Tomitaka Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Sortie Site Monument
Hyūga City, Miyazaki Prefecture
Tomitaka Air Base served as a support base for kamikaze operations carried
out from Kanoya Air Base starting in March 1945. The Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods
Corps), which made ohka manned glider bomb attacks, and its escorting fighter
squadrons used Tomitaka Air Base. Kamikaze
squadrons from air bases at Ōmura, Genzan, Tsukuba, and Yatabe came first to
Tomitaka prior to proceeding to Kanoya, where they made their final sorties
Regular flight training stopped at Tomitaka Air Base on February 20, 1945,
when Kamikaze Special Attack Squadrons were formed from Type 93 Intermediate
Trainers (nicknamed Akatonbo or Red Dragonfly) at the base. These kamikaze
squadrons transferred to Iwakuni Air Group in Yamaguchi Prefecture on March 1,
1945, due to Tomitaka being in southern Kyūshū, which was more susceptible to
American bombing. From July 1945, these squadrons returned from Iwakuni to wait
at Tomitaka Air Base and Kushira Air Base for orders to sortie, but they still
had not received orders when the war ended on August 15, 1945.
The monument inscription states, "Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Sortie Site."
Although many kamikaze squadrons took off from Tomitaka, no kamikaze aircraft
made direct attacks from this base. Instead, they proceeded to other air bases,
mainly Kanoya, where they made sorties to carry out suicide attacks on American ships.
Although the stone monument was erected in August 1977, the same site
previously had a wooden marker erected in 1960. The stone monument on the
grounds of Kyōwa Hospital has the following inscription in Japanese:
In the area near here, there are the remains of the former Tomitaka Naval
Air Group airfield, which became a special attack base in the last part of
World War II. This monument was built to console the spirits of the
Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members who took off from this base to
sacrifice themselves for their homeland in a time of crisis and did not
return again; the spirits of the local resident, mobilized student, Korean,
and Chinese workers engaged in the construction of this base who
unfortunately fell sick and wounded; and the spirits of the officers and men
of the U.S. Air Force who died in these foreign skies far from their homes.
The area still has a couple of large holes from B-29 bombing of Tomitaka
Air Base. One of these holes is directly behind the monument.
The monument also has the following English inscription:
This place used to be the air base of the Kami-Kaze pilots. And this
monument should be dedicated to the peaceful rest of the souls of the
Kami-Kaze and the U.S. pilots who were both killed around here for their own
Built by the Kyōwa Hospital
The parking lot has a strip of concrete from the Tomitaka Air Base runway. A
wooden sign gives the following explanation:
The grounds of this hospital played an important role during World War II
as the base of the Tomitaka Naval Air Group and as a frontline base in the
last part of the war.
The concrete section in front of this information sign is part of the runway
from that time as it was during wartime. Before the peace of our time,
special attack planes took off from this concrete runway. We preserve this
runway in our desire for eternal peace.
Section of former
Tomitaka Air Base runway
My visit to view the Tomitaka Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Sortie Site Monument
was made possible with the kind assistance of Toshiyuki Nagahama, a former
member of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps) who stopped by Tomitaka Air Base
two or three times during WWII. I also want to thank Yōko Hori, Chairperson of
the Board of Directors of Kyōwa Hospital, and Hiroshi Kanemaru, Administrative
Manager of Kyōwa Hospital, who explained the history of the monument and
provided me with material about the history of Tomitaka Air Base.
The history of Tomitaka Air Base presented on this page comes from Ikeda (1992,
Ikeda, Teruchika. 1992. 40 nengo no arubamu (Album of 40
years ago). Miyazaki City: Kōmyakusha.