan Island

March 1975
Erected by Saijō Navy Association

Seki's poem above is a haiku with a 5-7-5 syllable pattern.


View of Naramoto Jinja with Seki Monument at front left

Another monument, erected also in March 1975, stands behind the main Seki Monument. The top plaque on this monument has engraved a song composed to extol the accomplishments of Yukio Seki. In February 1945, this song was sung at a grand assembly at Yukio Seki's alma mater, Saijō Junior High School (now Saijō High School) [1]. Yūichi Kurita, President of Kurita Casting Company in Saijō City, wrote the lyrics, and Kunio Nemoto, teacher at Saijō Girls High School, composed the music for the song.

Song to Honor Deeds of Commander Seki

Lyrics: Yūichi Kurita
Music: Kunio Nemoto

  1. Receiving the spirit of flowers in Bujō (park in Saijō City)
    Shikishima Squadron with a Yamato heart
    Blow kamikaze, a blizzard of flowers
    Fall, noble war heroes
      
  2. Certain-death, sure-hit to enemy ships
    Ah, heroic taiatari (body crash)
    Special attack of fierce warrior spirits
    Taking the lead, Commander Seki
      
  3. At base raised hands in send-off
    In response soon above the clouds
    In their hearts neither life nor death
    Steering their Zero fighters
      
  4. Enemy ships near Suluan
    Suddenly an artillery barrage covers them
    Smiling as he waves his wings
    Telling them to continue, a steep dive
      
  5. Five human bullets thundering
    Rising columns of fire and water
    Unswerving loyalty of this illustrious deed
    Will shine forever
      
  6. Kamikaze, for the Emperor
    Today also going with wings outspread
    We, the Commander's spirit and his hometown
    What do you desire of us?


Monument behind main Seki Monument

The bottom plaque of the monument behind the main Seki Monument has the following inscription:

Yukio Seki, oldest son of Katsutarō Seki who lived in Shimogumi Sakaemachi in Saijō City, was born in August 1921. From a young age he was smart, determined, and beyond others in everything. In March 1934, he graduated from Ōmachi Elementary School, and then he started at Saijō Prefectural Junior High School. In February 1938, he entered Etajima Naval Academy (70th Class). Along with realizing his long-cherished wish to become an Imperial Japanese Navy man, he acquired flight proficiency, became an instructor, earned successive promotions, and was appointed as Navy Lieutenant.

In the final stages of the Greater East Asia War as the country of Japan approached the brink of extermination, on October 25, 1944, he took off as the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Shikishima Squadron Commander and gave his life for the Empire's eternal cause. Combined Fleet Commander in Chief Toyoda proclaimed to the entire military Seki's distinguished service that showed brilliantly his great loyalty and awarded the honor of a special two rank promotion for his splendid achievement.

Saijō Navy Association, organized by former Navy men in Saijō City, and other volunteers erected the monument to war hero Yukio Seki who had no surviving family members at that time. Minoru Genda unveiled the monument and honored his accomplishments forever.

Thereafter, each year on October 25, the date that the war hero directly hit and quickly sank the enemy aircraft carrier St. Lo, a memorial service is held. Flowers and food are placed before the monument, and thanks are given for the peaceful rest of his spirit.

Accordingly, let him protect us as a harbinger of eternal world peace.

March 21, 1975

Umezō Ishikawa
Naramoto Jinja Chief Priest and Saijō Navy Association Chairman


Replica of 250-kg bomb carried by five Zero fighters
of Shikishima Squadron. Inscription has following information:
Kamikaze Special Attack Shikishima Squadron
.No. 1 Aircraft, Navy Commander Yukio Seki Monument
From Saijō City, Ehime Prefecture, died at age 23

The grounds of Naramoto Jinja also have the Kamikaze Special Attack Museum (opened in 1979), the Battleship Yamato Monument, and Battleship Mikasa Monument.

Related Web Pages
Note

1. Kamikaze Tokkō Shikishima-tai 1975, 4.

Source Cited

Kamikaze Tokkō Shikishima-tai Go Gunshin Hōsankai (Kamikaze Special Attack Shikishima Squadron Five War Heroes Support Association). 1975. Shikishima-tai go gunshin no shirube (Guide to Shikishima Squadron five war heroes). Privately published by Naramoto Jinja.