Sumino Grave Monument
Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
On January 25, 1945, Hidenobu Sumino died in battle at the age of 24 years
during a special (suicide) attack as commander of the Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps 27th Kongō Squadron.
Sumino grew up in Sasebo City in Nagasaki Prefecture and graduated from
Fukuishi Elementary School in Sasebo City. He graduated from Nagasaki Teachers
College before he entered the Navy in the 13th Class of Yobi Gakusei (Reserve
On March 21, 1956, a gravestone was erected for Hidenobu Sumino in
Higashiyama Navy Cemetery, now part of Higashi Park in Sasebo City. The Navy
Cemetery has about 60 monuments including the
Nagasaki Prefecture Yokaren Monument
and Yahagi Monument. The back of the
gravestone indicates that Shinichi Sumino, most likely a relative, erected it.
The front of the monument has engraved the following:
Navy Lieutenant Commander
Junior 5th Rank, 5th Order of Merit, 3rd Class
Hidenobu Sumino Grave
The rank of Lieutenant Commander shown on the front of the gravestone is after the special
promotion of two ranks for death in a special attack.
The left side of his gravestone has engraved details regarding his death in
On January 25, 1945, Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Hidenobu Sumino
courageously died in battle at the age of 24 years at the head of Lingayen
Gulf as Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kongō Squadron Commander.
Some Japanese sources (e.g., Hara 2004, 169; Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1990, 143;
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1999, 40) indicate that Sumino died in a special attack on
January 9, 1945. However, two sources (Osuo 2005, 42, 172; Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
1990, 49) confirm the gravestone date of January 25, 1945, for Sumino's death.
Inexplicably, Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990) indicates January 9 on one page (143)
and January 25 on another (49). Osuo explains that the other three Zero fighters
carrying bombs in the 27th Kongō Squadron made forced landings and did not carry
out special attacks on January 25. Sumino's special attack from
Tuguegarao Airfield in the northern part of Luzon Island was the last one by the
Kamikaze Special Attack Corps from a base in the Philippines.
Photograph of Hidenobu Sumino in
visitor building of Higashiyama Navy Cemetery
Sumino wrote the following farewell poem in tanka form with a form of
5-7-5-7-7 syllables (Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1999, 40):
Not known to oneself
Peacefully, sound of crickets'
Crying can be heard
The word "naku" in Japanese can refer to either weeping or the
chirping sound made by crickets. In the poem above Sumino uses the kanji
(Chinese character) for weeping rather than the usual one to refer to the
chirping sound made by crickets.
The visitor building at Higashiyama Navy Cemetery has several Navy-related
exhibits including one with Hidenobu Sumino's photograph and biographical
information. Some of this biographical information has been included for this
Hara, Katsuhiro. 2004. Shinsō kamikaze tokkō: Hisshi
hitchū no 300 nichi (Kamikaze special attack facts: 300 days of certain-death, sure-hit
attacks). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun
hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.
________. 1999. Tokkōtai iei shū (Special Attack Corps
death poem collection). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.