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Urato Naval Air Group Monument
Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture

The Japanese Navy greatly expanded the Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) toward the end of the war with Urato Air Base in Kochi Prefecture being one of the added locations. In early 1945, Yokaren trainees were spread around Japan at 18 air bases.

In late October 1944, Urato started operations with the transfer from Matsuyama Air Group of about 1,000 trainees of Yokaren's 14th Ko Class. Urato was designated as an official Naval Air Group on November 1, 1944.

The stone plaque to the left of the monument provides the following history:

Here was the site of the main gate for the former Urato Naval Air Group. Yokaren is the abbreviation for Hiko Yoka Renshusei who were aircraft crewmembers in the former Navy. This selection system was established in 1930. Youths who were selected from the whole country endured rigorous training and displayed fearless bravery, and they all became Special Attack Corps members as Allied Forces approached Okinawa. As they hoped for prosperity for their country and peace for their countrymen, they became human bombs and dove into enemy ships. Among these men 80% died in battle as young cherry blossoms.

Urato Naval Air Group was established on November 1, 1944. Eventually starting in May 1945, due to the war situation in which the decisive battle for the homeland seemed inevitable, the trainees constantly trained day and night to carry out special attacks (tokko) in land battles along the coast in which they would destroy the enemy. Even as they personally committed to give their lives in that national crisis, the war unexpectedly came to an end. They were demobilized in orderly fashion under the direction of Air Group Commander Captain Toyoaki Horiuchi.

We have made it to today 40 years after the end of the war. Urato Naval Air Group disappeared, but this place is our home that encourages us as our hearts will never forget how we trained and devoted ourselves here for a period during our youth and how we committed to defend the country with our lives. Therefore, we erect a monument as we pray for repose of the souls of those who died in battle. This monument will remind future generations of the tragedy of war and the preciousness of peace and life.

April 6, 1985

The back of the monument lists the 14th, 15th, and 16th Ko Classes of Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) who received training at Urato Air Base along with the date the monument was erected. The back of the left-hand plaque lists the names of about 120 persons who contributed to the monument's erection.

The stone plaque to the right of the monument has engraved the song of Urato Air Group:

Glowing clouds drifting over the southern seas
When the morning sun shines brilliantly
Filled with a spirit of dignity
Looking out over the Pacific
We the Urato Air Group