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Tokuyama Kaiten Replica
Shunan City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

A full-size kaiten human torpedo replica is exhibited outdoors a block away from the JR Tokuyama Station toward the harbor. This replica was used in the 2006 film Deguchi no nai umi (Sea without exit) and is located in the parking lot next to the dock for the ferry from Tokuyama to Otsushima, a small island where the first kaiten base was located and where tourists can now visit the Kaiten Memorial Museum, Kaiten Monument, and other locations related to the kaiten.

A sign in front of the kaiten replica provides information in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. The sign's English, a rather rough translation from the Japanese, is shown below:

Exhibition Hall of "Real-Size Model of Human Torpedo "Kaiten""

This human torpedo "Kaiten" is a real-size model used in the filming of a movie titled "Deguchi No Nai Umi (Sea Without Exit)" which was presented in September 2006 and was made in Shunan City.

The model is exhibited by "Conservation Council of Kaiten's Replica Etc." on the way to ferry landing directed to Ohtushima which can be viewed from the door of Shunan City, Tokuyama Station, in order to let many people know and to transmit to later generations high spirits of young men who boarded on Kaiten and lost their precious lives in time of the country's difficulties, respect of human life and the importance of peace.

In Ohtushima where the final scene of the location was done, a tunnel was built to deliver "Kaiten" from an adjusting plant by tram and a torpedo launching test station are conserved almost as they were in those days. Also, the is "Memorial Hall of Kaiten" where precious materials related to Kaiten such as an epigraphic monument and mementoes of 145 honorable victims of Kaiten are stored and exhibited. In the Hall, "a model of internal cockpit of Kaiten" which reproduces the cockpit of Kaiten that now exists in Seattle, U.S.A. and that is only one model in Japan used in the scene of getting on board by a pilot in the above movie is exhibited.

November 2006
Conservation Council of Kaiten's Replica Etc.


Sign at Tokuyama Station with kaiten drawing
and specifications along with drawing from manga
series Tokkou no Shima (The Isle of Tokkou)

The right half of a sign in the kaiten exhibit at Tokuyama Station shows a drawing of kaiten pilot Yuzo Watanabe, the hero of the manga series Tokkou no Shima (The Isle of Tokkou). Another drawing of Watanabe is on display on the wall near the station exit. The left half of the kaiten exhibit sign provides the kaiten's specifications below. The English has been modified from the words on the sign, since some terms do not sound natural in English. For example, the term "displacement' reads as "all death displacements" on the sign.

Displacement: 8.3 tons

Length: 14.75 meters

Diameter: 1 meter

Shaft horsepower: 550 horsepower

Speed / range: 23 kilometers at 30 knots, 43 kilometers at 20 knots, 78 kilometers at 10 knots

Minimum speed: 3 knots

Crew: 1 person

Explosive charge: 1.55 tons

Maximum operating depth: 80 meters

The kaiten-related display at Tokuyama Station also includes a kaiten model (shown below). Another large sign shows four scenes from the 2006 movie Deguchi no nai umi (Sea without exit) and other information about the movie and kaiten. The bottom of the sign gives the following summary about the Japanese Navy's kaiten program (translated from Japanese):

In 1943 (two years before the end of the Pacific War) as Japan's defeats continued, young officers thought that there was no other way to reverse the war situation than taiatari (body-crashing) special attack (suicide) tactics such as kaiten human torpedoes, so planning began. However, permission to produce such a weapon that led to certain death was not received, but about a half year later in February 1944 an order was issued to produce a prototype. In August, there was recruiting for the official weapon. In September, Otsushima Kaiten Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture was completed. In November, Hikari Kaiten Base was finished. Many young men of about 20 years of age from around the country were gathered together, and they received rigorous training each day. From December to July 1945 (one month before the war's end), they made sorties from here in order to protect our country in its difficult situation.

The kaiten base in Hikari, also located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, was the location where kaiten pilots trained in the movie Deguchi no nai umi (Sea without exit). The statement of "December to July 1945" on the sign is incorrect, since three submarines with four kaiten each made a sortie together from Otsushima on November 8, 1944.


Kaiten model on display at Tokuyama Station

One sign in the area of kaiten-related exhibits explains the Heiwa no Shima (Island of Peace) Project sponsored by Shunan City to preserve the memories of the kaiten operations during the Pacific War. This project has the support of Syuho Sato, the manga artist who created the Tokkou no Shima (The Isle of Tokkou) series. The sign explains the background and meaning of the phrase uttered by kaiten pilot Yuzo Watanabe on the sign next to the station exit. "Suki da." Ima, tsutaetai. ("I love you." I want to tell them now.) According to the sign, this refers to the love that the kaiten pilots felt for their families, other people, and their hometowns as they fought as members in a special attack (suicide) unit. "Suki da" is a phrase that is easily understood by today's young people in Japan.


Sign near station exit that shows kaiten pilot Yuzo Watanabe
from the manga series Tokkou no Shima (The Isle of Tokkou)